Forrester: IT depts face decade of fundamental change

IT roles are fundamentally changing in nature to cope with a hugely different workforce and business environment, according to Forrester.

Marc Cecere, VP at the analyst house, told Computerworld UK that completely new models for IT jobs would evolve over the next decade.

Speaking ahead of the Forrester IT Forum in Barcelona next week, Cecere said technology departments were beginning a major shift in order to cope with greater demands from end users to implement or use their own systems. The shift was also being prompted by vast changes in the number of external suppliers businesses use.

“There’s no doubting that a number of IT roles will become more managerial, more of a broker role,” he said. “It’s a move from building to consulting.”

“IT is really flat out at the moment. There’s no capacity and they have so much running,” he said. “On the other side you’ve got tech savvy business people in managerial positions, as well as those entering the workforce, with all sorts of technology demands.”

While IT departments were clearly the technology experts in any business, there would be more pressure from a workforce wanting to implement its own technology. As a result, IT staff would have to manage these changes, and make sure other staff understood the implications by educating them.

“You’ve always had some departments in businesses rolling out systems, but it’s been under the radar. There’s going to be a lot more of it, and it’ll be a lot more obvious,” he said.

Another challenge, he said, was the continued expansion of outsourcing and cloud provisioning, which required “a lot of management time, more than people sometimes expect”. He added: “There may be a point where people feel they are dealing with too many external suppliers, then they start reducing it. This brings its own IT management challenges.”

Cecere said it was “still the early days” of the shift, but confirmed from his conversations with IT heads that it was “definitely happening, and fast”.

“You’re really going to have to be ahead of the curve,” he said. “You’ve got a young workforce with their own technology, and also expecting to see quickly deployed systems.”

“You’re also going to have to educate people about the impact of what they’re doing and the systems they’re bringing in.”

But it was no good for IT staff to become the people who always say “no” to new systems, he said. “The key is to enable things. What you need is to show people how to do what they want, in a way that works.”

IT departments also needed to be “very clear”, he said, on “who runs which systems, and who has the responsibility”.

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