Time to show our value
In the good old days of IT, you could justify your salary by simply stating that: “I work in IT. As the illusion of IT being akin to alchemy dissipates, using the same line today is the equivalent of an accountant saying, I’m in paperwork.
The notion of IT needing to show business value is not a new one, but the structure of IT has yet to catch up. Not for much longer according to analyst group Gartner, which says that by 2010, IT professions will split into four domains of expertise: technology, information, process and relationship. This will mean, says Gartner, that upon being asked what they do, members of IT will say something like I spent two years helping design an Internet selling process that boosted revenue by 20 per cent.” Reflecting this adjustment of thinking is Gartner’s other prediction that within four years, six out of ten IT professionals will assume customer-facing roles. Diane Morello, vice president of research at Gartner sums up what will happen to IT staff. “Some will be bolstered, some will be carved up, some will be redistributed and some will be displaced. Ouch.
Basically, playtime is over. We might kick and scream and defend our position by stating we have been taught how to run IT, not sit in meetings, but it will not wash. Besides, the warnings have been plain for all to see. Remember when the helpdesk team were sent on customer service training courses in an attempt to empathise with users? Look back to the measures that have been brought in to try to show effectiveness of IT functions which have been rejected. We always knew that IT was going to have stop becoming a hobby and instead become an accountable part of the business. Perhaps we just thought that it wouldn’t be happening so soon.
As Morello says, it is time to start deciding where your skills will be best placed.
“IT professionals should decide now if they wish to remain in the realm of ‘pure technology’ or redirect themselves to new domains of expertise and develop practical experiences in industries, market segments and core business processes that would help them in that domain.”
If this is all too doom and gloom for you, remember that even within Gartner’s predictions, four out of ten jobs will be purely technical, welcome news to many of you no doubt. And of course, it is typical of analysts to paint an all-or-nothing view of the market. The reality will probably mean IT staff taking a more rounded view of their role, and most already do this. Therefore, do not try to fight the market forces, instead, use them to your advantage.