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Ask Slashdot: What Will IT Departments Look Like In 5 Years? 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-know-IT-when-i-see-IT dept.
Lucas123 writes "As consumerization of IT and self-service trends becomes part and parcel of everyone's work in the enterprise, the corporate data center may be left behind and IT departments may be given over to business units as consultants and integrators. 'The business itself will be the IT department. [Technologists] will simply be the enabler,' said Brandon Porco, chief technologist & solutions architect at Northrop Grumman. Porco was part of a four-person panel of technologists who participated at a town hall-style meeting at the CITE Conference and Expo in San Francisco this week. The panel was united on the topic of the future of IT shops. Others said they are not sure how to address a growing generation gap between young and veteran workers, each of whom are comfortable with different technologies. Nathan McBride, vice president of IT & chief cloud architect at AMAG Pharmaceuticals, said he's often forced to deal with older IT workers coming on board who expect his company to support traditional email like Outlook when it uses Google Apps.' Sooner or later, IT departments are going to change. When do you think that will happen, and how will they be different?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Will IT Departments Look Like In 5 Years?

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  • The same (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thechemic (1329333) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:27PM (#43939189)
    We still support systems that are going on 30 years old. What's the big deal about 5 years from now? Is this question being asked by the same people that predicted flying cars would happen years ago?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Same as today. Headed by the clueless, aimlessly jumping from one bandwagon to the next, time/budget overruns in midless projects, always being kept busy, prevented from being productive.

    • Re:The same (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mlts (1038732) * on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:52PM (#43939499)

      Breaking it down:

      Server rooms will remain the same, except we might have aisles with a wider rack size from 19 inch to 21 inch or Facebook's OpenRack spec of 537mm. Of course, there will be metal adapters available so the existing 19 inch stuff can be racked in the wider racks.

      Companies don't change that much. IT will still be IT, and Dilbert will hold true.

      Some E-mail will move to Google. Most will still remain on Exchange due to momentum, regulations requiring physical location of sensitive data, and the fact that Exchange does work and work well, so it will remain in corporations until something better comes along.

      We will still be using AD or LDAP. Since most places have all their eggs in those baskets, it will be almost impossible for them to move to any other core authentication/authorization mechanism.

      We will be running the same certificate treadmills for Windows Server 2018 and Windows Server 2020 as we do for Windows Server 2012.

      There will be fewer discrete computers in the server room racks, as companies move to larger scale rack/blade farms. Plus, a blade/enclosure setup offers an advantage in the CPU/watt statistics.

      Technologies like autotiering will become similar to RAID 5 and 6 -- part of almost any disk controller, so one can have both SSD and spindles, and the controller will figure out where data goes by itself.

      All and all, IT won't change much. We will have newer and faster stuff occupying the racks, but it won't be a major jump like moving from machines with their own disk arrays to a centralized SAN like we did 5-6 years ago.

      • by swillden (191260)
        No movement to outsource the management of the machines to outside cloud services? That may or may not happen where you are, but there's a lot of it going on, and it invalidates much of your list.
        • by FaxeTheCat (1394763) on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:12PM (#43939693)
          There is probably a lot going on in the SMB area. Where I work, that kind of thing is not even discussed.
          I it comes up, two words are uttered: Data security. End of discussion.
          • by lgw (121541)

            For the next 5 years, that might end the discussion, but not always. Data security is compatible with the "the cloud", it just takes some work. The only company I know of that was even trying in that space was Iron Mountain, but their digital business wasn't doing so well and they dumped it.

            The key realization is: for most companies "adequate data security" is ultimately measured by whether the auditors are satisfied as to regulatory compliance. Iron Mountain had a good track record of convincing auditor

          • two words are uttered: Data security.

            Five words are uttered: how much will that cost?

            A number is uttered. It's a large number.

            Six words are uttered: Nobody would bother to hack us.

            That's the end of the discussion.

            • That's the end of the discussion.

              Wrong. I work in the security field. Now that CIOs and CEOs are starting to lose their jobs because of breaches, attention is being paid to security.

        • Re:The same (Score:5, Insightful)

          by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:19PM (#43939781)

          No movement to outsource the management of the machines to outside cloud services?

          Of course there will be.

          And there will be the opposite where things that were moved "to the cloud" are being brought "in house".

          It's the beautiful cycle of IT.
          Outsource to save money.
          Insource to provide reliability/accountability.
          Repeat.

          That may or may not happen where you are, but there's a lot of it going on, and it invalidates much of your list.

          It depends upon which part of the cycle the company is on.

          Remember that CIO's do not get credit for "maintaining the status quo". They have to identify and "fix" a "problem".

          Accounting servers are expensive and techs to maintain them cost too much. Move it all to the vendor's "cloud".

