Leadership

What the IT department will look like in 2015

The IT department of 2015 will have fewer full-time staff members, will hire more consultants, and will focus on software, mobile, and the cloud.

I kicked off the annual TechRepublic Live 2011 event on Wednesday by asking the question, "What will the IT dept will look like in 2015?" (Right, photo credit: Deb Shinder).

My big takeaway was that the oversized, centralized IT department of 2001 is a relic that's never coming back and IT pros need to prepare for the decentralized IT reality of the future where companies are going to keep fewer IT pros on staff, hire more consultants, and focus their IT resources on software, the cloud, and mobile devices (which will eventually become fully functioning PCs).

A decade ago, there was a lot of new stuff that needed to be set up -- ethernet networks, directory servers, mail servers, company laptops -- and a lot of baby boomers who still needed helped transitioning into a computerized workplace. Those days are long gone.

Most of these technologies run themselves today and don't require a lot of time from IT pros to deploy them and keep them running. IT pros also spend a lot less time doing repairs, maintenance, and end user support. Replacement is the new support. In 2015, employees will just swap out their malfunctioning laptop, smartphone, or tablet to IT and immediately get a replacement device that will connect to the private cloud and/or public cloud and instantly download the user's apps, settings, and data.

The cloud (private and public) will also transform provisioning servers and setting up data centers from a month-long task to a matter of minutes with a few clicks in the web browser. The real work won't be setting up the servers any more, it will be all about choosing the right applications to deploy and putting the right plans in place to help the organization streamline business processes.

As such, I reiterated what I wrote earlier this year that the future of IT is going to boil down to three types of jobs:

1. Consultants

Let’s face it, all but the largest enterprises would prefer to not to have any IT professionals on staff, or at least as few as possible. It’s nothing personal against geeks, it’s just that IT pros are expensive and when IT departments get too big and centralized they tend to become experts at saying, “No.” They block more progress than they enable. As a result, we’re going to see most of traditional IT administration and support functions outsourced to third-party consultants. This includes a wide range from huge multi-national consultancies to the one person consultancy who serves as the rented IT department for local SMBs. I’m also lumping in companies like IBM, HP, Amazon AWS, and Rackspace, who will rent out both data center capacity and IT professionals to help deploy, manage, and troubleshoot solutions. Many of the IT administrators and support professionals who currently work directly for corporations will transition to working for big vendors or consultancies in the future as companies switch to purchasing IT services on an as-needed basis in order to lower costs, get a higher level of expertise, and get 24/7/365 coverage.

2. Project managers

Most of the IT workers that survive and remain as employees in traditional companies will be project managers. They will not be part of a centralized IT department, but will be spread out in the various business units and departments. They will be business analysts who will help the company leaders and managers make good technology decisions. They will gather business requirements and communicate with stakeholders about the technology solutions they need, and will also be proactive in looking for new technologies that can transform the business. These project managers will also serve as the company’s point of contact with technology vendors and consultants. If you look closely, you can already see a lot of current IT managers morphing in this direction.

3. Developers

By far, the area where the largest number of IT jobs is going to move is into developer, programmer, and coder jobs. While IT used to be about managing and deploying hardware and software, it’s going to increasingly be about web-based applications that will be expected to work smoothly, be self-evident, and require very little training or intervention from tech support. The other piece of the pie will be mobile applications — both native apps and mobile web apps. As I wrote in my article, We’re entering the decade of the developer, the current changes in IT are “shifting more of the power in the tech industry away from those who deploy and support apps to those who build them.” This trend is already underway and it’s only going to accelerate over the next decade.

Of course, this is a bit oversimplified and there are a lot of jobs that aren't going to completely disappear -- network administrators and DBAs, for example -- they'll just become specialists that are mostly employed by service providers like IBM and Amazon AWS. But, there's going to be a lot less of them. Some specialists, such as security experts, will transition almost exclusively to consultancies, because only the biggest companies will be able to afford to have one of them on staff full-time.

In my TR Live presentation, I also added another hot job to keep an eye on over the next decade: big data analysts, or data scientists. These analysts take the mountains of data that companies now have at their fingertips and organize it, curate it, and ask the right questions about it, in order to yield insights that can lead a company to make better decisions and to make important course-corrections.

