What will 2011 bring for I.T. managers?

So the holiday season is upon us, but the prevailing mood in the team at the moment is one of uncertainty, as major organisational change is on the way. Many people will be competing for just a few jobs early next year, and I’m encouraging as many people as possible to spend some time polishing up interview skills and getting their CVs in order.

It’s clear that for lots of people, in the public sector anyway, 2011 is set to be a year of significant change, as cost savings and efficiencies are sought. This is not great news, but one thing we know in the IT industry is that change is inevitable, and that it’s important to react to change in positive ways. Of course, there are likely to be opportunities too, and those people who can recognise them and take advantage may actually find themselves in a better position next year.

So what are likely to be the major shifts in the industry next year? My view, given what seems to be happening locally, is that efficiency is going to be on everyone’s agenda, and developments which support lower running costs will take precedence.

Centralisation of services is likely to continue, and I can see more organisations moving towards shared service arrangements. This is a relatively painless way of saving money, and there are many smaller organisations which cannot necessarily justify having a full in-house IT capability.

I suspect most organisations have already embraced virtualisation, but any that haven’t yet will no doubt take on this work next year. Virtualised infrastructures make a lot of financial sense, and it’s usually fairly easy to calculate a beneficial return on investment.

Green computing is another development which will get a boost next year; while not necessarily money-saving, there are carbon targets which will need to be achieved next year, and IT has a major part to play in this.

Another key development, I think, will be the expansion of employee self-service systems. Self-service is happening everywhere, and IT support is one clear area where, it could be argued, end users could do more themselves and reduce the amount of work on the Service Desk Team.

Sunrise have recently undertaken a major survey on self-service across the industry, and I will be helping with the analysis of the findings. From what I’ve seen so far, there are some very interesting issues coming out, and I shall be writing more about these in due course.

So what other developments do you think we’ll see next year? More people adopting open-source software? iPads replacing PCs & Laptops? Greater levels of outsourcing (or will organisations start bringing services back in house)? Will 2011 be the year that cloud computing really takes off? I’d be very interested to know what people think.

Whatever next year brings, let’s hope it’s a successful for one for all IT Insider readers!

Merry Christmas!