Until now, the role of IT (Information Technology) in organizations has been about fixing broken computers, managing user accounts and ensuring that new software is deployed to users without much headache. In a complex world of applications that did not like to talk to each other — even if they were provided by the same vendor — IT professionals stayed (really) busy doing nuts-and-bolts level work. Keeping users productive as applications evolved (translation: became complex) is a difficult job. Business pressures, like budget cuts and staff restrictions, add to these challenges.
However, things are changing and IT has two options:
- Evolve and adapt
- Cease to exist and leave room for new competencies
Gartner (www.gartner.com), an information technology research and advisory company, has been advocating that the role of IT has to change. Gartner analysts argue that IT has lost control, especially with the advent of cloud computing, and has to reclaim its place by becoming an internal services broker. What does this mean really?
In my opinion, it means one thing: start solving business problems by providing technology solutions that are easy to use. If you think about your daily routine, we all spend considerable time making the mental linkage between various pieces of software that only provide a portion of what we need. Why can they not all be integrated to provide all the information we need when we need it? It appears now that there is a trend toward providing just that: apps that are integrated to provide the information we need when we need it!
There are a number of companies, from blue chip organizations to start-ups, that are racing to provide an integrated app environment to users. For example, IBM released the following video Rethink IT – IBM Expert Integrated Systems on YouTube to talk about their bet on the integrated app world. A couple of other notable organizations are ThoughtWire (http://www.thoughtwire.com) in Toronto, Ontario, which focuses on making data easily available to users, and SnapLogic (http://www.snaplogic.com) in Silicon Valley, which is investing on providing an integration platform for cloud apps.
The evolution of integration technologies will mostly eliminate the need for IT functions as we know them today. IT organizations will need to put emphasis on understanding business needs of its users and upgrade skills to provide solutions to those needs in order to continue to add value.
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