How does IT fit into the workplace of 2020?

Mark Miller

Monday 5 June 2017

We’ve come a long way since the day of the Pocket PC, and we can expect things to change even more radically over the coming 15 years. With the consumerisation of IT and tools moving to the cloud, where does IT fit into the workplace of tomorrow?

15 years ago, I was the only person I knew who had a phone with internet and email on it. Going out for lunch with friends, I’d inevitably get the question, “Why would you even want to have email on your phone?” Fast forward to today, and there are school-age children who know their way around a smartphone just as well as an IT pro.

The hardware has left the building

For most of the history of IT as we know it, all of our technology was inside the building. But over the past few years, with anything and everything imaginable “as a service,” things have shifted to the cloud. We’re sure to see an even more dramatic shift away from the old school, always-on-site mentality in the coming years. In 10 years, it’s not far-fetched to imagine most organisations will no longer have much need for server rooms, as everything moves to the cloud or collocated facilities. This kind of drastic change can be concerning to IT.

Early on, as the scope of changes the cloud would bring to business and IT became evident, some in IT feared the cloud would put them out of a job. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and I don’t think we’ll see it happen in the future, either.

From security and compliance to disaster recovery and replication, the cloud takes a great deal off of IT’s plate and gives us – and our organisations – more flexibility and peace of mind. It’s forever altered the way we work and it will change even more in the future, but there’s still a vital role for IT in tomorrow’s workplace. 

IT’s bright future

IT today often still gets stuck dealing with the more mundane side of technology: Hardware refreshes, imaging PCs, and replacing networking equipment, for example. But as we see businesses go more all-in on the cloud, IT’s role will evolve from a repair-focused job to a more service- and strategy-focused one.

As tasks like managing email distribution groups or handling server workloads become more automated, IT is freed up to focus on bigger strategic projects and further future technology research. Less burdened by the day-to-day to-dos, IT will be able to dedicate more time working with users to find better solutions for their problems – solutions that can create new opportunities for their organisations.

The uncertain road ahead may scare some in IT – just as changes around automation and streamlining are often concerning to our users. But I’m optimistic we’ll quickly adjust and that these new ways of doing things will mean new learning opportunities. While the cloud will continue to evolve the way tomorrow’s server room looks and the way the future IT pro does their job, I have no doubt that the need for IT will be just as strong then as it is today.

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