The business world goes through phases where different departments hold the power. To start with it was Manufacturing/Production, then the Accountants, and Sales, then Marketing only to be beaten into submission by IT. I believe that the peak of power is marked by a sharp rise in highly paid Independent Consultants as there is an imbalance in supply and demand. The days of big-bucks in IT contracting seem to have gone (through increased supply and a sudden dip in demand after the .com boom/bust), leading me to believe that the power is moving away to a different mob.
My other half is a Human Resources Advisor and brings home a number of HR magazines such as People Management and Personnel Today. The magazines have a lot of interesting little nuggets of information (I would particularly recommend people to read the employment tribunal case studies which show you exactly how much protection you have in your employment) but do suffer a little from consultant-itis. By this, I mean that there are a lot of full-page articles by Xyz Consulting, etc. that if you read between the lines it is obvious that it is a one person company under a fancy name, and as such are as relevant as a blog. But it is evidence of the number of HR professionals who are leaving their permanent jobs to be re-hired as a consultant at twice the wages.
So, HR seems to be either 'the-next-big-thing' or it may have reached it's peak. It is having a struggle in being accepted as a proper 'player' in the business as there is an image problem from their past of being nice fluffy people who care about the staff. They are trying to repackage themselves as people-focussed managers who can get the best results from the workforce and maximise profits (which is the fundamental purpose of any company that has shareholders).
My conclusion: IT is not the limit of a techies world, be interested in other parts of business and stick with the people who have the power. Follow the money.