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End of traditional IT departments, more white collar job losses on the way

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Telegraph: Is this the end of the traditional IT department?

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Corporate computing has moved out of the server room and off the company desktop to evolve into on-demand flexible services and devices that follow their user around.

With that shift, the IT department has had to adapt and transform to support the new model.

So does the cloud and mobile era mean we can do away with the IT department completely? To a large extent, the answer is yes.

Many of the functions the traditional IT team served – deploying and maintaining in-house systems, networks and infrastructure; managing software upgrades; deciding which PCs, servers and storage boxes to invest in – are now obsolete as firms instead rely on online services, and employees choose the devices they want to work on.

 

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The Corporate IT Department is dead.

But all the staff simply move to the suppliers / vendors, etc. 

This already happened in about 2001 IIRC so it can hardly be termed "News"!

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I am actually making this happen. The difference this time is that the suppliers don't need that amount of people anymore because a lot more things are either already automated or being automated as we speak.  The type of people which are still required is also very different so all your traditional sysadmins go and are replaced with a script and people who know how to write that script.

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1 hour ago, kalkal1 said:

I am actually making this happen. The difference this time is that the suppliers don't need that amount of people anymore because a lot more things are either already automated or being automated as we speak.  The type of people which are still required is also very different so all your traditional sysadmins go and are replaced with a script and people who know how to write that script.

Good Luck.

When I started in IT +30 years ago, I was asked why I had chosen to go into this field as we were all going to be automated out of a job within 5 years. I have since lost count of the number of times that prediction has been made regarding the next big thing be it 4GLs, AI, Offshoring, Virtualisation, end user computing, Cloud, AI again, Smart Cloud, etc. etc. 

Its all b**locks, IT will be with us at least until we can replace the end user with a programme at which point the future of IT staff will be a minor concern.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, kalkal1 said:

I am actually making this happen. The difference this time is that the suppliers don't need that amount of people anymore because a lot more things are either already automated or being automated as we speak.  The type of people which are still required is also very different so all your traditional sysadmins go and are replaced with a script and people who know how to write that script.

Yes, this is more to do with better deployment tools and automation, it actually has very little to do with the cloud per se.

Whilst there is still plenty of cloud hype out there, actually there is a backlash currently building against big cloud services.

I am seeing large numbers of customers, withdrawing from AWS and Azure for various reasons.  Sometimes it is cost, as they land unexpectedly large bills, for others it is service quality (there are no proper SLAs) and for others it is technical complexities or performance.

Even some of the functionally good services, like Office365 are seeing a backlash, either due to outages and more commonly (like myself) customers are experiencing Office365 inspired freezes on their tablets and phones.

The reality is the cloud isn't a different thing, its just someone else's computer over a network. And a bit like old Gold Coins, the Cloud providers have a tendency to clip (or over provision) the services.

And you want something really scary, ask you cloud provider if they are hosting botnets. If they say no, then they are lying, the biggest issue being stolen credit cards being used to spin up VMs and launch DDoS attacks or host malware. 

As said, this isn't related to cloud, its more to do with automation.

 

 

 

Edited by Mikhail Liebenstein

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11 hours ago, Confusion of VIs said:

Good Luck.

When I started in IT +30 years ago, I was asked why I had chosen to go into this field as we were all going to be automated out of a job within 5 years. I have since lost count of the number of times that prediction has been made regarding the next big thing be it 4GLs, AI, Offshoring, Virtualisation, end user computing, Cloud, AI again, Smart Cloud, etc. etc. 

Its all b**locks, IT will be with us at least until we can replace the end user with a programme at which point the future of IT staff will be a minor concern.

 

 

 

Brilliant and made my day +100%. take Office 365 - Sold as the end of your Microsoft Exchange Server just stick it all on our servers that aren't in the UK (1st problem illegal for most regulated companies) and hunky dory so when your spreadsheet from your legacy system doesn't open for the chairman's presentation you just write a script or move the pst - trouble  is you can't because when you pay peanuts you get peanuts based systems, Cookie cutter, inflexible and one size fits all so supposed to be usable for a fairy cake maker start up as a 1000 person law firm even people who aren't in IT can see that isn't going to work surely ? The result Hybrid systems with localised support and technology people like yourself CoVI and us  who learn how to make all this work,  massive retaining no - bit of mind numbingly boring skill adapation yes (but hey what they don't know - They being the  93% of the world who aren't technical is we are pretty good at that and actually enjoy it)

You will see Office 365 stickers in  all of those terribly depressing high st repair PC shops normally incorporating a fix your mobile phone counters as well. These people aren't industrial scale commercial technologists like us they are break fix monkeys hanging on and are quite happy to earn 2% for  selling office 365 without a a a partner agreement. Microsoft has completely volte faced on Office 365 which it tried to sell direct and now sells through the channel for a healthy 20-25% margin which is ok for a light touch recurring revenue product similar to tele comms. Although above about 50 users your better off with  a premise based system for cost and flexibility.

