Could Integration Become IT's Main Job?

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Integration is something of a side issue for IT. It's the route you take, not the destination. But in the future, integration could become IT's primary responsibility, according to a prediction from Accenture's managing director of cloud computing.


In a recent interview, Accenture's Jimmy Harris told Network World's Beth Schultz that, "IT will be more akin to being an uber integrator than to being a builder of specific components."


That's a pretty shocking statement, but he makes some valid points. Thanks to cloud and SaaS, it's not impossible to foresee a time when IT will be more involved with the management of services rather than actually delivering what Harris calls "day-to-day operational delivery tasks."


As part of that management, IT will ultimately be responsible for ensuring all the non-connected parts connect and play well together:


"From engagements at forward-thinking clients, what Accenture sees is a maturing of roles and technologies focusing on ITIL-like processes such as service management, governance, service integration, master data management and, newly emerging, service aggregation, Harris says."


That's going to boil down to a lot of integration work.


Of course, the change will have consequences, including a reduced headcount for IT, Harris points out.


How cloud will change IT is a pretty popular topic right now. Computerworld recently ran a similar post hypothesizing that IT jobs will be embedded in the business units, with centralized IT being cut by 75 percent or more. Those of you who have been around for more than a decade will of course recognize this as the old centralized versus decentralized IT debate-except this time, SaaS and cloud may enable business units to make this call once and for all.


If it's any comfort, it seems there's one thing IT can always rely on: a demand for integration.