Cloud computing, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and Bring Your Own App (BYOA) are ushering in a rapid shift in the way enterprise IT departments have functioned. Traditionally, IT departments have been over-staffed and unwieldy, concentrating on routine tasks such as updates and maintenance rather than on innovation. Today, IT departments are being pruned with an eye on the bottom line. Companies are cutting back on IT budgets and staff and replacing them with consultants on a need basis as they switch to applications that run on the cloud.
Cloud computing, which has totally altered the way companies conduct business, is a key game changer. Gartner predicts that by 2014, worldwide cloud services revenue, which includes public and private services, will reach $148.8 billion. It also estimates that by 2016, all Global 2000 companies will use public cloud services. While some experts take an extreme view that the cloud pronounces the death knell for IT departments, a more balanced and realistic view is that it is unlikely.
Cloud-based services call for professionals to manage contracts between the cloud service provider and the organization. This would involve sourcing vendors and partners, maintaining relationships, negotiating contracts and service-level agreements, and evaluating vendor performance.
Analysts to manage and evaluate metrics and data pertaining to the cloud service will become a 'hot' role in the IT department of the future. The role of a technology liaison officer between consultants and technology vendors also becomes increasingly important. This individual will need to help the company make good technology decisions, assess business requirements, find solutions, and communicate them to stakeholders. Project managers would therefore find themselves greatly in demand by enterprise IT departments in the next few years.
Alongside, the rapid adoption of mobile technology, trends such as BYOD and BYOA are also changing the way IT departments function. While these give employees new options on how they wish to share information and collaborate, they raise concerns around security. IT departments will also find it challenging to support a wide variety of non-standard devices and applications. Mobile Device Management (MDM) software will be increasingly adopted to secure, monitor, manage, and support mobile devices to control and protect the data and configuration settings of all the mobile devices in the network. MDM improves functionality and security, while reducing costs and downtime. With these trends, the demand for traditional job roles such as those of network administrators will be replaced by professionals dealing with network security.
In the future, IT departments will break out of their silos, get involved with business decisions, and even work with CXOs to implement company strategy. Companies are currently walking a tightrope between how much control to maintain within the enterprise and how much to surrender to technologies such as cloud computing. The cloud may not be casting a very dark shadow on IT departments, but it just might be raining on their parade.