January 28, 2013, 9:13 AM —
The Information Technology (IT) groups we all know and love are, slowly but surely, being transformed into new and more business-oriented organizations, best characterized by the term Business Technology (BT). This transformation of IT from being technology driven toward becoming business driven has long been in the making, is truly taking hold, and will potentially have major implications on your future employment.
I had the pleasure last week of speaking with David Bartoletti, a Senior Analyst with Forrester Research serving infrastructure and operation professionals. His company was commissioned by UC4 Software to evaluate the current state of IT process automation and explore possible areas for improvement. David’s paper was the first place I saw the term/concept of “Business Technology” truly and clearly defined.
For me, the combination of reading this paper and speaking with David brought two seemingly diverse concepts together in a way that provided true insights into the future of IT related jobs. These concepts are:
• The transformation of IT from being technology and process driven to truly being business driven, thus the term Business Technology (BT), rather than Information Technology (IT).
• The effect that IT complexity and slow product delivery has on the ability of the business it serves to move forward.
The movement from IT to BT has major implications on future jobs within IT because of the need for IT professionals to be business people – understand the economics and business outcomes of the technology they deliver – and not just tinkerers or “techies.” As a result, IT professionals not only have to understand the expectations and objectives of the businesses they serve, they must also have the business acumen and soft skills needed to properly interact with their business user counterparts.
The second concept listed above, related to IT complexity and its effect on the business, raises the question of what can be done within IT to reduce its complexity, and thus speed up its time to delivery. This second question brings with it an enormous opportunity for systems architects and other IT professionals who are willing and able to deploy tools and define processes that look at IT holistically, rather than within traditional and singular IT solos with the goal of allowing their IT organization in its aggregate to respond more quickly to business needs.
While these concepts, at least in my mind, make good sense for IT organizations in general, given the nature of my column, I would now like to outline a specific list of action items that individual IT professionals can do to use these trends and concepts to their personal professional advantage.