For further reading, I encouraged the TR Live participants to take a look at Marc Andressen's article "Why Software is Eating the World" because the rise of software is ultimately the force that is driving a lot of the changes that we discussed.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

119 comments
sixgunz
sixgunz

People are not IT savvy by design.  Fact.


IT will always be in demand.  The real question is what is IT worth to the business?  More to the point, does the business need IT staff?


Ask the question....  If people "really" think beyond their narrow, blinkered views, then the answer would be yes.


I think the real debate is the astonishing level of ignorance, arrogance and complacency demonstrated by the bean-counters who push the limits of the "something for nothing" attitude.


This article does nothing but continue the disrespect of the IT department though it's staggering lack of perspective.


While I understand the need for diversification, the IT department is, in my somewhat prejudiced view, the most important department in the office.  It supports everyone else, with little to no reward and is met with hostility when things go wrong.


Yes, most definitely, people are not IT savvy be design.  Fact.

j.tamblyn
j.tamblyn

"A decade ago, there was a lot of new stuff that needed to be set up — ethernet networks, directory servers, mail servers, company laptops — and a lot of baby boomers who still needed helped transitioning into a computerized workplace. Those days are long gone." This modern workplace you're referencing - the one without PCs and ethernet - where is it exactly? What do they do for network security? What productivity software do they run? "Most of these technologies run themselves today and don’t require a lot of time from IT pros to deploy them and keep them running." This statement is absurd and marks the point in the article where the last credibility vanished. "IT pros also spend a lot less time doing repairs, maintenance, and end user support. Replacement is the new support. In 2015, employees will just swap out their malfunctioning laptop, smartphone, or tablet to IT and immediately get a replacement device that will connect to the private cloud and/or public cloud and instantly download the user’s apps, settings, and data." Perhaps, to a point. However, this unlimited swappability completely ignores budget constraints. Those are actually important. The reality is that IT is changing, no question, but it's not going to become a tiny nucleus surrounded by ad hoc consultants any time soon. There is still far too much day-to-day work for this to be an effective solution anywhere but the most basic of networks. Anyone currently working in the industry knows that every problem solved by new technology - moving services to the cloud, for example - simply creates a new associated problem. Technology still doesn't run itself. Sorry, Jason.

awangsz80
awangsz80

Imagine this scenario, an IT guy were ask to resign from their company, but only to find out he or she has been recruited by their vendor as consultant.."Hi boss, i was your staff but now I'm your consultant..and you need to pay me more"..

ITonStandby
ITonStandby

In 1981, when I was in high school, the first IBM PC hit the streets. Commodore CS/M, the TRS 80 Model III, and the Apple II were selling, but not going viral like the PC did. About 1986, when I was in college trying to get a computing degree, Windows first hit the PC. The Macintosh was already selling well, but not going viral like Windows quickly did. Apple is doing well today, but the Windows product combined with the open design of the PC dominated the market worldwide for a long time. In 1991 when I was picking up some advanced computing courses at college, nobody even knew what the Internet was. Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and CompuServe were all the rage, but weren't taking the world over like the Internet has. Although, AOL gave it a shot. And, nobody thought that processing power would ever be so fast that the CPU would sit idle for most of the time. Enter virtualization. And, now the cloud services model. The point is you can't predict what's coming. You just can't know what's going to catch fire much less when. There's too many unknowns. Heck, the knowns are dang near impossible to forecast beyond a few months! This notion that IT is dead as we know it is a misstatement at best, and a flagrant attempt to influence decision makers at worst. It's not dead. It's evolving - like it always has. Anyone who has been around the business long enough knows that. On a final note, it seems that some believe in a world where it's either local staff doing IT or it's all outsourced. Well, there's a third option. Managed services. Anyone who's had to deal with outsourcing will tell you that if you outsource the wrong parts it's death. Outsource the stuff you don't do well internally, keep the rest in house, and use managed services where needed. And, even that is fluid because the workforce changes, the economy rises and falls, and the next big game changer is right around the corner. There is hope! Hard times breeds innovation.

