A Future without an IT Department

Charlene OHanlon

So it's not a huge stretch to think that sometime in the future enterprises may not even have an IT department-at least, not in the traditional sense. The adoption of virtual data center environments, cloud computing and anytime, anywhere access of corporate data are changing the face of the IT department. These days, IT managers are faced less with password retrieval and other mundane help-desk issues and instead are dealing with questions surrounding security in the cloud and determining the best cloud computing providers.

So it's not a huge stretch to think that sometime in the future enterprises may not even have an IT department-at least, not in the traditional sense. Rather, IT departments will consist of project managers who oversee certain areas of the IT realm and deal with the managed service providers or hosting companies within their 'assigned' area.

At least, that's the way Worldwide Tech Services thinks IT will play out. The company serves as the field technician force for eight of the top 10 PC manufacturers, performing pretty much anything from hard-drive swaps to servicing printers and medical mobility devices, and does much of its work for large enterprises. President and CEO Brendan Keegan says the business model works well for those vendors-especially those who need an international tech support staff-in saving money and providing a wide geographic footprint.

The model Worldwide Tech Services uses answers many problems for the enterprise. Its staff of 3,200 technicians hold 256,000 certifications, helping to ensure that problems will be diagnosed correctly the first time and fixed faster. Plus, using on-call technicians can also save a company a ton on employee-related costs.

But what does that do to the personality of a company? As much as I understand the need for a company to save money, outsourcing everything but the kitchen sink can cripple a company's soul. People make a company what it is as much as its products or services do. Having an IVR answer the company phone and directing the call to an outsourcing center in India doesn't put a positive face on any company, no matter how large or how successful.

I see the value in outsourcing some services, but I also see the value in an IT department that actually is populated with company employees. Smart companies are the ones that employ a hybrid employee/contractor model in IT, using outsourcing intelligently rather than as a Band-Aid. They're the ones that understand the true value of their employees.
 



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