          Can't write paychecks because someone is DDOS'ing that vendor or the ISP flooded or a backhoe cut the fiber? Better bring it in house.

          • Re:The same (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 07, 2013 @04:07PM (#43940779)


            It's the beautiful cycle of IT.
            Outsource to save money.
            Insource to provide reliability/accountability.
            Repeat.

            Often the case, but I expect that in a few years we will in-sourcing to save money and provide reliability/accountability.

            My company is in the process of outsourcing our data centers. We have already out-sourced our help desk support. Unfortunately, the help desk personnel are reviewed based on how many tickets they close rather than how well they actually resolve the tickets. They now do things like work the ticket for a few minutes then immediately send it to second or third level support. They are fairly incompetent when it comes to figuring things out so their escalation rate is much higher. In the case of my departmental sub-group, outsourcing our support will delay the initial call but we will eventually get it anyway. So the customer gets delayed and by the time it rolls around to my queue, they are already upset about the delay.

            From a cost standpoint it doesn't make any sense either. As it is now, we don't bill out individual support to internal customers. We use logged hours as a proxy for actual costs (no chargebacks are in place) thus employee hours are free as far as cost of support is concerned (we are all salaried). When those initial bills come in for the support from the outsource firm, the company will be in for a huge surprise.

            The company went through an outsourcing preparation exercise a while back. We were instructed to log everything, no matter how minor, so that proper metrics about help desk utilization could be calculated. The contract was based on the number of calls expected. If everything worked right, then the numbers would be spot on and the help desk requirements would match up. Then the next year rolls around. The contract is based on us providing a certain number of calls otherwise another paragraph kicked in that raised the per-incident cost. This was justified by the outsource firm because they said they would still need to pay technicians and it would end up costing them money if they over-committed resources. The only problem is that our call volume had been steadily decreasing over the years. This was because we continually improved our processes and eliminated many of the reasons for calls (e.g., automatic filesystems cleanups, self-reset of IDs via a password reset webpage, better monitoring). In the long run the outsource firm costs will double what we would have paid if we had kept it internal.

            It is a joke and is what happens when the decision makers think in terms of short-term stock price.

        • Re:The same (Score:5, Interesting)

          by David_Hart (1184661) on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:22PM (#43939809)

          No movement to outsource the management of the machines to outside cloud services? That may or may not happen where you are, but there's a lot of it going on, and it invalidates much of your list.

          Your statement is a tad Naive. Do you truly think that the majority of services are going to the cloud? Only an idiot would trust the cloud with their corporate crown jewels. My opinion is that most companies will end up with a mix of services. But... Hey... What's new?

          Where I work we are building our own internal cloud services, not outsourcing. Part of that may have to do with the fact that we are a large Biotech company and have various regulations that we have to comply with. Most cloud services, in my opinion, are being used by small to mid-size companies who do not have the economies of scale to run an IT department. Most large companies will use some cloud services but it's highly unlikely that they will trust cloud services with their crown jewels.

          The point is that there will be a mixture of services that will need to be supported by IT....

          • by asliarun (636603)

            No movement to outsource the management of the machines to outside cloud services? That may or may not happen where you are, but there's a lot of it going on, and it invalidates much of your list.

            Your statement is a tad Naive. Do you truly think that the majority of services are going to the cloud? Only an idiot would trust the cloud with their corporate crown jewels. My opinion is that most companies will end up with a mix of services. But... Hey... What's new?

            Where I work we are building our own internal cloud services, not outsourcing. Part of that may have to do with the fact that we are a large Biotech company and have various regulations that we have to comply with. Most cloud services, in my opinion, are being used by small to mid-size companies who do not have the economies of scale to run an IT department. Most large companies will use some cloud services but it's highly unlikely that they will trust cloud services with their crown jewels.

            The point is that there will be a mixture of services that will need to be supported by IT....

            I used to think so too, but don't any more. Look at Salesforce.com. If most of Fortune 500 companies are willing to trust their front-end business - i.e. sales - i.e. the stuff that brings in money and runs the rest of the company - to Salesforce.com, I'm not sure why they would have an issue with other data that is piddly in comparison.

            The *real* reason why the entire IT backend has not gone the cloud way is simply that other cloud based providers have not been able to create a platform like Salesforce. A

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              So who does Salesforce outsource to?
              At some point there has to be servers in racks, it can't be cloud all the way down.

              IT today is about configuration management, deployment and managing virtual and real infrastructure, scripting automation etc. You just described my day.

              • by asliarun (636603)

                So who does Salesforce outsource to?
                At some point there has to be servers in racks, it can't be cloud all the way down.

                IT today is about configuration management, deployment and managing virtual and real infrastructure, scripting automation etc. You just described my day.

                Oh, absolutely. I was only referring to IT departments in large and medium sized companies.

