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Adapt to the End of ‘Imperial IT’ or Risk Irrelevance

From the viewpoint of history, all this talk of merging IT with the business is ironic, if not downright hilarious. Patrick Gray in his article for TechRepublic tells an eye opening tale about how IT became IT, and how its nascent status is already being threatened by the same technology from which it was created. Ashes to ASP, dust to Dropbox, as the saying goes.

In the Beginning…

In the beginning, there was no such thing as “IT.” According to Gray, the formation of a separate technology unit was a strategic business decision born out of necessity. When certain departments, (namely finance and operations) began to work with ever more complex technologies, there arose the need for a tech-savvy team to handle the workload.

The Rise and Demise of Imperial IT

Out of that need was created “imperial” IT, an independently functioning group of experts who could make unilateral decisions based on their near-hegemonic knowledge of technology. All of that began to change in the 2000’s, especially after 2007:

If there was any single event that changed this paradigm, it was the advent of the iPhone. Before the iPhone, employees happily adopted company-issued BlackBerries that were secured, monitored, and configured by IT. A device neutered by IT that freed one from their desk was a fair trade. The iPhone went completely against the BlackBerry model, initially providing no centralized management functions and targeting consumers, who quickly grew disenchanted with a “managed” device when they saw the power of apps, enhanced messaging, and personalization. IT was no longer setting the technology standards, but being forced to adapt to employees, with CEOs marching into the CIO's office, iPhone in hand, demanding “Make this work with our email!”

Two Faces of IT Survival

In Gray’s opinion, the IT of tomorrow will survive in either one of two forms: as a low cost facilitator of cloud and business integration solutions, or as a coalition of scattered IT functions nested within departments or farmed out to various vendors. Current experts might disagree, but then again, no industry likes to become less central to its original function. Time will tell.

You can read the original article at: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/adapt-to-the-end-of-imperial-it-or-risk-becoming-irrelevant/

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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