Everywhere you look, IT departments are getting bigger, and their budgets are rising. That short-term reality is hiding a bigger, much more important trend: that the traditional “IT department” may soon disappear. Before you know it, they’re going to go extinct.
If that seems like an odd prediction from an IT services provider, know that we don’t take this prediction lightly. It’s simply the only conclusion you can come to when you see what’s coming on the horizon.
Why IT Is Already in Grave Danger
IT departments aren’t going to be wiped out by an asteroid or an illness – they’re going to disappear because cloud-based tools and apps are making them irrelevant. The functionality and accessibility of tools like Salesforce and FreshBooks are taking away their utility.
Using any of these, and using them well, is as simple as signing up, logging in, and getting to work. They’re mobile-accessible, updated in real time, and feature their own security. Because open APIs are so prevalent, they can share data with other apps and play well together from an integration and stability point of view.
With these kinds of options available, not to mention effective, why would anyone waste time on more complex solutions that require help from an IT department?
The Growth of Apps Is Employee-Driven
The growth of cloud-based apps and services is almost social, in that it begins with the individuals in an organization and not the entity itself. Employees are discovering and using these apps in their own lives and bringing them to work. They don’t have to be told how beneficial they are because they already know.
In many ways, this runs directly contrary to the way traditional IT departments tend to work and be perceived. For people who don’t work in technology, dealing with the IT department is often about waiting for someone you don’t know to give you something you don’t really want or need.
Now that people are bringing their own devices to work, along with savvy new ideas about productivity, IT departments aren’t just adversarial – they’re in the way. Having your data hosted in the cloud largely removes the need to worry about local hardware, and even servers are being replaced by services like Dropbox.
There are going to be technology departments (and even entire organizations) that are going to fight the wave of change coming to IT, but technology, economics, and common sense are all working against them. Not only do web-based apps have extraordinarily low price points and barriers to entry, but they usually offer some form of a “try before you buy” feature.
The newest generation of apps don’t take a huge capital investment to get started, and their use or functionality can be scaled with business growth. In other words, you don’t have to worry about tying yourself into a long contract, or being held back in the future, just because you want to save a little bit of money today.
It’s also worth mentioning that the newest apps work really well. Most of them only handle a few core tasks, but that means they don’t suffer from an endless cycle of issues that a larger platform (like Windows, for example) so often will. The modular nature of many apps means users can decide which features they need, pay for them, and integrate them without having to learn an entirely new system… or get support from a large IT department tasked with handling dozens of small complaints.
The Evolution of IT and Technology Management
We are at a pivotal point when it comes to the understanding and utilization of software and technology. Today, having a strong IT team is a big advantage. The right professionals can keep an organization humming along, free from worries about online security or software compatibility.
As these issues are being worked out by app developers themselves, however, the advantage you can find in having the right tool is rapidly diminishing. Instead, the real value will soon be in the data you have and your understanding of it. That’s going to call for a different kind of IT professional, and one who will probably carry a different title and a host of new responsibilities.
To say that traditional IT departments are going extinct isn’t a bold prediction; like it or not, the changes that will lead to their demise are already taking place all around us, particularly in smaller businesses and organizations. The only question is how quickly bigger companies are going to adapt and evolve.
In the (very near) future, technology is going to be about data and accessibility. Will you keep your IT department on life support, or embrace the future of cloud-based apps and the world of opportunity for real-time integration they bring with them?
What do you think? Let us know on Twitter (@TWTGroupInc). Or, if you're at the #InterzoneIO, we'd love to discuss it with you in person! You can tweet at us or call/text me (Shawn) at 403-918-7735.
Don't forget to come back throughout Interzone to see our take on the keynotes and panels. You can find everything Interzone on our Interzone blog.
About This Blog
We are constantly on the lookout for new things that have promise to make business or life better. These gems could be software, hardware or just an idea. Subscribe to find the ideas we hope will help you and your business succeed.