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Digital IT: From Continuous Delivery Efficiency to DevOps Business Benefits

This article was initially published as part of my contribution to with the title of What Can Digital Transformation Do for You?

Contrary to what the massive articles around digital transformation suggest, your business lines’ primary concern isn’t the amazing technology innovations that pop up every day but how well they’re going to deal with your industry’s disruption. Something is sure, your IT organization’s digital transformation cannot be narrowed to technology changes; that’s a simplistic vision which ignores the disruptive impacts on businesses, particularly on the IT function.

Howard King, writing in “What is Digital Transformation?” published in The Guardian, makes it clear, “Transformation is a whole scale change to the foundational components of a business: from its operating model to its infrastructure. What it sells, to whom and how it goes to market.” He’s right, the business-oriented vision of IT demands a transformation of your IT organization including its infrastructure, applications delivery approach and operating model, and DevOps increasingly is cited as the foundation of the new IT.

This article shares my experience and lessons learned implementing DevOps as the foundation of digital IT organizations.

Top Priority: Dealing with Your Industry Disruption

The belief that implementing a continuous delivery infrastructure is all your business need to survive digital disruptions is a marketing hype DevOps practitioners have grown accustomed to. It’s a myth that prevents you from making informed digital transformation decisions. Emphasizing the technology at the expense of your industry’s disruption forces you to make technology change prematurely; your priority actually should be to figure out how to deal with the disruptions hitting your industry.

Ask yourself this: What’s the interest in investing in scattered continuous delivery infrastructure implementations, when your favorite vendors and consultants aren’t able to clearly address these concerns:

  • How can you restructure your business value stream to make it lean and agile so that the right services are timely delivered to the right market segments?
  • How can you integrate DevOps, IT as a service, cloud, Internet of Things and big data into a coherent and consistent business capability so that the right services are timely delivered to the right market segments?
  • What’s the architecture of your future information system, including your virtual data center and application delivery infrastructure?
  • What will your role be as the CIO? How will the relationships with your business lines and vendors be managed?

Make no mistake about it, these are your business line concerns of the moment. Unless you address them, Chef, Puppet, CodeDeploy or any other software application alone won’t help to keep up the pace imposed by Uber, Apple, Google and the like. You’ll need to bring together your business and IT staff in a lean and agile capability, which demands a re-engineering of your IT structure, processes, practices and governance.

DevOps is the Foundation of Your Digital IT Organization

Let’s remove the ambiguity: Infrastructure as code isn’t DevOps. The increasing confusion of DevOps with continuous delivery infrastructure is slowly but surely killing it—it’s even disqualifying it as a competitive advantage. That vision focused on tools has nothing to do with the logic underneath DevOps.

As I’ve been making clients happy with it, DevOps is primarily an application delivery model that seeks to make businesses responsive to market opportunities through accelerating added-value applications delivery and with the goal of continuously generating value. It’s based on three principles helping businesses survive digital disruptions, then grow and prosper:

  • Using continuous delivering infrastructure to speed application delivery doesn’t make sense unless tangible business benefits are generated.
  • Applications are the means by which value is brought to customers and business benefits are brought in.
  • Agile principles across your software development life cycle makes your value stream lean and agile which in turn results in continuous value.
DevOps Delivery Model - Philippe Abdoulaye
DevOps Delivery Model – (Credit: Philippe Abdoulaye – ITaaS Now LLC)

The delivery model uses three levers to implement the above principles and establish DevOps as the foundation of your digital IT, they include:

  • The rules of the game, which are agreed-upon principles, practices, roles and responsibilities and tools institutionalized to ensure agility and accelerated applications delivery;
  • The operating model, which is the lean and agile work environment resulting from the application of the rules of the game; and
  • The continuous delivery infrastructure, which is a platform that leverages infrastructure-as-code solutions to accelerate applications development and deployment.

The Digital IT Organization: Approach, Principles, Tools

Success in IT organization transformations often come more from a stream of small wins than from a one-time flood. That’s what I call incremental transformation, illustrated in the following digital five-stage transformation journey:

The digital IT organization implementation process
The transformation journey – (Credit: Philippe Abdoulaye – ITaaS Now LLC)

The following recommendations definitely will make you instrumental to your IT transformation and help your business meet the digital economy’s competitive challenges.


A CIO who’s expected to help business lines survive their industry’s disruption, grow and prosper first must clarify their business objectives; estimate potential gains, losses, and risks; and create a consensus on the DevOps delivery model to implement in terms of high-level architecture and implementation timing. That’s the purpose of the Strategize stage.

