Gartner urges IT departments to 'let go'

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Gartner urges IT departments to 'let go'

Firms must recognise the opportunities of consumer and Internet technologies.

Corporate IT departments must evolve to address changing working practices, according to Gartner. 

System administrators must pass some of the control and responsibilities accumulated over recent decades to the end user.

This will allow IT departments to free up time and resources, and concentrate on business opportunities, a Gartner analyst argued at the firm's Symposium/ITxpo in Cannes. 

At least two-thirds of IT budgets are currently consumed by operations, maintenance and support.

This leaves little scope to invest in or support projects that could transform the business, explained Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research at Gartner.

The analyst said that many users, frustrated by restrictions imposed by the IT department, are taking advantage of consumer technologies and services and finding alternative approaches to work and collaboration in the office.

Sondergaard added that, while many of IT's responsibilities are still mission critical, organisations need to bend to the realities and opportunities associated with consumer and Internet technologies if their businesses are to prosper.

"[Consumer adoption of technology] is the single most significant trend impacting IT in the next 10 years," said Sondergaard.

"However, it is not really about new technologies. It is about attitudes towards and usage of technology.

"There is a societal shift taking place which, combined with access to and acceptance of newly affordable technology, is driving change in usage and the business model.

"Companies will have to come to terms with a fundamental change in traditional business models and drivers."

To fully benefit from this change, Gartner urges companies to reduce spending on physical assets and increase spending on the human aspects of their businesses.

Internet advances are providing incredible new insights into how people work, think, play and create, according to Steve Prentice, distinguished analyst and chief of research at Gartner.

"Things like search, instant messaging, Skype, podcasting, Wi-Fi, MySpace, YouTube, wikis, peer-to-peer networking and Web 2.0 micro applications have huge potential to radically increase knowledge-worker productivity," he said. 

"But too many IT organisations are still trying to control or even prevent their use. We firmly believe that these technologies, and the ones to follow, will power the future economy, provided that the IT organisation lets go."

Gartner believes it is only by recognising that 'central IT' is a thing of the past that IT organisations will learn to let go and relinquish some of the control they have imposed on users for decades.

"Our message is simple: begin today and start shifting some of the responsibilities to the user," said Prentice.

"Concentrate on the value that IT needs to bring to the business, and let the power, enthusiasm and understanding of IT enable your success."
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