Traditional IT departments are to disappear according to a comment from a Software as a Service (SaaS) vendor. This reminds me of a similar comment 10 years ago that tape backup was dead. We all know that tape is still here and will be for the foreseeable future (ok, so you backup to disk as well – but tape still has its place.) The same will be true of the IT department, their role may change a little but their basic function will remain.
Applications will be delivered over the web – but that doesn’t mean users won’t have problems with them and need support. There will be a rise in outsourced functionality, you just need to look at salesforce.com to see the revolution that is underway in delivering business applications as a service. There will also be a rise in the number of services available to the small, and the not so small business. For example, outsourcing email for companies with 1,000 employees is now relatively simple and that number will grow over the next few years to 5,000+. However, there will always be core value-adding applications and services that will be developed in-house and need support from the IT department. The changes that occur will enable IT workers to focus on these business focused value-add applications rather than the more mundane ones – which will be a good thing, for the business and for those of us who work in IT and like to innovate.