I was in a meeting last week where people were talking about the evolution of what we now call IT. At the start it was called Data Processing, then it evolved into Management Information System (MIS) and now we call it Information Technology (IT) or Information Management (IM). I would like to raise the question that none of these names accurately reflect what the professionals in IT do or what we were talking about as the nature of the modern high performing IT organization.
Information and technology have become ubiquitous in the organization, its processes, its management practices etc. They are like water, everywhere, connecting everything and an essential basic element of the modern corporation. Mobility, consumerization, social media and the like are destroying the walls between the business, information and technology. Information and technology are too common to be limited to a specific organizational department known as IT just like the idea of budgeting is no longer the sole domain of Finance, everybody budgets and budgeting is part of the language of a modern firm.
This is great news as information ubiquity and criticality has been a long-term goal of this profession. It also raises the question, so what now?
We could name IT after the scope of its work? That would lead to an organization called “Administration” or “Business Operations” or “Information, process and performance,” something like that.
I don’t like any of these options as they think that we can continue to call the IT organization by the things what it manages, controls or has responsibility for, which is the basis for past names for IT.
The simple reason is that the things that IT’s scope has expanded to incorporate many things from business intelligence to business processes so we would have call IT ‘the business,’ which is obviously not going to work.
Besides naming yourself based on the content is a functional view of the world, leading to silo’s, specialization and an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. We are just starting to get over the ‘business and IT’ distinctions so there is no reason to go backward.
So what should we call IT in the future?
I don’t have an idea but would benefit from sharing yours.