MFG 2.0

The End of the IT Department?

A provocatively titled but well-written post over at the 37 Signals blog posits that the consumerization of IT is leading to a threat to the very existence of IT as a department within the enterprise.

As David writes, one big problem is they've got little or no incentive for improvement or customer service.

The problem with IT departments seems to be that they’re set up as a forced internal vendor (with) a monopoly on the "computer problem" . . . There's no feedback loop for improvement."

He also writes that:

IT job security is often dependent on making things hard, slow, and complex. If the Exchange Server didn’t require two people to babysit it at all times, that would mean two friends out of work. Of course using hosted Gmail is a bad idea! It’s the same forces and mechanics that slowly turned unions from a force of progress (proper working conditions for all!) to a force of stagnation (only Jack can move the conference chairs, Joe is the only guy who can fix the microphone).

As with many blog posts, the dissenters in the comments provide both confirmation (as with the commenter who says he's from ) as well as illuminating opposite viewpoints (several commenters point out that most Americans aren't necessarily self-sustaining geekerati capable of provisioning and managing their own desktops and mobile phones).

I come down somewhere in the middle -- the IT department isn't going anywhere, but at the same time, it's not likely to look the same as it does today. So, it may be the end of the IT department "as we know it," but then again satisfaction with that department's perceived performance is at historic lows, so maybe that's not a bad thing. At the very least, IT will have to become more attuned to the needs of the business to survive increased competition with the cloud. And that's a change most people, even many an IT leader, would like to see.

TAGS: Innovation
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