B-Ark passengers to control most IT spend from 2019 onwards

Line of business people will do the buying. IT departments still get to do the rest

People outside the IT department will control more than half of IT budgets from 2019 onwards, according to analyst outfit IDC.

Spending will split 50.5/49.5 between the IT department and line of business people (LOB) in 2018, the firm said. The rise and rise of SaaS means the latter groups’ budgets will account for 70 per cent of spend on applications this year.

Cloud and SaaS will tip the balance beyond the IT department in 2019, IDC said, adding that “compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for LOB spending over the 2016-2021 forecast period is forecast to be 6.9 per cent compared to the 3.3 per cent CAGR for IT spending.”

While the tipping point of half of IT spend is remarkable, it isn’t scary. IT departments long ago lost the ability to tell customer service people, process wonks or accountants what software to buy, but kept the responsibility for keeping their choices humming.

While adopting SaaS and cloud does away with some work for the IT department, there’s plenty left to do. Consider, for example, the rise of “digital workspaces” that create internal app stores, drive single sign-on to multiple SaaS services, manage mobile devices and do more besides. Demand for such workspaces is driven by line of business buyers’ purchases, which can therefore create work for IT departments.

And then there’s the fact that clouds and SaaS behave best on a properly-optimised WAN, a technology with which line of business people are unlikely to be proficient or to control.

Fret not therefore, dear readers. It may B-Ark passengers have more power now, but there’s a lot left for IT departments to do. ®

Bootnote

In case the headline is obscure, "B-Ark" comes from Douglas Adams' The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, in which a race called the "Golgafrinchams" needed to move to another planet. They put their smart and productive people onto two space arks. A third ark, the "B-Ark" was home to " telephone sanitisers, account executives, hairdressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives and management consultants." The B-Ark was not expected to survive the journey and the Golgafrinchams didn't mind that one little bit.

PS: PC sales are pretty much flat, year on year, at the moment as computer floggers brace for Intel's eighth-generation cores to go on sale later this year, according to Gartner.

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