In the medium term, the IT department will have changed so that it has nothing in common with its current state.” warns the magazine CIO. But what will change in the IT organization 2020? According to the magazine, a reorganization of IT to better understand the requirements of the business side is on the agenda of more than 70 percent of companies worldwide.

Oracle’s blog also includes a discussion about the IT organization 2020. Here’s what the blog says: Today’s technology world is less about operational deployment and infrastructure than it is about finding solutions and working together. IT departments are becoming smaller as companies outsource operational activities to external service providers. End users are more than ever required to ensure a smooth functioning.

Reading tip: What is an IT organization

Now I have found no concrete indications of the changes in most of the results at Google. For this reason, I searched again in academic databases and transferred the thoughts of Prof. Dr. Urbach and his co-author F. Ahlemann to the article. Both authors represent the IT organization 2015 and 2020, which I recreate here strongly modified.

2020 IT organization
IT-Organisation 2020 (Own presentation on the ideas of Urbach and Ahlemann 2017)

The drivers: organization, teams and individuals

But why should IT change in this way? I see three drivers for this: people, teams and organisations. In the following, I would like to explain these new framework conditions for IT. The new REQUIREMENTS for IT can then be derived from these.

Organization

Organisations have been organised in a fairly traditional way to date, with a focus on controland and control. This has changed to project orientation and agile methods due to increasing complexity. Networking and a flat hierarchy shape the organisations and thus also change the requirements for IT.

Teams

While teams and departments have been stable for a long time and have often been poorly networked or worked across departmental boundaries, networked teams and ever-changing roles are now increasingly found in companies. IT is therefore required to provide flexible hardware and software for these permanent changes and to support cross-functional teams.

Employees

While employees have mostly been with a company for a long time and also in one job, it is now different. Frequent changes of company and roles are state-of-the-art. This is already being felt today. For this reason, IT is required to provide flexible workplaces that meet these constant changes.

The IT Organization 2020 – Infrastructure and Applications

People, teams and organizations become more flexible and demand new tools from IT to support these processes. This is reflected in applications and infrastructure, which I would like to explain in more detail below.

While IT development has often developed back-end and frontend separately and infrastructures should run stable and efficient, the weighting is now changing. IT is designed to meet the new flexibility requirements of its employees. So I find more and more the concept of the IT platform. Incidentally, I mention the word ubiquitous in the graphic. The adjective ubiquitous comes from Latin, where ubique means “everywhere” (Source: New Word).

Urbach and Ahlemann write on the topic of the IT platform: New platform strategies are needed to support arbitrary devices for ubiquitous access to information. The user expects the knowledge workstation of the future to be able to use the company’s central applications and services with all the devices used, regardless of the hardware manufacturer and operating system used.

For this reason, the authors propose a flexible platform. Thus, various modules are to be created on the platform, which enable the work of each end device and whereby the change of the end device does not negatively affect the work. For example, Urbach and Ahlemann recommend that the development platforms guarantee the security of the systems regardless of the underlying hardware and provide universal functionality for access to the back-end systems. As current examples of such platforms, the authors mention: Xamarin1, PhoneGap2, Kony3 or 5App4,

Conclusion: Agile, faster and more flexible – IT Organisation 2020

In conclusion, the IT organisation will become faster, more agile and more flexible in 2020. Thus, agile teams and DevOps methods will establish themselves. According to a study of cobalt blue, 40% of all employees will be agile by 2020 and 25% of them in so-called DevOps teams. Thus, 40% of all applications are developed agilely and then also in DevOps mode. In addition, 50% of all applications should be based on cloud infrastructures by then and designed according to the latest best practices. It therefore turns out that the changes in the illustration of Urbach and Ahlemann (2016) could occur and thus agile methods will probably be more and more necessary in the IT organization 2020.

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Urbach, N., & Ahlemann, F. (2016). The IT organization in transition: implications of digitalization for IT management. HMD Practice of Business Informatics, 54(3), 300-312. https://doi.org/10.1365/s40702-017-0313-6

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.