18 May 2009 • 5:11 pm

A Brief Early History of the IT Organization

(note: This is the first in a series of posts on the topic of the Strategy-Focused IT Organization)

Many date the modern use of information technology to the introduction of the general-purpose IBM 360 computer in 1964. Organizations quickly realized that computer technology was a path to direct money savings, with the ability to quickly automate routine and time-consuming tasks such as accounting and payroll and inventory control.

As the large corporations that could afford mainframe computers began to embrace and employ the technology, a curious thing happened. The technology didn’t manage itself. Suddenly there were decisions to be made that required expertise and technology beyond simply operating the machines. A new profession, EDP (alternately, MIS, information systems, information technology, and finally, IT) arose during the 60s and 70s. When I first started working with computers in 1978, whole information technology departments with management and staff organized according to job function and technology discipline had arisen inside corporations.