CXO

CIO Jury: Will the IT department still exist in 2010?

Yes - but not as we know it, say IT chiefs...
Two-thirds of CIOs believe the corporate IT department will not exist in its current form by 2010.

Earlier this year analyst Gartner warned that outsourcing, offshoring and increasing control of IT being handed to business units will lead to the death of the IT department as we know it today, so we asked silicon.com's CIO Jury user panel if they agreed.

We asked if there will still be an internal corporate IT department in its current form by 2010 and two-thirds of the 12 CIOs said 'no' with the other third saying 'yes'.

Steve Anderson, European IT partner at property consultancy Davis Langdon, said IT will be increasingly handed to large-scale service providers as it becomes commercially and strategically attractive.

"I think that the role of the IT team will be more focused on exploiting technologies for business benefit rather than mainly running them," he said.

JP Rangaswami, global CIO at investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, agreed. "There will be greater use of partnering and 'open-sourcing', more fusion of shared services, more effective use of collaboration tools and technologies, and a much smaller more focused unit concentrated on differentiation," he said.

Others claim the increasing business benefit focus on IT will lead to a blurring of the boundaries and a hybrid model - but not the death of the IT department.

Ian Cohen, IT director at the Financial Times, said "Comments regarding the impending death of the IT Dept are premature and exaggerated. IT departments must and will evolve into hybrid functions with a mix of commercial and technical expertise. As infrastructures become more stable and scalable, the raison d'etre of the IT Dept will be to become centres of innovation and integration supporting the rapid assembly of new products and services."

Peter Pedersen, CTO at Blue Square, said that while IT departments will become increasingly integrated with the business as part of departments such as marketing and finance, overall IT strategy and back-end infrastructure will remain with tactical teams deployed in various departments.

Mark Lichtenhein, director of IT and new media for the PGA European Tour, said there will be changes and more outsourcing of IT departments but added that companies will need to maintain a minimum internal core competence because data - and its processing, dissemination and protection - is a primary business asset.

Other CIO Jury members pointed to increasing alignment of IT with business functions but said there will still be the fundamental need for an IT department of some description.

Luke Mellors, IT director at the Dorchester, said: "The role of internal technologies will change to drive more to the front line of the business through appropriate value driven systems design. Essentially technology will become more business focused which is where it needs to be to really be a success driver for any business."

Kevin Fitzpatrick, CTO at Manpower, said it is hard to point to any single organisational model for IT departments even today.

"All will change to some degree, some models may disappear, technologies will certainly develop - but information management, delivery processes, integration of suppliers will be needed. The IT department will die when software and hardware and services and suppliers work together first time and every time out of the box," he said.

Today's CIO Jury was...

Steve Anderson, European IT partner, Davis Langdon
Colin Cobain, IT director, Tesco
Ian Cohen, IT director, Financial Times
Kevin Fitzpatrick, CTO, Manpower
John Keeling, director of computer services, John Lewis Partnership
Mark Lichtenhein, director of IT and new media, PGA European Tour
Luke Mellors, IT director, The Dorchester
Crispin O'Connell, head of ICT, Cardiff City Council
Peter Pedersen, CTO, Blue Square
JP Rangaswami, global CIO, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein
Steve Ritchie, CIO, Investcorp
Davesh Shukla, head of IS and telecoms, London City Airport

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

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