There was a time when computer operators ran our programs on monstrous machines with minimal computing power and storage capacity. Now we do it! There was a time when we dictated letters to be typed by young girls in typing pools. Now we do it! There was a time when reprographics departments tended mighty Xerox machines and did all our copying for us. Now we do it! There was a time when switchboard operators answered, routed and connected all our telephone calls. Now we do it! I’m sure you get the idea. They were all swept away by a rising tide of technology leading to the empowerment of the individual. So why should IT departments be any different? They are not. The clock is ticking, and just like the typing pool, they will have to go.
IT departments will go the same way as the typing pool
If you are in any doubt about this, ask yourself the question: when your laptop, tablet or mobile go wrong who do you call first? It is almost never the IT department. We try and fix it ourselves, call a friend, ask the nearest person, or search the web. We seek help everywhere else bar IT who really are the last resort. How come? They are remote, disconnected, and have time to see us next Wednesday. They ought to be as responsive and user friendly as Google or Apple but they are not, and most times we get by without them: somehow we find a fix. Still doubtful? According to a Regus survey, almost 50% of professionals are mobile/home workers, and a large proportion of these people are contractors either running their own companies or self employed. How do they cope without an IT department – how do they get by? They visit the Apple Genius Bar, belong to IT literate communities, or leverage virtual IT expertise and help. It is happening now and has been progressing slowly for a decade. The big explosion of change comes with the Cloud and the rise of the bring-your-own-device culture. DIY IT is the modern mode along with social networking, apps, virtual expertise and remote teams. Sparing a thought for the people employed in IT Departments today, what is their future? Starting a new company or self-employment as a virtual support force is an obvious option. For companies, these folks are better employed on Big Data, business modeling, dashboard provision and support for the management and board. The good news is they are smart and will really enjoy this positive change rather than wasting their lives worrying about the next upgrade of Office, network provision, firewalls and malware. The biggest challenge here is people; mindsets and the vested interests of the status quo. But the driving force is the freedom of the workforce and the individual, and that is far bigger and far more important for the future. Photo: Typing while listening to Wham (jitterbug) by witc100, on Flickr