ORLANDO: The role of the IT department is evolving to become ever more central to firms' decision-making processes as staff have access to increasing volumes of relevant social data, according to IBM.
The firm's director for social business strategy Doug Heintzman, said, as IT staff roll out and manage the use of social tools that collate key data on staff's working patterns, they now have a role to play in strategy and decision making.
"The IT department has data sets at its hands and tools to do something with it for the first time. When you have information, it gives you power and relevance, so IT is now becoming a consulting area of the business," he said.
"This has never happened before. Previously, IT was just a services area of a firm, but now it is engaging with the profit-making side of the business and this is a big transformation."
Heintzman added that access to this data is changing the skill set of IT staff, making them more analytical and he noted that IBM has seen some chief information officers change their titles to chief innovation officers to reflect this.
He also said this change in firms' internal working practices could see IT teams working more closely with other departments in the future.
"You could well see a merging of HR and IT on issues such as team assembly, workforce population management, development and so forth because IT now has control on reams of data relevant to these issue," he explained.
IBM showed off a number of tools designed to help businesses provide staff with social tools to improve collaboration at its annual event, including a product in development that mimics the gamification aspect of Foursquare to incentivise staff to train and learn new skills.
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