Marianne Calder, speaking at UC EXPO 2015

New collaborative practices call for 'return' on in-house IT

After years of being told its days were numbered, the role of the in-house enterprise IT department is being revived by the needs of emerging integrated productivity tools and services, according to Marianne Calder, managing director for Collaboration Architecture Sales Europe at Cisco Systems.

The revivified IT function will include 'parenting' a new-generation workforce liable to get 'over-excited' by whizzy technology placed at their disposal by employers, and guiding organisations' strategic necessity to move to more collaborative working practices, Calder predicts.

In her keynote address 'Transforming Teamwork in the Age of the Agile Enterprise' at unified communications and collaboration event UC EXPO 2015 in London today, Calder predicted that greater integration between mobile and cloud services will soon 'disrupt or disturb' many established enterprise working practices, causing a marked shift in emphasis away from individual productivity to group productivity.

“Individuals have been pressed and pressed, and now they can't produce more,” Calder told a packed opening-day delegate audience. “In fact, individual productivity has been pushed to its limits,” she said. "The only way CEOs can deliver on their primary objective of enhancing productivity is through reinvented models of teamwork."

She added: “Organisations based on hierarchies and [enclosed] specialist teams have to change to stay ahead. Individual workers [sitting in cubes] now have to become fully interdependent workers.”

Because of this, organisations will be compelled to base their operations around more IT-enabled inter-team collaboration, Calder insisted: “The way we work is changing, becoming more interdependent... IT resources now need to be targeted, and the agile worker has to be fully supported. This is where the IT department comes back in."

In her UC EXPO address Calder argued that the IT needs of collaborative teams will become ever-more nuanced and fast-changing, and that these are in many instances best supported by local IT departments which can get close to colleagues to understand and deliver their requirements. Returning to having an in-house IT resource could give organisations an advantage, where they have previously opted to outsourced some or all of their IT operations.

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