Digital transformation is changing everything about information technology, and even the business itself. As IT morphs from a back-office function, to a knowledge-worker enabler, to an all-encompassing, integrated part of every employee and most things in a company, the traditional IT staff’s role is changing rapidly.
Rather than functioning as a “keep-the-lights-on” department, successful IT teams are becoming core to business and technology strategy. They are helping their companies build a digital strategy—including internal IT capabilities, such as next-generation collaborative mobile environments; digital marketing strategies, such as the company’s online presence; and digital business strategies, or the integration of technology into products the company sells. That’s not an easy transition, particularly as most companies are having trouble finding people with the skillsets they need to execute on the new business-technology functions.
As a result, they must rely on their partners and trusted advisors to offload select IT functions, with flexible rollout schedules. Instead of running every IT capability, IT staff members will manage their partners, who in turn, will handle a variety of capabilities—from mobile device programming and management, to LAN/WAN management, to security capabilities, to application development. The demand for integrated, packaged service portfolios, with flexible, utility-based pricing will continue to grow in support of the changing IT environment.
In this changing environment, success in managing partners, as well as supporting the corporate digital strategy, requires different skillsets than typically exists in the traditional IT staff. The DNA of IT is changing to support new requirements, and 51.5% of IT leaders say they are having trouble finding the right people. Among those having trouble finding IT staff, 76.5% are shifting capital to operational spending and 60% are specifically moving to the cloud.
There always will be a need for technically savvy people within IT—just not as many as in the past. Many of those interested in running a technology platform will primarily transition to a service provider, cloud provider, or systems integrator in the coming years. The makeup of the IT staff will steadily shift to new or retrained people with different strengths and skillsets and backgrounds in business, marketing, and communications. For example, marketing expertise will help get the word out about new capabilities so employees actually use them and understand how new apps or technologies will make them more productive. Similarly, business leaders must incorporate technology into their products and services to maintain competitiveness; those with business and technology expertise—who also are good communicators—will be crucial in connecting the dots.
As IT leaders look toward the future, they want technologists who understand the business, along with any combination of expertise in contracts, specific industries, regulatory issues, and project management.
Indeed, the new-age business-technology professional is being pulled in different directions. IT leaders who emerge successful in this transformation must spend more time and energy on business-unit strategy developments, while still overseeing tactical technology functions. That’s where partners come in—along with integrated products and services that are easy to buy and implement.
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