As scientists ponder whether the Internet is turning our brains to mush, technology and labor scholar Simon Head worries about the role ofcomputer business systems operating largely without notice from the public. These computer and software systems, often called enterprise systems, drive the decision-making apparatuses of large companies — and not necessarily with the workers’ best interests as a priority.
Made by IBM, Oracle and a few other giants, the systems guide day-to-day operations and provide data for strategic decisions. They can provide efficient guidelines for manufacturing and sparkling logistics for shipping goods.
But in the service sector, Head says, overreliance on business systems comes with a cost. He recalls phoning Microsoft with a computer problem. The call center employee clearly had flexibility