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What are the reasons we need IT in the future?

by Mark P. McDonald  |  December 14, 2012  |  3 Comments

Today is the second friday in December and time for another question in the discussion series about asking the right questions about IT. Last week’s question “Is the IT organization, as we currently know it, worth saving?”  yielded some interesting points.  This week the question is:

What are the reasons we need IT in the future?

Notice the question concerns IT and not Technology.

While Technology includes IT, the question is looking to get at the stuff we think of when we think of IT.  Responses that point out the need for technology in the modern enterprise are welcome, but then extend that response to how technology is ‘operationalized’ in the enterprise to get at the “IT-ness” of the answer.

As I think about the question, there are several ways to respond.

You could focus on the reasons aspect of the question and move from the outside in to formulate a response.  The rational for IT rests in the need for IT or something like IT.

You could look at IT as a set of human/business/and operational resources – the IT organization and why do we need it in the future.  The resource – organizational view is good way to think about IT.

It would be good to get some comments back based on this view of the IT organization.   But it is not the only way to look at the question.

Alternatively you can look at IT as a product, a thing that you buy and apply.  In this regard IT could be viewed as a service which may influence your response.

Welcome your ideas and thoughts about the reasons why we need IT.

We already know that Technology is in our future and we have had something called “IT” in the past but do the reasons for that past continue into the future?  Do they change, what do they become and what does that mean for what we have now as IT?

Some related posts, just to provide some background

What is the production function of IT?

IT goes public changing the nature of IT

In the near future, doing your job may just be the way to lose your job, particularly for IT

What should we call IT in the future?

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Category: 2013  economy  innovation  it-epic-journey  leadership  tough-questions  

Tags: technology  technology-leadership  

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program.

Thoughts on What are the reasons we need IT in the future?

  1. Pearl Zhu says:

    Hi, Mark, thought-provoking weekly pondering for future of IT, to combine some collective insight via numerous CIO debates, I would say:

    1. Strategically, IT is business catalyst, IT strategy is integral part of business strategy, a centralized IT can not only enable business, but empower organization for effectiveness, efficiency, innovation, process optimization, as well as GRC/security.

    2. Tactically, in order to achieve IT’s business value, it need focus on:

    a. Customer relationship management, not just about internal user, but also end customers, always keep the end business goal in mind.

    b. Project Portfolio Management: as Gartner coined out the term “cloud broker”: IT may play the broker role at the era of cloud, instead of always built to last; IT can integrate from good to great, and more importantly, IT and business should harmonize their relationship:

    c. Talent Management: on one hand, IT talent need learn more about business knowledge, on the other hand, IT talent can also become coach to educate business on IT, not about bits or byte, but the trends and analysis., etc. IT profession shall make positive impact on STEM education.

    3. Metaphorically, there’re many analogs about IT, either as nervous system (then, centralized IT like brain), or car’s engine, just hard to imagine there’s modern business without IT.

    Still, I believe the initiative behind this discussion is on: What are IT’s new habits, and How should IT participate or even lead business’s digital transformation.


  2. Luke Krishnan says:

    Hi Mark,

    IT must be viewed as a critical Service underpinning business operation and transformation. It has to move away from the traditional “tin centric”‘ focus in most organisations.

    For this to occur, it requires the “people” element of the equation to change; business-oriented technology professionals running IT, not technology-centric executives like I have seen in most CIOs today.

    If good IT leadership is established properly, all the benefits and outcomes that Pearl mentioned will be realised for strategic purposes. It takes a top-down driven leadership to advocate and promulgate the true value of IT services for the organisation.

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