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The Future of Information Technology Organizations in the Cloud-Based Future

by Bill Harrison on June 16, 2011

3 minute read

Last week I was asked to speak at the University of Texas at a gathering of K-12 CIO’s from Texas school systems.  The event was sponsored by Apple and the theme was “Designing Mobile and Cloud Environments to Support Learning.”  Apple wanted to foster an open discussion among Information Technology (IT) professionals about the challenges of mobile device deployment in the education environment.I came away from the event with two conclusions.

  1. Users are Driving New Technology Adoption and IT Organizations are Struggling to Keep Up.  
    Back in the day, IT departments pushed the technology agenda.  IT was responsible for researching and discovering new ways to make organizations more efficient and IT controlled the technology acquisition and roll-out process.  Now, technology is moving so fast that IT organizations can’t keep up.
  2. IT Organizations Are Mostly Focused on Infrastructure Issues Since Application Purchases are Now Made by End-Users.  
    Gone are the days when IT controlled the application evaluation process.  Now users are driving application adoption and doing so at a pace that suits their needs, rather than at a pace that suits IT.

While I think these changes are mostly for the better, one can’t help but feel a little sorry for the IT professionals trying to keep up in this environment.A small town school district’s IT team told of their challenge to deploy 1,000 new iPads being purchased this summer with grant money.  The IT group had no resources for configuring and deploying these devices, no sound security policy around their use, no way to estimate the load they would place on existing network infrastructure, and no plan for what to do when devices are lost or broken.

And yet, fall will come and the 1,000 iPads will be deployed to students, whether the IT group is ready or not.  It’s a tough mandate when money is provided for the iPads but not for the resources to manage and support the iPads.  But this is the reality in both the education and corporate world these days.

With the proliferation of mobile devices and an aggressive move toward cloud-based infrastructure for application deployment, I predict the pace of change will only accelerate for  IT professionals in the coming years.

At this rate, what will the typical IT organization look like in 2016?