Author: Philippe A. Abdoulaye
Cloud Computing and the various operational models it generates including IT as a Service (ITaaS) is fantastic, the business world is increasingly aware of that. The problem is, it is getting shackled in the false and simplistic logic that “the more sophisticated technology, the higher business revenue” where lines of business within mid to large-size corporations are in fact the fall guys.
I came to that conclusion after reading the findings of a report by Phil Fersht and Barbra Sheridan McGann cited in a recent Joe Mckendrick’s article “Cloud Computing is Popular, But Not Ready For Prime Time” and most importantly after reading an extraordinary, unprecedented and insightful survey by IDC Research Services sponsored by EMC and VMware; it involved more than 350 IT and business directors at enterprises of 1,000 employees or more. I strongly recommend it, you can find at “Your Journey To IT as a Service: Prioritize Your ITaaS Next Steps With An EMC Workshop.”
A clever analysis of these reports unveals the unprecedented fact that there are severe disconnects between IT vendors, IT departments and business lines about how cloud computing and ITaaS could help businesses achieve their goals.
All these disconnects are actually the tree that hides the forest; the reality is IT has reached an inflection point, the notion that sophisticated IT solutions and infrastructure by themselves would drive business growth is now outdated.
Cloud computing and the concept of ITaaS will NEVER deliver 100% of the promised business benefits as long as CIOs and IT vendors will refuse to shift to a more appropriate IT paradigm.
Phil Fersht and Barbra Sheridan McGann confirm in their report the IT world’s resistance to any new paradigm when they state, “Another 47% blame their vendors, agreeing with the statement that “lack of willingness from our service provider(s) to cannibalize their existing revenue models” is holding back progress” and “Lack of support from service provider(s) to share risks/gains is cited by 44% as an obstacle to As-a-Service adoption.”
You have here the reason why the vast majority of cloud migration and ITaaS transformation projects are highly successful from the technical and technology perspectives but are disasters from the pure business benefits perspective.
What is actually that new IT paradigm? How does it relate to so-called new style of IT? Why are today’s CIOs and cloud vendors resisting it? What does it take to implement it? How helpful is the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ to implement it? are some of the key questions answered in this article. They are detailed in my recent books, “The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model: The Art of Integrating AWS, DevOps, and ITIL Into ITaaS Delivery Models”
In this article, I chose to illustrate my point by bringing out the weaknesses of VMware ITaaS offering and by showing how implementing VMware Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) from the perspective of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ would help businesses extract subtantantial and tangible business benefits from these extraordinary technology.
In order to make easy the understanding of such a complex topic, I have arranged the article in the following order:
- The never debated troubles with IT departments and with IT in general, they slow down the adoption of the concept of ITaaS
- The changing competitive environment and business line new expectations and requirements
- Why VMware ITaaS offering aren’t likely to meet business line expectations and requirements
- How the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ supplements VMware Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) platform
- Lessons learned about the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ and where to go from here
One thing unprecedented with this report is, it puts on the table several deficient practices and attitudes of IT departments and vendors that look minor but have devastating effects; they favor the use of shadow IT, increase investments in sophisticated and expensive software and infrastructure businesses do not necessarily need, and most importantly they are perverting the concepts of cloud and ITaaS and depriving businesses of the benefits they can get from them.
The overall findings of this IDC survey are substantiated by a growing number of observers of the IT industry including Patrick Phillips, CIO at Disaster Kleenup International; in a remarkable article, IT Must Adapt or Die – A Story Brought to You by the Third Party Providers Trying to Make You Irrelevant he argues, “Five years ago, less than 25% of business leaders rated their organization’s IT function effective at delivering the capabilities they needed. Today the number hasn’t changed. IT functions have strived tirelessly to understand demand, set priorities, deliver effectively, and capture value, yet the results still disappoint. Business and IT leaders alike feel they should be getting more—more efficiency, more innovation, more value—from technology. Unasked Questions Among all the talk of engagement, alignment, and “being part of the business,” one assumption is never challenged—that for information technology to grow in strategic importance, so must the IT function. But what if this is not the case? What if a dedicated, standalone IT function is no longer the best option and the function’s resources and responsibilities were better located elsewhere?”
Let’s talk about some of them as they highlight the gaps between what IT delivers and what the business needs.