Most people I suspect even the journalist who wrote that article think technology is apps and silicon roundabout. Rather like thinking Thames water is represented by your tap.  The vast majority of well paid roles are in areas most people haven't a hope of understanding and never see and have never been busier.

My business has a small desk in Hyderabad our small team is good but will never replace in my lifetime the skill sets we have onshore for two reasons you can buy certifications in India and supporting large scale commercial systems requires a contextual understanding you cannot gain remotely. I have said before the only reason we have it is so we can overflow 1st and some 2nd line calls and then upskill our existing team because of the massive shortage of 2nd/3rd line skill sets in many of the areas you mention.

As a final point a stat I have in my head from dinosaur times working for IBM in the eighties and we were profiled was that only 5-6% of the population has the attributes to be highly skilled technically, backed up by a stat I just googled from Exeter Uni  that said about 1 in 20 people work in IT so seems relevant. An advanced technical mindset is diagnostic, process driven but also adept at escalation and can also meet deadlines under pressure. So if that percentage has remained constant and there is more and more technology - driverless cars, Internet of things, smart buildings who is going to make it all work -answer us ! Happy days

Ps Did I say because of the Brexit vote data centres in the UK are expanding.......:P and I first saw a cloud diagram in a classroom in Sudbury West London in 1984 whilst being trained 

 

 

 

Edited by Greg Bowman

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10 hours ago, Arpeggio said:

Technology moves so fast as soon as you buy something its doesn't take too long before it is out of date. All of my webhosts rent their servers.

I know what you mean. Upgrading 250 websites to use SSD drives was a piece of cake. I got an email two years ago from Digitalocean telling me they'd done it.

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13 hours ago, kalkal1 said:

I am actually making this happen. The difference this time is that the suppliers don't need that amount of people anymore because a lot more things are either already automated or being automated as we speak.  The type of people which are still required is also very different so all your traditional sysadmins go and are replaced with a script and people who know how to write that script.

You will always need people who know how to write the script though. The question is simply one of where they are employed.

No amount of DevOps or automation will diminish the need for people who can understand business processes and then find ways to automate those processes using the best technology readily available.

Technology can be viewed as a cost. But any successful company sees it as a chance to gain competitive advantage.

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9 hours ago, Mikhail Liebenstein said:

I am seeing large numbers of customers, withdrawing from AWS and Azure for various reasons.  Sometimes it is cost, as they land unexpectedly large bills, for others it is service quality (there are no proper SLAs) and for others it is technical complexities or performance.

The reality is the cloud isn't a different thing, its just someone else's computer over a network. And a bit like old Gold Coins, the Cloud providers have a tendency to clip (or over provision) the services.

 

 

 

Ultimately as you say ML your servers in someone elses shed. Cloud whilst here to stay reminds me a little of the mini disk quickly overtaken by MP3. Cloud really made sense when the world was a safer place, monitoring and management systems were expensive and hardware was unreliable. All this has changed and now the situation is rather like I think owning a car or using Uber. Both have their places so youngsters who cannot afford to run a car use Uber a lot (single Office 365 user)

Dynamic fast growing companies (families with kids) will use both, asset rich Boomers and older will generally drive a car of their choice (Insurance Companies, Banks, Lawyers)

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6 minutes ago, Futuroid said:

 

No amount of DevOps or automation will diminish the need for people who can understand business processes and then find ways to automate those processes using the best technology readily avail

+1 Exactly as I said in my long winded post it is all about context. Having first hand experience of off shoring which has worked for what we need, our people will never be able to understand how some of their interventions work within the context of the client for cultural reasons as much as anything.

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1 minute ago, Greg Bowman said:

+1 Exactly as I said in my long winded post it is all about context. Having first hand experience of off shoring which has worked for what we need, our people will never be able to understand how some of their interventions work within the context of the client for cultural reasons as much as anything.

Offshoring works extremely well in an organisation that can unambiguously define it's requirements for the next few years, write a watertight spec, not permit any scope creep and is good at project management.

Unfortunately, after 25 years in various IT roles I have never come across such an organisation.

