After gazing into its crystal ball, Gartner has issued IT predictions for 2011-2015. Here they are:
On the jobs front, the most interesting of these has to be No. 2, that the CIO's salary will be tied to new revenue generated by IT. As ReadWriteWeb points out, that would assume that IT is a profit center, rather than a cost center for the business by 2015. Larry Dignan at ZDNet notes that Gartner floated this idea at a conference in October. If this were the case, projects that generate revenue would get priority and that wouldn't necessarily always be a good thing.
The majority of CIOs won't be able to crawl out from their legacy infrastructure to truly drive sales-and therefore be paid on revenue growth.
The rise of automation, No. 4, seems a given. My colleague Ann All has reported that the Corporate Executive Board's Information Technology Practice predicts traditional IT headcount will decrease by 75 percent or more-over a longer term-as outside service providers take over some IT roles and others become embedded in the broader business.
She quotes rPath CMO Jake Sorofman who wrote in a guest opinion for IT Business Edge that IT pros must shift from performing manual tasks and writing scripts to defining and encoding policies that will yield standardized models to execute low-level automation. He wrote:
It's a truism that growing complexity will always result in another layer of abstraction that moves IT roles away from low-level technical detail and closer to the business itself. Much like developers who have progressively evolved up the stack, IT personnel will need to get out of the weeds and allow automation and processes to mature. In doing so, they won't sacrifice their roles-or their souls. Like software developers, their roles will evolve and they'll find themselves more productive than ever before.
And as our Mike Vizard has written at CTO Edge, that automation will still need someone to manage it and the convergence of server, storage and networking in the data center will signal the rise of the "super administrator" as roles also are consolidated.