Calling All IT Directors: The Future Is Now, Argue ITEXPO Panelists

When it comes to the disruptive changes that will rock the technology sector over the next three to five years, almost all ITEXPO (News - Alert) panelists and keynoters this week agreed: we are entering a world dictated by the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and cloud computing.

“You’ve heard it at the conference; the IoT is driving the need for big data,” Emil Sayegh, President and CEO of Codero Hosting, said during a Friday breakout titled “Hindsight is 20:20—Making Sure Your Technology Is Poised for Your Future.”

“There will be a deluge of data over the years and the question becomes, ‘How do we process that data, manipulate it to have meaning and adequately store it?’ he added. “What that question brings up is the notion of what kind of computing resources and what kind of infrastructure will we need both in-house and externally to manage that abundance of data that is already coming our way.”

To solve this obstacle, the panelists predict the imminent trend of pushing data out to the cloud or, in other words, pushing data away from the traditional IT department. That’s because the surge of big data is creating a mound of problems for IT, according to Chad Kissinger, founder of OnRamp. As such, what we are witnessing is the need for “crowd wrangling,” or for IT to recapture control of where the data is heading to make sure the department can protect the data and reintegrate it with other data that exists elsewhere.

Whether it’s the influx of big data, an IoT-enabled world or a hybrid cloud environment, change is coming and the panelists encouraged attendees to ready for the next phase of technological evolution.

“Everyone in here is going to have to evolve and reinvent themselves in business over the next five years,” Woodrow Wilson Bowling II of Wilson Bowling Consultants and Advisors said. “If not, you will be lucky if you are still in business. These changes are going to happen so quickly it’s mind-boggling. The transition is incredible; you need to be on your toes.”

Sayegh suggested that IT professionals begin to cast an eye toward automation to prepare for this new world and recognize that automation is the key platform that will enable them to spin up resources expediently on their needs. The archaic manual processes of the past will no longer work, he suggested.

Perhaps more importantly IT has to reposition itself as a strategic driver for the company.

“IT has to worry about how to become strategic for their business and ensure that they are advancing an organization’s strategic goals,” Kissinger said. “10 years ago, IT people would worry about being the guy who runs the generator and air conditioners and routing on the Internet. Today, none of our customers know anything about that.”

“Their IT people have evolved and moved from hardware to operating systems and moving forward, they will move up to the application space,” he added. “The people I see most successful are those who are trying to find strategic value to their companies.”

But are IT departments ready for such change? More specifically, are they willing to throw out old practices?

According to the panelists there are a number of factors holding IT back from quick evolution, specifically legacy systems, regulations and environments. Take the healthcare industry, for example. This vertical handles an enormous amount of information yet it still cannot load electronic health information in the cloud, suggested Kissinger. In this case, the healthcare industry is tied to legacy systems and legacy requirements.

Even more so, IT is grappling with the fact that change is difficult.

As Wilson argued, “Change is one of the most difficult things for the human race. None of us like change.”

Edited by Alisen Downey