The industry was born with the first giant calculators digitally processing and manipulating numbers and then expanded to digitize other transaction-oriented activities, such as airline reservations and other large volume service related end-products or results. Until the 1980s, all computer-related activities revolved around interactions between a person and a computer.


The first home computers or personal computers (PC) were released towards the end of the 1970s and in the following decade, quickly became commonplace by supporting leisure related activity and personal productivity. Portable PCs or laptops provided ready-mobile workstations and quickly became a part of the business scene.

In business, the first direct qualitative and quantitative leap in the value of PCs was with the rise of LANs (Local Area Networks) and, in turn WANs (Wide Area Networks) and with this the ability to distribute digital messages or email. It allowed for the creation, distribution, consumption and storage of large amounts of data at a speed that was unprecedented.


The 1990s sees the explosive growth of anything related to IT. The world is introduced to the World Wide Web which impacts the growing internet by enabling easier accessibility, this leads to an exponential growth in data. With the enormous amounts of data being generated, companies release an arsenal of tools capable of automatically collecting and extracting value from the available data. “Data-mining” means that the IT industry expands its focus from the predominantly linear integration of end-to-end solutions to include the specific focus of individual IT components.

Best-of-breed components see the economic rise of specialized IT vendors offering semiconductors, operating systems, network devices and databases. E-commerce begins its meteoric rise in global industry and email becomes standard communication. The mobile phone becomes commonplace.


For the IT industry, the year 2000 was preceded by the possible impending doom resulting from the Y2K problem or Millennium bug which was caused by the practice of abbreviating a 4-digit year to 2 digits on a programming level.

This translated to date-related processes operating incorrectly for dates and times after the 1st of January 2000. Without corrective action, there was a risk of system break down or data corruption when the ascending numbering assumption would become invalid, i.e. 98, 99, 00.

Most companies and organizations checked, fixed and upgraded their computer systems before the calendar rollover and the world passed into the new millennium without the bug.

The millennium continued to fuel the digital age with the advent of broadband internet; extensive expanded and more efficient wireless networks, flash technology, peer-to-peer technology and new methods of data compression. Smartphones replace mobile phones and devices such as MP3 players, e-readers and tablets are quickly adopted and accepted everywhere. Social networking websites and platforms rapidly gain and establish popularity, and the video game industry surpasses the movie entertainment industry in profit.

2010 and beyond

2010, there are over a billion people with smartphones and internet connectivity is fast becoming as common a national infrastructure feature as roads, railways and airports the world over. Movement-sensor technology and recognition software is further developed on by the gaming, retail and security industries. The use of drones expands; robot technology in medical surgery increases and the world is publicly introduced to its first automatized self-driving-navigating car.

Big data; the term coined to refer to large quantities of data sets, is near impossible to process efficiently using current database tools and processing applications. This, along with the rapidly growing support of Cloud technology mean that data curation and IT service management (ITSM) become committed business structures in the IT industry.

In 1999 the discussion of the “Internet of Things” was started, with today’s degree of integrated connectivity and mobility the possibilities have proven to be endless.

What will the future bring? Its all speculative of course but I’ll let some of my favorite resources speak for themselves: