Facebook vs your IT department

Walter Adamson posted a really interesting article about the scale of Facebook and the way it is able to support terrifyingly large amounts of information, constant high levels of activity, and global reach to 1,000,000,000 people with almost 100% uptime on comparatively modest resources. Comparatively, that is, in the context of corporate IT departments.

Unsurprisingly someone commented on twitter quite quickly that it wasn't a fair comparison and mentioned the different types of applications involved.

OK, if we're talking about the hard-core data and business systems that increasingly support the core activities of many of our businesses I might agree. But if we're talking about the ill-conceived, badly designed, overengineered office systems that soak up the lives of so many people faffing about creating all those documents that take days to write, but no one reads, and that are stored in expensive knowledge management systems never to be found again - then I would disagree.

Given that the effectiveness of businesses relies almost entirely on communication how much more efficient might businesses be if we dropped the facade of "business systems"?