Old chum and occasional Facebook identity victim @Euan just posted to a very thought-provoking article from Stowe Boyd on the concept of Shadow IT. It argues that within the next few years the vast majority of spend on “IT” will be in those technologies and services that aren’t procured through traditional IT departments.
I think that there is a lot in this, but one thing it leaves me wondering is the nomenclature. “Shadow IT” is such a derogatory term, and it’s difficult to get one’s head around a concept when it’s only expressed in terms of what it isn’t. But, as the article points out, the rise in “Shadow IT” is as much as anything because of the fact that so much of what we do these days involved devices, the internet and computing power – ie, IT.
So what will it be called? Well, maybe this is the electric motor tipping point: drawing on Harold Thimbleby’s analogy of the electric motor being a benchmark for when a technology has been truly adopted into society. If you are no longer talking about them (but they are absolutely still all around us) then the technology has been well-integrated into our lives.
If more-or-less everything these days is “IT”, then maybe it’ll only be the legacy of process-centric services provided by “IT” that will continue to carry the name, and that everything else will be referred to by what it does with the medium: social networking, gaming, communications, shopping and so on. After all, the term “computing” these days is increasingly archaic. Maybe IT will go the same way…