6 Surprising Reasons IT is Changing
Disclaimer: This is simply a prediction, but I think may be very beneficial for the following reasons.
Software and technological agility have been the driving force for several industry disruptions. In the latest disruptions, we have witnessed an era starting with the dethroning of massive companies such as Sears and K-Mart at the advent of online shopping and speeding up of the innovation cycle. This has morphed into the emergence of Amazon becoming a significant retail player dominating the online retail, Uber, and it's taking over the taxi industry and Airbnb in the hotel and rental property space.
Why Software Is Eating the World
This week, Hewlett-Packard (where I am on the board) announced that it is exploring jettisoning its struggling PC…
These are all game-changers, and a lot of it has to do with software and technology. Marc Andreessen has a pivotal post on this topic here which he further explains the importance of software.
Hence this cycle of disruptions has been driven by the philosophies of being nimble and continue to speed up.
As we see the evolution of the organization, it is my belief that we shall continue to see a more complete integration with each business unit and IT becoming a small support function based on the following observances.
SAAS “Software As A Service” is convenient as it generally solves one problem really well. It takes much of the technical debt that comes with internal development/support and redistributes the risk across a vendor base rather than an internal team.
For instance, rather than lousy code, incomplete product development, software restrictions, and skillset depreciation; the business needs to understand and orchestrate vendor base relationships, financial ROIs, and contract negotiations.
There are also economies of scale benefits, integrations that exist between other SAAS vendors are already in place reducing time to production and battle-hardened testing.
It is a difficult thing to consider that it is cheaper for companies to hire out all of their various integrations, but it is paramount for the organization to understand where its core competencies lie.
it is paramount for the organization to understand where its core competencies lie.
Offsite Systems Infrastructure / Cloud solutions
It isn’t just software where we see economies of scale take place but also in the infrastructure within the organization.
- taking hardware depreciation and maintenance out of the cost equation and repackaging it into a monthly usage fee.
- Hardware available at the click of a button
- Accessible from anywhere in the world
- Redundancies and disaster recovery initiatives become easier to plan and implement
This also helps streamline tasks, as it took many technicians to keep the hardware running, now it takes fewer people to manage all of these servers at the click of buttons rather than replacing physical hardware.
The democratization of data accessibility
Big data is the “gold rush” hype of our time, with promises of riches to be obtained when seeing the data and it is true! however, due to the traditional IT department structure, it is difficult to get to the rudimentary data.
Some of that is due to the IT culture within an organization, (especially if the team had been burned before by events outside of their control) and some of it is simply imposter syndrome.
Legacy systems also play a role that contributes to being shutout from the data. If the infrastructure had been built before data accessibility was useful to the organization, it can be extremely difficult to unwind the matrix of data.
Now there are certain steps that can help improve the current state, some of this accessibility can be mitigated by encouraging grassroots approaches to aid departments on this information.
Low Code Platforms
Low code platforms are still in their infancy stage, but whose goal is to take away the complexities of boilerplate code, and layer on top of a programming language built with logic-driven with simplified syntax. Also, these platforms create applications that are universal and will run on the desktop, in the browser, and on any mobile device. Here are a couple examples.
Microsoft PowerApps has a comprehensive platform that is well integrated in the Office 365 suite that connects within their ecosystem very well.
These will provide environments that are less error-prone, available to more than a subset of users, and template in such a way that will further provide the agility and speed needed.
Cost Center Absorption
I’d say this is a bit of a stretch, but technology and software development is expensive. It makes it difficult with low margins to have a department that can take up a nice chunk of your margin; it becomes increasingly difficult to justify.
Also, there is a lot of miscommunication issues that come from the business and tool creators, not wholly understanding the needs of the business as a whole. This is a bit of everyone’s fault, there are assumptions to be made on both sides of the aisle about the needs of the business.
If those needs are driven internally, it becomes easier for the organization to communicate from a technical and business side as the prioritization is driven within the department itself.
Rise of the Business Technologists
Collectively, I believe we will see this shift become the next trend within the organization. We won’t be getting rid of IT, however as business savvy technologists continue to interface with the organization a hybrid generalist who has grown to understand the importance of the organization and leverage will emerge.
They will be able to use the technical tools to make themselves more accessible and fluid. I’d call it a blend of IT and business expertise; somewhat similar to a fusion of the data scientist and domain expert analysts who have built their own internal databases to help speed up their own processes.
We will also see systems architects continue becoming an integral tool for the organization. Someone who knows how these systems should work together and continues to find, test and innovate on these integrations to ensure that these work. But that is another post for another day!
Alas, you as the reader has made it to the end of this analysis. Leave any comments and further observations below if you