Delegates at Gartner's recent annual symposium in Sydney were told in no uncertain terms to refrain from admitting to anyone that they work in IT.
Gartner Fellow Andy Kyte warned delegates that if they tell others they work in IT, they are on a one-way ticket to irrelevance.
"Too many people say they work in IT or, heaven forbid, in computers," Kyte said.
"When asked what you do for a living, do not say 'IT'; instead say 'I'm in retail banking and I'm responsible for IT'."
"None of us are in the business of IT. We are in transportation, manufacturing, government; you are all simply in business."
The warning sits with claims Gartner has already made about the changing face of the IT organisation, with IT staff attaining more business skills.
Kyte says business is demanding a lot more from IT because it has become such an integral part of business.
He said IT has become OT — operational technology that is unseen and managed in the background.
In fact, those wanting to make it to the boardroom shouldn't talk about technology, according to Gartner vice president Milind Govekar.
Using a cruise ship as an example, Govekar encouraged delegates to go from the boiler room to the boardroom.
"You don't need to discuss technical settings to make it a smooth ride but there needs to be all hands on deck to keep the cruise ship on course,"he said.
Today, he said, IT has to balance keeping the lights on and innovation. The goal is agility.
"The problem is that in IT you change one thing and something else breaks," he said.
"Agility can only be achieved by taking a hard look at the infrastructure and applications.
"Another problem is nothing ever dies in IT, it just gets added on.
"We talk about lifecycle management but ignore one of the key stages — death."
When employing SOA and other technologies, Govekar said to avoid complexity.
"Don't add more and create a bigger tangled mess. Virtualisation is helpful but without standardisation you can end up with an even bigger virtualised mess,"he said.
"Think about performance at the design and development stage."