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Gartner: IT Staff to Shrink 15% by 2010

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The number of IT staffers may shrink by 15 percent within five years,

according to a new report.

Analysts at Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based industry analyst firm,

say by 2010 the number of IT staff in the profession will drop by 15

percent due to the ‘accelerating capabilities of external service

providers and the increasing need for IT services’. And they also predict

that by 2010, six out of 10 people affiliated with the IS organisation

will assume business-facing roles around information, process and


Gartner analysts are advising IT leaders to figure out this year if the

future of their departments lies in bringing information technology

services to their business units, or if it lies in offering strategic

value to the overall business.

”The IS organisation will need to either reinvent itself to create and

manage assets of business processes and relationships, or it must choose

to focus on the sourcing and execution of IT services,” says John

Mahoney, worldwide chief of research for IT services and management at

Gartner. ”Our advice to IS leaders is that although they have some very

difficult decisions to make over the fate of their department, they need

to act now as the transition will take a number of years.”

Mahoney says IT staffers will have to deal with the competitive pressures

of external service providers who will be able to offer standards for

professionalism and price that internal workers may find hard to match.

And he adds that those external pressures will only grow.

As IT becomes increasingly involved with business functions, the number

of people outside the IT organization who have a hand in IT’s work will

grow. Mahoney also says that as IT skills become more ingrained in

business, in-house IT staff will be displaced.

”As we see departments within businesses taking on the traditional

functions of IT, so IS professionals and leaders will have to choose

between careers as technologists, technical managers and business

professionals,” says David Flint, research vice president at Gartner.

”To ensure the quality of their work, organisations will need to

establish ‘profession management’ for selected roles across the whole

business. The end result will see many former IS employees in professions

in which their manager or head of profession does not sit within IS.”

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