Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

Dec 11 2008   2:15PM GMT

Overheard – End of the IT department

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

nicholas_carr.jpg In the long run, the IT department is unlikely to survive, at least in its familiar form. It will have little left to do once the bulk of business computing shifts out of private data centers and into the cloud.

Nicholas Carr, Why IT Will Change

The corporate IT department has had a dual nature until now. One really important function has been the kind of technical expertise that keeps the computing machines running.

Over the next five or 10 years, the technical aspect of the IT department will become less important. It will slowly evaporate as more of those experts go outside onto the grid. But the information management and information strategy elements will become, if anything, more important. The ways companies take advantage of digitized information will become more important, not less.

The big question in the long run is, do those types of skills—information management and thinking—remain in a separate IT department or do they naturally flow into business units and other traditional parts of the business? My guess is that over time, they’ll begin to flow into the business itself and that will be accelerated as individual workers and business units get more control over the way they are able to organize and manipulate their own information. I would be surprised if maybe 20 years from now there are still IT departments in corporations.That doesn’t mean that the skills in those departments are going away. The more technical skills will probably move out into the supplier community and the strategic thinking, or tactical thinking about information, will flow out into the business itself.

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