IT Thinks It Understands The Business, The Business Sees More Room For Improvement For IT
According to the IDC survey, “IT executives are more likely than those in business to indicate that IT does a good job of understanding what the business wants, improving time to market, communicating a clear vision, gaining the trust of business stakeholders, informing the business of new services, articulating business value, enabling innovation and collaboration, and supporting mobility. Business executives are more likely to see significant room for improvement.” The areas for improvement include:
- Making IT services easier to package and deliver — What do you have that can help me? (76% say needs some to significant improvement)
- Demonstrating an accurate understanding of the services the business needs/wants — Give me the tools/services to help me do my job better — in a timely manner. (74% say needs some to significant improvement)
- Communicating a clear vision for future services — How can IT help me achieve my business goals? (73% say needs some to significant improvement)
For IT, ITaaS is Primarily a Matter of Lower Costs While For the Business It’s About Aligning Priorities
According to the IDC survey, “Business and IT executives are not in full agreement regarding the business benefits of ITaaS. Business executives view ITaaS as enabling alignment, promoting efficiency, and improving customer satisfaction. IT executives cite cost savings as the No. 1 IT benefit of ITaaS.”
As to the Obstacles to ITaaS Adoption, the Disconnect Tells a Great Deal About the Troubles With IT Today
According to the IDC survey, “IT and business leaders are definitely not in sync regarding the potential roadblocks to deploying ITaaS. The primary concerns of IT leaders are developing a pricing model, security and compliance issues, and resistance to change. Business executives focus on poor communication, challenges in streamlining business processes, and a lack of confidence in the expertise of their own IT organizations. However, they do agree on one area — IT’s skill set. 33% of business managers point to a lack of trust or confidence in IT’s technical expertise; and 29% of IT folks agree, saying Insufficient skills and experience are a roadblock.”
The Changing Competitive Environment Has Taken IT to an Inflection Point, Responsiveness to Market Opportunities Achieved Through Cross-Functional Collaboration and Organizational Agility is What the Business Wants. IT Must Change!
Let me say this, the various blames of the business are just the the tree that hides the forest; they reveal the unprecedented fact that IT practices have reached an inflection point where IT by itself cannot anymore support businesses’ growth; as illustrated by the IDC survey, IT must take into account additional value drivers such as cross-functional collaboration, organizational agility, fast problem solving and decision-making, alike. That’s what business lines have been calling for.
In fact as showed by the survey, business folks are right; a conjunction of factors including the globalization of the economy, the endless IT innovations, the repeated financial crises, the massive unemployment and the startup boom that goes with it as well as the acceleration of the adoption of cloud are stepping up competition and expanding market opportunities at a global scale.
To meet these challenges, radical changes are needed in how the business and IT work together, lean and agile environments putting together the business and IT supported by flexible and integrated processes and practices is what is highly desired and expected on the business side.
This integrated vision involving the business and IT in a shared platform of people, processes, practices, cloud services and infrastructure is actually what is meant by the new IT style.
The thing to keep in mind at this point is, lines of business consider responsiveness to market opportunities achieved through cross-functional collaboration involving the business and IT, organizational agility, and fast problem solving and decision-making as the additional competitive advantage they need to compete in today’s business environment.
Now, let’s see how well VMware is doing as to the business expectations and requirements, why it is missing the point…
As surprising as it might sound, given the reputation and the value its brand, VMware brands, ITaaS offerings isn’t likely to meet business line requirements and expectations as defined earlier because they build on erroneous and outdated assumptions.
The fact of the matter is, VMware ITaaS value propositions is based on its extremely innovative and sophisticated Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) platform, a rare technological marvel!
The idea behind the SDDC is, by virtualizing and automating resource provisioning processes across the application development lifecycle, more time is devoted to IT to provision business users with new capabilities and less time spent on infrastructure.
The problem is, the notion that virtualization, automation, and elasticity generate organizational agility is a myth; in reality they free up latitudes which are wrongly called agility in the IT world.
The question is not whether there are latitudes but how well these latitutdes are handled to meet business line objectives.
Thinking that cross-functional collaboration, organizational agility, and fast problem solving and decision-making will miraculously result from the deployment of sophisticated cloud solutions and infrastructure does not make sense at all. Technology whatever its degree of sophistication and innovation will never enable them but the leadership, proven management practices, smart organizational design decision, effective coordination, good governance, alike will.
Creating cross-functional collaboration, organizational agility and fast problem solving and decision-making demands proactive organizational transformations that transcend the traditional zealous deployment of technology.
Here is where an innovative model like the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ comes into play …
The ITaaS Delivery Model™ is an organizational framework I popularized in my book The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model: The Art of Integrating AWS, DevOps, and ITIL Into Complete ITaaS Delivery Models; it is based on the verified notion that cloud solutions cannot deliver the benefits expected by the lines of business unless they’re supplemented with concrete organizational transformation and authentic service approaches to IT delivery.
