The Future of the IT Department Roundtable

On Monday 20th November, Mark Kelly led a roundtable in the London Tech UK offices for Computer Futures. Discussion revolved around The Future of the IT Department report that’s due to launch in January 2018. Ideas and suggestions for the future were shared, with some of the UK’s greatest minds in the technology industry.

Two of the main areas of focus that Mark looked at were the priorities of a tech leader and the business in general, and how the department would change in the next five years.

The key priorities – for businesses and tech leaders

Some of the key findings when it came to priorities were that these are very much dependant on the sector in question, and the specific circumstances of the individual business. As one of the attendees made a point of saying, for some people, it’s very much a case of priorities being based on legacy issues. As such, improvements can’t be made until this is done.

One of the attendees works in higher education and explained that his priorities, and the priorities of the business, were very much centred on cybersecurity and reducing risks. However others at the table said that they’d been working on cybersecurity for years and, as such, it wasn’t necessarily considered a priority.

What makes a tech leader?

Following on from the priorities, we also discussed what a tech leader can do to ensure they have a seat at the table on board meetings. We wanted to know how they could become more influential across the whole business.

Many of the attendees at the roundtable believed that this position was very much an earned status, based on their ability to deliver and provide the business what they need, when they need it. As part of the discussion, people also expressed the need to have an overview of each department and what the customers and clients want. Not only that, they need to be able to communicate this in ways that people across the business would understand. This tallies with the idea that tech departments of the future may be more customer centric.

The IT department in the next five years

The majority of the people attending the roundtable felt the percentage of people who said they feel the corporate IT department will move from a cost centre to a profit centre should be higher. Especially now that it’s easier to use data to prove how you’ve helped grow revenue and profit.

Conversation then turned to the growth of IT departments and how feasible it is, with many saying they would be surprised to see the department grow. Instead, they felt that the number of people who work with technology would increase and perhaps this would impact the way in which teams existed. It was also agreed that the way we see outsourcing is going to change, with the temptation being that it would be brought back in-house.

One interesting fact that came out of this discussion was that Goldman Sachs employ more engineers and programmers than Facebook, which surprised many round the table.

Thank you to everyone who attended

Thank you to everybody that attended – there was a wealth of great ideas and opinions shared, many of which will help to shape the final Future of the IT Department report. We just thought we’d share some of the key points that were raised:

  • When it comes to IT and technology departments, it’s essential to get the basics right. If you can’t, you won’t get anywhere.

  • In order to have influence, it’s important to understand all areas of the business and communicate with them clearly and efficiently.

  • There’s a general consensus that the talent of the future won’t necessarily be IT or business focused. They will focused on using technology to help growth.

  • As far as cybersecurity is concerned, the weakest point of any organisation is its people. Although we’re all more aware of the importance of cybersecurity, perhaps more needs to be done to educate employees on best practice.

  • IT used to be considered the barrier to innovation and growth – internal change is now thought to be the barrier.

We regularly update our articles and events page with the details of upcoming roundtables and events held by Computer Futures so, if you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to join, it’s worth checking in on the page.

If you’re looking to hire the greatest technology talent or are looking for a new opportunity within the industry, contact us today, let us know what you’re looking for, and a consultant will be in touch.