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We Asked 200 Leading IT Professionals to Predict How Their Jobs Will Change in 2016 – Here's What They Said

Christina Wang

December 16, 2015

5 minute read

Cloud IT Predictions

Every December, new predictions are made about how technology will change the way businesses operate and how employees work. We commonly hear the perspectives of analysts and industry thought leaders, but this year, we wanted to hear from IT professionals themselves.

By surveying leading IT professionals, we tapped into some of the most forward-thinking minds in tech. In fact, nearly 50% of this audience believes their organizations will run 100% of their IT in the cloud by 2020.

All of our survey respondents have adopted a cloud office system, and in most cases, are adopting many other cloud applications. These IT professionals are leading the shift to cloud.

We asked them one simple question: How do you think the role of the IT professional will change in 2016?

After analyzing our respondents’ answers, we identified seven clear themes that led us to the following predictions. In 2016:

  1. IT Professionals Will Gain Influence as Their Role as Business Enablers Increases
  2. IT Professionals Will Spend Less Time Managing On-Premises Systems and Spend More Time on Cloud Configuration
  3. IT Will Face Increasing Demand for Mobile Enablement
  4. IT Professionals Will Rely on Automation More Than Ever
  5. End-user Training and Change Management Will Become Job Requirements
  6. IT Will Focus More on Development and Integrations
  7. IT Will Continue to Balance Security and Productivity

IT Professionals Will Gain Influence as Their Role as Business Enablers Increases

  • With new cloud tools and less on-premises resources to take care of, IT professionals will work closely with business leaders on new initiatives to bring innovation to the business.
  • IT professionals will find themselves engaging in a far more advisory and driving role, rather than simply managing resources and monitoring users.
  • We won’t be driving the business, but we believe that we can make line-of-business (LOB) life much easier and more joyful. People in the company may not realize it, but they highly depend on IT’s services.
  • IT will become more consultative in nature, focusing on production and security vetting.
  • IT professionals that are proactive and looking for ways to better leverage technology to increase productivity will thrive; those that are reactive will wither.

Companies will look at IT as a competitive advantage, relying on their technical expertise to drive innovation and surpass their competition. Companies that actively use cloud, mobility, and big data are growing revenue 53% faster than those that don’t, according to Dell’s 2015 Global Technology Adoption Index.

IT Professionals Will Spend Less Time Managing On-Premises Systems and Spend More Time on Cloud Configuration

  • IT will transition to more configuration of cloud services rather than managing technical infrastructure details. There will be more mapping of business requirements to cloud services and applications.
  • Geographic boundaries will become irrelevant, cloud integration and adoption will move from nice to have, to must have.
  • The focus will be cloud-based, allowing better remote access to resources and removing the hardware burden from administrators.
  • Almost all options will be cloud based. The IT professional will have to be ready for quicker changes as opposed to installing and forgetting!
  • Decreased role: supporting hardware. Increased role: supporting cloud devices and apps.
  • Fewer on-site systems and devices. Many resources dependent on the cloud.
  • Adapting to cloud changes will become the norm for the IT professional.
  • Greater time will be needed to spend on managing network, devices, and users. Organisations that use cloud computing will need to be thinking about systems, procedures, and structure around ownership and long-term retention of files.

The evidence of the coming shift to the cloud is undeniable. By 2022, 62% of all organizations will run 100% of their IT in the cloud, according to our Trends in Cloud IT survey.

IT Will Face Increasing Demand for Mobile Enablement

  • Integrating office networks and systems with mobile applications will be the most challenging role in the next year.
  • IT professionals will need to focus more on mobile enablement.
  • The IT professional in the future needs to have a strong knowledge base surrounding how cloud technology works on a variety of mobile devices.
  • More support, more BYOD issues. More support.

Gartner predicts that more than two billion mobile phones will ship in 2016 alone.

IT Professionals Will Rely on Automation More Than Ever

  • The role of IT will be centered on online syncing. Everything automated.
  • IT will become even more automated while scripting and programming will become expected skills.
  • There will be more automation of tasks and more collaborative use of software across various offices and companies.

60% of IT departments are already automating low-level IT work, according to Tech Pro Research.

End-user Training and Change Management Will Become Job Requirements

  • Training will become more important than technical support.
  • Increased emphasis on strategic value, communications, and continuous learning through experimentation and measurement.
  • Less maintenance and more of an evangelist/teacher.
  • IT will become even more focused on training, communication, and change management in general.
  • With the opportunities and changes offered via the Cloud and Google Apps products, there will be much thought to be given to change management and training. Hopefully, it will allow IT professionals to be more creative and collaborative with their users instead of just the “network/PC” guys.
  • I believe IT will become more individually-user support based.
  • More direct training responsibilities because everything is changing so fast.
  • Power users will play a big role as they will be working partly on the IT side and partly on the customer side. The challenge will be to educate and explain how to use new tools and technologies.

According to our Trends in Cloud IT survey, in the next two years, IT professionals working for large enterprises expect the number of cloud applications they use to increase from 18 to 57, a 185% increase.

Someone will need to train end users on how to use these new tools; many IT professionals believe that responsibility lies with their department.

IT Will Focus More on Development and Integrations

  • The role of IT will move towards development and away from support.
  • IT will spend more time working to integrate platforms and less time dealing with software and hardware issues.
  • Users will demand more app integrations.
  • The SMB market will focus more on cloud integrations as opposed to on-premises based solutions.
  • We’ll need to be able to create apps.
  • There will be more focus on integration and customization.
  • A regular scope of work will shift more towards the integration of technology/cloud services.

ProgrammableWeb.com called, “The Journal of the API Economy” by TechCrunch, has tracked the growth of APIs since 2005. According to their research, from 2010 until now, the number of APIs has grown from 2,026 to more than 14,000.

IT Will Continue to Balance Security and Productivity

  • As more users and organizations become more accepting of cloud computing, the need to validate the promise of security and availability will become more important.
  • The IT professional must understand “usable” security and provision secure services.
  • We will need to be open to more possibilities. Security will become more of a trade-off between in-house and cloud services.
  • As cloud platforms become the accepted norm, IT professionals will shift their focus more to securing their cloud assets (Backup, Sharing Policy, etc.) rather than simply working with an internal network.

“Security concerns remain the most common reason for avoiding the use of public cloud services,” according to Gartner. IT must balance the use of cloud technology–and the benefits the cloud provides–with legitimate security concerns.

How Do You Predict The Role of IT Will Change in 2016?

Do you agree with the predictions above? If not, why? Share your predictions in the comment section below.

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