The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ sees ITaaS from three dimensions including the IT Operating Model, the Cloud Services, and the Cloud Platform referred to as the Virtual Computing Capability (VCC). The exhibit below illustrates how the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ is leveraged to deliver business benefits in an SDDC context:
The Virtual Computing Capability, As The Enabler of The Expected Business Benefits
The VCC represents the cloud infrastructure which is implemented with cloud solutions like VMware vSuite, Amazon AWS, or Microsoft Azure. It sees the SDDC platform as the enabler of the expected business benefits; Virtualization by creating in record times virtual versions of physical servers, network switches, Storage Access Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) hardware not only allows substantial Capex savings to meet the cost aspect expectations but also frees up time which is further purposely exploited to meet the accelerated speed-to-market requirements. Automation and Elasticity by taking over human tasks such as hardware provisioning, server configuration and application deployment not only enables significant Opex savings but also like virtualization frees up time that is further purposely exploited to meet the accelerated speed-to-market requirements.
The IT Operating Model, Where The Expected Benefits are Exploited and Implemented
The IT Operating Model is a system of people, processes, best practices, and tools supporting IT activities from application development, testing, deployment and operations.
In the context of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™, it takes advantage of DevOps to identify the stakeholders, clarify their roles and responsibilities across the application development lifecycle, bring out the key processes and practices to focus on as well as the governance structure and the application delivery pipeline to rely on.
Totally ignored in the vast majority of cloud migration and ITaaS transformation projects, the IT Operating Model is where the organizational transformations are concretely addressed, where collaboration and coordination mechanisms are used to address the cross-functional expectations, and where change management capabilities are leveraged to establish the governance structure that enables greater focus of IT on business priorities and meets the fast problem solving and decision-making expectations.
Make no mistake, without it the only benefits you get are the cost savings and the latitudes generated by the SDDC platform.
The Cloud Services As The Foundation of Organizational Agility
The Cloud Services are the set of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) made available to users from business lines, application development, quality assurance (QA, and IT operations to support their activities.
In the context of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model implementing authentic IT services is vital as the notion of service is the cornerstone of what is meant by organizational agility.
IT services like any basic service assumes a Consumer of the service and a Provider of the service and that creating IT agility is primarily about implementing Consumer-Provider Relationships across the organization such that both parties focused on their core competency.
Keep in mind that the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ addresses vital areas of ITaaS which are totally ignored by VMware ITaaS Model and ITaaS transformation practices, it clearly demonstrates the incompleteness of the tool-focused cloud and ITaaS implementation approaches of the vast majority of the cloud vendors.
Lessons Learned About The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ and Where To Go From Here
Cloud and ITaaS are fantastic, they are changing the competitive environment and the way IT services are delivered. However, a degree of moderation is required when the benefits of cloud solutions are discussed because by themselves they aren’t likely to deliver all the benefits expected by business lines, they must completed by concrete organizational transformations. Where should you go from here? I suggest one or two of the following options:
Option #1, Read Now My Recent Best Selling, The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™; it brushes aside the numerous misconceptions and myths surrounding the concept of ITaaS. Praised by various experts from Cisco and Amazon Web Services as “One of the best and greatest book about Cloud Computing” and “Excellent material on ITaaS“, it underscores the gaps of today’s cloud approaches and highlights the reasons increasingly businesses doubt the pure business benefits of cloud. “Except cost reduction and accelerated processes what else does the cloud offer?” Structured around a real-world case study, using the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™, the book takes you to a step-by-step ITaaS transformation journey to define ITaaS business case and transformation roadmap, design authentic SaaS, PaaS and IaaS services, transform IT operating model, migrating infrastructure to public cloud capability. It is the practical Cloud and ITaaS guide businesses and Cloud transformation architect have been expecting to help them truly transform businesses to cloud and ITaaS.
Option #2, Attend The Next ITaaS Transformation Workshop.This innovative online ITaaS Transformation workshop, designed and led by Philippe A. Abdoulaye originator of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™, takes participants into a step-by-step authentic ITaaS transformation journey.
Transcending the usual solution and infrastructure technical implementations and aggregating business and IT people, processes, practices, solutions and infrastructure into a common and shared business environment, the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ represents the lean and agile platform business lines within mid to large-size corportations have been insistently calling for to address their competitive challenges.
Option #3, Hire My Consulting Services. I will lead your end-to-end infrastructure migration to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Transform your IT operating model to DevOps and your IT to IT as a Service (ITaaS)
Thanks for trusting my work.
Copyright © Philippe Abdoulaye 2015. All rights reserved.