While the earlier post about the industry maturing and thus bring about stability is spot on, there is another factor that has caused many otherwise unnecessary controls to be put on IT departments. My job is a unique one that frequently lands me in the IT departments of all manner of businesses. I'm usually at these places off-hours helping to prepare the owner(s) for the pending dismissal of one or more key employees (often some of the IT folks themselves).
What I've noticed, time and time and time again is that, unlike other corporate disciplines, IT leadership is still treated quite liberally and with undeserved reverence (remnants of dotcom v1.0). IT leaders in most small to mid business are overgrown children who are proud of the fact that they're 30+ years old and allowed to cover their office/cubicle with Star Wars paraphernalia. I can't tell you how many times I've been called in to clean up some disaster created by the in-house IT 'director' who had no functional backups, no network resiliency, no recovery plan , and no idea what I was talking about when asking him these questions. Of course, all of the office staff are quick to whisperi n your ear about how difficult Joe StarWars is to deal with (I still hear about a half-dozen unique 'Nick Burns' stories a week).
If you're reading this at your desk, LOOK AROUND! Have you spent more time, in the past week, wondering how best to arrange your starship collection than wondering how well you've prepared your company for an IT-related disaster? If so, grow up! Or don't - I make my money at your peril an the stories your former coworkers will tell me of your arrogance and incompetence are so much more humorours upon the realization that you're back out in the workforce expecting to get paid the king's ransom you'd convinced your former boss you were worth.
When interacting with these types and inquiring whether the basics have been done, you typically get...
A. I'm always too busy fighting fires, they need to hire another employee so I can get to the important stuff
B. I'm never been given any budget to do any of that stuff
C. Yeah, we've got all the gear laying around, I'll implement it when I get time (see item A).
The fact is, even with extremely limited resources, good admins can significantly minimize the reactive component of their job and focus on implmentation of newer technology to further stability and availability (hey challange and an opportunity for creativity).
Long story short, the IT field is now drowning in a vast sea of moderate-to-highly intelligent children (despite physical age) who have developed an immature and more annoying version of the god-complex which afflicts many an M.D. The management in many companies has come to terms with this or will soon...as this happens you will see the 'bureaucracy', as you called it, increase in an effort to keep IT departmens in check. Those individuals with genuinely brilliant minds and the motivation to match will, in most cases, have little opportunity without just leaving for a startup.