                To put it another way, I was trying to say that these corporate IT departments will start looking more and more like the IT departments in dotcoms.

                • by h4rr4r (612664)

                  Many IT depts never left those days.
                  I could never work in one of those stuffy places. Too much use of the F-Bomb I suspect. That and a hatred of red tape.

            • Where I work we are building our own internal cloud services

              I had loads of problems with internal clouds. Bicarbonate, plenty of bicarbonate, that's the ticket.

          • you're laboring under the misconception that anyone who matters still competes and still takes risks. The 1% own 40% of everything, and they're working on the other 60%. So what if Company A steals from Company B if the Koch Brothers own both of them?
        • by sjames (1099)

          That's because he knows that by then, the cloud fad will be replaced with the insource fad. Don't wrooy, soon after we'll have 'the cloud' again, it'll just have a shiney new name.

        • by Junta (36770)

          And it can come back just as quickly and easily. I'll use AWS as a shortcut because I'm lazy and it is representative of the wider market.

          For smaller businesses, AWS does have economies of scale that ease significant portions of the cost. These businesses mostly have quite fragile IT services and moving them to AWS in a naive way is no big loss. With a marginal amount of skill, they can even gain some significant gain in robustness due to ease of getting instances in distinct availability zones. They st

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Server rooms will look pretty much the same, but they'll be larger, serve multiple companies, and only the smallest companies will have their own machines onsite.

        IT will still be IT, except experience will be hard to come by (and expensive) and Dilbert will have a 3rd world accent.

        Exchange in "the cloud". All the disadvantages of Exchange plus all the disadvantages of internet-based services, plus all the disadvantages of offshore admin.

        A/D in the cloud. See above. Three weeks to get someone added to an

        • by roc97007 (608802)

          Oh, and the first large internet infrastructure outage will prevent a large number of companies from doing business, even internally, even companies who don't depend on a web presence to do business. People who question the logic of this setup will be banished to the basement and their red stapler taken away. At the second large internet infrastructure outage, the same thing will happen. And the third.

      • and it works _very_ well there. So much so that an $8/hr "IT" rep can admin it just fine. Especially when his wages have been plummeting for 30 years. AD & LDAP are 1000x more reliable than in the WinNT days and most companies don't need a full time tech anymore. Those large scale racks mean economies of scale and fewer employees needed to manage it all.

        Basically, IT's changing a lot. As the hardware/software gets better It's going away.
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Actually IT has changed a lot from the past. When I started my first job was in IT we worked closely with the users and made sure their needs were met. Today though the IT group at anything but a very tiny company feels very insular, they tell the users how things will be instead asking what they want, and in some cases IT is even outsourced altogether.

        It was a massive shift in computing style too, going from a shared mini or mainframe resource, and IT was managing all the grunt work necessary to keep the

    • by Viol8 (599362) on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:09PM (#43939649)

      Not so much if you're somewhat older and you've seen the IT wheel turn more than a few times and come back to where it started.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        This.
        Today we are all going back to virtual desktops and in 5-10 people will want real desktops, then back again. The wheel keeps on turning.

      • by manu0601 (2221348)
        True. When looking back 5 years, I see migration to gigabit, virtualization and much more CMS usage. Not big game changers.
    • Was this inane question posed by Bennett Haselton [slashdot.org]?
    • Re:The same (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ElVee (208723) <elvee61@NOspAM.gmail.com> on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:46PM (#43940067)

      We're still running COBOL code from the 70's. Probably 600k lines of it all told, which is down from over a million lines around Y2K. It's all boring financial stuff, but utterly essential.

      I'm a greyhair now, but I was in junior high school when this system first went online. The names at the top of the change log have been dead and buried for 20+ years. The names in the middle retired right after Y2k. The names at the bottom are all 55+ years old. COBOL coders are worth their weight in gold these days, but getting any to stick around for more than a year has been difficult. COBOL contractors can ALWAYS make substantially more money somewhere else.

      The cost to analyze the codebase and build a replacement will cost a frikkin' huge fortune. Thus, I suspect the company will continue to run this same code long after my name has moved to the top of the change log and I've been archived on that big DASD in the sky.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      This is probably by the same people who are saying now that remote IT workers "work better" when they're brought back into the office. Notice the trend lately to reduce remote IT folks? These are the same people responsible for the open-room work environments which are oh-so disruptive to deep concentration. They're the same business people who hate having IT be able to say "no" and think that IT is full of a bunch of lazy do-nothings with entitlement and personality problems. They're the fools who think it

    • Programmer time is getting cheaper than maintaining the expensive mainframes those apps run on. Meanwhile remote assistance tools work. Best Buy used to have 30 guys on staff per store for geek squad. Now it's 3. 2 guys to plug computers in so the offshore guys can fix it and one guy to drive around picking up and dropping off fixed computers in his snazzy Geek Squad VW beetle. I know so many techs who always told themselves: If all else fails I can work at Geek Squad. Well... you can't.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      People who come together to have round table discussions about where business is going generally know nothing at all about business other than how to cash their paychecks.

