We see countless reports predicting the death of the CIO or IT manager role as IT becomes easier to manage and outsourcing continues to increase. It is a much-discussed topic and for many the IT manager will become a thing of the past.
IT decision makers we asked thought the role of IT manager would become obsolete in 10 years.
Yet even if an organisation is outsourcing IT, who decides which services are necessary and educates time-pressed employees on the systems they use every day?
Rapid industry change makes the role of the IT manager or CIO more important, not less. IT managers should therefore embrace change, not fight it.
Traditionally, IT managers see themselves as controlling all technology within their organisations – which becomes challenging when technology changes so quickly.
Decision makers can be on the back foot, reacting to new tech rather than promoting it. "Managing negative perceptions" rather than championing business benefits.
The message from lots of IT companies about trends such as BYOD and consumerisation is to invest in infrastructure.
That's helpful, but things are more complicated than that. The IT manager must become a steward of risk, instead of a systems control freak who wants to block access to Facebook or other non-work-specific applications.
It's all about adaptation. IT managers and directors must become technology advocates in their businesses, working out where business benefits and value might accrue. IT departments can almost act as internal consultants that more directly help their organisations innovate and improve their margins.
There is an important role for vendors too. All suppliers must work alongside IT managers to help them realign their role.
Reports of the IT manager's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Every business has individual needs and requires IT tailored to those requirements. No one is better placed to know and understand those specific needs and challenges than the IT manager.
Paul Bryce is business development director at Node4
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