6. IT is still relevant — but only if it adapts
Despite the explosion in self-service IT, tech expertise is still highly valued in organizations. But tech pros will need to up their game, hone some new skills, and be willing to accept some help from robots.
Successful IT pros are good at adapting to change, says PK Agarwal, regional dean and CEO of Northeastern University-Silicon Valley. A few years ago, IT pros were talking about data management and development; now they talk about IoT and devops. The topics may change, Agarwal says, but the requisite skills do not.
"Today's IT leaders need to be more reliant on soft skills and emotional intelligence, so they can guide complex conversations about the collision of digital transformation with legacy eco systems," he says. "The upsurge in automation and self-service also means IT professionals need to be more committed than ever to life-long learning."
AI-driven automation will change tech delivery in significant ways — eliminating low-level and repetitive jobs, while enhancing tech pros' ability to pull meaning from vast quantities of data, says Isabelle Dumont, VP at Lacework, a cloud security company.
“Cloud security is a good example where machine learning can augment IT's ability to perform," she says. “From breach detection to investigation analysis, ML can compile and analyze the billions of events and the output of thousands of VMs faster than any human, so IT teams can focus on the things that matter most."
Still, the onus is on CIOs to overcome the stigma of IT being seen as a cost center and technology pros as order takers, warns Lowe.
"If you want to be treated as a strategic partner, you have to act like a strategic partner," he says. "This may make for some uncomfortable conversations, but only by inserting IT into upstream strategic thinking can it have impact and change the perception to one of partnership."
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