CIO magazine poses a hypothetical about whether the new normal might ‘kill’ IT. Damn…I haven’t gotten used to the ‘old’ normal, yet. But it is of interest to me, considering I made my decision to go to law school in late 2001 based on my estimation of where I thought IT was headed at that time. It’s great that CIO caught up with me; albeit nine years later. Here’s what I ‘saw’ in 2001:
IT, in its purest form, was never expected to turn a profit. I defined it at the time as, “Our job is to make sure that everybody else can do their job.” Unfortunately, many in IT didn’t see it that way (i.e. Dilbert comics are funny because they’re true, not because they exaggerate).
Even then, cracks in the dike appeared. Departments started poaching IT talent to be used in for-profit endeavors; not necessarily a bad thing if there were enough resources, but that was rarely the case. Also, there was a lot of backlash after the dot-com debacle – and quite a bit of it was well-deserved. Sorry, but take it from me; many of the 28-year-old CEOs at those companies really didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. We can’t all be Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, after all (note how I shamelessly covered both PC and MAC so as to avoid hate mail – oh wait, I don’t get any mail…). And no, I’m not a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, either. If I were I’d have a nicer car.
But the main thing I thought about was, if you’re in IT and you don’t add value, you’re going to be in trouble down the road because the powers that be made a terrific discovery; outsourcing. Conversely, I thought, if you’re in law and you don’t add value, you’re going to be in trouble down the road because the powers that be made a terrific discovery; outsourcing, and failing that, the lowly-paid associate.
I think we’re seeing a lot of this play out right now as the severity of the recession caused firms to think about what they can do without. Unfortunately, they can do without a lot.
It’s tough making yourself indispensable these days…