If reports are anything to go by, the traditional IT department is “dead”.
However, a cursory look at IT leadership, management, integration and innovation shows the opposite to be true – IT departments all over the world are thriving and recruiters, employers and enterprise owners cannot get the talent quick enough to meet the rising demand for IT skills.
But how employers utilise the skills inherent in IT teams, and how they remain effective in a rapidly digitising, increasingly cloud-based present and future is changing, and this is putting pressure on legacy models of recruitment, retention and skills use.
Rather than consider the IT department as dead, it’s better to think of them as going the way of the fixed server for small and emerging businesses.
To some companies, it’s vital to manage, maintain, administer and collect data in a fixed server point on site ie. centralised IT departments.
However, for the vast majority of connected, online enterprises the cloud has revolutionised data management, analysis and storage, and provided affordable structures and gateways into digital asset ownership and expansion without the stress, money and skills needed to maintain a server on site. Ie. completely decentralised, or hybrid onsite and offsite IT systems.
We disagree. We think IT departments have had to change to match this wider sea change trend in tech, and in the main this has been achieved through decentralisation.
Rather than remain in the past, IT departments have been some of the key enterprise leaders when it comes to incorporating more novel, modern, relevant team and organisational structures. IT is far from dead – it’s revolutionising.
IT, and the wider tech market, has encroached into every industry, every sector and almost every line of work, which means IT skills are required more than ever – but this means enterprise owners and CIO’s have had to build models of IT department management, funding and workflows to meet this new, rising demand.
- IT has had to pivot to be more relevant for different sections within an organisation, especially in regards to recruitment – this means talent pools and training has had to be more targeted and more niche-oriented.
- IT departments have had to incorporate more specialist skills and specialist product knowledge to keep up to speed to innovations in certain sectors: consider the differences in talent needed to understand blockchain app creation, compared to the training and implementation of Saas sales products in a multinational company.
What is the main driver of organisational change within IT teams?
- IT is no longer a segmented, isolated department that sits aside of other parts of a business. IT now has to be ingrained in every team and in every corner of every business.
- IT can no longer be a “reactive” service within companies. IT has to have a seat at the table, and has to sit alongside strategic decision makers driving innovations, efficiencies, board-level decision making, and staff training and development.
- IT should not be considered a passive business asset to be maintained – it needs to be holistically curated in every team; it needs to have a more important place within every department and work with teams on making their services better, rather than simply reacting to IT or tech problems or introducing new products in a silo.
What are the limits of decentralising IT departments?
- Cohesion – change takes confidence, and change takes time. During the process of decentralising teams, errors creep in, productivity can be lost and team cohesion can erode. Without a very hands-on style of management these shifts can cause enterprise-wide disruption.
- Security – malware is on the rise, the cost of network security is skyrocketing and, again, innovation, support and talent is in high demand to make sure our global networks are secure even as data proliferates. Decentralisation requires an incredibly diligent system of roll out, support and patching, not to mention an awareness of the biggest potential spanner in the works – human error.
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