HP: Cloud computing will cut 'dull' IT jobs

HP: Cloud computing will cut 'dull' IT jobs

Summary: The company's UK managing director admits that trends such as software-as-a-service and utility computing will affect the bottom rung of IT jobs

TOPICS: Networking

HP claims IT departments should be prepared for some churn and upheaval in coming years as companies begin to embrace the idea of "cloud computing", which could result in many low-level IT jobs being cut.

Stephen Gill, vice president and managing director of HP UK and Ireland, said on Monday that many large organisations currently devote around 70 to 75 percent of their IT budget to managing their existing infrastructure, leaving little room for innovation that can bring value to the business.

However, by embracing the idea of cloud computing — where applications are hosted and computing power is virtualised and available as a utility — HP claims companies are able to effectively outsource the need for maintaining complex infrastructure and reduce their IT headcount as a result.

"Overall you will see less people but with different jobs [and] more exciting roles," he said. "The junior roles are the ones that are usually dull and that will be automated anyway."

HP is hanging its vision of how cloud computing will affect the industry around the term "everything as a service".

Gill claimed HP had been undergoing an internal reorganisation — although it is not clear how much the strategy is related to cloud computing — that had seen it cut its IT staff from 19,000 to 10,000 over the past three-and-a-half years. "Most IT departments want to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the business and that is hard to if you are spending 70 percent of your budget on infrastructure," he said.

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HP is not the first company to sound the death knell of the traditional IT department. The trend towards hosted applications, utility computing and outsourcing have all combined to prompt other vendors and analysts to predict an upheaval in the way companies will manage their internal IT in the future.

Back in 2005, analyst Gartner predicted that by 2010 IT departments in midsized and large companies will be 30 percent smaller than they were in 2005. "Jobs in technology infrastructure and services will decline in end-user organisations but grow in service, hardware and software companies, but many of these jobs will be in developing economies," the analyst claimed.

Topic: Networking

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson

Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and ZDNet.co.uk.

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.



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  • What jobs are we talking about?

    On re-reading this story - I can see that I should have mentioned what jobs HP sees as most likely to go.

    Well, the company is very keen on the idea of centrally managed resources - particularly when it comes to desktops so I am afraid that if you're working on a helpdesk than HP doesn't see that bright a future for you.

    The company thinks that there will be less need for helpdesks as everything is going to work that much better in the future - thanks to thin clients and smarter desktop management software - and what desktop management is required will be centralised or even outsourced.
    Andrew Donoghue
  • These things always sound great when spun this way

    It's all very well for HP to talk of this utopia where everything is done by magic in a far off data center but where do we get these 'fewer people with different skills' when they don't have any entry level jobs to get trained up on. This is the main reason our IT industry in the UK is in such a bad state, we have effectively moved all the entry level jobs to India so there is no way for people to get into IT in this country. Ultimately this kind of thinking is killing the industry for some short term 'perceived' cost savings. One of my clients has recently moved to a virtualised setup and is currently going through the pain of having to work with it. I can tell you from experience it waists more money in loss of productivity than it will ever save. This is not a half baked implementation either but a leading edge setup which is failing to deliver. Of the people I come across using this technology I am hearing more bad than good news, unless of course you speak to the management that had it installed, in which case it is invariably excellent, but then they like HP don't actually have to use it.
  • Yep - good point

    I had similar thoughts when I was listening to HP this morning. As you say, companies need "dull" low-level jobs for junior people to do while they develop their skills.

    But I do think HP do have a point however about IT departments evolving beyond maintaining the infrastructure to actually playing a part in innovation.

    One of the HP speakers made a good point about the IT department actually being a position to approach the business with ideas for technical projects -- rather than simply being there to deliver what is asked of them.

    But that idea is not a new one - and we shouldn't ever downplay the importance of keeping the infrastructure running - how much business would get done if the email servers suddenly went down!
    Andrew Donoghue