Research and analysis firm Gartner is warning IT directors that technical IT departments will shrink by up 30% in medium and large companies by 2010, as IT professionals leave the IT ghetto to become more business-focused.
At its Symposium,/IT Expo in Cannes, Gartner stated that the days of pure technology specialists are numbered as they are replaced by a new breed of 'versatilist' IT professionals who combine business and technical aptitude alongside leadership ability and local knowledge.
Versatilists with broad insight, deep process knowledge and industry oriented competencies, says Gartner, should help companies incorporate innovation and multiple perspectives into IT based processes, products, services and technologies. Demand for these new skills will radically change the make-up of the professionals in the IT department. "Some will be bolstered, some will be carved up, some will be redistributed and some will be displaced," suggests Diane Morello, vice-president of research at Gartner. She told ComputerWeekly.com that there will invariably be a number of pure-play technologists who will be uncomfortable with a more business focused role.
Furthermore, Gartner also predicts that the traditional IT disciplines will splinter into four areas of expertise:
- Technology infrastructure and services, involving bread-and-butter technology infrastructure and services that will shift from end-user companies to hardware, software and service suppliers
- Information design and management, in which business intelligence, online consumer services and collaboration will grow in user companies and consultancies
- Process design and management which will take off for companies, software vendors and outsourcing suppliers
- Relationship and sourcing management as the rise of sourcing will mean that IT professionals' relationship and sourcing management will gain traction
Gartner advises IT leaders to develop career opportunities in each of these domains and to set up incentives to reward versatility.