Never skip this stage—it’s where the executive buy-in is obtained and the vision of the future IT capability is developed. Make sure the following is accomplished:

  • Creating an executive task force co-led by the CIO and a business representative;
  • Scheduling one to three workshops addressing your transformation business case, transformation road map, high-level blueprint of the future IT capability and the DevOps adoption plan;
  • Designating a project manager; and
  • Communication by task force members regarding the whys and wherefores of the transformation initiative.


Digital transformation involves many functions within your business in the form of a cross-functional team: the concerned business and IT staff. Your responsibility as the CIO is to bring the voice of the business across the transformation journey, from business objectives clarification, to design and implementation, to pilot experiment, to deployment.

Again, do not overlook this stage—it’s about translating the effort into team structure, implementation schedules and operational and strategic reviews. It’s where the risks likely to hamper projected objectives are anticipated. Make sure workshops involving the business and IT are set up to address the following:

  • Team structure and roles and responsibilities;
  • Transformation road map steps translated into operational timelines associated along with expected outcomes; and
  • The project’s operational and strategic reviews, including a risk management plan.

Design and Implementation

The third stage is when the three dimensions of the digital IT organization are designed and implemented. They include the DevOps rules of the game, the operating model and the continuous delivery infrastructure.

Never improvise this stage—use a proven approach to address the dimensions. Favor a collaborative approach that includes workshops or brainstorming sessions with the concerned business and IT staff.

In the rules of the game brainstorming sessions, make sure the following is addressed:

  • Organization and operational dysfunctions preventing cross-functional collaboration, rapid problem-solving and decision-making;
  • Recommendations to the dysfunctions in terms of agile processes, practices, roles and responsibilities and tools;
  • Recommendations mapping to the appropriate DevOps principles, practices, roles and responsibilities and governance structure; and
  • The IT organization’s DevOps charter, thought to accelerate the rules of the game and the operating model adoption.

In the continuous delivery infrastructure workshops make sure the following is addressed:

  • A delivery pipeline, including steps and for each of them what follows:
    • Required staff, skills and background
    • Implementation, testing and deployment agile processes and practices
    • Implementation, testing and deployment tools, such as Chef, Jenkins or CodePipeline


For this stage, set up a pilot experiment involving, in a small-scale real-business setting, a panel of business and IT staff to evaluate the likelihood of the project benefits.

Neither skip nor overlook that step, it’s where improvements are identified. Throughout the pilot project, make sure the following is in place:

  • Executive task force monitoring the pilot project through bi-weekly reviews;
  • Concerned business lines and IT business lines are involved;
  • Training campaigns are organized around the DevOps charter, the operating model and the continuous delivery infrastructure;
  • Strategic management tools, such as balanced scorecards to monitor progress, risks and achievements; and
  • Measurement of the impacts of the operating model and the continuous delivery infrastructure against the projected benefits.


This final stage is a Go-No-Go milestone in which your task force, based on the pilot’s outcome, decides whether to deploy your digital IT capability at the scale of the company. Throughout the deployment:

  • Capitalize on the benefits generated by the pilot experiment to launch an information campaign emphasizing the benefits for the company and for the staff; and
  • Train business and IT staff on the DevOps charter, the operating model and the continuous delivery infrastructure.

Wrapping up

Today’s DevOps practices focused on continuous delivery infrastructure aren’t likely to help businesses grow and prosper in the digital economy. Thought leader Joe McKendrick in, “The road to digital bliss is paved with service thinking and DevOps,” confirms that fact.

The approach discussed in this article are detailed in my recent book, written to help make IT leaders instrumental to their business digital transformation:

Rethink Your IT with DevOps

If you’re considering a DevOps-focused IT transformation, what will be your first steps? I’d love to hear your thoughts, let’s meet @TheFutureOfYourIT.

All You Need to Know about Aligning Your IT to DevOps: Insider Perspectives

Picture Credited to Saugatuck Technology
Picture Credited to Saugatuck Technology

Hi All,

During March and April 2016, we’ll make the case for DevOps and  tell you what you need to know about its implementation and adoption. For this March, I share my thoughts about what I consider the greatest articles about DevOps:

  • The case for transforming your IT organization to DevOps: feedback on Cisco’s Dave Robert’s masterpiece “Why Enterprise DevOps doesn’t make sense.Read (…)
  • Why the fundamentals of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ are increasingly adopted: comments on V3 Broadsuite’s Shelly Kramer’s excellent “ITaaS: Future of the CIO.Read (…)

We  provide IT leaders and  practitioners with the latest techniques,  ideas, insights, best practices and most thoughtful advices from the world’s leading digital transformation influencers.

