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IT Departments of the Future - A Peek Inside 2020

Breanne Wilson
Senior Web Project Manager - Oracle University

Written by Nicole Fornacon, Marketing Director, EMEA/APAC, Oracle University

Some years ago, did we think we would have so many smartphones today? Did we anticipate the increasing pressures IT departments would feel to support the business? Did we expect that Big Data and the Cloud would dominate the way they do now?

One thing is clear: the convergence of mobility, Big Data, the Cloud, collaboration tools and the Internet of Things (IoT) are producing great changes – not only for general business, but also for the role the IT department plays.

Technology is riding an ascending wave, changing the way organizations and end users behave. Rather than
passively monitoring customers to gain insights about their behavior, IT is becoming much more about collaborating with customers and helping organizations' end users perform at peak efficiency.

Ask yourself:

  • What will IT departments
    look like in 2020? 
  • How will the role of the CIO change and how will this
    influence the way the IT department runs? 
  • How will end users in the business keep up?

Changing the IT Department

Today’s technology is less about operational delivery and infrastructure and more about finding solutions and
working with the business.

IT departments will become smaller as companies outsource more of the operational work to external suppliers. End users will be
asked to do more than ever to keep functions running smoothly.

By 2020, we will see smaller IT functions that are more highly skilled and more strategic. Technology is becoming more about customization than about commoditization.

This will be particularly true when it comes to analytics and Big Data.

Data scientists are in short supply, which means organizations will increasingly turn to external suppliers, as the Iot drives the need for data analytics. End users within organizations will be expected to learn how to deal with data and perform many analytical functions to support business growth.

A new type of IT organization will be needed

  • It will require being more agile and distributed across the business. 
  • Companies will need to redesign data center and application architecture to deliver real-time data intelligence when and where it’s needed.
  • Integration needs to occur not only between internal systems but with external data sources, including sensors, mobile apps, and partner websites.

This complex integration architecture must be high performing and have full-time support. Many organizations will embrace Cloud computing.

In this rapidly changing environment, employees in all functions will be scrambling to expand their skills.

They will need to learn how to use new or updated applications while performing their job functions more effectively. Organizations need to find ways to ease the transition so users readily adopt new applications and ways of working with Big Data and the Cloud.

Changing Job Roles

While IT executives will be integral players in the game, there will be one person to take the corporation forward: the CIO.

  • This role requires a solid understanding of procurement, the supply chain, the digital and physical assets, the customers, and the end users of the services IT offers. 
  • This kind of CIO is one with vision, someone who can envision the trajectory of the ball even before it's launched in the game.
  • The new role of the CIO will require understanding of the business as a whole, innovation and thought leadership,
    focusing much more on being agile.

This represents a big change.

The role of the CIO has traditionally demanded caution and predictability, not risk-taking.

In the future, the CIO's role will be less about controlling and more about enabling the rest of the business, including end users in the organization, to use technology in a more effective way.

In the shift to hyper-connected organizations, the CIO becomes chief collaborator and negotiator, one who gains influence by
guiding business units, not by dictating actions.

They need to be more proficient at understanding the business and better at handling change and managing stakeholders in the rest of the business. Those skills will flow down from the CIO to IT professionals and end users.

As organizations use the Cloud to simplify their applications and IT infrastructure, most of the technical roles might
be outsourced to third-party suppliers.

Operational roles will come under pressure.

If there is a risk involved, it’s for the people in highly technical roles that have a bias to infrastructure that are likely to be
outsourced - although thoughtful approaches to training and end-user adoption can slow the outsourcing trend.

IT staff will require new knowledge for technology integration and orchestration, since the party of players is bound to grow when multiple applications, technologies, devices, and service providers collide to bring forth a single solution.

Analytics and Big Data skills and knowledge will also be in high demand.

Jobs in the IT sector will change. The current roles of IT staff will evolve only with the support of the CIO in championing all stakeholders who need to get the most out of new applications and technology.

As the demands and needs expand with every year, the key is to focus not only on identifying and acquiring new skills and technical experience, but also on emphasizing big-picture thinking.

The IT department of the future will continue to focus on new technology, new software and hardware and the most in demand new skills.

The growing trend towards Cloud will continue to expand into every area of business. Customers need to quickly adapt to the new cloud-supported processes.

End users need to learn how to use Oracle Cloud applications to competently perform processtransactions.

Since all staff members — from executives to end users — will be affected by the coming changes, it's crucial to integrate user adoption activities with the technical implementation activities during all phases of any IT project.

It might be time to consider engaging Oracle User Adoption Services – add-on services that accelerate the change process – to translate the organizational changes into actionable activities at the user and manager level.

Change will happen, but the future is nothing to fear if we prepare for it.

Sources: Digitalist, Computer Weekly

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