Forrester Research recently made some controversial predictions about the future of IT, even going as far to say that the IT department could disappear as soon as 2020. By then, the research firm said, commoditization and consumerization of technology could overtake core infrastructure and other data center features, forcing IT teams into other departments like marketing and sales. We asked Network Computing readers to weigh in on whether consumizeration of technology threatens the future of the IT department and received some insightful responses.
Duane Hellums, a director of IT, writes:
Everything from now to 2020 will be about communication, how a lean centralized team can orchestrate, collaborate, lead and manage in a federated environment, with more people outside IT than inside it. We'll migrate away from relationship management to outright politics, salesmanship, self-promotion, and marketing. The skill sets, focus, and performance indicators will be entirely different, as will the level of job satisfaction and rate of turnover.
We will look different, but we will still be "we" from a centralized services perspective. Lines of business won't be able to have their own network, as they couldn't effectively secure, integrate, or maintain it in a cost-effective manner. They also won't be able to develop cross-functional enterprise applications, because they only see their triangle, not the entire pie. We'll still be the deal makers, the deal breakers, and the technology rain makers.
As they gradually learn how hard it is to do our jobs, and as the challenges if shadow IT wear them down, they'll gladly delegate back to us, to remain a fringe player biting at our heels, and leaving the core business of IT to the people that know how to conduct the business of IT and do it right.
Shadow IT will always be around, but enterprise-level consumerization is a passing fad driven by the current revolution. Everyone wants a piece of this pie, until they learn they not only have to bake it, but also choose the ingredients, go to the store, and find a way to pay for it.
If we're well prepared and well equipped but ailing or even "failing," what chance do they have to succeed? It may seem we can't compete in the early game, but look how well Apple has done in the end game. They've come a long way since the 80s. They didn't go softly into the night, and Microsoft didn't kill them. Our decline, demise, and fate in central IT are far from written in the stars.
David Haney also sees a continued role for the IT department. He writes:
IT will continue to modernize and evolve, but just like the finance department, companies will keep the IT department together for expertise, efficiency, and cost control.
What are your thoughts about the future of IT? How do you see consumerization of technology affecting the IT department? Share your comments and join the discussion.