In a roundtable discussion, eWEEK Corporate Partners discuss the changing role of IT pros as the demand for more and better security casts a longer shadow at more organizations.
The past two decades have drastically changed the popular perception of what it means to be an IT professional. Once seen as the defining example of predictability and control, the digital world now appears to many as a chaotic mix of opportunities and threats.
No longer just the invisible stokers of the back-office engines of the enterprise, todays IT architects and managers are on the front lines of strategic initiatives and corporate governance improvements. Theyre also facing the increasingly demanding job of defending enterprise information assets against sophisticated and fast-moving attacks.
Surprisingly, however, the seasoned IT leaders of eWEEKs Corporate Partner
Advisory Board see the changes in their duties as more evolution than revolution.
The jobs of evaluating outsourcing as an alternative and/or complementary technology support system, assuring compliance with applicable regulations, and maintaining integrity of operations are not newalthough the Corporate Partners said they do find that they must address management expectations that IT departments will do more with less.
On the plus side, Corporate Partners find that todays IT users have a head start on basic skills and a personal senseas home PC usersof what it takes to keep things up and running.
The role of IT professional is constantly in flux. We wanted to sit down with you to discuss some of your newor, should we say, newerresponsibilities and the impact they are having on your jobs and companies.
Have any of you felt any direct impact on your resources as a result of
having to meet reporting requirements or auditability requirements, such as
for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Director of MIS
FN Manufacturing Inc.
Manager of PC Strategy and Services
Gannett Co. Inc.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin
Manager of IT
AdSpace Networks Inc.
Security is shaping IT pros roles
Because of all these new concerns and the new security focus,
where "security" is every third word we see, Im shedding the commodity stuff
because I just dont have the bandwidth to do a lot of the stuff that I used
So the elevated concern for some really complex site-specific and strategic
questions like security and data confidentiality and so on are making it necessary
for you to offload functions?
Yes. I think its an evolution. There was a time when day-to-day
acquisition of hardware and management of licensing and what have you was the
new cutting-edge place where we could add value.
So you feel that the level of standards and the level of product performance
have reached the point where theres kind of a maturation of what you can do
as a technologist? So your opportunity in the organization is more as a CIO
type rather than an MIS type?
Well, I think its just a matter of looking at a fundamentally
new set of technologies.
IT continues to evolve. Its no longer purely a back-office science.
A broader skill set is requiredstill very technical but with business
acumen and negotiation and vendor management skills.
Technology has gone mainstream, but IT still finds itself in the role of
bridging the knowledge gap and articulating to the rest of the business how
technology may best be applied to reap the maximum advantage.
An even balance is developing between technical and business skills. In-depth technical knowledge is still required, but it must now be rounded out with the "softer" business skills. As technology evolves into a more strategic role in a market of diminishing margins, delivering a decisive competitive edge requires not just the knowledge of how to use a tool but when and where to use it.
What IT can and cannot do.