Nick.Cusimano
Nick.Cusimano

I had professors in college who used to say the same thing some 20 years ago when the big move away from mainframes was starting and here we are still talking about it. I find that the cloud may bring more change but I don't see IT departments downsizing as drastically as the author thinks. I do think larger enterprises are adopting real IT governance and the executives are more involved in prioritizing projects and budgeting which does away with the perception that IT always says NO. And I also add that it has been my experience that when IT says NO, it is usually because of a compliance issue or a cost issue. Again, a well designed governance process will alleviate that problem as well.

rduncan
rduncan

there is too little regulation on the internet NOT to warrant an IT department for at least compliance and auditing purposes. I agree in general with the de-centralization of the relatively new concept of the IT department. however sys admins don't just patch machines and dust off hardware, they should be deeply versed in the business rules of the enterprise. The cloud may also need a formal identity provider before true mobility is achieved- possibly depending on biometrics. administrators will also need a 'mobile me' solution to quickly brick and unaccounted for devices. by 2015 the will still be billions invested in local central solutions for which enterprise will want a decent ROI. Virtualization projects have not yet begun for a huge swathe of datacentres. let's not mention the huge cost of network upgrades which medium sized businesses are still paying for- 2020 more like

radixone
radixone

This reminds me of the late 80s when someone told me how computers are going to make us use less paper. I wonder how that theory is doing!! Suspect it went the way of the paperless office

jda
jda

How many of the audience laughed out loud? You have been away from the server room too long Jason (if you were ever there). This is just funny. And the public cloud has a way to go before it will take over from a classic desktop/server environment. The private cloud is providing major advantages but that still needs a lot of looking after.

gorman.mi
gorman.mi

Users of IT are never universally adept and savvy tech-consumers. The Desktop Support and Helpdesk technicians will never be made redundant, people will always needs good communicators and tech-specialists to assist them to use technology. Support staff will just get better at their job, maybe specializing more. This article assumes everybody has aptitude for technology, this aint' the case.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

financially viable again, that will be before the IT department has gone. Pit will need an IT department as well, doubt there'll be a lot of comoodity software in the cloud to run it...

johncv
johncv

The first reaction is to say "What IT department"! By 2015 or perhaps a year or 2 later, the notion that an IT department will stand alone in enlightened organisations will look ludicrous. IT as a function will certainly disappear - Cloud Computing sees to that. However there are still a great number of jobs needed. Network, Desktop, Apps and Systems support and config have all but disappeared in this timeframe. Deep engagement with business units has strengthened and business analysis is still needed to help users define their needs. Those needs are satisfied by commoditised solutions offered by the Cloud. Much more emphasis on business architecture and contract management, with user support incorporated into general business support function ( and probably outsourced). I'm afraid by the end of the decade, IT departments are as relevant as large scale coal mining in the UK.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

'Cloud Data Solutions' business. I remember seeing a comic depicting bank execs looking out onto the bank floor, where a hold-up was taking place. Says one to the others, "Get a load of these amateurs, boys!"

AngelaElmer
AngelaElmer

IT is the growing profession today. And there are lot of opportunities in this field. But as we know thou the IT has an emerging career but it is also responsible for the recession as well. The starting of last recession is due to a fall of IT market. And mostly IT companies loose their market value. Now, if we talk about IT in 2015 then I can say definitely there is lot of scope in coming future but it is also need to remember that market must be constant.

ECM Software
ECM Software

Most of these technologies run themselves today and don???t require a lot of time from IT pros to deploy them and keep them running. IT pros also spend a lot less time doing repairs, maintenance, and end user support. Replacement is the new support. In 2015, employees will just swap out their malfunctioning laptop, smartphone, or tablet to IT and immediately get a replacement device that will connect to the private cloud and/or public cloud and instantly download the user???s apps, settings, and data.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Several hundred MB of apps, data and so forth? You think everyone will have an OC-12 directly from "the cloud" to you iPhone???? So much hype about the cloud seems to assume that everyone spends their lives sending and receiving email, two page files and 10x20 spreadsheets. If there are businesses that do only that, this fantasy land might make some sense for them. However, I suspect most companies have people who actually do real work and for whom "the cloud" is a good substitute for their worst work nightmare.