Get the Actionable Solutions You Need: It’s at ITaaS Now (…)

Philippe A. Abdoulaye
Founder and CEO
+1 (646) 688-2228

Why Enterprise DevOps will make IT organizations and CIOs relevant

Available by January 10, 2016.
Available by January 10, 2016. Click to know more about the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™

Digital business is changing the competitive environment; the proliferation of startups created by highly qualified unemployed seniors and entrepreneurs, the increasing adoption of cloud which reduces IT cost and the Internet of Things substituting traditional services with digital services are forcing business lines (BL) to opt for new paradigms. Market responsiveness achieved through flexible IT environments is what they need; extending DevOps to competitive and revenue issues and establishing it as the foundation of IT operating models is what’ll make IT organizations relevant. That’s what enterprise DevOps is about.

Why DevOps initiatives struggle to meet BL expectations

Despite its accelerated adoption, DevOps remains either misunderstood or improperly implemented. Today’s implementation approaches have several weaknesses:

  • Market responsiveness confusion with application delivery acceleration
  • DevOps confusion with automation tools
  • CIOs’ lack of IT transformation strategy

Market responsiveness isn’t about speed but timely revenue

One of the reasons certain DevOps initiatives don’t generate business benefits is, 90 percent of IT consultants misunderstand market responsiveness; they erroneously narrow it to the capacity to deliver software at the speed of light. Simply put, market responsiveness relates to the continuous and accelerated delivery of added-value services, the bottom line isn’t speed but timely revenue.

In fact, what BLs expect from IT is a greater focus on added-value priorities and the ability to absorb unpredictable market turbulences; that fact is substantiated by Patrick Phillips, in a bombshell “IT must adapt or die” he alerts “Five years ago less than 25 percent of business leaders rated their IT function effective at delivering the capabilities they need. Today that number hasn’t changed. IT functions have strived tirelessly to understand demand, set priorities, deliver effectively, and capture value, yet the results still disappoint.”

Narrowing DevOps to tools is ignoring its competitive advantages

Another factor preventing business benefits is, most consultants confuse DevOps with application deployment infrastructure, they see it from the distorted lenses of application deployment automation tools.

The tool dimension is erroneously considered more important than any other value drivers such as market understanding, cross-functional collaboration as well as accelerated problem solving and decision making. Adam Jacob, early proponent of DevOps and co-founder of Chef the leading IT-automation firm is clear about it,Fundamentally DevOps is about taking the behaviors and beliefs that draw us together as people, combining them with a deep understanding of our customer’s needs, and using that knowledge better products.” To read more…

Implementing DevOps is transforming your IT organization to the new style of IT

My advise to CIOs is, “Implement DevOps as a transformation of your IT organization and don’t narrow it to a technology change initiative.” Strictly speaking, DevOps is disruptive and 70 percent of its business benefits depend on how well non-technological impediments to revenue are eliminated.

As illustrated, Enterprise DevOps is changing today’s IT service delivery paradigm, it’s taking IT organizations to the so-called new style of IT. In addition to leveraging cloud solutions’ benefits and forcing CIOs to consider value drivers like organizational efficiency and cross-functional collaboration, it places application delivery and customer experience at the heart of the CIO’s strategy:

enterprise devops

Considering that applications are the means by which value is brought to customers, Enterprise DevOps builds on two primary capabilities: the agile and collaborative IT environment referred to as the IT operating model and the continuous delivery pipeline (CDP).

CDPs accelerate the delivery of expected value

The CDP is the technological piece consultants and vendors have been reducing DevOps to. Concretely speaking, it’s a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) which leverages infrastructure as code (IAC) mechanisms to automate, therefore, accelerate three stages of the application development life cycle including:

  • Continuous integration
  • Quality assurance
  • Deployment

The self-service and on-demand nature of the PaaS services e.g., server provisioning, server configuration, and application deployment eliminates the drawbacks of manual IT including costs and resource provisioning lead time.

Agile IT operating models eliminate operational impedements to value

The operating model is the non-technological piece most experts and vendors have been ignoring. It’s a set of principles clarifying the rules to accelerate problem solving and decision-making; business and IT practices as well as the roles needed to deliver added-value priorities; and governance structure implemented in the form of Change Advisory Board (CAB) putting together business and IT executives to assess priorities, keep IT staff focused on them and deliver executive leadership. The bottom line is to make the IT organization agile and responsive to market opportunities and turbulences.


Enterprise DevOps isn’t the complex technology stacks promoted by vendors; it’s a set of practices combining infrastructure as code mechanisms and organizational efficiency leveraged to equip BLs with the only asset they need to prosper in the digital economy: market responsiveness.

I can’t agree more with Adam Jacob on this, “Today there is a noisy market in teaching people how to do DevOps, or in tools that enable DevOps. Vendor after vendor will tell you they have the magical solution to this difficult business problem.”

How CIOs Can Reinvent IT with ITaaS

In recent years business lines have been increasingly going the shadow IT route to achieve their critical objectives, showing there’s a real disconnect with IT as to how to leverage cloud computing.