  • Turtles (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ukab the Great (87152) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:28PM (#43939213)

    all the way down.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:33PM (#43939269)

    There are IT departments and there are IT departments.

    The 'pretend' IT departments that shouldn't have existed in the first place and are all caught up in the 'cloud' and 'trends' will become something new because they never should have existed in the first place.

    The 'real' IT departments will carry on lifting the heavy loads and making data work, as they have been since the days of COBOL and punched cards.

    From the way young pups talk you'd think computers were just invented in the last 5 years.

    Now get off of my cloud.

  • by jeauxkewl (1465425) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:35PM (#43939305)
    ... is new again. I've been centralized and decentralized multiple times. I swear, some people make a good living pushing the beans back and forth across the table and declaring victory. There will always be economies of scale for centralization of shared services and there will always be techies with some level of intimacy with the business to support their applications and communicate requirements. The fact that self-service IT continues to grow simply reinforces the need for champions/advocates at the business level that help requesters pick and choose their products from a service catalog. At the end of the day, Joe User couldn't care less where his services reside.
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:58PM (#43939537)

      ... is new again. I've been centralized and decentralized multiple times.

      This.

      I once worked for a big company where all the bottom-rung departments were buying PCs and writing software to automate their work, while top-rung management was building a palace to house the new super-sized mainframe that was going to do everything for everyone. (And everyone was going to like it, whether they like it or not.)

      I swear, some people make a good living pushing the beans back and forth across the table and declaring victory.

      Ah, I always wondered what the B in MBA stood for.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        This is the trick. Users want discrete computers (PCs, tablets, etc) so they can have enough control to get their work done. Management wants everything centralized so they know what everyone's doing and have control over them (frequently control they don't need.). The mainframe is a (still living) nightmare of usability , cost, and lock-in, although with Linux now available it's getting better in the usability department. 'Head office' will continue to try an control how people get their work done, but in

        • 'Head office' will continue to try an control how people get their work done

          I suspect that that extends far beyond the use of computing devices.

  • Shattered (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdmV0rl0n (98366) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:37PM (#43939327) Homepage Journal

    IT is already being shattered. But don't assume this is a good thing. All thats actually happening is massive damage, loss of control, and data being islanded. Whole departments and even orgs will spin out and data spiral arms will spin out.

    The primary old school reasons for IT departments - these still exist. You might well think regulation, and compliance have simply gone away. They haven't, they just got forgotten.

    One thing being forgotten, is that IT has always been capable of game changing. Always. But what you find is this is usually killed by lack of funding, and by severe red tape. The idea that end around onto the nearest cloud makes you fast moving - is true. But its also usually arbitrary, and outside of operational agreement in many cases.

    People assuming that everyone on BYOD and every device under the sum being an out of control compromised, un policied device as a good thing. It will be, for a short time. Until the damage happens.

    As for older techs who don't or cant stay up to speed - whats new? Thats not a new IT problem. Thats ever present. Part of the idea of google docs is that to a greater degree - you don't need IT..(at least thats the theory... )

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      Data islands doesn't have to mean loss of control. When you have different regulations and compliance requirements, it's actually a good thing. It makes also makes it easier to change technologies, process, procedures, etc, for one area of business data without the normal 'everything or nothing, meaning nothing' change processes that most IT shops are famous for.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      I think we'll actually move close to the past here in another 5 years. I see a lot of this love affair with cloud services dropping off after it finally sinks in just how expensive it can be for the companies. Everything is a cycle, and IT is no different. Our technologies change (or sometimes just the names), but the need is always there. Until SkyNet anyway.

    • by tqk (413719)

      As for older techs who don't or cant stay up to speed - whats new?

      You know that's a stereotype? How's about we wonder about green fresh out of school techs who believe email is obsolete tech and Facebook & Twitter are the bleeding edge? There's plenty of very long in the tooth tech out there that's never worked better, and there's a lot of new guys who think email's just that thing that fills itself with spam and malware; wouldn't use it if a wolverine was gnawing off their leg. Laptops/Desktops vs. smartphones?

    • They tend to get people for the panels who think in a similar fashion. The 1 person who organizes the speakers can easily fail to find or even recognize the full range of diversity of experts - plus they have to actually show up. Some will go into a herd mentality on topics that they don't feel as strongly about VS the credentials of the others.

