As nimble and innovative digital technologies transform the enterprise, IT is experiencing a seismic shift as well: The massive, centralized IT organization, with control over all things tech, is moving toward a decentralized model where shadow IT is a new norm and outside service providers are everywhere.\nTo increase the influence and value IT provides in this new era, a flexible IT workforce, with an across-the-board rethinking of roles and skills, must be developed to enable and support solutions across every line of business. The future of IT requires problem-solvers that combine business and technical skills to serve as the connective tissue for the entire enterprise.\nFor example, this flexibility will be central to implementing automation, which will include the input and impact of many outside service providers, according to Cameron Craig, manager, CIO Advisory at KPMG U.S.\n\u201cIT will need to become partners with those vendors as they build and implement AI and machine learning solutions,\u201d he says. That means the workforce must be comfortable with fine-tuning and managing those products and algorithms to support the organization, he explains. It will also require a shift toward a more strategic management style of interacting with both internal and external customers in terms of implementing automation tools.\nThe result of implementing automation will, in turn, reduce the amount of time IT organizations allocate to operational activities, adds Jeoung Oh, principal, CIO Advisory at KPMG U.S. While around 65%-70% of an IT organization\u2019s time is now allocated to operational activities, he explains, in the future that will be less than 20%, thanks to automation. \u201cRepetitive operational tasks will go away, so we can think about freeing up workload,\u201d he says. \u201cWe expect IT professionals to always look several steps ahead, trying to anticipate the needs of the business and determine how to leverage more technology.\u201d\nA flexible IT workforce is also necessary to serve the new, decentralized model where two-thirds of organizations see business IT, also known as shadow IT, as a new norm, according to KPMG\u2019s 2018 CIO survey. \u201cOur point of view is that shadow IT can be good for the business,\u201d says Oh. \u201cWe still expect a centralized IT function to have ownership on security and architecture, but IT should be enablers for technology for specific functions such as marketing.\u201d\nThe organization\u2019s expectations for the IT workforce are also shifting due to technology, demanding a seamless user experience that focuses on increasing speed to delivery, says Craig. Flexibility in terms of being able to scale resources up or down is key: \u201cIT leadership needs to understand what skill sets they need to buy and have permanently within the organization, as opposed to leveraging new managed services or vendors that can strategically help you scale up and down faster.\u201d IT skill sets also need to be easily transferable, he adds, and focused on core capabilities rather than a single application or product.\nIn Part 2 of this blog series, stay tuned for tips on how IT organizations can rethink roles, skills and job titles to increase the flexibility of their workforce and learn to operate in today\u2019s new market speed model.\nFor deep dive into the flexible workforce, click here to tune into the Flexible IT workforce podcast, part of KPMG\u2019s Future of IT podcast series.