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IT or not IT? That is the Question

by Jack Santos  |  June 10, 2013  |  Comments Off on IT or not IT? That is the Question

This question came to me in a survey the other day:


When the department that you work in is called “Information Technology”, then the answer to this question is pretty clear, even if still nebulous.  After all, you could be an IT employee and be the person unloading the loading truck dock at  the data center…hopefully, that get’s sorted out later in the questionnaire.

But what is really problematic is if it goes beyond that, like:

  • What if the department isn’t called “IT”?  Systems,  Automation, Business Process are just some samples of monikers that have arisen in the past.
  • The equation of department and function – that gets into some pretty heady leaps of faith,even philosophical discussion;  what’s your definition of function?
  • Contractors, vendors, consultants, temps, etc etc…where do they get categorized?
  • …And finally – the problem we in IT are all grappling with: “an IT employee in other parts of the organization” – what exactly doe that mean?  The person restructuring the warehouse process that requires a new interface to the packaging and sorting equipment?  The physician or medical technician that is operating the robotic surgery marching, or writing  scripts (no not prescriptions!) to manipulate radiology images?  The person installing an App on their iPad?

And this is what is really exciting about IT.  For years the concept was “alignment” as in “align IT to the business”.  That may be true for a departmental alignment, but as technology (now through mobile, social, information and cloud – or what we at Gartner affectionately term “the Nexus”) – everyone’s job has some flavor of “IT” in it;  I have been saying for years – its not a question of alignment; its a question of business integration.

So when you get a survey question that tries to qualify “IT”, it just reminds me about how far we have come…and what IT really means to business.

At this year’s Catalyst Conference, we are instituting a “Radical Thinking” track…and thoughts like these, their impact to business, and more – is what we’ll be exploring.

So, are YOU in IT?

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Category: career  catalyst-13  it-governance  management  managment  

Tags: catalyst-na  consumerization  externalization  management  

Jack Santos
Research VP
7 years at Gartner
40 years IT industry

Jack Santos is a Research Vice President with Gartner, part of the Enterprise Architecture and Technology Innovation team within the Gartner for IT Leaders product. He focuses on enterprise architecture and technology trends. Mr. Santos' specific area of research covers individual development, leadership and management practices for enterprise architects, EA innovation, and collaboration approaches. Read Full Bio

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