A central paradox exists within Information Technology. As an industry it has driven innovations that have led to major leaps forward for people and organizations, whether through robots in car factories or computers in offices. It has rapidly become a function within virtually all businesses, with specialist staff or entire departments devoted to managing the infrastructure.

However, in this respect it has been slow to evolve. While technology itself continues to develop at an incredible pace, IT as a business function has been resistant to change. Despite the overwhelming burden of day to day operations on physical and fiscal resources, CIOs are struggling to use automation effectively enough to free time and budget for value-enhancing, innovation initiatives. All too often, implementation plans have placed autonomic systems within a straitjacket from which it is difficult to achieve promised outcomes. The challenge appears to be driven largely by legacy, cultural blockers and leadership. At a middle management layer within IT departments there is a reluctance to embrace opportunities in their own systems and operations. Instead of wiping the floor clean and redesigning operations to maximize the potential of automation, new technology is forced to circle around a legacy organization design.

This paper explores the road blocks that are currently preventing us from achieving these benefits while outlining the very real opportunity for IT managers and technology professionals to explore new, more creative and more strategic roles within organizations. What are the pathways to helping organizations and their people move along this curve and what does this mean for the future of IT’s role within business?

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