The one constant in the evolution of technology is obsolescence. No matter how valuable something is, if it doesn't evolve with current technology and remain relevant it will have outlived its usefulness. The demise of the IT department in organizations has been predicted for some time now, and the drum beat is getting louder than ever as cloud technology proponents keep making a strong argument in its favor. Research directors Christopher Mines and Pascal Matzke, and principal analyst John C. McCarthy of Forrester Research (News - Alert), said as much in June of this year speaking at a CIO Forum event in London, concluding the department will be a thing of the past by 2020.
They reasoned the current state of development is evolving in such a way that it has led them to reach this conclusion. According to their analysis, the IT department will not be as relevant, instead becoming part of the organization like any other department, an on-tap resource that will not deliver the benefits it provides in today's environment.
As software becomes the brand of the organization, they will seek the services of as-a-service providers, relegating IT staff to coordinating and integrating the products provided by outside sources instead of creating solutions in-house.
Another driver that is pushing this change is that technology is no longer limited to the IT department. Whether it’s sales or marketing, technology is part of the entire organization, requiring a work force that is increasingly more tech-savvy. This fact alone reduces the dependence of the IT department, which is compounded by cloud applications providing 24/7 services without the need to update or upgrade.
The move to the cloud is making steady progress and will continue to do so, but not at the expense of completely eliminating the IT department. The cloud is a resource that can be exploited to provide solutions that continue to be too expensive for organizations, and it provides many of the services enterprises need with extreme efficiency. These functions can be outsourced to cloud service providers, leaving critical and sensitive tasks to the IT department with an intranet network protecting the assets of the company from increasingly aggressive and determined global adversaries.
If there is one issue that will keep the IT department going, it’s security. Cloud services claim to have some of the best security protocols in place, but any service that has a two-way transmission can be accessed if enough resources are behind the attempt, and enterprises are becoming increasingly cognizant of this fact. Whether it is Edward Snowden's allegations or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, relying on the cloud for all of an organization's IT solution is a very dangerous proposition. No matter how much of its services a large enterprise outsources, there is a lot propriety data that should remain in-house, and this will require an IT department, but a very limited one.
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