Flexible and agile IT systems will be key to business success and even survival over the next three years, the director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD) has warned.
Speaking at a conference on the future of IT, George Cox explained that the changing nature of business will have a dramatic and fundamental impact on the IT function.
He warned that managing the transition to a faster-paced business environment will be challenging, especially as IT organisations have a dreadful track record on predicting the future.
"We're seeing a change in what's enduring and what's temporary. Systems, processes, organisational structure and product offerings are all in flux," said Cox.
"Values, reputation, companies' culture and management ability to respond to change are constant. It's a very big change indeed.
"Looking into the future is great fun and very necessary, but it's also extremely difficult. There's no industry that's been more obsessed with looking forward and less successful at doing it."
While IT has suffered at the hands of the economic downturn, the IoD is predicting an upturn over the next three years.
"The prognosis from the IoD is quarter-on-quarter growth, although we believe that it will be less than the Chancellor of the Exchequer predicts. I think it will return, but it will be different," warned Cox.
"It's difficult for us to comprehend the scale of technological change we go through. How many surprises has IT thrown at us since the 1950s? I'd say none.
"Technology is remarkably predictable. There has been no discontinuity or surprises, and yet we get its impact wrong repeatedly."
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