      To the MBAs running business, IT is a resented burden that adds OVERHEAD. This opinion is near universal at this point. The building janitors are in the same boat b

    • I don’t shop online, because I don’t own a computer. My belief is they haven’t completed inventing computers yet. Why? Because they don’t work. If they worked, not every business in the world would have a department to fix them. They don’t have a department to fix pencils. - Fran Lebowitz
  • by intermodal (534361) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:38PM (#43939347) Homepage Journal

    that the terminology will change again? that happens every several years anyway, more or less.

  • by houbou (1097327) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:44PM (#43939407) Journal
    A company whose IT is run in silos usually end up paying more for less. That being said, IT should become a service unto itself. Small and Medium size companies should be able to get third parties into an agreement. I think that this makes more sense. Even when it comes down to matters of security, these companies can ensure they get a properly bonded and vetted IT support team as a third party via contract.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      Hell, just the competition would be a good thing. IT organizations are supposed to be service organizations, but very, very few actually act like one.

      • by alen (225700)

        that's because the user base doesn't like the answer. they just want a yes man and someone to blame when things go wrong with their app or what ever they want to bring into the environment. or they want someone to spend days customizing something just for their OCD personality

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        That is only part of it. They are also responsible for lots of stuff you don't like. Like compliance with regulation and sometimes that means telling the customer no.

        No, you can't bring your infected POS laptop in running XP and no updates or anti-virus and plug into the network. When they say that you forget the service is to all the users, not just to you.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          As a service organization, we shouldn't say "No", we should say "No, you can't because of X, but we can do Y to meet your needs". Just saying "No" pisses people off and makes them work around you, and they will work around IT as they have responsibilities in their jobs as well and they see IT as getting in their way, which really, we are.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Go price out that stuff with real SLAs and see what you find. At that point we found real employees you can fire are cheaper.

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        And as long as you don't take the piss and pay them fairly) will go beyond the call in emergencies - with a third party you get what you pay for "oh right you want a word changing there that will be 2000 and we can fit you in in the next sprint in say 3 weeks time".
  • by alen (225700) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:48PM (#43939461)

    that i have been doing it
    we still have servers, we still have data centers. we still have people trying to take our data and processes and lock it up for themselves. except now its called "the cloud"

    in the 1990's we had application service providers that rented out virtual desktops in the days of $2000 desktop PC's. these failed and they were ebaying their EMC and Cisco gear for years.
    now we have "the cloud" which does pretty much the same thing. the cloud is awesome for smaller companies like this AMAG company with only 189 people. large companies still have servers and data centers. I don't know where it is but at some point in your employee count it makes sense to run your own infrastructure rather than rent it out. the cloud and renting can actually be a lot more expensive than buying your own hardware which is fairly cheap.

    google apps are nice but Exchange does things that gmail cannot do

    • by lgw (121541)

      the cloud is awesome for smaller companies like this

      I expect that large companies will be "in the cloud" for email etc when today's mid-sized companies who are moving to the cloud become large companies. If you've never had a backend IT staff, why would you start?

      the cloud and renting can actually be a lot more expensive than buying your own hardware which is fairly cheap.

      I think for a lot of larger companies it's a question between the monthly cost to have EDS (or some other big contractor) manage their email servers vs the monthly cost for the cloud. The obvious answer is competing bids.

      google apps are nice but Exchange does things that gmail cannot do

      Outlook.com is pretty close to Exchange from an end-users perspective - point

  • by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:49PM (#43939475)
    The technology will change but I don't see the administrator changing. Just like modern code monkeys mirror there counter parts from 30 years ago, modern day administrators mirrors the old guys who started networking. The system doesn't change, the technology does.
  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:49PM (#43939481)

    This isn't nearly as complicated as the self-interested "consultants" are making it out to be. Strip away the marketdroid-speak and the cloud-hype verbiage, and all it's really saying is that IT will have to pay more attention to actual business needs. Anyone with their eyes open has already known that for years.

    Yes, the stereotypical BOFH doesn't have much of a future. Good riddance. In fact, BOFHs are already almost extinct, because they don't add much value to the business. Successful companies work with IT to find ways that IT resources can be used to make the company better and more productive, rather than having IT as a roadblock or setting them up as the "computer janitors". You don't really need an expensive consultant to tell you any of this (though in poorly-run companies, you might need one to get the management to listen).

    • ...all it's really saying is that IT will have to pay more attention to actual business needs. Anyone with their eyes open has already known that for years.

      It's always been the case. There was just a period when computers themselves were just so overhyped that people treated them as something more than "a means to serve business needs."

      Yes, the stereotypical BOFH doesn't have much of a future.

      Depends. Do you mean "computer janitors"? Then yes, there is a future. People make the mistake of thinking, "Oh, you use Google Apps and then you don't need IT people because you don't have servers." Wrong. You've substituted one problem for another. You don't need a computer janitor watching over your internal server an

    • by swb (14022)

      ...and all it's really saying is that IT will have to pay more attention to actual business needs.

