“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
– Mark Twain
In the latest episode of Michael Krigsman’s CxO Talk, social business expert Dion Hinchcliffe essentially says “IT is dead.” When I first saw the title of Michael’s article regarding the episode, “CxO Talk guest Hinchcliffe proclaims, ‘IT is dead,’” my initial thought was “here we go again.” After all, Hinchcliffe’s “proclamation” is nothing new.
It seems like I read at least an article or two every week about IT going the way of the dinosaurs sooner rather than later. I skip over a lot of these articles because it’s basically the same information rehashed. However, I enjoy the CxO Talk episodes so I gave it a listen and thought Hinchliffe made some strong, valid points.
The usual suspects are implicated here: Shadow IT, Cloud, BYOD, and the outdated concept of an overly-centralized IT department. While acknowledging the perceived risks of Shadow IT in a somewhat backhanded way, he even states “IT departments are now the hardest way to get things done.” Technology is moving to the lines of business, infrastructure is moving to cloud, and so on and so forth. Again, this really isn’t anything new.
Here’s the deal: IT’s not going anywhere. The department may change or undergo some sort of transformation but it’s not going to become extinct. Moving technology into the business units just means they’ll have to learn to perform IT activities themselves. Is this really practical? Talk about not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone. As for cloud, most companies in the cloud still aren’t comfortable because of all the uncertainties associated with it. BYOD is great but somebody’s got to keep an eye on the devices.
Look, I’m not saying IT isn’t a hindrance in some cases. I’m not saying IT doesn’t stifle innovation on occasion. I’m saying, despite all the doomsday articles, IT is a critical part of the enterprise. Its absence would result in pure chaos. That being said, an attitude adjustment is necessary if IT’s going to play with the big boys.
Improved IT-business collaboration should be at the top of your list. Deal in terms of business value, not IT value. Stop dragging your feet on projects and looking for reasons as to why something can’t work. Say “Yes” for a change, or at least offer some comparable alternatives. Enable the business instead of holding it back. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before but it’s still not sinking in with a lot of organizations. IT will determine the role it plays in the enterprise moving forward. Why settle for keeping the lights on when you can revolutionize the company and/or your industry?
**If you’re interested in Shadow IT and its effect on the evolution of IT leadership roles, join our next webinar on May 30th at 2:00 PM EST. Michael O’Brien, an experienced and innovative IT leader, is presenting on the “Evolving Role of IT Managers and CIOs.”