Back in the day, IT was a nerdy, anti-social fraternity of people who occupied their own world within an organization.

They spoke a strange language and knew magical things, like how to remedy the Blue Screen of Death. Not anymore, say analysts at IDC 2015 Tech Outlook conference at the Westin Hotel at the Domain in Austin Thursday. 

These days, said Rick Villars, Vice President, Datacenter and Cloud for IDC, more people are comfortable with technology and lines of business within an organization want to make a lot of their own choices about how they spend their IT dollars.

And these lines of business, particularly marketing, are getting a greater and greater share of the IT budget.

From Keeping the Lights On ...

The good news for IT people is that this could mean a shifting of their responsibilities toward more interesting projects. Statistically, he said, IT budgets devote 80 percent to keeping the lights on and only 20 percent for innovation. But as more efficiencies are created, organizations can use that time and money saving toward greater innovation. 

Customers and lines of business, he said, are less interested in IT services providers and more interested in having IT partners whose job it is to help improve the user experience.

They want to buy the technology they need from the cloud, as managed services, a trend that’s very “deflationary” for internal IT operations. By 2019, he said, there will be $147 billion spent on public cloud services. 

Lines of business want more control over content. They may normally only need 10 servers but they want the capacity, when they have a “trigger event” to utilize 1000 servers for ten minutes. They don’t want to be limited by IT assets. 

For example, CMOs, Villars said, may have a product launch where they’re sharing a lot of information with customers and they want to do it rapidly. 

To Focusing on Innovation

And the more the Internet of Things takes over, with more and more platforms for customers to share data, the more important it will be to have access to hyperscale server systems that can take in and process huge amounts of data. 

By 2020, Villars said, 40 percent of the IT budget will go toward innovation.

“It will be about what do you do as a business in order to compete…” he said.

“It’s no longer about automating jobs but about accelerating jobs and their links to each other and increasing productivity by 400 percent. We are not IT suppliers, we are technology partners. The question should be ‘Who is buying the service and the solution what are their core values? And by core values I mean those that, 50 years ago, were critical to their success as company and 50 years from now will still be critical for their success as company.”

From an IT pro perspective though, that’s good news. 

IDC's Matt Eastwood, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure and Datacenter, said increases in IT operations efficiency would provide them with a third more time “Empowering IT folks to move into new areas that add more value.”

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Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Title image by  P.Barrera.