      This gripe has been made about IT since the mainframe age. System outages, deleted files, disk quotas, delayed reports, no card decks, not loading my tape -- just switch the technology to whatever is current, and the same complaints will be made about IT.

      The reverse complaints are made both about the business "leaders" and the end users.

      End user complaints are usually just that -- complaints. Some are quali

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      If IT had a budget it would not be the roadblock. No I can't setup another site for you, since you won't pay for more tapes/storage/whatever and you will bitch when I don't have backups.

      It has been that way forever.

  • by trims (10010) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:50PM (#43939483) Homepage

    Large corporate environments chance at a glacial speed. If anything, they merely add, never subtract - the proportion of Fortune 1000 companies which have mission-critical mainframes is close to 100%, as it has been for the past 50 years. Similarly, pretty much all of them still have a VAX or AS/400 similar mini-computer running something critical. The waves of consultant-pushed fads wash over these institutions with virtually no effect. They all run small "incubator" tech-evalutation groups so they can sort out which of the new tech is likely to produce useful ROI, but the actual adoption rates of these new techs is very slow.

    Mid-sized companies are pretty similar, though they're a bit more aggressive with dumping older technology. They don't generally replace it with cutting edge stuff, though, since that's a huge risk they don't want to take. Pretty much every "tech upgrade" I've ever seen in this space is replacing a 30-year-old setup with a design which first showed up a decade before. Mid-sized companies go for solidly-proven tech.

    Little companies are where the most change happens, for the good and bad. The bad side is that many small companies don't have the expertise to handle the adoption of new processes and tech properly, and thus screw it all up, and then kill the company. I've seen this happen at both small tech AND non-tech companies, where an insufficiently funded/staffed/knowledgable IT "department" killed the company. Literally. The good is that small companies are where the experimentation happens, and, particularly in tech-oriented ones, it's where the next wave of computing is really prototyped then refined.

    The general answer to the article is that any sane company's IT department will look 90% identical to what it is now in 10 years, and even in 50 years will almost certainly still be at least 50% identical. For those able to handle the risk, things will chance on a decade-by-decade basis; but, the reality is, those companies will either have died or turned into mature (and risk adverse) companies by then. So, while the small company space is a place of rapid change in IT, at a specific company, a period of rapid evolution will be followed either by death of the company, or evolution to the long-term stability type.

    The short of it is: NEVER trust a consultant trying to predict the future for you. Particularly if they're extrapolating on "new" tech.

    • Similarly, pretty much all of them still have a VAX or AS/400 similar mini-computer running something critical

      I'm a developer, not an administrator, so I know little of these early '80s mini-computers of which you speak. However, their continued use is kind of interesting to me. Is it difficult to fix or replace these machines if they break? And if so, would it be possible/useful for a vendor to port these legacy OSes to run in a virtual machine on today's commodity hardware? Obviously such a port would b

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        you know that the latest big iron from IBM is still compatible going back to the 60's :-)
    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      "The short of it is: NEVER trust a consultant trying to predict the future for you. Particularly if they're extrapolating on "new" tech."

      I think it's a good idea to never trust ANYONE trying to predict the future for you. It doesn't matter if they're paid consultants or in-house IT monkeys or Miss Cleo herself.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:54PM (#43939515)

    noticed it around 2004. that year IM was hyped like crazy in the Enterprise tech media. it was going to replace email. dozens of IM products were released that year. come next year no one cared about it.

    the cloud thing seems to have lasted longer but no one seems to know exactly what it is. at first the public cloud was going kill corporate IT and everyone was going to outsource everything for a low monthly payment. the next year people figured out it was BS so they made up the private cloud label. suddenly every server in your datacenter is part of this cloud thingy. services are provisioned magically and no need to worry about lack of CPU/RAM or IO. you just provision as you need.

    now its BYOD. some companies will emrace it, others won't. depends on the organization and the line of business.

    but ignore the hype in the media. it changes every year depending on what is being shown at the trade shows

  • More Warehouses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuilAmhain (2819677) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:55PM (#43939521)

    more centralised management of everything.

    Why have three DBAs managing a single database when you can have 10 managing a 1,000?

    Managed print services, Office online, more or less disposable laptops, cloud email, cloud active directory services etc.. etc...

    There are too many people doing the jobs only a few are really needed for.
    I think this centralisation will be bloody unfortunate for most of us.

  • by StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:59PM (#43939543)

    Standardization and merger/monopoly are happening in IT and in business.

    How many products do you see that do everything. We have a forms package that does work flow and web design, a document program that does workflow and web design, we have a messaging layer that does work flow and web design. Each trying to capture the entire business. We see it with hamburger chains and doughnut sellers going after Startbuck's market. Now we see McDonalds going after Dairy Queens market and big box discount stores going after the Grocery chain market.

