IT departments will shrink in next five years, say CIOs

CIO Jury: Cloud computing and outsourcing will reshape the tech organisation

In just five years' time, the average IT department will be far smaller than it is today, according to's CIO Jury, as cloud computing and outsourcing continue to shrink the size of the in-house tech team.

There has been speculation about how the IT department will look in the coming years, with some industry watchers predicting that, as many organisations become increasingly reliant on technology as a source of competitive advantage, the size of the IT organisation will actually increase.

Others, however, believe trends such as the growth of cloud computing, which require businesses to have less in-house technology expertise, resulting in the IT department reducing in size.

This is a special CIO Jury International, marking the first time the same question was simultaneously asked of the CIO Jury, the CIO Jury at sister publication Tech Republic in the US, and the German CIO Jury. And while the CIO Jury expect the IT department to shrink, US CIOs see a different future for the tech team. You can also find out how German CIOs reacted to the question.

But according to's exclusive CIO Jury poll of UK technology decision makers, the IT department is very likely to shrink over the next five years: when asked 'Will the average in-house IT department of 2015 be much smaller than it is now?', the CIO Jury voted yes by a margin of ten to two, with several citing the cloud as a driver for the decrease.

Stephen Potter, CIO at World-Check, said: "For many business systems currently run in-house, the default option by 2015 will be the cloud. All of those IT workers currently working in these areas will either leave or, hopefully, find new roles delivering more tangible business value."

The average IT department will shrink over the next five years, according to's CIO Jury

The average IT department will shrink over the next five years, according to's CIO Jury
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Graham Yellowley, technology lead equities at LCH.Clearnet, holds a similar view of the future of the IT department, saying the trend is towards smaller, cheaper, smarter and more agile IT departments.

"This will be achieved in many ways: cloud computing/Saas [software as a sevice] to host services outside the organisation; offshoring/co-sourcing/nearshoring to provide a flexible resource pool that aligns with business demand; centralisation (federation in large organisations) of business demand management (requirements and delivery) and a standard set of systems and tools with no duplication," he told

Several CIOs also said they believe the structure of the IT department is set to change as it becomes more aligned with the business as a whole.

Mike Wright, head of technology at Man Group, said: "IT capabilities will permeate normal business activity and the dedicated IT function will be smaller in the future."

Peter Birley, director of IT and business operations at Browne Jacobson LLP, added: "We will see fewer staff but with...