In the world of IT, solutions become problems with alarming regularity. The new software of today is the upgrade nightmare of tomorrow. The policies that solved problems create new ones years later.
The corporate IT departments that we look to for solutions are actually becoming the problems, as Susan Cramm notes in “Put IT Where it Belongs.” The corporate IT structure we once needed is now a barrier of bureaucracy, supporting old ways of thinking.
It’s time to get IT out of the IT department.
This is not a new idea – it’s been with us since Nicholas Carr’s controversial opinions in 2005. As with any important idea, it has taken time for it to become a reality. That time is now – the age of corporate IT as we know it is ending – and it has to end.
Computing is nimble, mobile, and distributed – management of IT resources has to follow suit. Today’s model of corporate IT is a decade out of date. It’s time to change the model to suit modern times – and reap the advantages.
We need to shift IT responsibility to individual departments to focus on:
Better Departmental Responsibility
Individual departments need to make their own IT decisions – they know their needs best. Their own research and experiences tell them what technology is necessary to do their jobs. With many options, they can decide.
Corporate IT decisions are often ineffective; the 2010 K2 Advisory study, “Digital Workplace Choices,” showed dissatisfaction with UK corporate IT, and predicted we will see more “digital allowances” that let people make their own IT choices.
End Turf Wars
IT has often been the site of painful turf wars as people battle for attention, time, and resources. Making individual departments responsible for IT decisions removes the politics and replaces it with responsibility and opportunity. There’s no time for turf wars in high-speed times.
I once worked for an organization that, well ahead of its time, outsourced most of corporate IT. This was not the bargain it would be now, but it was done entirely to relieve turf wars. In short, losing money was seen as better than political paralysis. Today’s technology makes such moves more feasible – and less painful.
Moving With The Times
Corporate IT’s power is shifting already. Data centers are replaced with the cloud, the Apple store replaces the repair department. Moving power away from IT is a trend with many advantages – it’s time to move with the times.
IT outsourcing increased 5% last year despite an unsure economy, with significant growth in convenient bundled deals (up 95% year-over-year) and simple contracts down significantly. This is the future.
Make Corporate IT Do What It Does Best
Moving tasks from corporate IT lets companies find what tasks the department needs to do. For some companies it may be security, for others it may record keeping. Perhaps no department is needed. But it’s time to find out, for your company, what corporate IT should be doing – not what tradition tells us.
Having spent 16 years in IT, I’ve watched it evolve, if slowly. There’s too much on the shoulders of corporate IT now – it needs the freedom to find what it has to be for each company.
A move away from the old-style corporate IT reflects the reality of computing – computing is about empowering. The PC era moved power to the hands of people at their desks. The laptop and later the mobile era gave people the power to work from many locations. Now it’s time to move the power to make decisions about IT to individual departments.