The IT department as we know it will no longer exist after 2012. Not only will there be a radical shift in skill sets, but the traditional IT shop is likely to have a different name — IT managers may be sporting new titles like innovation manager or director of processes.
In the next five years, the IT department will shrink by a third as a result of increased automation, says John Roberts, a Gartner vice president.
But it isn’t just about size. Roberts says this transition will see IT’s focus shift dramatically from technology to business processes and relationships.
“By 2010, 50% of IT organisations will refocus on brokering services and shaping business demand, rather than delivering IT services directly. This is up from 5% in 2004,” he says.
“By 2012, at least 50% of large IT organisations will divide into at least two parts with one focused on technology sourcing and delivery while the other will focus on architecture and change.”
Providing examples, Roberts says one piece of the split is technology where staff are involved in simply keeping the lights on and providing desktop support. The other piece of the IT organisation will focus on business outcomes.
“By 2010, at least 50% of new outsourcing deals will use measures based on business outcomes, not IT service levels,” he says.
“As a commodity, the technology piece requires a lower level of skills. We have gone from building apps in-house to buying [them] off the shelf through to software as a service.
“Staff numbers are dropping with server consolidation, virtualisation and automation. These are the workers that press the reset button and are tasked with rescheduling.”
As organisations grapple with information overload, Roberts says there is a new focus on business processes.
“There is a lot of data but its not in the data warehouse. It is no longer about knowledge worker management — we have moved to the high performance workplace which is about having the right information at the right time,” he says.
“I met a guy the other day who was the manager of process and innovation. It signals to the business that technology is a commodity and that his department is focused on improving processes.
“CIOs are becoming the owners of the most critical transactional processes, which we see in banking, while business focuses on marketing and winning customers.”
Roberts says in the next 18 months, CIOs need to choose the main value focus of their department and rename it.
He says CIOs should not dwell on the existing IT organisational chart and boundaries, as they need to create an environment where business and technology can be fused to deliver real competitive advantage.
ARD Consulting IT manager Eric Biggsley says there have been minor changes to job titles and departments in the past 20 years.
“When I began my career I worked in the computer department or the technical services department,” he says.
“Also when I began, many of my older colleagues were called computer scientists in the workplace. I rarely hear that term used today.”
Over the years, Biggsley’s title has changed from IT facilities manager and EDI (electronic data interchange) manager to the director of information resources through to his current title of IT manager.
“It looks like future titles are more likely to include words like processes, business, innovation, relationships and services.
“Who knows, in five years time I could be the business process and innovation services relationship manager.”