IT Can't Ever Go Back; What Will It Look Like Going Forward?

Cloud, virtualization, cut budgets, outsourcing? What will be left of IT in two years? In five?

Three years of hard recession have irrevocably changed the technology and budgets, but not purpose of IT

Gartner business-of-IT specialist Mark McDonald blogged today that CIOs at the Gartner Symposium are talking in much more pragmatic terms than they used to, though the requirements they're dealing with to automate and cut costs in global operations is still just as intense.

The upshot seems to be that most CIOs seem more willing than before to use good-enough or commercial, off-the-shelf technology for things they might have only wanted to build internally before, to save themselves time and money, with the ultimate goal of making the IT operation more agile.

That, as much as the cost and flexible-capacity advantages may be the driving force behind cloud computing, which allows pragmatic CIOs to flip on large amount of capacity and, just as quickly, flip it back off if need be.

Five years ago it would have been heresy to talk about that kind of temporary platform if you planned to put any kind of serious application or data on it -- and these CIOs are. Too insecure, too unstable.

IT has changed.

From the stage at the Gartner Symposium, one of the presenters asked if IT would ever recover enough to get back to the way it was before the recession.

Only half agreed that it would. The other half were thinking about how the structure of IT apps and systems would look if the changes they'd already made using cloud and virtualization got even more intense -- would the apps your end users use be in a multitenant cloud and your operational data and apps deither stay inside the data center, or move to a private cloud? Would you own any software at all, except for custom-written code that accomplished things no one else's IT could?

In two or three or five years, how much IT do you actually expect to own and how much will be not only housed outside the firewall, but may be owned by someone else?

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