End of the IT Department Predicted

You may have missed it with all this bad weather – but it is the summer, and schools and colleges across the country are pushing out another year’s intake, ready for the world of work. But what will they find when they arrive?

A study by IT company Logicalis found that a quarter of the nation’s teenagers would expect to find relatively advanced communications technology, such as instant messaging and webcams, in the workplace. Three-quarters of those expecting to go to university said they would use instant messaging as their primary means of keeping in touch with friends and family; and a startling 42% said that the availability of instant messaging tools would impact their choice of University.

Experts like former BT chief technologist Peter Cochrane have long been predicting the demise of the company IT department, at least in its current form: Cochrane says it will ‘go the same way as the Typing Pool for exactly the same reasons’. Some companies, including giants like BP, are responding by giving staff more freedom of choice in the IT kit and software they work with. Under BP’s ‘digital consumer’ scheme, staff who passed a proficiency test were given an annual budget to spend as they pleased – with BP’s nominated suppliers, or anywhere else. Not only did the initiative keep IT-literate staff happy, it also resulted in cost savings.