Business Book Of The Week: Sleep-inducing visit to

by Jeff Papows

(Nicholas Brealey, pounds 18)

JEFF PAPOWS is President and CEO of Lotus, which makes him one of the IT industry's demi-gods and an expert in his field. He's heavily in demand on the US business conference circuit and his brand of inspirational rhetoric is doubtless a powerful motivator when delivered from the podium. But translate it, as I suspect he's done, more or less directly from the conference hall to the page, and the impact is quite different. is aturgid, overlength, assertion-riddled, repetitive, impenetrable, brain-deadening read.

It has some good points too, mainly that Papows obviously cares about the (not always positive) impact of IT on individuals. He recognises that IT professionals can't always see the wood for the trees or the bark for the beetles and sometimes forget that ordinary, fallible people are IT end-users. And he is clearly a man who desperately wants to help others make sense of IT.

This could have been, and perhaps is for those who thrive on acronyms and management buzz words, an enlightening tour led by a senior, highly- informed enthusiast around the all-pervasive impacts of IT on business up to the present day, followed by a penetrating gaze into the crystal ball to predict how an increasingly Internet-dominated world will continue changing (and improving) the way businesses operate. And it's in there somewhere in these 232 pages, only you'll need a pick-axe to prise it out.

Papows' central themes are the impact of the Web, the need for managers to be fluent in IT, taking "knowledge management" onward, and the extent of change IT has provoked and will continue to provoke. All relevant stuff for the legions of managers who are already struggling to cope with the deluge of information IT technology can produce. This has already changed their companies - but how many suspect that this is not always for the good?

Of course, IT is all about efficiency and aiding innovation, but there are plenty of businesses which are successful because of the people who work there, and not because their IT systems are state of the art.

Papows may be a great speaker but he doesn't appear to know how to communicate on paper, although he is an expert at stating themes in threes. On page 10 alone they assault the senses: creation, discovery and distribution; closely, co-operatively and collaboratively; customers, suppliers and partners; trust, security and openness; leaner, flatter, smarter - and as you trudge further into the book you get into the territory of the management guru's "missioncriticals", "cycle times", "network-centric organisations", "market-facing enterprises", "technology-feedback loops" and the somewhat startling "knowledge-empowered customer-service representative". Am I only supposed to read this book if I already know what all this means?

This book is really for IT-converts who are keen to sign up to an information- driven society. Struggle through to the end of , though, and there is a small prize available. Papows goes into crystal-clear "what if?" mode and asks what'll happen if IT technology fails to deliver on its promises, or becomes too sophisticated to be used effectively.

What if the IT industry fails to agree standards of interoperability? What if businesses say "enough is enough" and stop ordering new systems and software? And what happens if governments step in to try and restrict the Internet? In these last 20 pages are themes that would have been better used as a start-off point. As it was, this book hit the floor with a dull thud, and stayed there.

The reviewer is the managing director of the new media training company, Metro New Media

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all