The IT department as it is known today is already outdated, and within a few years may very well cease to exist.

This is the bold prophecy from Johann Botha, spokesperson for the Smexa (Service Management Exhibition Africa) conference being held in Sunninghill, Johannesburg on 24 and 25 July 2013.

“I believe that, in most large organisations, the IT department as we know it today won’t last – and by 2020 the landscape will be completely different,” says Botha.

“We are already seeing that a lot of operational activities have been outsourced, so there is no need to have people in the IT department who perform those functions. So why shouldn’t the skills currently residing in IT simply move into the business?

“This is a reality we need to think about,” Botha adds. “IT is trying to get more involved in the business – but the business is not really interested in having a conversation about technology.”

The solution, he says, could be for the IT people to start re-inventing themselves to be able to make decisions that affect business value, shielding the business from having to worry about the technology.

“IT still has the toolset, but now they need to acquire the business skills as well. And it is up to IT to make the change,” he stresses.

“I believe the future role of the CIO (chief information officer) will not be about the technology at all, but will be about exploiting the information and knowledge within the organisation to the best benefit of the organisation.