milestonets
milestonets

I am surprised this discussion is still trucking along. I guess the author has touched on a good topic or a sore spot for some. For what they're worth, here are my lessons learned from my 20+ years of IT/business experience: I ran an on-site(U.S.)-offshore(India) operation and found that the business model may or may not work for every organizations. I have worked for/with small, mid-size, and large organizations, and learned that they will use whatever tools/methodology necessary to make themselves competitive. I also have learned that the CIO (IT in general) is still the new kid on the block (or boardroom), key decisions still (and most likely will always) come from the old guards (investors, owner, board, CEO, CFO, and COO), and they talk in strategy and dollars/cents - not tech stuff. Sorry to say folks, but it is NOT about cloud computing, off shoring, the size of a department, etc. Most organizations are having a challenge fulfilling their milestones for this year nevertheless in 2015! LOL, people are dreaming if they can predict that far out. Imagination may travel at the speed of light, but reality moves at a snail's pace.

Being Guided
Being Guided

You are wrong to say the we will need more software Developers. As we move to Agile Clicks and Code development on public cloud platforms, such as Force.com, we'll need more Analysts close to the customer and a lot less Developers, especially offshore, as Agile demands being closer to the customer. This will bust the Indian offshore IT services bubble and the best thing to be in IT in the next 10 years is a Business Analyst or an User Experience Designer - not a Developer or Tech Architect - and certainly not offshore!

jelabarre
jelabarre

I just dread to think that in 2015 I'll likely still be in the IT field. Sure, there's work to be had here, but the enjoyment has long since gone.

mat2009
mat2009

Not only IT, everything can be outsourced now a days. Everything except manufacturing can be outsourced. It all depends on the management. Can't we get a better CEO for lower price from another place if we need? It is called bean counters. They want to show profit, but actually the consultants are white elephants. All these companies are profit motivated, and they will try to milk as much as they can. Unfortunately, if there is no IT person to know, what they are doing, they will charge outrageous price for their work.

yattwood
yattwood

I am intrigued by several postings referencing 'Enterprise Architecture (EA)' ..... every company I've worked at where an EA methodology was tried invariably ran into a "Talk To The Hand - I'm Not Replacing My Application Running On ____________ Just Because It's Not 'Enterprise'" backlash from end-users. Benjamins, not technology, often drive what actually exists/persists in most shops - I have Oracle databases ranging from 8i through 11g, and the 8i is the largest database, containing most of the financial data - and it is _not_ running on anything asymptotically approaching what the EA group has mapped out. Only when an extremely strong directive ("these systems _will_ be upgraded") along with serious cash comes down from the very top (Board of Directors level) does EA have a fighting chance....

rg001
rg001

Hi guys. It's a very interesting discussion. There are a lot of contradicting statements and everybody has right in it. It is therefore because the words are not very definitiv and the sentences are rather general. 1) what is IT? Information Technology was evolved form software (development) and HW (usage) with a lot of specialisation step. There are a lot of parts of IT which started an independent life. There are a lot of areas which integrated into IT. There are a lot of influences (viewpoints) which make the situation more complex. So "IT" has today no meaning any more. But id anybody can give an actual definiton (even one which is velid after 4 years yet) I will be ver??y thankful. 2) the same is true about company organistaion. "IT department" has also no sustainable definition. 3) I am also not sure about the meaning of "consultant" - I think the main content of that word is imported knowledge, but consulency is surely not a result of changing profession and getting knowledge and then sell it. So here is my 2pence(s): 1) I agree that PM and developers have important and surviving role. the centralised IT department will be smaller 2) "IT department" will have an integrator role, where handling information coming from business will have a significant part as well as handling the "imported" knowledge (services) 3) The inmportance of Software and development will increase. The quality must be assured. The companies will need software which represents knowledge. Today's knowledge workers and business experts will be able to communicate these "departments" in order to transform not only the way software is written, but the way knowledge itself is managed and have the software they need. (see intentional SW). 4) there will be a lot of "SaaS" but companies who care their knowledge within their walls (brick or virtual) will assure their prosperity. (nevertheless or just therefore the service provider will live well). 5) The importance and role of PMs is an other capitel. I agree with Zzyzyx, solutions must be architected at enterprise level (in-house, centrally).The role described as "PM" really involves the role of Enterprise/Solution Architect. Project Managers , will be responsible of gathering business requirements and communicating with stakeholders about the technology solutions --> @ben.awuah) br rg

