“It’s Time To Get Rid of The IT Department”

So says Joe Peppard, who recently wrote a Wall Street Journal article with that provocative title. Peppard, currently on leave from his position as a principal research scientist at MIT Sloan School of Management, says IT departments may have made sense in the past when technology was a separate thing from the business, but not now. These days, he claims, IT departments represent an outdated model that is inhibiting flexible response to technology needs, preventing innovation, and hurting business.

“Despite their mission, which often talks about driving corporatewide innovation and digital transformation, chief information officers, as heads of these departments, are frequently reduced to running a metaphorical island. Just look at any organization’s structure, and you are very likely to see a rectangular box labeled IT, with its own management hierarchy and budget.

“But here’s the sad fact: Having an IT department is exactly what will prevent companies from being innovative, agile, customer-focused and digitally transformed.

“That’s because IT departments are for a bygone era and are ill-suited to the demands of a digital-first world. We all love to complain about our IT departments—blaming the people in them and their leaders for living in their own worlds, and for being unresponsive to business needs. But our complaints are misguided. The problem isn’t with the people or the leaders. It’s with the whole idea of IT departments in the first place, which sets up IT to fail.”

“After all, technology is no longer an option, something distinct; it is a competitive necessity. Covid-19 has only reinforced the fact that most organizations can’t survive without tech. It is deeply fused with the work of staff, a core enabler of business models, and driver of customer experience.”

No man is an island, says Peppard, and the IT department shouldn’t be one, either.

As an alternative, Peppard advocates dispersing technology expertise throughout the organization, making it a part of every business unit, instead of being its own, isolated department or organizational “island”.

This doesn’t mean anybody can do anything when it comes to technology, maintains Peppard.

“Decentralizing technology also requires some centralization…Of course, if you have your own data centers, on-site servers and software,” he says, “you will need specialists to manage all this tech. This was the original objective of the IT department. But with cloud computing and other technology innovations, having hardware or software physically on the premises is no longer necessary.”

“Organizations need IT. But they almost certainly don’t need an IT department.”

Joe Peppard

Peppard concludes his article by saying, “Organizations need IT. But they almost certainly don’t need an IT department.”

So…if you do away with in-house IT departments and imbed technology expertise in departments throughout the organization, the question that remains is, what is the glue that can hold everything together and address the top-level needs of the organization? That’s where an outside IT resource can come into play, according to wedoIT.

10 ways an outside IT vendor can facilitate the forward-thinking idea of doing away with your IT department:

  1. They can maintain vital services while replacing the need for expensive, centralized personnel.
  2. They can provide an independent, unbiased source of critical thinking and consultation.
  3. They can provide up-to-date, leading-edge technology options.
  4. They can provide centralized technology standards such as security protocols, disaster recovery procedures, system documentation, password management, etc.
  5. They can help you respond quickly and flexibly to changing customer demands and changing technology requirements.
  6. They can maintain your network and tech systems by providing remote management solutions that don’t require in-house staff.
  7. They can provide company-wide cybersecurity solutions.
  8. They can facilitate disaster recovery in the event of a cybersecurity breach.
  9. They can provide company-wide data, server, and email backups.
  10. They can assist in specifying and acquiring any needed hardware at the best prices.

Doing away with your IT department, may seem like a challenging idea, but one that is extremely tuned in to the needs of today’s rapidly evolving digital business world. Finding ways to make it work, by dispersing tech talent throughout the organization and relying on the fast, efficient oversight of an outside IT resource, can propel companies forward instead of keeping them standing still.

As they say, change is inevitable. How an organization responds to change will define its future.

Click here to go to “It’s time to get rid of the IT Department” by Joe Peppard: