A ‘Call to Action’ for IT Leaders

By Charles Araujo

IT is in a time of great change and churn. I think almost all of us can agree on that, but to what degree, and what to do about it, is often the subject of debate. Is this just another blip or is this something altogether different? If you’ve read my book, The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know is About to Change, you probably have a pretty good idea of what I think. Nonetheless, there seems to be a growing consensus that something is different this time, but the question of how we, as an industry, should respond sends IT professionals scattering in different directions.

Some IT pros believe that while this time is somehow different, it really is just more of the same. Learn some new lingo, develop some new technical skills, adapt. Others, like me, believe we are facing a tectonic shift in the foundation on which our industry is built. Moreover, a growing contingent believes that the only remaining choice is whether or not we will be a part of this change or if this change will be forcefully thrust upon us. But as I write this today, something is different from what it was just one week ago. Last week, a group of industry leaders got together and put forth a “Call to Action,” calling on their communities and networks to recognize that we can no longer sit by and watch our industry fade. We must stand up and demand change.

At the annual Fusion 13 Conference, jointly produced by itSMF USA and HDI, a group of industry leaders, executives, practitioners and educators were gathered from what is largely considered the IT service management community. Originally brought together under the name “The Revolutionary Network,” the group was assembled as a sort of think tank to imagine a new future for IT service management and the IT industry. (Disclosure: I am a board member of itSMF USA and was responsible for organizing the aforementioned group.) 

What happened next, however, was unexpected.

This group of 21 strong personalities took the moniker of being “revolutionaries” seriously and posed two questions to itself: Who are we fighting for? Why should they care?

As we grappled with these questions, a truth emerged. The IT industry and the IT service management industry have, as the Call to Action described, “become stagnated by a systemic and fundamentally broken set of attitudes and behaviors.” We discussed with dismay how the very thing that us hoped would be a part of the solution was becoming part of the problem. We observed that our IT operating models were broken, that we were proving unable to respond to shifting business opportunities, that we were failing to adapt, and that we were failing to develop the new type of IT professional and leader with the types of skills and competencies that would be required in the very near future.

It was a sobering realization.

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