The problem lies with cloud vendors who ignore the issue of the business vision. They see low IT costs and accelerated application delivery as business growth drivers while businesses are more concerned with market responsiveness achieved through agile and collaborative environments that bring together the business and IT.

The business is right: organizational silos, hierarchical barriers, unclear business priorities and people issues like power struggles, resistance to change, defiance of policies and politics are all impediments that only make it more difficult to achieve flexibility, fast problem solving and decision making.

The solution is to implement IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) in the form of integrated platforms of people, processes, practices, governance structure and tools specifically built to bring the business and IT together.

The Business Facet of the Digital Revolution is What Matters

The digital revolution which get so much buzz is incompletely explained to CIOs. What they must understand is, to succeed, businesses need to implement integrated digital strategies.

As the figure above shows, what matters  most is to increase customer value, not the extensive automation of application deployment suggested by techies. In fact the business belief is customer value (what customers spend to buy services) results from theorganizational dynamics where through a shared governance, IT addresses the opportunities prioritized by marketing, and leverages organizational agility and accelerated application deployment mechanisms to continuously deliver added-value services.

The Crucial Role of ITaaS Delivery Models

The above perspective is accepted in the industry. VMware and EMC even designate ITaaS as the model through which to implement it. Yet, an overall framework clarifying its principles, organizational and operational implications as well as its deployment practices is still missing.

Most consultants and vendors remain stuck in a techie mindset in which business concerns are at the periphery, not the core. The solution rests on the principles of frameworks like the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model which seeks to increase customer value through three fundamental drivers: the Cloud Platform, the Cloud Services and the IT Operating Model, as shown in the figure below.

The logic is, increasing customer value isn’t as simplistic as delivering applications at the speed of light through automated IT processes; rather, it’s part of a virtuous circle that spans effective marketing, accelerated application deployment and, most importantly, organizational efficiency improvement. In his best-seller Reengineering the Corporation, former MIT computer science professor Michael M. Hammer warned, “automating a mess yields an automated mess.”

What’s needed is authentic cloud services from vendors that guarantee, via clear SLAs, available, reliable and scalable IT resources, consumable in a self-service and on-demand manner. They release operational latitudes that create the conditions for organizational agility.

Similarly, the organization’s operating model’s elements – including people, processes, practices, tools and governance structure – must be arranged in a way that creates operational agility. Without it, market responsiveness is a wishful thinking.

Key Steps CIOs Must Take to Align their IT to ITaaS

One of the reasons digital transformation remains an “elusive mystique” as Joe McKendrick calls it in his must-read “The Elusive Mystique of The Digital Enterprise,” is IT players including the major IT vendors are stuck in short-term goals. They lack the big picture vision and don’t understand how cloud solutions, operating models and cloud services combine to generate customer value.

Following are three key steps you can take to align your IT to ITaaS.

1. Reinvent your CIO role, think beyond technology. The disconnect with the business has reached a tipping point, as the use of shadow IT demonstrates. By legitimizing the idea that technology is the only business growth driver, IT vendors have confined CIOs to the limited role of IT tools provider.

To win legitimacy the CIO must trade his tools provider jacket for that of business strategy facilitator. As the figure shows, he must contribute to his organization’s Digital Enterprise Value Chain (a set of added-value activities) by focusing on IT as a Service Management activities.

2. Develop the vision of your future Virtual Computing Capability (VCC) and unlock the cloud’s cost savings. Taking your IT organization to ITaaS involves converting your datacenter into the VCC that’ll cut your IT costs and streamline your IT processes, as the figure demonstrates.

Discuss with your IT teams the following issues:

  • The workload to migrate including applications, software and hardware configurations as well as security, backup, disaster recovery and fault tolerance requirements
  • The overall architecture of your VCC, particularly the IaaS layer that’ll serve as the cost-effective Virtual Infrastructure and the PaaS layer that’ll implement a continuous delivery platform to enable accelerated application delivery
  • Operational management and executive control of the overall VCC


3. Rethink collaboration with the business, institutionalize DevOps to remove the impediments to operational flexibility and make your IT agile. For years essential value drivers like organizational and operational consistency, shared governance, executive consensus and cross-functional collaboration have been ignored. Whether techies admit it or not, poor IT focus on priorities, organizational dysfunctions, poor policy adoption and the like are the primary impediments to value and they aren’t fixed by technology.

When not narrowed to improving communication between application development and IT operations and to automating application deployment processes, DevOps is the agile and collaborative platform to adopt. Extended to business issues, its principles, processes and practices simplify the organization’s collaboration network and accelerate prioritization and decision-making, helping to make the operating model agile.

