Is IT losing its relevance?

Technology consultant warns: today's new companies can be built without hiring a single IT employee.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Eric Brown pondered what information technology would look like in a new organization built from scratch, today. "What if you could build your organization from scratch.  No legacy systems.  No sacred cows. What would the IT group look like?"

Technology consultant warns: today's new companies don't really need IT.

Eric, a technology consultant, looks at a hypothetical services company with 500 employees, with a customer base across North America.

Eric would take either of two approaches to handling IT. The first is  to outsource everything to service providers, presumably including cloud services. "I do think a company could easily outsource most of their IT infrastructure…if not all of it," he says.

The other approach is to let employees bring their own computers or devices to the workplace -- a self-managed approach to IT.

Either way, he says, the company starts up without a formal IT department, and without hiring a single IT employee.

Eric intends his scenario to be more of a warning to IT professionals than a certain fate. "I think there will always be some form of IT but the status of the IT group (and the CIO) will change if we keep going down the road we’ve been traveling on for the last umpteen years," he says. In many organizations, IT is seen as standing in the way of progress. "The history of unfinished & unsuccessful projects is leading to a dead-end for most IT groups."

IT needs to re-evaluate and re-energize its role in tomorrow's emerging organizations, Eric advises:

"Start looking at bringing humanity back to IT.  Focus on your people, their skills and the human side of IT and start focusing on what those people can do for the organization. Do this and you might have a chance in the future.  Don’t do it and you’ll find yourself stuck in yesterday."

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