From the inception of the automobile to probably sometime in the 1980 there were always gearheads and nerds who knew everything about the vehicles and could work on almost any car.

But as time progressed, cars became more about ride, features, and styling. For lack of a better term, cars were mainstreamed more commoditised. The same thing is happening with information technology. The IT department used to pore over specifications, speeds, feed, frequencies, security, and storage. Vendors used to sell products, or an array of products in families, based on different technical specifications.

Today, smart vendors and telcos are selling solutions, and not just slapping the solution moniker on a product. Solutions are about everything an enterprise needs.

It used to be that the IT nerds (and that is written with affection) picked out products based almost solely on their technology use case. Products and solutions suggested by other departments to solve their business problems were put under the microscope by the IT department and if it didn’t follow its operational or brand-loyalty standards it was rejected.

The cloud! The horror!

The horror that the IT department felt at the beginning of the cloud era when any business manager with a credit card could get compute power and services on AWS was visceral. The IT department was cut out of the process, because of its lack of flexibility, lack of care about the business needs use-case, and slow deployment speeds.

As the years went by, most of the cloud and *aaS buying was moved back to IT. But the hold the IT department. had on technology solutions across the business was broken. The IT department still had input in the solution buying process, after all its technical expertise was required. But they no longer had the final say. In some organizations, most of the spending on technology for business unit solutions was shifted to the business unit who ultimately had the final say.

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By GlobalData

The IT department still has a great deal of influence, but the C-Suite had learned that their business could run faster and ultimately better if these technology solution decisions were far more collaborative and focused on solving business problems.

Nerd-vana and the new IT reality

Some IT veterans grouse about how things have changed. But this change was inevitable. Certain functions have commoditized, and others it makes sense to get as a managed service. For example, most companies do not run their own email servers anymore. Why? Because the functionality of SaaS email services from the likes of Google and Microsoft have all the features and those same grizzled IT. veterans no longer have to tame easily irritable Exchange servers.

So while we have moved into the post-nerd era, IT professionals also have great opportunities. By becoming experts at helping to fulfil business needs they immediately become far more important, rather than just an expense centre with a somewhat grey reputation.

Those same grizzled IT veterans can take their invaluable institutional knowledge and experience and apply it directly to business problems. Instead of handling daily keep-the-lights-on tasks that they can do in their sleep. Commoditisation, automation, solutions as a service, and AI lessen the load of mundane tasks, and solving technological problems that are actually challenging. So despite a veil passing over the nerd era, IT professionals have a lot to look forward to, if they accept the new reality of IT.