Set up an ITaaS task force involving the business and IT to discuss the following issues:

  • Establishment of an extended DevOps structure that’s not only focused on application development but spans the overall enterprise digital strategy (EDS) activities
  • Alignment of DevOps principles, practices, processes and tools to your business considerations
  • Establishment of a change advisory board (CAB) serving as shared governance to identify priorities, create consensus on them and provide executive leadership to facilitate their delivery
  • Establishment of a continuous delivery platform providing the logic and the infrastructure needed to accelerate application delivery

Wrapping Up

To help their business grow and prosper in the digital economy, CIOs must reinvent their IT with ITaaS. The widely spread notion that cloud solutions on their own will make IT organizations agile and boost business growth is an intellectual swindle which not only keeps them in the now outdated role of IT tools provider but also widens the gap between the business and IT.

In his article, “Cloud Computing’s Second Act is All Business,” Joe McKendrick warns, “IT is one small piece of the cloud story. A much bigger story is coming from the business itself. This is also the hard part.” IT vendors that purposely tell a different story aren’t helping.

About the Author

Philippe Abdoulaye is VP Cloud and ITaaS Transformation Strategy at ITaaS Now. He is the author of two books on Cloud Computing and ITaaS, and the originator of “The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model Framework™.”

He advises IT leaders on their cloud and ITaaS transformation strategies and has counseled executives from Credit Suisse, American Express, Orange Business Services, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Educational Testing Services (ETS) on their IT transformation. Former Accenture IT strategist, he is a recognized thought leader and his work has been featured in major publications like ZDNet.

Philippe’s latest book is The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model: The Art of Integrating AWS, DevOps and ITIL into ITaaS Delivery Models. It provides a business-oriented perspective of ITaaS, introduces a unique ITaaS transformation framework and shows through a real-world case study the step-by-step transformation of an IT organization to ITaaS.

Align Your PMO to the Digital Challenges and Successfully Drive Your ITaaS Transformation

Certain CIOs for incomprehensible reasons keep off their cloud transformation initiatives several enterprise disciplines including Enterprise Architecture (EA), IT Service Management (ITSM) and Project Management (PMO). Do they see them as obsolete? useless? irrelevant? No one understands it. I give in this article 7 key practices that will boost your PMO and make it relevant for your organization’s transition to ITaaS (or cloud).

PMO can be reassured: CIOs need them and will be needing them in the very near future. However, if they want to play a pivotal role in their IT organization’s transformation, they have to come up with with new value propositions; they must urgently align their PMO to the challenges of the ongoing IT industry transformation. That’s the price to pay.

The question is, “What key actions PMO leaders must take to get a seat at their IT organization’s ITaaS Transformation Task Force?

PMOs Can No Longer Just Update CIOs about Projects, It Must Go Upmarket and Play the Strategic Role Which is Expected from Them

Concretely speaking, ITaaS Transformation is a highly complex effort whose objective is to equip the IT organization with a new IT service delivery paradigm: the IT as a Service (ITaaS) Delivery Model.
The bottom line is to take your IT organization from today’s Siloed Traditional Enterprise IT Delivery Model where the IT infrastructure is considered the only driver of the business growth to a Lean and Agile IT Organization where business growth is tackled from three fundamental dimensions: the IT Operating Model, the Cloud Service Catalog, and the Cloud Infrastructure.

As a matter of fact, contrary to what cloud vendors have been claiming, migrating to cloud does not make a growth strategy. The Techies’ belief that cloud infrastructure is the only determinant of business growth is an intellectual swindle; business growth is part of a wider growth virtuous circle which takes:

  1. Definition of the Business Mission and Goal
  2. Identification of Market Opportunities
  3. Definition of Service-Market Strategy
  4. Services Implementation and Rollout
  5. Recovery Strategy Definition

Cloud infrastructure impacts only the IT part of it: the  Services Implementation and Rollout step. Cloud solutions are focused on IT and contribute only up to 20% of the business growth activities . What about the remaining 80%?

In order to survive, the PMO  can no longer just update CIOs about projects’ progress, enforce project management and project portfolio management (PPM) policies or assess PPM tools, it must go upmarket and get back to its fundamentals as defined by pioneers like J. Kent Crawford, who warned 15 years ago in his best seller, The Strategic Project Office: A Guide to Improving Organizational Performance, “The PMO is a must for organizations to move from doing a less-than-adequate job of managing projects on an individual basis, to creating the organizational synergy around projects that add value.
The excellent Jennifer Buchanan, PMP, substantiates Crawford’s point in a her remarkable manifesto, Improving Project Management Capability separates the Wheat from the Chaff!, she reminds project management virtues in turbulent economic environments and alerts, “You may think that times of trouble would be the worse time for any company to buttress their project management competence, but the opposite is true.”

