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Five trends that will transform the modern IT department

Five trends tha will transform the modern IT department, Info-Tech Research Group Ltd. told attendees at its recent technology trends and predictions event in Toronto.

Cloud computing is one of five trends, along with mobility, security, social media and big data. And Davin Juusola, vice-president of research and development with London, Ont.-based Info-Tech, said these trends will mean major changes for IT departments and IT staffing.

“Today, IT departments are focused primarily on applications and infrastructure, and less so on vendor management and business analysts,” said Juusola. “You need to transform to put more emphasis on business analysts and vendor management.”

As companies move more workload into the cloud, infrastructure and application management will be less important; that will be the responsibility of the cloud provider. But trends in big data, for example, will require skills in other areas.

“You’ll need an army of smart business analysts to dig out from under all that data, and you’ll need to manage your vendors like you manage your staff today,” said Juusola, making sure your service providers are on top of their responsibilities to the business. “If you get out in front of this perfect storm it will be a rewarding experience for you and your organization.”

The trends

Rob Dreyer (pictured), vice-president of research with Info-Tech, said it can be hard to get to the critical mass necessary to achieve real infrastructure savings by moving to the cloud. Most organizations dip their toes into the cloud strategically, moving certain processes or functions, but that’s often not enough to allow them to start retiring on-premise servers. Companies shouldn’t think of cost-savings as a key driver for moving to the cloud anyway, said Dreyer.

“Cloud offers a low cost of entry when provisioning new services, but that’s not the same as low total cost of ownership (TCO),” said Dreyer. “For the first two years a cloud solution can offer better economic value than trying to build it yourself, but over time it (evens out).”

Moving to the cloud isn’t really about cost, said Juusola. It’s about capabilities such as greater speed to market and flexibility as a business and an IT organization. He recommends starting with infrastructure as a service or platform as a service to start, as these tend to be less disruptive to the business.

The consumerization and bring-your-own-device trends play into mobility, and Juusola said burying your head in the sand on this front isn’t an option. Users will be using personal devices anyway, and ignoring the situation will be 24 per cent more costly than offering even limited support, according to Info-Tech’s research.

“People with titles that are beyond the standards are going to come to you for support, so you should really get out in front of it,” said Juusola.

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