I know I haven't posted here in a while but I just read three posts this past week that made my head spin - Should IT be unionized, Revealed: The jobs that will be wiped out by cloud computing, and IT department 're-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic' as execs bypass the CIO. The three articles came out within days of each other. Maybe it was in the water. Based on the headlines you would think that IT has had its moment in the sun and if you're an IT professional you'd better find another line of work.
But the author of Should IT be unionized, Patrick Gray, argues the opposite. He makes a compelling case for IT being one of the most dynamic and rewarding careers and that unionizing IT would be a disaster. Having attended an Industrial and Labor Relations college for a short time, I agree. Of all of the compelling reasons to unionize and all of the advantages of doing so the IT profession shows few signs of any of the afflictions. If you expand the argument to include careers at tech companies like Facebook, Instagram and OMGPop you would be crazy to consider unionization. Despite Facebook's IPO performance how many rank and file employees became millionaires?
The other two articles hit on very poignant and timely issues. One issue is the inevitable shift in the technology landscape. Technology is a young industry compared to most and has many changes ahead driven by innovation. Batch to online, online to client server, mainframe to departmental servers, internet, mobile, social - technology is one of the most dynamic platforms in the world today and it's all changing at a blistering pace. Today's innovations will pale in comparison to those only two years out. Look at Mary Meeker's state of the internet presentation from the All Things Digital conference this past week. IT professionals must evolve to stay current like any other profession. Technology will evolve with us or without us.
The other issue is perhaps more critical. That is the fact that technology and business can no longer be separated. And, the needs of the business come first. Gartner calls it Reimagining IT. Forrester calls it BT for Business Technology. Technology exists to serve the business as a whole, to help it grow and prosper. Technology for technology's sake is and outdated mindset. When executives cannot accept that fact they will be bypassed and there will be no apologies.
Here's a test. If your IT resources were asked "what is your greatest challenge in the coming year what would they say?" Would they say "to radically cut costs" or "to minimize the risks associated with BYOD and all the new devices?" Or would they say "to help my company grow, launch new products, improve our customer experience and acquire new markets?" The answer is a critical view into the attitude and psyche of the individual. Guess which ones are going to be bypassed and which ones are going to do the bypassing?