That’s being said, what concrete actions PMO leaders must take to play that pivotal role in their IT organization’s transition to ITaaS?

7 Keys to Aligning PMOs to The Digital Challenges and Successfully Drive ITaaS Transformations

Here are 7 practices, that’ll make your PMO relevant to supporting your IT organization’s transition to ITaaS; they not only helped me gain the trust of reluctant CIOs but also boosted the implementation of ITaaS capabilities that business folks unconditionally adopted.

1. Provide the CIO with an Accurate Vision of the ITaaS Business Challenges. The vast majority of CIOs have adopted the erroneous idea that migrating infrastructure and applications to cloud will make businesses more competitive. The problem is, business lines disagree with that perspective for the simple reason that cloud is focused on IT processes and improving IT processes has never made a business growth strategy.  Responsiveness to market opportunities is what they seek, and a well-thought operational agility involving the business and IT is the way they want to go.

Cloud-related projects including ITaaS transformation are initiated by CIOs on their own. Their belief is, by anticipating IT migration to cloud,  they’ll reduce IT costs, accelerate application delivery and as a result increase their business competitiveness. This is definitely erroneous, as seen earlier, migrating IT to cloud does not make a growth strategy.

Cloud computing and digital technologies by reducing IT costs and accelerating the proliferation of digital services are changing the competitive environment. Businesses must deal with new competitors e.g., startups created by unemployed highly qualified seniors and young entrepreneurs who substitute traditional services with digital services e.g., Uber in the Taxi Industry, PayPal in the Financial Services, and Hosting in the IT Managed Services.

The PMO as the facilitator of business strategy executions must provide the CIO with insights into the business challenges of the ongoing IT industry transformation and help him leave behind his IT solutions provider role to become the strategic business partner businesses are desperately expecting.

2. Develop and Offer a Clear Picture of the Target IT Organization in Line With the Business Expectations. One of the CIO’s biggest problem is the fact that, consulting firms and cloud vendors have been unable to define credible ITaaS models that meet business expectations.

The fact of the matter is, a plethora of experts, including those of the major brands of the IT industry, have been speculating about the new style of IT. What come out of these endless discussions is interesting, yet incomplete models like Netflix-like IT and Cloud Service Brokerage (CSB), which remain unfortunately elusive. What are the whys and wherefores of these models? How do they work? How disruptive are they? How to implement and deploy them? are some of the numerous unanswered questions.
The problem is, the answers to these questions address areas that are out of IT leaders’ comfort zone; they include IT Organization Design, IT Operating Model Reengineering, Establishment Business and IT Partnerships, alike.

In order to be credible, the CIO must come up with concrete solutions to business expectations and offer actionable ITaaS models. Once again, the PMO can help; it’s been the communication channel between the business and IT for years and must capitalize on the  knowledge acquired on the business and IT relationships to assist the CIO in implementing appropriate ITaaS operating models.

3. Equip Your PMO with a Comprehensive ITaaS Transformation Framework. Transforming IT organization to ITaaS is a very complex effort that’s not limited to migrating infrastructure and applications to cloud; in reality it also addresses the transformation of two additional dimensions of the IT organization: the IT operating model and the IT service catalog.  Traditional project management isn’t comfortable with the turbulences of today’s transforming IT industry, they must go upmarket.

Traditional project management is insufficient in many respects; it lacks the agility and responsiveness needed to quickly migrate an entire IT organization to ITaaS, it doesn’t provide the agile collaboration structures and methodologies needed to put together experts and address  issues as complex as Cloud Architecture Implementation, Operating Model Reengineering, and Organizational Change Deployment. A blame that frequently crops up is, ” The PMO is a too passive player when it comes to IT transformation.”

The PMO leader must bring on the CIO’s table a radically different approach to IT transformation projects, more focused on business goals, addressing in an integrated manner the operating model, cloud services and cloud infrastructure issues and most importantly taking into account implementation concerns by providing methodologies and tools that facilitate engineering works.

4. Set Up an ITaaS Transformation Task Force to Create Executive Consensus On the Business Objectives. 99% of  cloud projects are highly successful from the technical and technology standpoints, unfortunately they are disasters from the perspective of the benefits expected by the business. The reason is a lack of shared objectives. Consensus between the business and IT about the expected business benefits is a key determinant to successful ITaaS transformation.

Setting up a task force involving representatives of the concerned stakeholders is the surest way to get the business and IT agree on Shared ITaaS Objectives. Setting up a formal structure where the concerned executives can clarify their digital strategy, define the means to implement and control its implementation is likely to avoid frustrations, conflicts and increasing shadow IT.

