THE FUTURE OF IT Computing is changing fast .

THE FUTURE OF IT Computing is changing fast .

Posted by Andrew Spencer 

Talking about the future of IT is a huge topic and here I will highlight just a few trends that strike me as happening and which will have a big impact on how we use computers, how IT departments work and what they do and above all how organisations should be thinking about their IT …

life in the IT world is changing fast. very fast!

life in the IT world is changing fast. very fast!

In January 2007 there was no iPhone, iPad, Android or Twitter and Facebook was 1 year old. Today we’ve got:

  • 1 billion touchscreen smartphones globally

  • 120 million tablets in the workforce

  • Blackberry is no longer the enterprise king

  • Apple and Google are important business vendors

In 1964 Arthur C Clarke had a look at the future, to the year 2000 and wrote:

“We could be in instant contact with each other, wherever we may be, where we can contact our friends anywhere on earth, even if we dont know their actual physical location. It will be possible in that age, perhaps only 50 years from now, for a man to conduct his business from Tahiti or Bali just as well as he could from London. Almost any executive skill, any administrative skill, even any physical skill, could be made independent of distance.”

How prescient! Increasingly we are working in teams spread over considerable distances, spending the majority of our time online in working, communicating etc. The number of people working from home most of the time is increasing rapidly.

This has had a major impact on how we use computers and communication devices. 5 years ago we used desktop machines in the office or docked our laptops. Today we only use these two devices to do heavy lift computing; editing documents, big spread sheets, presentations, and project plans. Our mobile devices – smartphone and/or tablet – are used to take care of virtually all email and texting/instant messaging, the three main ways we communicate now.

The need to connect mobile devices and also the need to make corporate calendars and data available online to employees means that the organisation is having to change the way it hosts data and systems such as Exchange. The employee needs synchronised data across all the platforms they are using.

Whether they want to or not organisations are having to move some of their systems into the cloud to enable effective communication and working in distributed teams. Whether they need to move everything into the cloud is debatable and the decision to go the whole distance is primarily driven by cost and resource considerations.

There are challenges inherent in these trends for manufacturers. At the sharp end the sale of desktop machines is slowing, down to single digit growth, and the rate of sale of laptops is also slowing. Clearly the growth in tablet sales and smartphones is accelerating. If all you manufacture are PCs you have a problem; how do you get a tablet out there to compete with the best?

Operating system is a declining consideration, particularly on laptops, tablets, and phones, as all have web browsers and the Internet is the prime means of connectivity. Personally I have resisted being drawn into the Apple world because with iCloud you are locked in to a specific OS on all your devices and even specific versions!

My own business uses a mix of Mac and Windows OS, Google cloud services and Android on mobile devices. Calendars are in a mix of Outlook and Google calendar, email is Gmail for Business and all calendar information and mail communication is synchronised automatically across all devices and the web. Totally different to how I worked 5 years ago.

The people environment is changing fast too. IT departments are shrinking as IT system administration, support and infrastructure functions are increasingly outsourced to specialist companies that utilise consolidated resources to create savings for the companies that are outsourcing. Data management is increasingly being outsourced too.

It can also be said that todays workers need far less handholding than they used to. Experience and skills are greatly more advanced than even 5 years ago, because of the explosion in personal computing.

There has been commentary that the IT jobs of the future within organisations that are not IT specialist companies will fall into three categories:

  • Consultants/Contractors

    To handle all the functions that have been outsourced. Internal IT departments were adept at saying “No“; consultants much less likely to for obvious reasons.

  • Project Managers

    Not in a central IT department but spread through businesses fulfilling business analysis and project management functions, helping the business source and implement technology it needs.

  • Developers

    Increasing numbers of developers/programmers will be needed. IT systems implementation used to be about hardware and software. The trend over the last 5-10 years has been towards web based applications delivering the organisations services and that will accelerate. Factor in also the need for mobile apps, mobile promotion of products etc.


There is a lot more I could write about such as the migration towards new forms of database structuring, management and analysis and the explosion in social media based marketing that has led to a host of new integrated marketing platforms covering all forms of digital media. And more …

So life in the IT world is changing fast. Very fast!

Until next time …

ANDREW SPENCER

 

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