IT is a rapidly changing field, and a new report from A.T. Kearney underscores how much the industry is going to change over the next few years.
The management consulting firm surveyed more than 150 CIOs around the world and found more than two-thirds of companies planned to significantly invest in IT in the next seven years.
Around 85 percent of those surveyed said they anticipated a significant increase in requirements, with 75 percent of them also saying that they thought the time pressure to deliver new solutions would increase.
IT professionals will also find themselves handling sales and consumer-facing applications.
"In other words, where IT had once focused on improving processes and automating production, by 2020 the focus will shift to fostering customer relations via personalized marketing campaigns, data analytics, and online ordering systems," Hagen, an A.T. Kearney partner and one of the study's authors, said.
As IT becomes more sales-oriented, CIOs expect their employers to increase their budgets. Automakers and retailers will invest more in these new applications than other industries.
With new applications comes new complexity. Of the CIOs surveyed, 84 percent of them found that they would support more applications by 2020 than they do now.
At the same time, 80 percent of them said they’d rely on off-the-shelf software rather than custom applications and focus on integrating existing software rather than developing new applications.
The changes in the IT field will also lead to upheaval in the IT job market, as firms rely on outside solutions and IT workers face retraining or layoffs. New jobs are more likely to displace the old ones, and people with skills in IT, digital technologies, business and the aforementioned sales and customer applications will be especially valuable.
People with English language skills, particularly in countries that are major outsourcing centers, will also be highly favored.
The transition will not be easy, but then again, IT never is.
“CIOs will be asked to contribute directly – faster and more efficiently – to the success of the enterprise," Hagen said. "Additionally, IT will be asked to be a leader in digital transformations and technologies. In parallel, CIOs will need to manage a highly complex application landscape with a slightly increased but still limited budget."