Corporate IT facing fundamental disruption

Corporate IT facing fundamental disruption

Gartner predicts trouble ahead

Five major "discontinuities" will dramatically disrupt long-standing practices for procuring and managing corporate IT, experts warned today.

Analyst firm Gartner identified the discontinuities as web 2.0, software-as-a-service, global-class computing, IT consumerisation and open source software.

"These have the potential to completely disrupt vendor business models, user deployment models, whole market segments and key user and vendor brand assumptions," said Tom Austin, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

"The discontinuities reinforce each other, and their combined effect will prove far stronger than each individual trend. IT managers who oversee applications must incorporate these trends into their long-term planning."

Austin added that any one of the discontinuities could upset the balance of power between users and their IT organisation. But when combined, they intensify each other's dislocating impact and could cause major disruption.

Gartner recommends five actions that can help IT managers take advantage of, rather than just react to, these five trends:
  • Question core assumptions about the role of the IT organisation. Now that users can often buy 'what they need' from the web, business executives must re-evaluate IT-related operating principles, guidelines, policies, practices and governance
  • Experiment with free-form environments. Create free-form searchable 'personal web pages' for users, along with navigation by tag or type of user, feeds, blogs and wikis
  • Help users innovate. IT managers should help selected users interact in an open environment and thereby innovate
  • Segment users. The IT organisation needs to stop providing the same support to everyone. One size does not fit all
  • Stop trying to provide everything. The IT organisation should admit that it can no longer compete with the web in providing many personal and social tools

"The greatest consequence of the five trends may be that they will give business units and selected users more independence to set their own IT direction," Austin added.

"In addition, business models, marketing and distribution will shift radically. As a result, companies will embrace powerful new ways of using IT to implement their business strategy."