Over the next 10 years information technology will become as commoditised as the kitchen toaster is now, according to a Gartner paper entitled Future Worker 2015.
The researcher says the killer app of 2015 will be the way workers use technology.
Describing workers of the future as “extreme individuals”, Gartner vice-president Betsy Burton said companies will recognise staff as “the engine of innovation”.
Burton claimed technology will be a tool used to get work done – not an enabler.
She said smart companies will capitalise on innovative employees, not just measuring them in terms of work produced.
Instead of pushing IT on to workers, users will simply pull what they need from the company’s IT resources.
“Employees will approach technology like they do the toaster – they will just use it without even thinking about it,” Burton said.
“This environment provides a great opportunity for organisations to get ahead of the game, to be seen as enablers and not putting a kibosh on innovation. The critical issue for senior management is that they need to be seen by staff as enablers, as trusted advisors – or get the hell out of the way.”
To avoid being an obstacle, Burton said, IT managers and CIOs need to define their workplace culture by creating an environment that empowers staff.
“The CIO doesn’t need to control the use of instant messaging or portable devices, but set clear guidelines outlining effective use, security of information and availability of applications,” she said.
Burton, who will be discussing her ‘future worker’ concept at the Gartner Symposium in Sydney from 15 to 18 November, said the “extreme individual” will be the greatest agent of change for the way business is conducted.
IT managers agree that technology will be a commodity, adding that Gartner’s assessment of the future worker proves technology will clearly be human-oriented.
Michael Garas, information technology general manager at book retailer Dymocks, said computers will never replace the common sense used by IT workers.
“But software that will take over in 2015 is business intelligence,” he said.
“In 2015 I think computers will just do the grunt work, but with the attributes of intelligent human beings; however, they can never replace common sense.”
His technology predictions? Garas believes the role of business intelligence will sweep across industry, and there will be more databases that understand consumer habits.
He said these databases will be able to specifically target consumer needs, replacing analysts who currently sit in the middle.
“But they won’t be as accurate as humans,” he added.
Megara Plastics IT manager Richard Alix agrees IT will be even more human-driven, simply because the culture of business is created and understood by people.
“Our information systems are focused on production, but without the right data, which is produced and checked by people, they wouldn’t work very well,” Alix said.
“In 2015, even the best systems in the world will not work without humans putting in place the business processes.
“Technology now, and in 10 years, will go hand in hand with people.”