IT becomes tech


By Rob Beijleveld, CEO, ICT Media

When I started the CIO community almost twenty years ago, IT was often still an organizational island. And the CIO was a glorified IT manager.

Over time, IT has become less and less isolated. By this, I mean that not only pure IT departments are becoming scarcer, but also traditional IT suppliers. They are less likely to have to explain to customers what they need. Rather, it’s the other way around. Just as those customers were already accustomed to doing as consumers. IT has become tech, and it belongs to all of us.

Within organizations, IT is increasingly integrated into business units, reflecting the collaboration between business and IT. The primacy no longer lies with IT for a long time. You see this first in the IT companies themselves: they have become tech companies in which modern forms of collaboration between developers and the business are leading. On the other hand, service providers where IT plays a large part in the business model are changing into tech companies.

While IT has brought about significant but relatively slow changes over the past fifty years, tech, even more than IT – and in its wake, finance, HR, and marketing – will transform operating, business, and organizational models. Simply because technology is supported by multiple disciplines, organizations can accelerate. Tech will, therefore, have more impact in a relatively short time than IT has had in half a century. At least, that’s my prediction. It is an indispensable pillar under the technology-economy-society triangle.

While IT mainly supported traditional business models and – if all went well – made them more efficient, the influence of tech is the other way around: it generates complete business outcomes. It is a truism that the economy and society are becoming more complex due to technology.

But more and more, you hear that we could do with a little less technology. That we have to put on the brakes. But that is wishful thinking and is at odds with modern history. All improvements in our living conditions are rooted in technology. Sure, things sometimes go off the rails. And some things require intervention. But that is no reason to argue for reverse progress, where having less technology is presented as a solution to our problems.

Societies are not inclined to slow themselves down, and that’s a fortunate thing. Tech is inextricably linked to our economy and, therefore, to society. The only answer is more tech.

Because technology creates (mostly positive) impact.