IT After 2010: Think About Your Company, Not Technology

Dennis Byron

In my last post on the impact of the current financial crises (plural -- not a typo) on IT, I said "In IT in 2009/2010, It'll Be about Jobs and Budgets." Now the question is: what happens when we come out the other side?


It'll be a whole new world on the other side: Your knowledge of IT's implications on your own company's business plans (and the fortunes of the industry in which your own company plays) is going to be more important than a "commodity" understanding of how IT devices or software work. Analysts like me have been saying something along these lines for years: to make IT more important in your organization, make it relevant to the organization. The budget reductions and other effects of the coming recession will make this mantra a reality in a way no analyst advice could ever do.


Also, make sure you are employed in an industry you like because, going forward, industry-centric IT will be key and IT skills will not be as easily transferable from one industry to another as they have been.


Coming from this business, rather than technology, perspective, I disagree strongly with the recent highly publicized analysis and advice from Gartner that puts technology first. For example, Gartner says,

"By 2010, Web mashups will be the dominant model for the creation of composite enterprise applications."

The implication in the entire Gartner discussion about mashups is the need for a lot of new stuff. In my opinion, the need is to do a lot of old stuff better. Web is already the dominant model for composition. The trick coming out of the recession will be to artfully decompose and recompose legacy applications. Whether or not you do it on the Web is a technology choice that it is not that important to your business.


Other items mentioned in the Gartner advice -- with the possible exception of how you interpret its discussion of "user-specific" needs -- are equally technological rather than company-centric. Think about your business, not technology. In the future, Gartner itself will become much more heavily industry-centric in its consulting practices.


As for the IT market, the recession will repress the roll out of many technologies. That slowdown will give you a chance to catch up on incoming technologies such as Representational State Transfer (REST), mobile user interfaces and appliances. And give you a chance to help your company or organization get up to speed on current technologies such as Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), master data management and cloud/grid computing.


(NOTE: In writing this series of posts (beginning here) on the stock-market/credit-crunch/recession, I am assuming we are at or near another Dow low that affects IT just as the lows in 1974, 1987 and 2002 marked major IT market/job-structure changes. I am also assuming just a recession is coming, as opposed to a total depression. A real depression would change the outcome entirely, although should one come, there are analogies in looking at what happened to what was a brand new technology prior to the Great Depression: television. Hint: you don't want to ruin your weekend thinking about it.)

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