5. Leverage Incremental Transformations for Effective Risks Control the and Accelerated Adoption of Changes. Cloud computing and its associated operational models are disruptive, they radically change the IT relationship with the business, the way IT services are delivered and how business priorities are addressed within IT. It’s an upheaval in practices, approaches, and tools which doesn’t come without risks.

An incremental approach I often use includes the implementation of a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) of the targeted ITaaS capability and its validation through an ITaaS Pilot Project. Throughout the ITaaS pilot, the new IT operating model, cloud services and cloud infrastructure are used and tested in a real-world business setting  by a panel of users under the facilitation of the PMO. The feedback are later on used to build the Industrialized ITaaS Capability that will be deployed. This practice ensures an accelerated adoption of ITaaS across the organization.

6. Take Advantage of Agile Mechanisms to Facilitate and Accelerate Consensus Building, Problem Solving and Decision Making. In addition to the time constraints related to the urgency to align the IT organization to ITaaS, the overlapping of several issues i.e., business strategy, IT organizational design, process optimization, datacenter transformation and application migrations is a major factor of failure that challenge that challenges traditional project management.

Dropping the dogma that the blind application of the PMI’s principles guarantees success to whatever projects is a major step toward making successful your ITaaS project. Using the PMI’s best in agile mindset by implementing agile mechanisms is the most effective way to tackle ITaaS transformation complexity; planning and executing ITaaS transformation collaboratively not only enables consensus throughout the transformation journey but also accelerate problem solving and decision making.

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™: The ITaaS Transformation Handbook That’ll Make PMOs Relevant to CIOs

In fact, the above ITaaS project key success factors are part of a wider ITaaS Transformation framework, The Complete ITaaS Delivery Modelit’s described in my recent book, The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model: The Art of Integrating AWS, DevOps, and ITIL into Complete ITaaS Delivery Models.
The book will help you understand the whys and wherefores of  ITaaS from both the business and IT standpoints and guide you through a detailed step-by-step real-world ITaaS implementation project.
You’ll have access to a unique approach and tools to get your CIO and his business peers agree on Business Objectives, ITaaS Business CaseVision of the Target ITaaS Organization as well as on a clear IT Transformation Roadmap.

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model framework provides the PMO with Agile Mechanisms and ITaaS Reengineering Tools that help the PMO facilitate issues as complex as IT Operating Model Migration to DevOps, Cloud Services i.e., IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS Design and Implementation, and Cloud Platform Architecture Design and Implementation. Examples of such tools include:

  • The ITaaS Transformation Task Force and ITaaS Transformation Workshops that put together the concerned stakeholders to facilitate and accelerate consensus building, problem solving and decision-making
  • The Extended Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and Extended Elastic Computing Capability (EC2) Architecture Patterns, they are pre-defined, yet flexible team structures, questionnaires and  collaboration tools which facilitate complex engineering works like cloud platform architecture design and application migration
  • The DevOps-based IT Operating Model which makes easy the transformation of Traditional Enterprise IT Delivery Model to Lean and Agile IT Operating Model built upon DevOps philosophy
  • The ITaaS Organizational Charter that makes easy the deployment of organizational challenges from developing ITaaS Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to setting up state-of-the-art ITaaS Pilot Project

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Modeland its associated Agile project management are new and in many respects revolutionary. This book represents an attempt to accelerate their adoption; in 12 chapters it outlines the impact of digital technologies on the competitive environment, makes easy the understanding of essential concepts such as Cloud Computing, IT as a Service (ITaaS), Digital Transformation, DevOps. The intent is to help illustrate these points in a concrete manner.
It offers PMO leaders and project managers an unprecedented opportunity to embrace the next step of their career  in the digital age. Fellow project managers the IT industry is transforming, embrace the change!

I very honestly encourage you to buy the book (Amazon, iBookstore, alike), experiment the framework, share your thoughts and provide your questions and comments at: PMPragmatic Consulting – The Complete ITaaS Delivery Official Website.


Copyright © Philippe Abdoulaye 2015. All rights reserved.

Are IT Organizations Headed For Irrelevance? No, But Changing Today’s IT Paradigm Is Urgent

Author: Philippe A. Abdoulaye

Yesterday, I had the chance to attend a great conversation on Twitter and Youtube. Brillantly facilitated by Tim Crawford, the discussion revolved around the relevance of IT today and involved Mark Thiele EVP Datacenter at Switch, Stuart Appley CIO at Shorenstein, and Bob Egan CEO of the Sepharim Group.

A Consensus On The Fact That A Greater Collaboration of The Business and IT Is The Way To Go

Throughout the conversation – that’s not the words that were used – but it seemed that there was a consensus on the fact that the way we delivered IT services had reached an inflection point and that new paradigm more centered  on”Piecing Together the Business and IT” and on “Not Seperating IT From the Business” would make IT more relevant particularly in today’s digital age.

