If you follow our daily official Twitter feed (@ComputerworldMy), you may have noted an increase and widening of scope in our local and international ICT news coverage: we are seeing the beginnings of machine-to-machine (M2M) installations, including smart devices in cars and so forth. However, the growth and divergence of such news points to an apparent dichotomy of changes in the industry.
In his August 2012 blog for Computerworld Malaysia, Frost & Sullivan's vice president, ICT practice for Asia Pacific, Andrew Milroy, said IT departments would become smaller, while drivers such as cloud computing and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) would change the role of IT to becoming 'an integrator of services, a driver of innovation and a manager of systems and processes.' He added: "It is hard to tell how much IT departments will shrink. However, there is evidence of IT departments shrinking as a proportion of the organisation being served."
My U.S-based Computerworld colleague, Patrick Thibodeau, wrote in an article that in overall numbers, the IT industry in the US, which employed 6.5 million people in 2001, slipped to 5.9 million by the middle of 2011. "In short, the U.S. tech industry as an employer is shrinking, even as it continues to regain jobs lost during the recession."
The article quoted trade association TechAmerica's senior vice president Matthew Kazmierczak who noted that there has been a shift in the technology industry. "The industry is becoming more specialised. The manufacturing and the technology services that are being done in the U.S. are often for the design and creation of new products and are not necessarily the labour-intensive, production of those goods. "As Kazmierczak put it, the IT activity taking place in the U.S. mostly involves 'the high-value creation' of high-tech products while the manufacturing has shifted overseas particularly to Asia.
As we continue to track IT activities and such shifts through different industry sectors and our daily world, it is clear that though enterprise IT may be apparently shrinking, computing technologies have diverged into almost every industry sector and are changing human behaviour as well as the quality of life in ways both positive and apparently negative. As always, let us know your thoughts as we all progress through 2013.
- AvantiKumar, Editor, Computerworld Malaysia & Malaysia Country Correspondent for Fairfax Tech Channels
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