news of IT's death is greatly exaggerated

© Can Stock Photo IncI'm not picking on Forrester, really I'm not, but they keep coming out with these Chicken ITle articles declaring the demise of something or other. Last time it was the service desk, [UPDATE: WRONG. Wrong. Wrong. Sorry no it wasn't Forrester last time, it was Gartner announcing the end of service desk. My apologies to Forrester]. now it is the whole danged IT department which apparently will be gone within seven years. Just like the previous article it is bollocks, and for the same reason: the article doesn't actually say what the sensationalist headline does.

It's not just Forrester either. Dan Jennings sent me this one where the IT department will apparently be gone within FIVE years. Do I hear three?

There are voices of sanity, such as 20th Century Fox's CIO,

"IT is more relevant today than we have ever been," said Herbert, adding that IT's importance grows as it frees itself from infrastructure management to concentrating on helping the business

and rightly so. The sky is not falling (I think that will be the title of book #9 after I finish my Slow IT book).

As Forrester actually say when you get past the attention-seeking headline, IT is not going away. It may change as increasing proportions of IT are outsourced.

But note that the data centres aren't all going away any time soon. Don't fall for that bollocks either. I took Jim Finister to task over this on the latest ITSM Weekly Rest Of The World podcast which I was a guest on when recorded at the SDI conference in Birmingham. The vendors try to create the impression that total outsourcing is a natural progression which will happen soon. It won't. It will be decades - if ever - before all organisations are totally outsourced. By then, who's to know where the fad cycle will be at? Insource, outsource. Sunrise, sunset. IT will be managing at least some legacy systems in many organisations for a long time to come.

Nevertheless there is a clear trend to increasing levels of outsourcing, especially commodity outsourcing, also known as Cloud and SaaS. This means we must tighten up on the management of service levels and of the suppliers, as well as closer supervision of regulatory and standards compliance.

There is also a trend to the decentralisation of IT, to businesses doing their own thing. This is of course a failure of the organisation to properly govern its IT, but it is a reality. That means IT's importance increases as a provider of policy, risk mitigation, and organisational protection of the core asset: the data.

The risks are rising and the governors are woefully ignorant of them. IT remains the last bastion for the protection of the existing IT investments and hence the viability of the organisation itself. We will also need to be the central clearing house of policy and expertise.

There is much talk of BYOD reducing the need for IT. This is silliness too: it will change the nature of support and create some savings in desktop services. But the personal digital experience is only the fizzy periphery of Real IT: it is only the access layer, the user interface, the desktop client. If that gets simpler for us the manage, great. But the impact on core systems and data will be trivial, even negative.

The last trend is the increasing importance of IT to organisations. Malcolm Fry was talking to me today about the ever higher profile of IT in the front-office functioning of commerce: apps, self-service, RFID etc... Smart-this and integrated-that. He's right. Anyone who thinks IT is going away when it is in fact increasingly mission-critical is blowing wind.

There seems to be a rising tide of these hysterical announcements of the demise of this or that in IT. The sky isn't falling. They are Chicken ITles. Ignore them. Keep calm and manage on.

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