IT is Dead!

FrustrationEver worked for a company with an IT department?

Ever had a run-in with that department and been left feeling frustrated and without a solution?

Ever decided that getting someone other than IT to do it is cheaper, faster and far less painful?

Would IT even have a job anymore if you could run all your business tools through a web browser?

The short answer is no. The long answer follows :)

It may seem a little oversimplified but I believe that the IT of today is becoming a thing of the past. It’s a dying beast when an organisation can find better, specialised services to support their business over the web. Better, specialised services without even talking to IT because they have a web browser and an Internet connection.

It’s more intriguing when you consider that you can run a whole business using web tools today. New and emerging businesses are going to use as many as possible because they’re quite often free for small use. More importantly they eliminate the requirement for technical knowledge within the business. My business, One Zero One, is a case in point. I’m just starting out and I don’t want to pay for expensive services, or people to support them. I can pretty much run my whole business with free tools from the Internet. I can run my Business in a Browser.

Now, this Business in a Browser approach is called a couple of things by the technical folks. Cloud Computing. Software as a Service. The outcome is the same to the general Joe on the street. It means that you can get tools and services to support your business through the Internet.

The easiest example of this, but by no means the only, is Google Apps. They are busily soliciting businesses to convert to using their enterprise suite of products delivered through a web browser. Email, calendaring, instant messaging, word processing, intranet sites, voice calling and some other services I’m probably forgetting. Paying Google $50 a head per year for that seems like a no-brainer. No more complaints about email quotas, SPAM, viruses, corrupted mail files, slow delivery, blah blah blah. No more sunk costs until the number of users makes it worthwhile to expand. Not more costs for upgrading software when the new versions are released. No more complaints that people aren’t ON the latest version.

In this scenario the complexity and costs have just dropped dramatically. You just need a web browser and an Internet connection. Any web browser. Anywhere.

Now, I’m not completely ignorant that this scenario has it’s risks. Problems of privacy, security, regulatory implications, integration and availability of your internet connection are all buried in this discussion somewhere. In fact these things are absolutely necessary to consider but they will be addressed over the coming years as the strength of the benefits are realised and the tools and strategies to deal with them are delivered. This is where IT will play a part. Advising and assisting the businesses in getting what it needs to get done, done. A completely different skillset :)

This discussion also opens a number of other threads. If you only need a web browser and an internet connection, why do you need corporate office space? If you only need a web browser and an internet connection, why do you need to full time employees? I haven’t managed to think through all the implications yet but they’re forming.

Well, that’s it for now.

Check out a further definition of Cloud Computing and Software as a Service at wikipedia.

Image from Flickr (striatic)