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Robert Cringley Predicted ‘The Death of IT’ in 2020. Was He Right?

Yesterday long-time tech pundit Robert Cringley reviewed the predictions he’d made at the beginning of last year. “Having done this for over 20 years, historically I’m correct abut 70 percent of the time, but this year could be a disappointment given that I’m pretty sure I didn’t predict 370,000 deaths and an economy in free-fall.

“We’ll just have to see whether I was vague enough to get a couple right.”

Here’s some of the highlights:

I predicted that IBM would dump a big division and essentially remake itself as Red Hat, its Linux company. Well yes and no. IBM did announce a major restructuring, spinning-off Global Technology Services just as I predicted (score one for me) but it has all happened slowly because everything slows down during a pandemic. The resulting company won’t be called Red Hat (yet), but the rest of it was correct so I’m going to claim this one, not that anybody cares about IBM anymore…

I predicted that working from home would accelerate a trend I identified as the end of IT, by which I meant the kind of business IT provided and maintained by kids from that office in the basement. By working from home, we’d all become our own IT guys and that would lead to acceleration in the transition of certain technologies, especially SD-WAN and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)… “That’s the end-game if there is one — everything in the cloud with your device strictly for input and output, painting screens compressed with HTML5. It’s the end of IT because your device will no longer contain anything, so it can be simply replaced via Amazon if it is damaged or lost, with the IT kid in the white shirt becoming an Uber driver (if any of those survive).”

It was a no-brainer, really, and I was correct: Internet-connected hardware sales surged, SASE took over whether you even knew it or not, and hardly any working from home was enabled by technology owned by the business, itself. It’s key here that the operant term for working from home became “Zooming” — a third-party public brand built solely in the cloud.

Finally, I predicted that COVID-19 would accelerate the demise of not just traditional IT, but also IT contractors, because the more things that could be done in the cloud the less people would be required to do them. So what actually happened? Well I was right about the trend but wrong about the extent. IT consulting dropped in 2020 by about 19 percent, from $160 billion to $140 billion. That’s a huge impact, but I said “kill” and 19 percent isn’t even close to dead. So I was wrong.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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