The Future of the IT Department
By Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid Technologies
In 2020, there will most likely be fewer IT employees with different skills sets.
According to the 331 IT service management (ITSM) professionals who responded to the SysAid Future of IT Survey, the corporate IT department will shrink over the next five years. With nearly half of respondents (48%) expecting IT departments to contain fewer people, versus the 28.4% who expect growth in corporate IT team sizes.
And these potentially fewer IT employees will need new skills. With 83.7% of respondents seeing a need for IT professionals to learn new skills, versus the 12.6% who think that IT professionals will only need their current skills.
Why will there be fewer IT employees with new skill sets?
This anticipated drop in the number of IT department employees could relate to a number of changes in IT operations, including:
- Greater business unit responsibility for IT service delivery - whether formalized or a gradual erosion of IT department relevancy
- Increased use of cloud and other third-party service providers where it benefits the company as a whole
- Increased use of automation in the management of IT and IT service delivery.
The expected requirement for new skills could relate to new technical skills, including the management of new IT automation tools, but also the non-technical skills required to manage third-party suppliers and to better engage with the customers and consumers of IT services.
How will the consumerization of IT disrupt how companies deliver internal IT capabilities?
Firstly, the impact of consumerization and a need to focus on customer (or service) experience is inevitable. Only 5.4% of respondents think that consumerization won't affect how corporate IT organizations operate (and an additional 2.4% don't know what the consumerization of IT is).
Beyond this, the responses are across quite a wide spectrum of future thinking:
- A skeptical 24.2% think that organizations will invest in consumer-like capabilities such as service catalogs or IT portals but will still be driven by the technology. That they will potentially be driven by the sexy technology related to consumerization but either ignore, or lack the ability to understand, the true impact of consumerization on corporate IT and service delivery.
- A more positive 67.9% think that corporate IT organizations need to fundamentally change, with 35% thinking that IT departments and projects will be driven by user/customer needs and expectations rather than the technology. The remaining 32.9% think that the corporate IT department will need to reinvent itself to match employee expectations for consumer services and service.
Why do you talk of consumer services and service?
There's no doubt that, while the consumerization of IT has been putting pressure on corporate IT organizations for nearly a decade, consumerization is now about so much more than Shadow IT, BYOD, and personal cloud services.
Consumerization is about the overall service experience, when consuming IT services, as well as the technology employees and customers use. So corporate IT departments need to think beyond the addition of consumer-like IT services, they also need to meet the increased expectations of service.
What can IT departments do to improve the service experience?
For me, we firstly need to redefine how IT services and service delivery are viewed - in terms of customer rather than IT-centricity - and secondly how IT's success is measured. In our survey, the choice of incident and problem management by 1 in 5 respondents, plus those that called out service desk as an "Other" choice, potentially shows the siloed thinking and operations within IT organizations - pointing to IT support activities as being key in creating superior user experiences.
While the support experience is important, user experience is about so much more than support - and corporate IT organizations need to understand this if they are to truly meet employees' consumer-driven expectations around user and service experience. Whether it be through business relationship management (the top answer in the survey) or via another means, IT organizations need to invest in processes or activities that allow them to better understand, manage, and meet the expectations of their internal consumers/customers.