mhuffman73
mhuffman73

Actually, I partially agree with the article. Even though there are still IT departments, many of them have scaled down their internal IT departments to a minimum and are making those remaining members to do an inordinate amount of work. Many quit because they can no longer take it and others, who used to love their jobs, now hate their jobs and are looking for the next IT jobs on the horizon (which most likely is not there). With Cloud Technology slowly beginning to take over a good portion of the IT landscape, more and more companies will become aware of this and it's benefits and will go over to this technology over the next 5 to 10 years. Consultants will become more plentiful and in high demand. Even though companies have to pay consultants higher salaries, this is offset by the fact that they do not have pay consultants healthcare, 401K, and other perks. While server administrators, network engineers and desktop support will not fully disappear altogether, these roles will be modified to handle these new technologies as they become more widespread. That is my take on the matter.

hal1976
hal1976

I don't think the opinion in this article is a very good predictor of IT in 2015. While some fraction of companies will look like this, I think others will probably stay as they are for the most part. If they managed to survive the last few years (with all the various financial crises) then unless there is some HUGE game changer, my opinion is that the drive to have such a radical change won't be there. The other portion of the article that I disagree with is where people in the company apparently have the ability to have devices replaced at will (just exaggerating a little). We need to get away from this concept though that because some companies can go the route of having a replacement service instead of repair, it does not mean that all companies do. Also, how long will that company last that only replaces a device in lieu of repairing it??

mjc5
mjc5

We'll migrate to the cloud. Everything will be heaven on earth, because business will be able to get rid of those pesky, weird IT types. And deal with cloud companies who have CEO's that are worthy and speak the same language. We'll be getting software as a service, and won't have to deal with those geeky nerds at the help desk, as our OS's and programs will always work. Then we will watch in awe, as the bottom falls out.

Ignob Stahem
Ignob Stahem

I'm always amazed at how the IT workforce is undervalued by the business - yet how every business is doomed to failure in today???s world without good IT resources. Take an engineer in the oil sector. One might be an expert on how to get a fluid from point A to point B. These workers are treated as demi-gods in that industry. Why is the IT worker who keeps the data flowing seen as an annoying expense!! I think part of the problem falls to the IT work force itself. It so fractured with endless platforms, languages, frameworks and devices that it's impossible to find a common front to promote this job sector. Why are we not put on pedestals as the enablers of business! No wonder we hear of rapidly declining enrollments at universities when so many in the industry are discouraged by senior managements constant efforts to get rid of this nagging cost. I guess the only comfort is from the fact that their efforts will probably never succeed.

delf20k
delf20k

If you have all you stuff on someone eases' severs and very few IT staff and all you machines set to work with the outsourced sever eventual a batch of PCs or lap tops will be improperly decommissioned and the people getting them afterwards will have full access to your data.

yvmartinez11
yvmartinez11

Believe IT!! IT in 2015 WILL be all about the cloud, mobile apps, and software!!! Its already happening!! As an IT consultant venturing in and out of large companies, this is the trend already! IT is outsourcing - the only jobs remaining on-site are those of consultants, project managers that have worked as business analysts and can do the quasi requirement role, as well as oftware developers. Don't believe it? come out of your silo world for a moment and look at the strategic side of the IT business world itself - senior level IT management. These folks are moving in this direction already!! It will be more prevalent in the more well-known and most competitive organizations!!!

bruceburdette
bruceburdette

most people will buy into this cloud concept , until they realize that the data is no longer local. At least that is what my business requirements are. Email stored somewhere not at the business, not going to happen to the extent these experts are saying.

