What is the point of IT?

Last year Christy Season hosted a panel discussion looking at the skills needed to progress as an intranet manager ??? the main thread of the discussion focused on the unique position IM have across departments and organisations and how business engagement skills were of most value.


Since that time we have seen great change in the digital world with social intranet truly becoming part of the norm and increasingly external technology bleeding into the internal world. So this year ???s IBF 24 we wanted to look at what is the future for intranet managers . Will we be around in 5 years time, do we need to change our skill sets, their role, the tasks of their team or is it still business as normal? A panel discussion on IBF 24 involved Christy, Mark Morrell and myself.  


My concern for intranet managers is that we appear to be doing the same thing now which we were doing 10 years ago. Technology is moving but are we?


Are we performing the same roles for digital technology that a ???property and facilities??? department play in the physical world? Will this lead to most roles being outsourced. In the next 5-10 years what will be the point of a IT department or a CIO when everything can be provided faster, cheaper and with more innovation through the cloud ??? or what the buzz word is (wasn???t the cloud just web services 5 years ago?).


For intranet teams I fear our core functions have not changed in 10 years. Will these roles still be valid essential? Intranets are now the norm but where do we now take them. Will the current platform go the same way as the typing pool or office telephone exchange ??? if anyone is old enough to remember them!


We are undergoing cultural change with technology. We no longer rely on our IT department to ???do??? technology for is. Everything is far easier to deploy personally than go through the pain or ordering via a IT department. Technology provision no longer limited to traditional IT departments and argument over whether the colour looks right, or what graphic goes where. The availability of tools, many open source or ???freemium??? outside the firewall, and employees??? desire to use them in place of outmoded enterprise systems, are compounding this trend. The same could be said for intranet. Yammer, Tibbr and Klout ??? is that a intranet for a small organisation?


Unanswered questions for me. In 5 years time:

??         What is the point of IT departments?

??         What is the point of a central intranet site?

??         Will the intranet be an App store?


While IT and intranet teams control, the new generation of workers wants to innovate, share, collaborate, learn and engage, not restricted by the physical boundaries of an office or the virtual boundaries of a network but across a digital workplace that spans the globe.

The behaviours, attitudes and expectations of employees are undergoing a seismic shift. A new generation is entering the workplace at ease with technology and redesigning our perceptions of private and public in the digital environment. This new generation, with a reputation for limited digital patience, attention seeking and familiarity with showcasing and communicating via digital platforms what things to happen fast. But is this really the corporate world ?


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