A post from a Techrepublic forum:   Have we reached the end of the IT era? led me to this one from Dan Farber at ZDNet’s BTL  HP: IT as we know it is over.

Both of them are worth a read. Some of the signs mentioned in both blogs, I’ve seen in my last place of work.

 

In September of 2006, I was at a meeting which included folks from Alberta’s Post Secondary Institutions. The academic computing folks (mostly faculty in some respect or another) expressed the concern to the IT management folks that their computing departments are spending too much time in maintenance mode and they would like to see their analysts working with the academic folks to provide innovative solutions to their academic needs.

 At this same event, I had the opportunity to meet a retired, veteran CIO with thirty some years in the industry – mostly in academia. It was a non-smoking facility so  in the evening we sat outside on a park bench and smoked our cigars. He talked and I listened. At the time a lot of what he was sharing with me was a radical departure from the status quo most of our departments were in. Even so it was exciting and a breath of fresh air for me to hear these things.

Such as:

  • outsourcing the infrastructure: servers, network, help desk as commodities and utility services. This would free up our highly skilled technical people to work on tasks closer to the business needs. His question was this…do you generate your own electricity? And the answer: No – it’s a commodity you buy when you need it and as you need it. In his model, network infrastructure was a commodity like water and electricity.
  • outsourcing based on final outcome of the service – not on headcount, or completed calls to the help desk. Are vendors able to deliver this type of model? Are they even willing to?
  • collaboration among the various IT departments of the Post Secondary Institutions in the province. Even the country for that matter. Shared services – for a fee or in kind.

 Although he was positive in his crystal ball grazing, he also added that we were all doomed if we continued on the the path we were on. Here it is eight months or more later and I’m finding these thoughts in blogs from the big outfits.

Dean Owen

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