August 2006 IT Organization Survey: IT's Future is Brighter Than You Think

By Allan Alter  |  Posted 09-06-2006

According to the results of this month's survey on the future of the IT organization, corporate IT departments are going through more change now than ever before. Change is never easy or universally welcome, of course, but in this case, change is good—for the most part. Organizations are growing, morale is improving, and more opportunities are opening up for IT professionals. So put aside those worries that outsourcing means there will be no IT jobs for college graduates. One caveat: Business know-how is now so important that, given a choice, most IT executives will hire and promote a job candidate with a superior grasp of business over someone who's an ace technologist.

Unfortunately, this positive picture isn't true across the board. Nearly half of IT organizations are still seen as a staff or support function, rather than as a strategic one, and those IT organizations are less likely to grow. And even at companies that are growing, some changes are hard for many IT professionals to accept. Large companies, in particular, have come to rely heavily on contractors and outsourcing firms to supply IT labor, and on business users to provide new ideas for using technology. IT pros aren't always comfortable seeing the business side take on a bigger IT role, and CIOs need to tell them to get used to it. If they can adjust, today's tech workers can expect a strong future, though the IT landscape will look quite different from the way it looks now.

Research Guide:
CIOs Expect IT Organizations to Keep Growing

  • Finding 1: IT organizations are getting larger, not smaller.
  • Finding 2: Large companies are relying on contractors, outsourcers and H1B visa holders.

    CIOs Put Out Help-Wanted Sign for Business-Savvy IT Professionals

  • Finding 3: CIOs are looking for business-savvy technologists to build new systems.

    IT Departments Are Going Through Unprecedented Change

  • Finding 4: Most IT executives believe their departments are undergoing more change than ever.
  • Finding 5: The IT morale problem has stabilized, but it's still serious, especially at large companies.

    The Wall Between IT and Business is Falling Down

  • Finding 6: Only half of IT executives say their companies view IT as strategic.
  • Finding 7: The division between the IT organization and the rest of the business is diminishing.

    Click here to download a PDF of our 2006 IT Organization Survey.

    Additional findings from IT Organization Survey in Allan Alter's Research Central blog:

  • Strategic IT Means Opportunity
  • Forrester Report: "Is There a Career Future in Enterprise IT?"
  • Project Offices on the Rise at SMBs
  • More Reasons for Unprecedented Change
  • Countertrend: Where Techies Land the Job
  • Training for IT's Future
  • The Multicultural Project Manager
  • Telecommuting to Increase at IT Organizations
  • More Women Expected to Enter IT
  • IT Workers with H-1B Visas

    Read our previous surveys on the IT organization's current state and future:

  • The IT Organization: Why is Morale So Bad? (November 2004)
  • The Future of IT (January 2005)
  • The Future of IT 2004 : What's in Store for Today and Tomorrow? (January 2004)

    Related stories:

  • Review: Does IT Matter? (April 1, 2004)
  • Marianne Broadbent: Don't Just Implement Strategy. Evolve It. (February 2005)
  • Case study: Continental Airline's Tech Strategy Takes Off (July 2006)
  • Case study: Thomson Aims to Cultivate Able Managers (July 2005)
  • Culture Clash – Special Issue on Alignment issue (October 15, 2004)