Although I hate to date myself, I have been around long enough to remember the days when the IT department was responsible for all technology from systems to phones—and even to websites when they first became a thing. Looking back on it, it’s hard to believe the IT department was once everything to everyone.
This is not to say, however, that IT is any less important today—far from it; its role has simply changed. Now, it is the lifeblood of the company because it is responsible for ensuring that all systems are connected—from internal systems to the cloud and more. Coincidentally, the IT department is also changing everyone else’s role within companies and the way in which people operate on a daily basis.
With the advent of the information age, technologies that were once relegated to the depths of the IT department are now being placed firmly in the hands of the user. And whether that be through software-as-as-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and more, the outcome is the same: people are now responsible for more and more systems for their own daily tasks. And this is where things begin to blur.
For so many companies, the silos that once represented the business world are now quickly dissolving. As digital transformation initiatives begin to permeate the corporate world, the need for systems and resources to speak seamlessly to one another is creating a very new dynamic for all.
As IT continues to be the epicenter of all systems, the game is changing in real time; now, the spokes that were once only bi-directional—from and to the IT hub—are branching out and interconnecting in new directions. For instance, with the introduction of artificial intelligence, IoT, and all things cloud-related, the interconnectivity of systems is both paramount and life-changing.
The biggest challenge resides in how to manage and truly connect previously disparate systems so they become a single fluid entity, one that ultimately becomes greater than the sum of its parts. For instance, we all remember mainframe computers—at least I do, and perhaps I’m once again dating myself talking about the olden days. But let’s not forget that mainframes are, to this day, one of the primary tools on which most banks, insurance companies, and other enterprises rely to make their data flow as fast as it does.
The difference now is that the mainframe is no longer a stand-alone machine, nor does it reside by itself as a silo. Instead, it must now connect to other internal and external systems and cloud technologies and, in turn, mobile apps and so on. This enables users to seamlessly connect to a multitude of systems and services that create better experiences and faster engagements—the new era in data, commerce, and brand.
So, with all of this talk about technology, IT departments, and more, where does this leave the people who work for companies every day? Simply put, their role is expanding, whether they like it or not. As mentioned previously, as IT evolves, so does everyone else. The burden of everything from administrative management, to customer service, to marketing and sales—even IT security—is now firmly entrenched in people’s daily lives.
And as these changes continue to take hold, the knowledge-based economy becomes a burden we all must bear. The data that we are collectively responsible for in our daily jobs now equals a sum far greater than its parts, and the systems that we connect with, and to, are all part of that greater equation.
As the title of the article says, the silos of business are gone, replaced with greater connectivity to goals, objectives, systems and, in the end… people. Enjoy the new world order.