4 critical skills for the IT manager of the future

Everyone in IT knows that the field is changing. In this guest post, David Walker lists some of the critical skills IT managers will need to stay successful. 

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While the job of IT manager is expected to live on for the foreseeable future, what the role is expected to deliver is changing beyond all recognition.

Computer Weekly predicts that IT departments will shrink by as much as 75% over the next five years as cloud adoption accelerates, while Gartner predicts that by 2017, the chief marketing officer will spend more on software than the chief information officer.

These statistics are a shocking indicator that the “consumerization of IT” has already gone so far that business professionals can now choose and buy their own software without ever speaking to the IT department.

Is this the death of the IT manager?

The job as we know it may be dead, although a different version of the role will rise from the ashes. With more and more businesses moving to managed IT support, instead of being focused on the day-to-day procurement and service of IT, it’s time for IT managers to move into a more advisory role.

IT pros now have a chance to take their business knowledge and combine it with their IT know-how to help make their organisations more efficient, flexible and profitable by using the right technology the right way.

The skills of the future

A recent article from Tech Republic, Prepare now to be the IT manager of the future, cites four key skills that you’ll need to master in order to remain a valued IT professional as businesses increasingly outsource their day-to-day IT management to cloud companies:

Skill #1: Managing contractors and outsourced application providers – Tech Republic predicts that within 10 years, most businesses will have completely outsourced all IT management, so the number of contractors and suppliers IT will be managing is set to keep on growing.

Skill #2: Speeding up project delivery times – While the IT manager might not be dying, lengthy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation projects are on their last legs. Instead, departments will have their own solutions that deliver the functionality they need.

Skill #3: Managing a small team of super-generalists – With the day-to-day IT support and management outsourced, you’ll have a small team of flexible, talented people who have skills and experience across a vast range of applications and platforms.

Skill #4: Weeding out the hype – As new tech ideas come and go, to stay successfu IT managerw will need to be able to judge which trends are wheat and which are chaff.

How to stay valuable

So, as the role undergoes a paradigm shift, to stay valuable IT managers need to shift into the role of a business consultant. They have to:

  • step back from the day-to-day management of applications and support staff
  • focus on management of smaller-scale value-adding projects.
  • keep up with the latest IT developments and trends and how the business can use them to best effect, and
  • prepare for a smaller team, but one that’s filled with the most talented IT people around.

About the author: David Walker works as the Managing Director at IT Farm. He is passionate about helping businesses achieve their efficiency potential, by refining their IT service and ensuring IT projects make a difference.

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