Peter Kretzman in his post about the death of the CIO says that we have all heard quotes like:
“Users can go out and get their own technology now; they don’t need IT to do it for them. End-users are now IT-savvy, and can fend for themselves. They’ll bring their own devices (BYOD); they don’t need or want IT to provide devices for them. They’ll procure the services they need and want from the various SaaS offerings in the cloud or from outsourced vendors, and they’ll handle it all themselves.”
But just because we’ve heard them doesn’t make it true. When you talk to people about this kind of sentiment, it ultimately gets expressed as the question: “Who needs a CIO anymore?” It can even go further to: “Who needs an IT department at all anymore? “
In Kretzman’s post, he goes on to talk about how, “this frequent linking of cloud and IT consumerization to the looming demise of the CIO and IT is not just misguided, but actually gets it completely backwards.”
There are definitely changes taking place to the underlying technology that fuels IT. I agree that the off-loading of some of this effort (that is no longer valued by the enterprise) should free up the IT organization to focus on what is actually important to the bottom line.
Some of the elements that were viewed as “technical” are not as much of a differentiator as they used to be. Agile CIOs are making adjustments. The fact remains that all the new value generation efforts (social, mobile and analytics) are enabled by technology – that is undeniable.
These enablers require a degree of discipline (security, data integration, 3rd party management…). Even if hardware support and some of the value enabling software disappears into a service, the business is still left with everything else needed to integrate the activities and deliver value. If it is or isn’t called IT or the role is called the CIO; it is irrelevant – skilled personnel that understand what is required will still be needed.