    Everyone wants to be a one stop shop. Companies are getting there by buying up smaller companies and over and over.

    The problem is the actual software developers will have fewer and fewer jobs for real development with few and fewer companies providing software.

    Already our company is into buying packages and thinking they can save money by plugging everything together instead of targeted custom development.

    The IT people of the future (if this trend continues) will be glorified plumbers. A few developers will make the design decision we will all have to live with.

    Unless of course we start to recognize that this may not be the most cost effective way to do things, or that this dumbing down of jobs is bad overall for the society and we might see some anti-trust going on with breaking up of the swelling blobs of companies and packages and a new leaner meaner model emerging.

        Who knows?

    • Everyone wants to be a one stop shop. Companies are getting there by buying up smaller companies and over and over.

      And it's a bit of a cycle. People want to be a one-stop shop because it's more efficient to use economies of scale. Sooner or later we'll find that those companies are inefficient and doing a bad job because their attention is too divided, and we'll start favoring companies that do just one thing, and do it well.

      The IT people of the future (if this trend continues) will be glorified plumbers.

      We're already there, but without the glory. Hell, I bet plumbers get more respect.

  • by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:10PM (#43939655)

    What will the IT department look like in five years?

    Well, there's going to be the guy with the beard and suspenders, and the guy with the "wacky" sense of humor, and they may be the same guy. Then you're going to have the angry guy who seems to know how to do only one thing, but it's something way important, and he does it incredibly well. Then there's the woman who stares at you blankly whenever you talk to her, but seems to have absorbed what you were trying to say anyhow. You will also have the really smart guy who can't seem to get any aspect of his life together, but seems to know everything about everything if you need to ask him anything. There's going to be the very stylish and personable guy who calls you "broham", and it's going to drive you nuts when it turns out he's pretty good at his job, because no fair, right? And the very nice person who can't figure out how to work the badge reader, nevermind anything he's supposed to be working on, but everyone likes him anyway. There's also going to be a kid fresh out of college who's sure she knows how everything works, and will break everything at least once trying to prove it, usually when your users are busiest. You will send her out to look for a wireless cable tester at least once, and then tell her it's an app she can download, she should search for it on google. Then there's the guy who never seems to be at his desk, never answers the phone and is never available in IM, but all his tickets get resolved with no follow up customer complaints. And there's also the woman who will do whatever a customer wants, no matter how stupid, and everyone hates her. Plus, everyone will fly jet-packs to work.

  • Because not for anything if you want to use Outlook to get you gmail it's simple as gmail does IMAP! The horrors! Pretty easy to setup on my phone too. And I'm an older I.T. worker.
    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      Unless of course the admins have turned IMAP support off. You can do that, you know.

      My reason for wanting a "real" e-mail client is simple: I want local copies of e-mail that aren't subject to corporate deletion policies and that won't be subject to going away if the company decides to change e-mail providers. If it's HR stuff related to my job, I do not want it to disappear until at least 7 years after I've left that job. If it's stuff like project requirements and the discussion that led to them, I want i

      • by kilodelta (843627)
        Anywhere I've ever been I left IMAP and POP3 on. That way users can choose whatever they like.
  • Expect to rent most of your software just like you pay for Netflix. Rents might be low, but you'll pay.

    And expect surveillance as a service too. Interestingly, everyone used to think I was a conspiracy nut when when I told them this.

    I hate being right.

  • Come on (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:27PM (#43939879)

    It will look exactly like they do today.

    I walked by our IT department today and it looked exactly like they did 15 years ago at any company I worked at. A bunch of open PC's with parts and wires dangling out of them, a bunch of server racks in the never ending process of being upgraded, a bunch of obsolete parts strewn over shelves and desks, boxes of wires old keyboards and mice in the corner, old monitors and brick thick laptops that once cost a fortune now collecting dust because nobody knows how to get rid of them.

    The actual server room is a way too cold room filled with racks of mismatched components from HP and Dell and homegrown solutions humming noisily away, the acrid smell of ozone and general neglect filling the air.

    The eclectic collection of socially challenged uber-nerds that usually fill IT department staff, walking around with whatever phone was released just last week and squirreling all the best workstation tech for themselves..

    You can walk into any "enterprise" IT department and see the exact same thing, over and over and over again.

    All the "cloud" has done for the world is given consumers a place to store pictures of their cat's and access to music they would have otherwise (or already have) stolen. It has allowed people with a guilty conscience to stream movies and TV shows on demand for a low monthly fee.

    For enterprise, Cloud is just another buzzword that IT managers love to throw around but the non-IT corporate execs will never let their company's intellectual property reside on some external 3rd party storage server.

    All that will change is that in 5 years that room full of shitty server components will be called the "cloud" room, and no longer the "server" room us ol' timers call it. Every enterprise will try and build their own local "cloud" to try and remain hip to the lingo of the era.