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7 minutes ago, Futuroid said:

Offshoring works extremely well in an organisation that can unambiguously define it's requirements for the next few years, write a watertight spec, not permit any scope creep and is good at project management.

Unfortunately, after 25 years in various IT roles I have never come across such an organisation.

I am looking after my old Mum this morning hence the opportunity for a post fest and again +100% allied with the fact no one knows how things really work and can't predict the future. The classic which I have come across a couple of times - is an outsource with a small team left to manage the vendor after about three years the internal team is the same size it was before the outsource !

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With the cloud you are replacing a SCSI cable with an IP transport.

A local CPU with a remote hypervised CPU.

Stuffs just been shuffled about, not removed.

When companies started to integrate computers into their every day processes the systems were (relatively) primitive, the people inexperienced, and the management a bit green. I knew someone who has highly paid disk swapper and formater. Insane.   I can do what he spent 12 months doing in 1 day with ZFS. Sure you still get IT admin type people but theres a lot less of them.

Now, computers are everywhere. My radio runs Unix FFS!

The same people who threw money at people with magic skills - one eyed man  king of the blind etc - are now over confident, thinking they just need to wave their hands and zap! stuff will work.

30 years ago, hardware cost a kings ransom and the software was thrown in for 'free'.

These days I can a raspberry pi3 for ~£30. The Pi3  is more powerful, has more RAM, has more diskspace, than the mainframe I learned C on in the late 80s - I know, I looked!

Looking at th current state of play for orgs that do a lot of non-trivial development (i.e. large systems, not a web based address book):

The glib saying 'Our resources/value walk out of the office every night' really is true. Most companies are too small. The skills and knowledge - even if the processes are all fully documented and maintained (90% arn't and companies are so short staffed its constant catchup). If one or two people wlak than a lot of companies are stuffed. Seriously. They cannot even recuiy as theyd need the people exiting to do the technical interview. Its all real skin of your teeth stuff.

There's no DB pensions these days; nothing to keep someone at a company. Companies really need to be prepared to splash out massive wage bumps to stop people going or die.

As an example, there's a medium defense contractor I know of. Not bleeding edge but requires 5+ years of technical experience.Theyve been laying off people for years. Most of their workforce is 45+.They are now facing a crisis. ~10% are retiring each year.A competitor has set up and 30% of the work force has handed their notice in. 1  months notice. All on DC pensions so they walk. Even if they could find people - and they cannot - the security vetting takes a few months. The margins on the contract are crap - management won the business are all cost expecting to make more profit from other stuff - typcial utsource loons. The SLA penalties are very high.

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7 minutes ago, spyguy said:

 

The margins on the contract are crap - management won the business are all cost expecting to make more profit from other stuff - typcial utsource loons. The SLA penalties are very high.

We pick up a lot of business working for the outsource loons without any of the tender B***** or SLA rubbish they have signed up to digging them out of their holes

Edited by Greg Bowman

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4 minutes ago, barrabus said:

Hackers

Very Good !  anything around security firewalls, intrusion detection , Monitoring systems  security in general will be in massive demand and more so when IoT takes off

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15 minutes ago, Greg Bowman said:

We pick up a lot of business working for the outsource loons without any of the tender B***** or SLA rubbish they have signed up to digging them out of their holes

Its business school/MBAs type.

They just dont check if a contract is profitable.

A lot is down to them using Excel and not getting the formulae right i.e. missing out a cost, in this case the delivery cost.

According to the driver, the company who delivers our bottle water is losing ~3k/year on the contract. It was writetn with the expectation that theyd get more business from us. For what FFS? Run our email servers? I asked the driver what gravy contract they were expecting after a loss leader. He did not know. Neither did the company.

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1 hour ago, Greg Bowman said:

Brilliant and made my day +100%.

[deleted]

+1 and the previous post. My colleague attended a Cloud presentation and it reminded her of the1950s bureau services. In 10 years time they'll be moving it all back inhouse - but I'll be too old by then.

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12 hours ago, Arpeggio said:

Technology moves so fast as soon as you buy something its doesn't take too long before it is out of date. All of my webhosts rent their servers.

Really?

My first website back in the late 90s, sat on top of a socket.

My most recent one still does.

In the early 90s most of my tools were written in ANSI C. Ditto 2016.

The RAMS bigger, the disks are massive, the CPUs are more cored and faster, but software is still hard to write.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, spyguy said:

The RAMS bigger, the disks are massive, the CPUs are more cored and faster, but software is still hard to write.

Yeah, but hardly anyone actually writes software anymore in a corporate setting.

They basically configure someone else's (SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, etc).

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