Consumerisation of IT (CoIT) has had the single most negative impact on the role of the IT professional according to the findings of a new survey. One in five IT professionals identified consumerisation of IT as having had the most negative impact on their role.

The survey findings paint a picture of an IT department torn between the needs of both employees and the boardroom. Almost a third (32 per cent) of the IT professionals surveyed said that user demand for innovation is the biggest challenge they face in performing their roles. A quarter (25 per cent) said the biggest challenge they face is a lack of alignment between IT and the business it serves.

The IT department is undoubtedly busy keeping systems running but over the years has become another cost centre in the business and lost its status as the innovation department. IT professionals see consumerisation as a bad thing while everybody else thinks exactly the opposite and that is causing further frustration for business leaders, who are now wondering where they can go for the next innovation cycle?

The IT professionals surveyed said that after virtualisation, cloud computing (24 per cent) has the single biggest positive impact on the IT role. Reasons why some companies have not yet adopted cloud computing include the inertia of colleagues (26 per cent) and the fact that there is currently no strategy for change (25 per cent).

Employees across company departments are the ones now driving change by bringing the latest technologies and gadgets into the workplace, something that could be seen as an opportunity and often is by everyone except the people in IT. Of course there are practical issues to consider, such as how to secure and support new devices without allowing them to become a drain on resources.

The question is, do we let the practicalities stand in the way or do we embrace change and all the transformational opportunities it presents? In answering this question one thing is clearly apparent – it is not a decision for the IT department and needs to be discussed by CEOs and their leadership teams at the top table.

A move towards cloud computing could mean that IT professionals need to embrace new skills, however, only 23 per cent of IT professionals consider strategy and 19 per cent consider analysis to be the single most important skills needed by IT professionals in the cloud computing era. The survey showed that 77 per cent of degrees held by IT professionals are technology related rather than business or management based and that IT professionals are more interested in improving technical rather than business or management capabilities.

The survey suggests we are at an inflexion point and this is where the leadership of a company must guide the IT department more effectively, to operate in new and beneficial ways that will serve the business, rather than focus on the acquisition of ever greater technical skills that have limited benefit in the context of the wider business strategy.