The desktop as we know it, and the services of the traditional IT department, will be relegated to the annals of history within the next five years, according to hosted desktop firm Nasstar.
Charles Black, chief executive at Nasstar, claimed that in-house systems and management will soon be a thing of the past.
Companies will instead turn to the internet to deliver core computing services, thereby cutting out the cost, man-hours and productivity being sacrificed to the management of employee desktops.
This migration to a software-as-a-service model will make traditional IT departments redundant within five years, as office workers log-on to the internet to access everything they need.
Day-to-day applications, such as productivity suites, accounting software, CRM systems and even bespoke applications, will be delivered in this way, according to Black.
"IT has become a utility," he said. "In the same way that companies don't have a chief electricity officer to help people plug in and power their devices, the costly overhead of IT management will be replaced by a simple plug-and-play approach over the internet."
Many applications are already offered on a hosted model and are accessible via the internet. Black believes that this convergence will continue to grow, offering a single standard desktop interface to all applications and content.
Companies will be able to eliminate capital expenditure on core computing services, and reduce traditional IT headaches such as support, installation and software asset management.
This move will also help accelerate the trend towards mobile working, as employees will access applications and their own desktop from anywhere.
"The IT industry is in the middle of an industrial transformation which is ending the need for IT staff who install and support traditional on-premise desktop computers," said Black.
However, this change in infrastructure management will not put technical staff out of a job, but will allow them to shift their attention to more creative and important functions.
"As with any industry where technology transforms the way things work there will have to be a redeployment of skills," explained Black.
"IT staff should have their skills focused on delivering competitive advantage for their businesses, rather than being retained to deliver standard computing services that are a utility and delivered over the internet.
"Companies should be quick to change the focus of their IT department to be business development departments that ensure business success."
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