Thursday, September 09, 2010

Will the cloud shrink IT departments?

Will IT departments grow or shrink over the next 5 years? According to a panel of CIOs in the UK, IT departments will shrink substantially over the next 5 years, due in large part to the rise of cloud computing.

I’m not so sure. I do understand their reasoning, but I’ve noticed over the years that as new technologies crop up, new opportunities and needs arise. While cloud computing may eliminate some jobs, other advancements will most likely create new jobs.

Regardless of whether they grow or shrink, I do believe the IT department will change over the next 5 years. In the past, there was a clear line between IT professionals and business professionals. The business professionals cared about the business and the IT professionals cared about the technology. I believe the line between these two sides is fading.

On one hand, business professionals can now handle certain technology tasks thanks in part to the rise of simple software tools. For example, what used to require days of development by the IT staff can now be accomplished in minutes by those with no knowledge of programming.

On the flip side, I believe the IT department will become more involved in the business side. In the past, if the business needed something, they gave orders to the IT department. Now, I’m starting to see business leaders looking to the IT department for ideas on ways to drive revenue and save money with technology. I believe companies who take this approach will be much better off than those who view IT as “order-takers”.

How about you? Do you think IT departments will shrink, grow, or simply change?


richardcollins 9:07 AM  

Departments will shrink. It would be nice to think that business systems integration would remain to be conducted by inhouse staff but the demand for this would reflect business cycles. As in the cloud on-demand model these skills would be brought in as and when needed.

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