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Monday, November 08, 2004

The Death Of The IT Department

Peter Cochrane,(Co-Founder of ConceptLabs)questions -Are IT Departments Doomed?. In an interesting article,Peter is raising a fundamental issue, in terms of IT work arrangements in future and explains as under:

A profound change is taking place in the IT sector that will have significant repercussions for business, commerce and society - including the possible demise of traditional corporate IT departments. The first factor to consider is that prices for tech products have fallen to the level of our white and brown goods - washing machines, television sets and the hi-fi. This is coincident with an increasing ease of use that saw the mobile phone make the transition from technology to toy in less than five years, and the PC with its multimedia interface is now well on the road to achieving the same distinction. Not only are people buying devices almost without a second thought, many find that using them does not require a great deal of thoughtManagers and workers who won't or can't use a computer are being sidelined, retiring early, or plain giving up. Not being able to master a PC is now on a par with not being able to read, write, or count. It is disabling! I can safely predict that the next five years will see computers make the same transition automobiles have over the past 25 years - we will not be treating them with any particular reverence. They will become just another commodity, a powerful tool, a convenience, and of course an example of outstanding technological progress that will be taken for granted like all technologies before IT. What follows this transition? Results from a recent survey show that about 80 per cent of office workers across the EU spend at least one day out of the office and some 30 per cent have no office at all. These are the mobile, home-based workers, who most likely don't have a full-time contract with any company. These 'tech-nomads' are on the rise and are complimented by growing amounts of outsourcing across many sectors. Most importantly, they are largely self-sufficient for tech support. As a result, there is a new line of company thinking that goes something like this - we don't supply offices, pens, paper, mobile phones, PCs, laptops, cars and technical support for everyone, so why should we supply these things for anyone? This is especially so as the number of part-time, temporary and outsourced jobs rises to above 30 per cent of a company's total workforce.
If we are going to have a 21st century workforce of transient people with a growing list of capabilities who rapidly migrate from one job to another, then it seems highly unlikely that corporations will continue to own pools of computers and employ IT specialists. Moreover, if we are also going to move from business organisation to business organism, with widespread virtualisation and the globalisation that naturally follows, then this change in IT provision most likely has to be a given for some reasonable level of efficiency.
Where does this leave us? typing pools bit the dust over 20 years ago, IT dept’s may have to change. The tyranny of the typing pool ended with the computer terminal and the PC. The tyranny of IT departments looks to be coming to an end through a combination of smarter users, better software and outsourcing. The virtualisation of business is leading to a virtualisation of society itself, one that's affecting education, healthcare and all forms of support.
Good food for thought, even if we do not completely accept the line of reasoning - this may be anycase happening in a few industries in a limited way- say service industries, but to think that this can happen in across all industties covering all facets of society is indeed a radical thought!!
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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"