EdBree
EdBree

Some of this might happen, but in 4 years? The demand on consultants, speaking first hand, is to help people deploy more infrastructure. More server solutions, updating hardware and networking to accommodate those new solutions, and working on migrations (esp desktop). This is going to make it even harder to get to a highly decentralized, cloud-enabled, self-service IT environment. One large government agency customer has planned two more conventional desktop hardware refresh cycles. I think it is highly unlikely that people will get to the kind of enlightened state of operation described in this article in 4 years. 14 maybe. But not 4.

john.ammon
john.ammon

It is our experience that while hired guns are valuable, they are more expensive to the company than full time staff. Some may be worth it but others are not, it's a waste of money to bring them in and then find out they are just full of hot air. They love to come in and spend time in meetings, write great proposals, roadmaps and plans but rarely want to get down and dirty. Thats where the "Staff" takes over. They have no commiment or loyality. We've had several leave in the middle of the project because they've found someone else who will pay them a little more. Long term staff are there for the right reasons, they want the company to suceed and grow because they need that stability.

br0k3nde1337
br0k3nde1337

I agree with the others who disagree with the author's stance on there being less full time IT staff. I think the processes that are and have driven the trend towards consulting have waged scorched earth warfare on a ton of IT Departments in small to medium companies. By this I mean everyone heard outsourcing creeping up on the industry 10 years ago. In most cases companies made the switch in order to lower their bottom line, but are now in the middle of a backlash by end users who want their customer service back. They have gone from calling the IT guy and having him or her come by within a couple of hours to resolve issues, to longer more annoying automated processes that in the end deliver poorer, less personal service that takes much longer to show up. People are funny about their PCs/laptops/PDAs like they are funny about their toothbrushes. They don't want anyone, more so anyone they haven't seen before and have no trust or relationship with, to touch their hardware. I have seen it with my own eyes, the death of customer service and the eventual lowering of moral and productivity due to social changes of outsourcing. Believe me, not having the IT guy around to use as either hero or scapegoat has end users reeling, and they want things to go back to the way they were. This "they" that I speak of are the agents/sales people that make companies their proverbial fat cash, and they are squeeking with everything they've got. From the top down technology is too massive and changes too often from hardware and software standpoints to ever negate the need for full time on site support staff. The devices and the software may be brilliant, but the end users still are not. IT staff will continue to be there to hold hands and wipe bottoms for the foreseeable future. The decline is customer service due to outsourcing to vendors who pay less and therefore cannot keep well qualified techs around long enough to care about the sites they serve will provide job security for all those who continue to be lucky enough not to have to contract. Roles may change or become even more specialized, but the geeks are going no where. One love.

selsner
selsner

Jason, do you really buy into this? The shifting of Information Technology has always created more expense, not less, and more need for IT staff, not less. Turn around and look backward at the graveyard of sunk costs and you will understand where we are headed. The next new technology is just a few years away from being the next dead technology. Every shift requires new training, new skills, and new expertise to manage. Security alone drives a multi-billion dollar industry and as each new technology comes along a new set of vulnerabilities are uncovered. Consultants are always more expensive than full time staff in the long run due to their lack of long term accountability. If technology vendors wanted to simply provide the best solutions for business and minimize staff costs, the technology would focus in on the most efficient and stable platform to conduct business and not shift in new directions so quickly. The labor force would acquire the skills needed for this stable environment and become plentiful with skilled employees, driving down the cost of staff and consulting.

stevenbarnard
stevenbarnard

The average end-user is still as technologically ignorant as they were 10 years ago. Why? Because technology is constantly changing. I will stand by my opinion until there isn't a single college grad left that reboots their computer when you tell them to log off.

