Summary: Fueled by recent trends, the role of the IT department is changing. What trends are driving these changes, and how will they impact IT? In the second part of our two-part series, we explore 5 more ways that IT departments will evolve in the next 5 years.
IT departments used to control technology because it was complicated and difficult for end users to obtain and use. These days, that’s not the case. Technology is evolving at breakneck speed. Not only is it more accessible, it’s simpler and more powerful than ever.
What does this mean for IT departments? How will changing technology impact IT’s role in the future?
In the first part of this article, we explored 5 ways that IT will change in the next five years:
- IoT changes the data landscape
- IT goes from gatekeeper to provider
- Self-service will become the norm
- The skills gap drives more software partners
- The IT Professional must understand the business
Today, let’s explore a few more areas. Here are 5 more ways that IT will change in the next five years.
Cybersecurity skills become the top priority
I know what you’re thinking: “Security isn’t a new trend.” It’s already a high priority for many business leaders.
While it’s true that security is a highly publicized need, it’s still a weak point for businesses. An IBM study finds that 68% of companies aren’t ready for cyber attacks. Why? For some it’s ignorance. For others it’s resources. Others simply don’t think it will happen to them.
I believe this will change in the next few years. As cyber attacks increase, we’ll see more and more businesses move security skills to the top of their priority list. They’ll invest in security professionals, and IT professionals will focus on building their security skills.
“Security will be paramount as hacking organizations backed by criminal networks and/or nation states will continue to disrupt the operations of organizations the world over, threatening both the reputation and reliability of shared IT itself in the eyes of the public as well as business leaders,” says Kyle Bittner, Business Development Manager for Exit Technologies.
The digital business becomes a reality
Over the past few years, the concept of “digital transformation” has become an increasingly popular trend. The modern business must transform itself and adopt the technologies and processes needed to operate in today’s digital world.
How important is digital transformation to the modern business? Or, perhaps a better question: What are the risks of ignoring it? Let’s look at a couple of quotes from tech industry leaders.
According to Accenture’s CEO, “Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.”
It doesn’t stop there. The former CEO of Cisco Systems predicts that “Nearly 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.”
In other words, digitalization has moved out of the “trend” territory and into a necessity. Over the next few years, IT departments will focus heavily on moving away from legacy systems and transforming their business to function in a digital world.
“The CIO will play a pivotal role in a company’s digital transformation strategy as legacy systems are being overhauled and new agile solutions are being introduced,” says Meg Bear, Sr. Vice President, Product and Engineering at Juvo. “Emerging technologies coupled with cloud architecture and the consumerization of IT have defined a new focus for the CIO and the IT department, opening a new door for the CIO.”
The remote work environment continues to grow
As we become more and more connected, the need to physically work in one specific location declines. Increasingly, the business world is moving towards a remote-work environment. This is driven by a couple of trends.
First, more businesses are letting employees work remotely. After all, with the rise of tools and the move towards a digital business, most tasks can be completed remotely. According to recent research, “regular work-at-home arrangements among the non-self-employed have doubled since 2005.”
Second, we’re increasingly living in a “gig economy.” As mentioned in this article, “The number of workers hired as freelance or contract works has risen in the past two years, and it’s expected to increase.” More and more, businesses are turning to remote workers on a project-by-project basis.
Over the next few years, IT departments will focus more on supporting remote workers. They’ll need to implement the technologies and processes needed to support this growing reality.
“The cloud is changing the way IT departments conduct daily functions for companies,” says Lindsey Havens is the Senior Marketing Manager of PhishLabs. “We also live in a global but localized world and therefore need to find ways to accommodate for those differences. IT will continue to shift towards the break away from the common desk and switch to more mobility.”
Computing moves to the edge
Cloud computing has changed how we store and access data. It has changed the way many businesses operate, and will continue to play an important role in the coming years.
However, cloud computing has some limitations. Namely, it relies on a fast internet connection. This becomes even more important as more data moves to the cloud, and businesses demand faster access. Sooner or later, this limitation will cap the cloud’s capabilities.
This is driving a new technology that aims to bypass the speed hurdle: Fog/edge computing. I won’t get into all of the details here, but here’s a nice article that explains it in more detail. In the coming years, IT departments will have to implement and manage .
“IT departments, despite having developed a centralized computing model during the “cloud era” of early 2000s-2010s, will be trending more heavily towards a decentralized computing model over the next five years, as the adoption of edge computing continues to grow,” says Bruce Kornfeld, CMO & SVP of Product Management at StorMagic. “With the rise of IoT and the increase in the number of businesses with multiple sites, compute will be done locally at the edge – not in the primary datacenter. Customers today want to process data close to where it’s being created, and in five years it will be essential, or they’ll fall behind.”
IT departments must become masters of the governance/accessibility balance
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that convenience is the enemy of security. People tend to make poor security decisions in the name of simplicity.
They’ll create simple passwords. They’ll reuse the same password everywhere. When IT tries to implement stricter security, they complain if it adds any complexity.
This obviously creates problems in workplace. The users want convenience. The IT department wants security. While we’re seeing efforts being made to combine the two already, this will be a major focus over the next few years. The IT department of the future must become masters at balancing security with accessibility.
“The primary change will continue to be around how IT governs devices in the workforce,” says Jeff Smith, Director of Production Operations for Centro. “As the workforce gets younger, not only do they bring in new tools for how they work, but also their preferences for the devices that they work on. IT organizations will continue to get pressure to allow a polyglot of device types. While some larger organizations are already handling this reality, many mid-to-smaller size organizations lower complexity in their IT Operation by limiting the number of devices they have in the wild.”
“The theme will continue to be the intersection of corporate security and device/worker flexibility. But more importantly, IT leaders will need to get more savvy at selling the business benefits of a strong security posture, compared to the frustration cost of the inconveniences it produces. “
These are just a few ways that IT will change in the next five years, but the list could be much longer. Would you add anything to this list? Feel free to comment below!