Estimated reading time: 3 mins
The IT Industry has come along way since its professionals were consigned to the basement floors in the domain of flashing lights and large reel-to-reel tapes. IT is Business. IT is the core of commerce. IT has a seat at the Executive table . So what’s to like about the industry recently emerged from a craft ?
- IT requires it’s people to be very dynamic – the modern IT organization demands its professionals to be flexible, proactive and business focused, which has created a surge in the value of the very best people as they arguably grasp the widest business context of all in their organization. IT professionals who can demonstrate this dynamism and agility are future CEOs
- IT has big budget – IT is really at the core of all operations and business change programs. How many business programs are underneath just IT programs, to your knowledge? Almost every one I say! So both IT Ops and Business Technology functions influence major buying decisions in their organization
- IT is strategic – All business change now has IT at the core of it. IT enables business strategy, and IT creates strategic opportunities. Think how the ubiquity of low-cost internet access propelled Web 2.0 and the organizations creaming it in because of it!
- IT is core to business – What business in today’s world can exist long enough to become profitable, without IT? IT enables pretty much all organizational activities – certainly the core activities that the business depends on.
- IT is becoming industrialized and standardized – IT is no longer the craft it started out as, so the industry is coming of age. There is still plenty of room for the creative and perfectionist geeks who first started the industry, but the image is represented by dynamic, dependable business people
Ain’t it a peachy place? Well, no, not always. The IT industry has its faults:
- IT requires it’s people to be very dynamic – But what if you don’t want that? What if you like to do one kind of job, do it well, and keep doing it? IT has become estranged from the very people who helped create it – the folks who punched cards, changed tapes and were happy to develop code off a spec without knowing how it will be used. There are still lots of people who prefer that!
- IT has big budget – Big budget becomes big responsibility. The cost of IT projects has grown enormously, and cost tends to be the biggest reason why projects are de-scoped or canceled. The press is the first to latch onto failed projects that cost millions of dollars! So the cost of failure is great and the damage to your reputation can be great too.
- IT is strategic – because IT underpins any major business change, IT always carries a conflict of interest between responding to business opportunities against industrializing its operations. CIO face constant pressure to be agile and flexible to meet the needs of the business, but also run a very tight ship and stabilize the infrastructure. IT cannot do both. There is always a compromise.
- IT is core to business – so therefore every business issue is somehow blamed on IT. IT can become the scapegoat for a downturn in sales, service failures, information leaks or poor share price. I am confident that you know what I mean here!
- IT is becoming industrialized and standardized – so where is the room for flare, passion and creativity? Can IT people freely innovate and challenge tradition? Yes, but the application of rigor and governance can stifle the buzz of creativity in an organization unless leaders work real hard.
What I have said is that every change has a cost somewhere or to someone. The IT industry has evolved and transformed into the bedfellow of true professionals and business people. This is good, for true professionals and business people. For the old-school though, does it work for them?
Wait – maybe the future has room for both. See my previous article on the Future of IT here!