I’ve been hearing and reading so many “ITSM is dead” and “IT is dead” statements that I couldn’t simply ignore the propaganda and sit here without some kind of generic response, akin to something The IT Skeptic might state as these being “Attention-seeking declarations of death.” I can’t exactly explain the reason for wanting to respond. Since I work in IT, it may be I want to look for some rationalization for staying in the industry, or maybe I’m currently in a “down the revolution” type of mood…or it simply can be I have a level-head and fully subscribe to The Hitchhiker’s Guide mentality of “Don’t Panic.” For whatever reason, I just want to put out my two cents (or .07 shekels, based on today’s exchange rate) and reiterate that IT isn’t dead; it’s simply evolving. In fact, it’s been evolving for the past several decades and (unfortunately for the revolutionaries out there) it’s not going to go away anytime soon. Change? Yes. Disappear? Hell no.
First, we need to examine the credibility of this statements. I did a wonderful search (thanks to Google) regarding statements of “IT is dead” and came across an excerpt that an author argued “the IT department is dead.” While I’m sure the statement brought a lot of attention to the book, it’s 2014 and I am still happy to know for a fact that at least one organization has an IT department (ok, several still do). Sure, the author makes a valid argument that cloud computing will essentially destroy the reason for maintaining an on-premise data center, but through the wonderful teaching method called experience, few organizations have been able to go “all cloud.” Through the need to maintain secure data, be it government regulations or CEO paranoia, many companies still keep computing on some kind of infrastructure, being worked on by the technical skills required to provide the backbone that allows businesses to function at the speed of technology.
Second, some of us in IT like revolution. A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine stated “ITSM is dead. It’s the status quo.” While I agree the popularity of ITSM has changed in the past few years, thanks to an economic downturn that forced organizations to improve internal processes, ITSM is far from dead. In fact, it’s far from the status quo. But I don’t want to ignore that ITSM is changing. ITIL has now been privatized, ITSM tools are branching out more to the enterprise (at least ServiceNow is), and users are becoming better able to help themselves, bringing about “Shadow IT.” In short, ITSM is in the middle of an identity transition (or an identity crisis), but futile revolutionary movements such as the SM Congress won’t help to speed things along. I love revolution just as much as the next person, but trying to force IT through a transition when people aren’t ready will only slow down the evolution.
Third, and probably the most important reason to consider that IT isn’t dead, is the fact that many companies out there are huge. In fact, massive, and with global infrastructures. While a small start-up can go all cloud and have the ITSM singularity of IT existing with “the business,” not everyone can change that quickly. Banks, pharmaceuticals, healthcare; all these industries take a while to change and it’s not going to happen overnight. In fact, some of the companies in the more “traditional” industries are conservative, and they tend not to change unless there’s a published best practice. Unfortunately, “best practice” doesn’t come around until it’s already been done, and proven, for a few years.
I’m happy to admit that I’d like to see the death of the IT department. As people grow in familiarity with the technology, and as technology becomes easier to manage, it’s eventual that every person will have a basic set of IT knowledge to be their own support. Does that mean IT will really die? No. Similar to the H. G. Wells novel The Time Machine, in which the infrastructure of a utopian world is hidden, the majority of IT will go “underground,” to create and provide the services used by the aboveboard business. At the same time, let’s just hope the Morlocks don’t start eating the Elois.