JJFitz
JJFitz

What Jason proposes may actually happen but I predict that it will result in end user frustration. My experience has been that most IT consultants do not fully understand your business processes or corporate culture (language) and they tend to install generic systems that mostly work but may have some glaring holes or worse, they try to install more than their clients need or can handle all at once. I suspect that Cloud support for end users will be slow, scripted and generic. "Did you reboot your system sir? Please do that now. Did you clear your cache? Please do that now." etc.. IT workers know this because right now we are the ones calling the vendors for support. We are the ones waiting for the support technician to call us back. We are the ones trying to escalate support past the level one technicians. We are the ones who understand the business process and the corporate language. Corporate language can look very foreign to people outside of the company. Example: Did VX review the BR for the V08 TPF EM alarm data? Yes, but there was an out of spec in purification so it's in EDMS on a modified route to QA and the DD's. All IT staff at my company understand that dialog. Would a Cloud support technician have a clue? Unfortunately, the end user will not appreciate the level of support they got from their company IT department until the department is no longer there.

daryl.buckman
daryl.buckman

"IT departments get too big and centralized they tend to become experts at saying, ???No.??? They block more progress than they enable." Sounds like they have developed the IT God complex! It is time to replace them. Not throw out the baby with the bath water. It also seems management has failed in allowing the IT department to get power hungry. Every IT department I belonged with had good managers that were determined to meet any 'need' and attempt the 'wants' where the customer could budget the cost or we invented an alternative to meet the 'want' as close as cost allowed. If it's critical to you business and/or you do it often insource, if once in a while outsource but keep you IT team in the thick of it.

topdec1979
topdec1979

I disagree, I feel like it will happen but not for a long time, there a companies out there still using windows 2000, most are still using XP and server 2003, it will take a lot to upgrade to windows 7/8 and server 2008, overhaluing there IT outlook is way to extreme. One could argue the cost factor, but from my experience the bosses just want things to work, they don't care how and why, they just want it to work, and if it aint broke don't fix it. I think the PC in a business will be here for a while, which will always require fixing and replacing parts. Always remember printer/faxes always will need to be maintained. Lets not forget the trust factor here, the host companies will have to hire in droves just to keep up with support, will they be able to keep up with demand? Having an onsite IT guy makes everyone feel secure, knowing they will not have to wait in line on the phone for support. Plus the business owners and bosses would also feel more secure knowing someone or a team is at hand incase something happens. I think the cloud will be a big part of the future, maybe 15 to 20 years, but also it will still require onsite IT support.

Tablet_Dude
Tablet_Dude

Don't be too proud of that technological terror you've constructed. The ability to build a server room is insignificant next to the power of a pennywise CFO about to implement cost-cutting measures.

blarman
blarman

If all businesses were exactly the same and all IT systems did the same thing, a contractor would be a viable choice. The biggest thing you overlook is the value of having someone on the inside who knows your business processes and can translate those into computing value. Unless you're willing to continuously hire a contractor (effectively making them your employee) that can't happen. And then you spend a lot of time and money managing those contractors you're paying exorbitant hourly rates to for what? To teach them how to run your business? Sorry, but I've been a contractor for a Fortune 50 company, and I've been an employee in several other companies. You can either spend the money on internal IT staff who know your business and can get things done, or you spend your money on managers who spend time teaching the outsource providers how to get things done. And the really important stuff requires an intimate knowledge of the business you can't get any other way than by working there full time.

afonsocaetano
afonsocaetano

I have been working with IT for the last 31 years and I have seen much more of same in these times. The great transformation in course right now had anticipated few years ago by Nicholas Carr with the 2003 Harvard Business Review article "IT Doesn't Matter". In a historic and economic context, the transformations of ???IT way of life??? are in course and can't be stopped. Techs pros enjoy or not, are not a matter of if but when.

modell
modell

In the next few years IT staffing will fall and I agree with the idea of staff taking on more Project Mangament roles. However, I think you will see a rise in the "Jack-of-All trades" technician. Companies dont want to pay for IT staff now as it is, how are they expected to pay for specialists and consultants? Consultants are cheap when you look at the long term costs but there is always the sticker shock companies will have to deal with and specialists just make way too much money. My guess is you will see 1-3 member IT shops that are capable of running every part of the IT infrastructure becoming the norm and then they will bring in consultants as needed.

