These days I am back working in a Think-tank.  It is great to have the time to think or think in depth.  The past few years was more like production line thinking; take information, distill it, synthesize it, form it into easily consumable packages that require no serious thinking by the reader.  Template Intellectual Capital (TIC) if you please.  Those spreadsheets and word templates passed around the office to help shorten your analysis or transmitting information is one form of TIC.  There is nothing inherently wrong with TIC, in point of fact, I will be producing some later next month.  TIC is a productivity tool for many, and others an excuse not to think.  However, I digress.           

I have spent the past few weeks researching and thinking about the future of the Information Technology profession.  From the convergence of trends, I see another paradigm shift.  [My apologies to Don Tapscot for throwing the paradigm word out there.  However, in the sense that Don used the word as a fundamental change in how things are accomplished or thought of.  I foresee a great shift coming to the profession.

Cloud, though many may argue, is a significant change.  The simple thought behind Cloud is it is just Timeshare with a new name.  That however is a simplistic view.  Cloud computing breaks apart information processing into its constituent parts as well as repackages these in different combinational clusters.  Currently these clusters provide a hierarchy of services with acronyms such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS; Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service.  The goal is to encapsulate the capabilities of the previous level such that consumers do not have to administer those components.  Given the popularity of using automotive analogies with IT; as cars have gotten more sophisticated, not many people manage the maintenance and repair of their automobile.  They take it to a dealer of repair shop to maintain.  As such, they are just a few steps away from a lease that is a personalized transportation services a lessee contracts.  A consumer of Cloud service is similar, the operation and maintenance of those services is the responsibility of a provider. 

Now consider several years in the future.  Services whether on premise or in the cloud are capable of being relocated almost transparently.   This infers two possible effects:

The role of IT Professionals will change radically having developers and operations staff merge or specialize in a different form.  Developers will become systems integrators/service designers rather than programming specialists, Operations staff will become optimization analysts and consultants, they will spend more time looking at how to implement, operate the services and act as consultants to Service designers.

Second, the Service Industry will become a market, similar to investment markets, where you’ll have service investments, service brokers, and service investment consultants assisting Enterprises in how to optimize their investments.  Move ahead a few years and these markets will become just as dynamic as the financial market, with activities such as service arbitrage, options theory for service contracts (short and long term) and service hedging as common practice for advanced Enterprises.

I know, it sounds like science fiction.  However, consider how many management-consulting firms are offering services on IT Portfolio Management.