Mark brilliantly reminded a fundamental rule of future IT organizations, “Spend more time delivering new apps and value and less time customizing legacy.
Bob, advocating the business perspective, reminded this critical fact that IT tends to forget, “The Consumerization of IT is more about people, process and user experience than it is about tech. Important for IT to digest” and warned, “Words of a wise man. Does your IT org have a future?” before concluding, “IT orgs that will survive and thrive will strike a balance between the deployment of tech and the deployment of the business.

Now that The Foundations and Principles For A Better IT Are Laid, What Is The Next Step?

The discussion thrilled me because it substantiated the point I developed in my recent book “The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™: The Art of Integrating AWS, DevOps and ITIL Into Complete ITaaS Delivery Models” that, new IT service delivery capabilities involving the business and IT into an integrated platform of people, processes, best practices, collaboration and governance mechanisms and cloud services and infrastructure was definitely the way to go.
The conversation in a sense validated The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ that I widely developed and detailed in the book to provide CIOs and business lines with a concrete and accurate answer to the need for a new IT service delivery model.

AWS-based ITaaS Delivery Model
The AWS-based Complete ITaaS Delivery Model

My point is, just like years ago the UK’s Office of Government Commerce (OGC) delivered through ITIL, a set best practices used to develop and execute IT service management the IT industry needs now, not tomorrow, a reference model that crystallizes the foundations and principles mentioned above by Tim, Bob, Stuart, Mark, Jason Bloomberg and many others to support the implementation of what is increasingly called Digital Organizations.

The Five Indispensable Principles To Know About The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™

Click and Read Now!
Click and Read Now!

I have been using the model in its current version for almost three years to implement ITaaS capabilities in private and public cloud contexts.

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ is an integrated business capability composed of the three fundamental build blocks including the Cloud Platform, the Cloud Services and the IT Operating Model.
The five driving principles of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ are the following:

Responsiveness to Market Opportunities Is The Business Bottom Line

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ is based on the fact  that the competitive environments got globalized, tougher, yet profitable and that what business lines are primarily seeking is responsiveness to the added-value market opportunities that pop up all over the world.

Cloud Solutions and Infrastructure By Alone In Their Corner Do Not Deliver The Expected Market Responsiveness

The model is based on the belief that cloud solutions and infrastructure by themselves will never deliver the expected responsiveness to market opportunities, but combining the benefits of cloud with those of agile and cross-functional collaboration will definitely help to make businesses responsive.

Cloud Solutions and Infrastructure Free Up Resources That Cannot Be Regarded As Agility

The resources and time freed up by cloud solution and infratructure through virtualization, automation, resource pooling and elasticity cannot be regarded as agility, they are agility factors. These agility factors must be proactively used through organizational design and operational excellence best practices to break down organizational silos and transcend organizational hierarchies to create authentic organizational agility.

State-Of-The-Art Cloud Services Are The Foundations of The So-Called Organizational Agility

Cloud services like any basic authentic service involves a consumer of the service, a provider of the service and a SLA that clarifies the mutual expectations. By focusing both  parties on their respective core competency, the notion of service and associated SLA facilitates the interactions results in the expected responsiveness to market opportunities.

DevOps Augmented With Agile Scrum and ITIL Provides The Mechanisms To Establish Lean and Agile IT Operating Model

DevOps augmented with ITIL Change Management is the foundation of the IT operating model; it provides the mechanisms to break down the organizational barriers, clarifies the roles and responsibilities across the organization value chain, highlights the key processes and practices to rely on and delivers the delivery pipeline that guarantees continuous deployment of added-value value changes in application.

Recommended and Indispensable Resources

I honestly recommend the book, “The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™: The Art of Integrating AWS, DevOps and ITIL Into Complete ITaaS Delivery Models.
The book takes Cloud, ITaaS and Digital Transformation from today’s fiction, elusive definitions and abstract art to reality and the tangible business capabilities that will give CIOs the right to seat at the business table.

Through a real-world ITaaS transformation project I led last year, it takes you to a step-by-step digital transformation journey illustrating issues as key as:

  • Development of digital transformation strategy and the associated business cases and transformation roadmaps
  • Design of authentic cloud services e.g., SaaS, PaaS and IaaS
  • Definition of AWS platform architecture
  • Transformation of IT operating models to DevOps
  • Deployment of organizational changes

Exploring the Market To Help CIOs Succeed In Their Cloud, ITaaS and Digital Transformations

I’m currently exploring the market seeking to make CIOs happy with their Cloud, ITaaS and Digital transformation opportunities. If you have an opportunity here is what I can do for you : How I Deliver AWS-based ITaaS or Value-Oriented Digital Capability.