ITonStandby
ITonStandby

In the past few years physicists have come a long way and made some truly remarkable discoveries. Crazy sounding stuff like one particle being in two places at the same time. But the one that grabbed my attention (unfortunately, I can't find the link to it) is the ability to link one subatomic particle to another such that the copy vibrates exactly like the original. Do something to the original and it's like you did it to the copy regardless of how far apart they are. The implications are staggering. Imagine being able to communicate at any distance with perfect clarity. You could have Internet access throughout the solar system! How's that for a game changer? And it could happen tomorrow. Literally. Helium-3 is another superstar in the making. Clean, cheap, endless energy. It's coming. Just a matter of time. Problem is that helium-3 is only found on the Moon. Gotta go get it first. So, don't write off the future of IT just yet. All it takes is one viral event to set it all on it's ear.

dayen
dayen

So true it called creative accounting and you need a brain to do that

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

A developer is a programmer / analyst. The more you do with the front end the more compex it gets, the more you need someone, who can say configure and automate, sort of a developer really isn't it. Not to mention even if you were right about what a developer is, if you think the guys who are driving offshoring actually care whether the people they get in can do the job, you've been in hiding even longer than I thought.

adornoe
adornoe

and the term is one that has evolved to include the skills of analysts and programmers and business analysts and designers and software architects, and even management functions. In fact, even now, and for many years, developers have been anyone that can take a project from idea to implementation. What will be extinct is all of the differentiation in titles that one finds in many IT departments. Now, there will be different experience levels, and a novice developer might not be fully equipped to take on a complete project right out of college, but, with experience, a developer will be a "jack of all trades", at least in the IT department.

yattwood
yattwood

....try Windows NT4, Oracle7/Oracle8, SQL Server6/SQL Server 2000 - many, many companies have management and/or end-users with a "if it ain't broke, why upgrade it?" mentality - and these are systems that Indian outsource personnel HAVE NOT been trained to deal with, by and large - all those shiny OCP's, MCSE's, etc - they've all read the books and know how to deal with SQL Server 2008/Oracle 11gR2, etc - throw Oracle 8 on Windows 2000 at them - and they get pulled up, a bit

codegrad
codegrad

If you think all of your programmers, engineers and DBAs know your business to the extent that provides such a competitive advantage, then by all means, keep them there. But I bet you would find in most organizations, those roles spend most of their time heads down implementing designs that have been given to them by other more senior IT professionals (architects and the like). I do believe business architects will remain in companies and will retain the technical skills to guide business technology decisions... but the execution of those designs do not have to take place in a business' four walls to retain the value of business knowledge for IT.

codegrad
codegrad

I think you have it right! We in IT can decided to in-fight with ourselves (we're all consultants in some sense of the word) or rage against the machine of the global economy leveraging off-shore when it makes sense, but the change will happen to reflect a decline in the internal IT department.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

I know folks who do 'creative accounting' with a Dome Monthly Planner and a high-2 digit-IQ. Institutionalized bank fraud, such as cleaning up by betting against your customers' ability to pay back 'interest-only' structured home loans (that you supposedly ran through 'due diligence' first), selling off the intended-to-be-worthless-soon paper by talking it up to naive investors (Deutche Bank et al, who are now suing BoA, Wells Fargo, et al), so as to artificially devalue the market, then cry poormouth (knowing that taxpayer 'bailout $' was going to be insta-printed), then repo-ing the houses en masse to recover the initial outlay, takes more than 'a brain'. You need an industry that includes kindred spirits in key positions, a paid-for government, apathetic (or easily-led) customers, and an understanding of 'capitalism' that somehow includes the concept of "Too Big To Fail" (and a blueprint for becoming just that: the biggest 'failure'). Conspiring to manipulate the housing (and derivatives) market(s) takes planning, a specialized crew working in a variety of capacities both govt and business, and the desire to suck away the middle-class's illusion of 'equity'. To many of us, 'institutionally collude, lie, cheat, and manipulate' sloshes over the top of ANYthing you could carry 'creative accounting' in. How about this? "It's called conspiring to defraud a populace, and you need a 'seared conscience' to do that." I read an excellent blow-by-blow account of the last prior 'banking conspiracy' (the Boesky/Milken 'junk-bond financing' one) by the WSJ's James B. Stewart, called 'Den of Thieves'. Perhaps it would interest you to see the personalities that worked the scam......

dayen
dayen

How do we put them in Jail there must be something we can do before 2015