The role of the IT department is shifting – from provider of technology to advisor and facilitator.
"Eating clean" is a term growing in popularity with the health blogs I read. Boost in energy levels, radiant skin and an increased chance to live a longer life are a few of the presumed benefits of eating foods in their natural, whole state. It actually makes growing my own produce seem like an attractive idea. From the comfort of my backyard, I can cultivate my own fruits and vegetables naturally with no pesticides and no chemicals. But sooner or later, I consider the consequences. What am I going to plant? Does my backyard have fertile soil? What tools do I need? When do I have time? And, of course, the work does not end once everything is planted. In fact, it's just beginning. The garden requires routine maintenance. I need to monitor the weather and ensure the plants receive an adequate amount of water. The list goes on.
Am I ready to dedicate my full attention to being a gardener? I actually hate the outdoors.
From provider to advisor
Most organizations have different lines of business and various departments each with their own unique technology requirements. And these stakeholders rely heavily on the IT department to research, procure, install and manage a variety of technology platforms to fulfill their requests. In many respects, your IT team are like farmers.
But wait, one department wants to change something about their solution? It doesn't satisfy their requirements? And another department needs help making an update? On top of installing, configuring and managing a series of technology platforms, the IT department now has to invest time in customizing and maintaining those solutions. And managing these tools costs more than just time. According to Forbes, the maintenance of existing IT systems can be quite costly. On average, up to 80% of IT budgets can be tied up in routine maintenance.
If I were just supplying food for myself, that alone would be a full-time (and stressful) job. But to have various people relying on me for different types of produce would be even more stressful and time consuming.
Let's face it, consumers (whether it's about food or IT services) want control, and that's why they are demanding a self-service approach.
The shifting role of IT
Digging deeper (pun intended), according to IDC Predictions 2013: Competing on the 3rd Platform, 80% of new IT investments will directly involve line-of-business (LOB) executives by 2016, with LOBs the lead decision makers in half or more of those investments.
Cloud computing provides a ready infrastructure to enable the business to become self-directed consumers of technology and they are taking advantage of it.
Of course, this shift may accelerate the transformation of IT - from that of provider to one that advises managers within a LOB or department, coordinates different stakeholders or recipients, and serves as a mentor. IT professionals will no longer be providers tending to their gardens, they'll be experts who always have an eye toward trends and consumer demand. And they'll work hand-in-hand with the business to maintain the technology that we are now coming to expect.
Agree? Disagree? Fan of my random analogies? Tweet me @ChristineGondos.