    Of course in 5 years nobody will use the terminology "Cloud" anymore. Either it will become Cloud 2.0 or Web Infinity or some kind of shit like that.

    But the IT department will remain steadfast and unchanged.

    • by shallot (172865)

      It will look exactly like they do today.

      [...]

      All the "cloud" has done for the world is given consumers a place to store pictures of their cat's and access to music they would have otherwise (or already have) stolen. [...]

      Also, in 15 years, people will still be pissing off Bob the Angry Flower [lmgtfy.com]. :)

  • In 5 years: What's an IT department?

  • Now, add 5 years of mold growth to the cioffee pot and you've got it.

  • by jandersen (462034) on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:52PM (#43940131)

    At the moment it seems to me that many companies are moving things into the cloud, and often the traditional IT department is outsourced at the same time - or perhaps a little bit later. So, in 5 years a lot of IT departments will look rather empty.

    The reason behind this is that the idea about putting things in the cloud looks compelling, since it promises things like savings and convenience. And the outsourcing will happen, because once your stuff is in the cloud, it will be administered remotely anyway, using tools like Chef or Puppet, so they might as well save on expensive on-shore staff.

    This strategy may well backfire, though. When you outsource, you may be giving away your core assets - your data - to an unknown entity, in the hope that a contract will be all that is required to make it work. To me it looks a bit like winging it on a prayer.

    I am not trying to spread unreasonable FUD here, but there are some real issues that should be thought through by those in charge. Regrettably, even quite clever people somehow tend to distrust the persons they know well, while being perfectly willing to trust a complete stranger.

  • I don't know that they will look that different in five years. In ten years or so I think IT departments might not exist at all. The networking types will be in the maintenance department. Other departments will have their own "analysts", or whatever, who will handle the more intricate data integration issues. Software and storage will be leased and will be offsite. Custom programming, as we traditionally understand it, will be practically unheard of. Any special apps will be created by the aforementio

  • by neurogeneticist (1631367) on Friday June 07, 2013 @03:00PM (#43940201)
    Linux on every desktop.
  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Friday June 07, 2013 @03:20PM (#43940381) Homepage Journal

    I spent 15 years being the IT staff for a small marketing company. Last November they decided to save a ton of money and outsource IT, which is working ok for them. They have some issues which will now never be resolved (like form letters with wrong contact names hard-coded into them), but on the whole they can work with the slowly self-crippling mess they have. It's worth the hassle for the savings, and the cheaper, outsourcing people will at least keep it running.

    For them, it's all about money... and they aren't unique by any stretch. The days of the small IT shop, or the lone IT guy are fast coming to an end. Microsoft's push to kill the PC (aka Windows 8) isn't helping matters either.

    I'll probably end up doing something in manufacturing or agriculture instead of IT now. It'll be fun and interesting, I'm sure.

  • ... on your business model. If your knowledge and business rules are encoded within enterprise apps and they are core competencies, you will probably opt to keep some IT infrastructure to yourself. On the other hand, if its all standard process stuff, why not outsource it?

    If you derive some strategic advantage over your competition from your processes, you will want to keep those close to your management chain. If your processes are standard things like payroll, a public web page, etc. then you derive lit

  • There won't be many in-house IT teams, anymore. You'll have a few severely overworked, stressed "DevOps" guys that do everything from printer maintenance to screaming at the cloud vendors, but no real in-house infrastructure.

  • As consumerization of IT and self-service trends becomes part and parcel of everyone's work in the enterprise

    This is stated as if it's an axiom. I'm not going to opine on whether it's true or not, since I'm not sure what the blinking heck it's supposed to mean.

    But the whole article falls flat on its arse if its major premise turns out to be a load of old bollocks, don't you think?

  • Clueless bean counters and/or middle manglers will assume that if it costs less, it must be better.

    Until of course, their business trails off, the finger pointing starts, the company re-orgs to bury the bodies, everyone runs for the exits and the bankruptcy lawyers start rising from their graves, searching desperately for brains.... and finding none.

  • A real apprenticeship system or PHD needed for level 1 help desk.

  • Same as today: Actively considering every method that could be an alternative to providing IT support by hiring intelligent, well-educated and well-informed people. Because that would be unthinkable.
    I don't think the business will be its own IT department. I do know that we in the business are today already hiring our own consultants to provide the IT support that we actually need.
  • by bongey (974911)
    A department of the NSA.
  • Management: IT is expensive - we can save money by OUTsourcing.
    5 years later...

    Management: IT is expensive - we can save money by INsourcing.
    5 years later, Go to line 1 ...

    Those of us who've been in IT for a while have seen this cycle through a few times.

    After much reflection, I conclude that there is no such thing as competent management.

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