Paradigm shift for IT management

22 Mar 2007

New models for IT management are emerging using traditional financial management parameters due to the economic value of information, an IT conference heard yesterday.

This is leading IT managers to become ‘informationists’, according to Chuck Hollis, vice-president of EMC, who addressed the conference in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

An IDC study, sponsored by EMC, projected “a Carl Sagan-esque number” of 988 exabytes, or 988 billion gigabytes, in the information added to the digital universe by 2010, so IT managers will see the span of their domains enlarged considerably.

The IDC study predicted that by 2010 some 70pc of the digital universe will be created by individuals but organisations will be responsible for the security, privacy, reliability and compliance of at least 85 pc of this. This raises issues around intellectual property regarding who owns information, who is responsible for storing it and the legal implications behind this.

An IT manager, Hollis said, would effectively become the CFO of information for an organisation, ensuring it was audited, protected and repurposed

He said that as well a change in the role of IT management, new tools must be adopted, including the need for a common information infrastructure for all data regardless of where it’s coming from or going to.

At a higher level, Hollis said this wouldl mean that organisations must define and implement policy decisions about IT. He remarked that he found younger companies in industries such as biotech and software development were among the organisations most willing to address these issues.

Hollis said that EMC was “traditionally perceived as a storage company” but would like to think of themselves as “arms suppliers” to organisations looking to manage and control their information assets.

In this capacity the company sponsored a study on the forecast of worldwide information growth through 2010 and “how we as a society use information” and found that “there was a little unease around it” because going back 20 years information processes were viewed as an adjunct to normal physical processes whereas now the tables have turned.

However, Hollis added that boundaries for information ownership, privacy and security cannot be fully realised by IT managers until they find a legal framework within which to operate.

By Marie Boran