Current thinking on the future career path of IT leaders is polarized. The Lawson Software Inc.-sponsored “Habitat Report” has identified two fundamentally different expected career outlooks for executives leading IT organizations.

One scenario, dubbed “Bright Skies,” predicts an enlarged and increasingly admired role in the enterprise. The “Dark Path” scenario, on the other hand, predicts that IT leaders will face tough sledding in the years to come.

Those in the Dark Path camp posit that the role of the IT leader is diminishing in importance. This school of thought holds that computational functionality is becoming (or has already become) a commodity that can be purchased, provisioned and managed via rules-based logic.

Dark Pathers forecast a bleak future for IT in which rules-based work is outsourced and the managing of rules-based work is automated via CIO-in-a-box artificial intelligence systems at the order of chief financial officers. The few carbon-based life forms left in place will oversee outsourcing contracts, apologize for unmet service-level agreements and go to jail for catastrophic system failures. In the minds of Dark Pathers, IT leaders are losing power vis-



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