The future of IT will be shaped around BYOD, the cloud and virtualisation, which will lead to a transformation of the role of IT manager from technical specialist to central business communicator, according to a new study from Aruba Networks
An overwhelming 89% of IT professionals state that effective communication of policy and change to the business will be one of the biggest on-going challenges they will face. These are key findings from 20/20 Vision, a report launched this week (10 June 2013) at Aruba’s EMEA Airheads Conference 2013 in Alicante, Spain.
The study, which sampled a network of IT professionals to get their views on the future of their respective careers, highlights the rapid increase of consumerisation. Nearly half (47%) of IT professionals see BYOD as the trend that will most shape the evolution of enterprise IT, followed by data security in the cloud and virtualisation (36% each). Consequently over two-thirds (68%) believe that the IT function in 2020 will be more about policy enforcement than technology deployment.
In response to this, four in ten (41%) stated that communication skills would be more important than technical skills and almost nine in ten IT professionals (88%) believe they will need to be strong business communicators in the future in order to be successful.
20/20 Vision was developed by Aruba Networks in partnership with Phillip Brown, professor of work, employability and labour markets at Cardiff University. The report used qualitative focus groups and quantitative omnibus research of over 150 IT professionals at all levels in order to help better understand what skills they will need in the future.
Philip Brown said: ‘Future roles in IT will depend on blending technical knowhow with the “soft” currencies of employability, such as communications and business awareness. It will also require good networking skills, both virtual and face-to-face.’
To achieve success in their future roles, the majority of professionals in the study (42%) said they would need to rely on technical certifications offered by vendors rather than develop the skills in-house. This is part of a wider trend that will see companies rely more heavily on third parties.
Another 76% of IT pros expect the number of projects to be given to external specialists will increase in an ‘on demand’ fashion. The report also finds that the needs of the business are increasingly shaping the role of the IT professional.
On a day-to-day basis the IT professional will see an increasing demand for consumer-friendly technology such as smartphones or tablets, while 78% expect users will demand technology that ‘just works’.
Ben Gibson, CMO of Aruba Networks, said: ‘In the future, IT and business will be fully integrated. To manage this, IT professionals will need to be equipped to communicate better, more frequently and more effectively than today. Communication is already a bigger part of the role of the IT department than it was 10 years ago, but in the future it is going to become even more important as technology becomes even more business critical.’