IT is undergoing its biggest changes since the advent of client/server computing in the 1980s. These changes are being driven by many factors, chief amongst them the emergence of a different model of computing, - cloud computing. We are entering the Age of the Cloud.
For the IT industry, a new computing model is a very big deal. In the fifty years or so since there has been an IT industry, this would be only the third such model, centralized and client-server computing being the two previous ones. Not surprisingly, there are lots of discussions underway on the implications of this major transition to all aspects of the industry, from the technology and education requirements to the future roles of the corporate IT functions and the CIO position.
I recently came across a very interesting study on The Future of Corporate IT by The Corporate Executive Board, a consulting firm that provides research and analysis to business executives and professionals around the world.The Executive Board study investigated the five-year outlook for corporate IT. It interviewed and surveyed hundreds of IT and business leaders. Its overall conclusion is that fundamental changes, already underway, will take place in how the IT function is organized and managed:
“The IT function of 2015 will bear little resemblance to its current state. Many activities will devolve to business units, be consolidated with other central functions such as HR and Finance, or be externally sourced. Fewer than 25% of employees currently within IT will remain, while CIOs face the choice of expanding to lead a business shared service group, or seeing their position shrink to managing technology delivery . . . This study argues that the changes will be rapid, permanent, and radical. We have advocated for a decade that IT leaders become demand shapers, not order takers. Similarly, we now recommend that IT leaders devote the time, energy, and resources to actively shape the coming transition.”