Jul 27 2011   2:52PM GMT

IT organization of the future is a hybrid

Christina Torode Christina Torode Profile: Christina Torode


In 2021, cloud computing is simply computing, corporate office parks are senior housing facilities and the IT organization of the future has been absorbed by the business.

Oh, and Apple has lost its proprietary hold on mobile application development — in court, no less — giving every company out there the ability to build its own app store — and sell those apps.

These were some of the predictions made by Gartner analysts Chris Howard and Jack Santos during the kickoff of the Gartner Catalyst show this week in San Diego. Howard and Santos made them in jest during an end-of-day skit — Santos playing dual roles as an IT staffer and a business user of the future — but some of these predictions are taking shape in the here and now, they said.

To back up a bit, the IT organization of the future will undergo drastic shifts in the following order, according to Gartner:

Internal IT becomes an internal cloud. This shift is inevitable, given the demand from enterprise employees and customers for an on-demand service experience. It will require IT to emulate or “start to think like” external cloud providers. IT will have to figure out chargeback and self-service provisioning; above all, it will have to start to develop a services catalog. IT also will have to figure out how to get the most out of a shared services model in such areas as capacity management in a virtualized environment. In terms of security, IT will need to nail down identity management, among many other security responsibilities.

IT becomes a services broker of its own services and those provided by third parties — namely cloud providers. This puts IT into the position of showing the business which applications and data make sense in-house or with a cloud provider, and how to vet the providers on behalf of the business.

Key to this is IT’s ability to grill cloud providers on their services capabilities, one critical criteria being security. For example, does your cloud provider wipe out your data before it houses another customer’s data on the same equipment? This is a question that IT is likely to ask, versus a business user, Gartner said.

As a services broker, IT will decide which apps are cloud-ready or not. It’s not a matter of service denial when it comes to cloud providers, Gartner said, but of helping the business make the right choices. Above all, the IT organization of the future will continue to vet outsourcing partners.

Critical questions include these: Does the provider let you know if and when access attempts are made on your data that they house? Does the cloud provider allow you to perform security audits on it? What are the migration path options to another provider? Who will build the back-end connections from your data in the cloud to other applications in your organization or to data housed by another cloud provider?

In a few years, the cloud will no longer referred to as the cloud, because it’s just the way IT services are provisioned. Cloud computing, or rather, hybrid computing is the new term to reflect that many enterprises will build an internal or private cloud that integrates and shares services with public cloud providers.

The hybrid approach will prevail, given that enterprises will not let certain data or applications live on a public cloud, for many reasons including regulatory compliance. Enterprises recognize the need to move commodity services and apps, as well as infrastructure, to the public realm to cut costs and gain scalability and agility.

IT will become a function of the business. Gartner’s Howard described the days when the IT function was considered so separate from the business that it was housed in a different office. Not so now: Already IT is being looked on as another service or function within the business. “Math was once considered a department,” Gartner’s Santos said. “Send that to the math department, because only a few people could do the math. Now, IT isn’t something [like math] that only a few people can do. Business people think [IT] is part of their job.”

Here are a few other takeaways about the IT organization of the future:

  • Code-writing will become less important, and infrastructure and application integration more important within the enterprise and with external providers.
  • Enterprises may start to emulate the business models developing in other countries in which a business function or even an entire business can be built for a specific purpose in a virtualized or cloud environment, then torn down once the project or purpose is complete.
  • Albeit obvious, less business will be done in the office, given the ability for the “anywhere” computing that the cloud and virtualization enable. “There will be no there anymore,” Gartner’s Santos said. “The office is a virtual concept.”
  • Application portfolios, as well as how and why applications are developed, will be led by your customers and their mobile, on-demand, “anywhere” needs.
  • Enterprise IT will struggle with managing the blurred lines between corporate and personal personas, as well as the data and devices tied to those personas.

I am just scratching the surface as far as predictions being made here at Gartner Catalyst. In the coming weeks, the hybrid IT concept, IT as a services broker and developing a fraud prevention program will be among the topics we explore.

Let us know what you think about this blog post; email Christina Torode, News Director.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • Sundar1978
    thanks christina..these trends except the 'apple' one are already becoming a reality. A lot of behaviour change will need to happen with IT staff.They feel more comfy doing the 'backend' job,not many are comfortable being accountable for the organization's failure as much as with IT can help organizations make smart decisions and hence succeed.The IT staff are no more the defenders,they are strikers(in a soccer parlance)
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  • ChadJones
    Very insightful article on where IT in general is going. Of course the big question is how is it going to get there. The problem as I see it today is that the security requirements and the process control necessary to allow an orderly and IT controlled migration to these cloud resources will end up being the key to unlocking this vision. As an example of this, many organizations have operations personnel that touch twenty (20) different systems in order to provision a resource. Of those twenty, nineteen of them have nothing to do with the resources creation. They are all around the operational process that is relevant to that company’s unique compliance model. That compliance model is different from business to business. The way I see it, it would appear that without a system that allows the virtualization of the operational intelligence and compliance model, the vision ends up as a “dog with different fleas” when compared to today’s IT. We end up moving from internal IT siloes to a bunch cloud siloes. Sure the automation is better off, but is IT really getting the full benefit? Chad Jones DynamicOps
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