If you have been reading this blog or following me on twitter you know I'm a big believer in cloud and consumerization of IT. In the next few years I expect Google's vision of 100% web to be the norm. Users will be able to use any device to access their data with or without IT's help.
So what does this mean for IT organizations, and how should we structure ourselves to be relevant in this new, and frankly for some people, scary new world?
I think of IT as several groups today. There is the most important group, the service desk (or helpdesk). This is the most important group since it is the "face of IT". Frankly if you have a great service desk it can really help hide other issues which, if you as a CIO are paying attention, can fix before they get you in trouble.
Typically then there is either a split with Applications and Operations, or Maintenance and New Projects. Sometimes there is a third group that covers more of running IT as a business type stuff, like service management, financial management, customer relationship managers etc.
In the future though most of the operations will be done by cloud providers. Even now, I hardly ever get involved in any salesforce.com issues. Partly because we don't really have any issues, but if we did it would be to verify connectivity through the Internet to their data center. Beyond that it's a contracts issue.
If we move to Google Apps, which is pretty likely, our email and storage service goes the same way. What changes though it is the pace of innovation. We will really need people focused on discovering pain points, and solutions to resolve them, before users can find the solution and implement it on their own.
Dan Petlon tells the story about when he decided social media was important. The short version is that he read an article about the relevance of the CIO and the quote was "How can you expect to remain relevant when your CEO has to learn about Facebook - the most successful application ever, from his 12 year old daughter."
I want to make sure that IT knows about and understands the next Facebook before the CEO's daughter tells him about it. To do this I think a dedicated group is needed to ensure that we hear about new technology and also encourage adoption of it. This "Change Management" group fills that role. This is a huge shift but with Google releasing 200+ new features a year alone making sure that the users understand the features and can leverage them is going to be the difference between the good companies, and the dead companies.
Development also changes. Many of the cool features in a cloud environment are really integrations between various exisitng cloud applications. Also many times simple applications will be able to be done by power users, assuming the change management team does a good job training on the new tools, so that should free hard core developers up to really work on integrating and making an excellent user experience. Things like single sign on, consistent look and feel etc. will be table stakes to new applications.
Finally the contracts and vendor management piece gains importance since so much depends on vendors providing what they promise. Infrastructure really will become the network and Internet connectivity to allow users to get to the cloud. Clients will be whatever the end user likes and will likely be purchased and supported from the vendor, whether that be Apple Ipad's, Google Chrome or Android devices.
The break down of resources will probably look something like this.
You can see the two biggest departments in IT are really "change management" and "integrations and development".
Anyway this is what I think. I'd love to hear feedback on what others think.