CIOs Talk the Future of IT

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We don’t usually dedicate an entire post to one article written on another blog, but our friends at TechRepublic have recently published an article that we’d be remised not to talk about. Jason Hiner’s article, CIO’s split on the future destiny of the IT department, has some really great discussion from a variety IT professionals about what the future might hold for IT departments (specifically, how their size might increase or decrease). Let’s check it out, shall we?

TechRepublic asked 100 IT professionals, most either holding the position of Director of IT or CIO/CTO, the straightforward question, “Will the average in-house IT department of 2015 be much smaller than it is now?” The first 12 respondents were used as the “jury”, and there was a straight split of opinions – 6 believed it would shrink, and 6 believed it would not. But much more interesting than the count of their votes are the opinions and reasons they gave for their answers.

Of those who believe IT departments will shrink, most attributed that belief to the outsourcing of these rolls – particularly through cloud computing. “Cloud computing will undoubtedly reduce the need for staff at the organizational-level, but likely increase the need for staff at the cloud-level and the outsourcing-level,” said Lou Hablas. Ren Johnson went a step further, saying, “We are looking at an industry on the verge of reliable cloud computing that will solve IT’s maintenance and disaster recovery issues. The role of IT will be reduced to helpdesk/desktop support and IT leaders who manage vendors to maintain key critical applications and systems.” Michael Forest had a slightly different opinion; ““Yes, on average it will be smaller but not because it is all outsourced. IT departments will leverage the capabilities of the cloud in order to allow their internal resources to become more familiar with the business and deploy technology solutions that will help differentiate their organizations in the market.”

On the other side of the discussion, some had different views on how cloud computing and outsourcing would impact the role of IT professionals. Michael Woodford states, ““Yes, on average it will be smaller but not because it is all outsourced. IT departments will leverage the capabilities of the cloud in order to allow their internal resources to become more familiar with the business and deploy technology solutions that will help differentiate their organizations in the market.” Martin Szalay has a similar view, saying, “I, and others, have come to find that outsourcing is a not always as cost effective, agile or as wise a decision as others would have us believe.” His view was that while the increase of technology and the evolution of business practices may indicate the shrinking role of in-house IT, so far it’s only increased the demand for developers and admins.

How do you see the changing landscape of IT impacting the in-house roll? Will cloud computing simply devour the jobs that used to lie with in-house IT? Or will we see a shift in how those IT professionals utilize the cloud to make their jobs more efficient and effective?