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NCC Think Tank: The future of the IT Department, essential skills and practices

25th February 2010


The NCC Think Tank on ‘The Future of Software Services Delivery’ in November 2009, and subsequent discussions at the NCC Members Advisory Board and Corporate Engagement Programme meetings in December and January respectively, exposed a number of looming issues for IT departments, their management and staff that are to be the focus of this follow-on session:

Where next for the ‘IT Department’?

  • Its purpose/ name changes
    • Business Technology Department?
    • Business Information Technology Innovation Centre?
    • Information Innovation Department?
  • What it does changes
    • from managing IT components to managing IT services
    • from ‘I buy things and run them' to ‘I understand how to help our business'
  • The kind of people/ number of people in the department changes
    • fewer people because there’s less to do on site
    • less 'information technologist', more 'business technologist’
    • more business savvy is GOOD

Issues for Directors & Managers

  • Are traditional IT people the ones best placed in their organisations to be talking about cloud and business transformational matters?
  • Organisations more than ever need ‘hybrid’ people who can mediate between the business and IT. Those who are business focussed first and IT second will thrive.
  • People who understand: (i) that information has structure; (ii) know how to use it; (iii) how to improve information gathering, quality and quantity; will be scarce and valuable to you
  • There will be fewer people in the IT department (or whatever the new department is called) because there's less kit to manage there. Which leads to the proposition that…
    • If there's no kit that is the company's, maybe the IT dept shouldn't be either?
  • What to do with the people 'left behind' when services move away?
  • Many 20-30's arrive already relatively (consumer-oriented and Web 2.0) tech savvy compared to previous generations of new starters – a boon to business or not?

Issues for individual technologists in traditional IT departments

  • Don't be a product specialist in things that will disappear up into the cloud - you'll be surplus to requirements
  • Traditional technologists inside organisations will decline in number and move to where the technology installations are the cloud infrastructure companies
  • One could make the proposition that the need for technology knowhow inside a given consuming organisation declines, or is it more realistic to say that it is only the specialisms that change?
  • For example, there’s a premium now on skills in switching, routing, web caching and web accelerating to get the best out of cloud services?
  • What is valued now is: ‘How to best the best out of the available IT for the business.” You do this by:
    • Spending as much time in/ close to the business as possible
    • Understanding what the business does in the round and where it wants to go next
    • Being the champion for the contribution IT can make to the business – lead the ongoing continual improvement programme

The topic for discussion is:

The future of the IT Dept, essential skills and practices.

The structure of the Think Tank’s inputs and outputs will follow the relevant parts of the following general outline that reflects NCC members’ ongoing concerns with developing issues in Innovation & Change, IT Effectiveness, and Governance & Compliance.

Innovation & Change

What’s happening? A helicopter view of:

  • Future Directions
  • Management Practices & Strategy Focus
  • Policy Focus

IT Effectiveness

How to make the best use of near term future technologies and practices in terms of:

  • Effective Use
  • Costs
  • Staff
  • Supplier/ Partner Relationships

Governance & Compliance

Expanding upon ‘Innovation & Change/ Management Practices’ above, what are the impacts for organisational governance and legal/ regulatory compliance?

  • Legal & Regulatory Frameworks
  • Green Focus
  • Business Risk, Security & Continuity

Participant inputs required

  • Your views on some or all of the above
  • We may include some short (10 minute) ‘think piece/ stimulation’ presentations if participants wish to make such?
  • Relevant white papers, presentation materials or similar that you may already have to hand can be circulated beforehand (via NCC Think Tank administration) and or used (source recognised) in the final outputs
  • NCC will audio record the discussion on the day for note taking purposes only.
 13.30 Lunch, drinks and networking in the Sun Room
 14.00 Session starts

The discussion will be guided by:

Introductory short presentation(s)

  • Where next for the IT department?
  • What issues arise for IT Department Directors/ Managers and Technologists in IT Departments?

And relevant aspects of NCC member concerns in:

  • Innovation & Change
    • Future Directions
    • Management Practices & Strategy Focus
    • Policy Focus
  • IT Effectiveness
    • Effective use
    • Costs
    • Staff
    • Supplier/Partner relationships
  • Governance & Compliance Issues
    • Legal & Regulatory issues
    • Risk & Continuity
    • Green
 17.00  Summary and close
   (optional) Drinks and networking

Download Intoductory Material Here


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