"More than ever before, we [IT] face real competition. Cloud providers market directly to our business partners who are savvier than ever about technology. As a result, our business partners expect to order services at a published price over the web." quotes ZDNet Blogger Joe McKendrick from a book published by a non-profit group of Fortune 500 leaders dedicated to helping CIOs "run IT as a business." McKendrick goes on to share the recommendations made by this group for IT to stay competitive with the Saasy and cloudy types. However, it is not enough to just be competitive. IT needs to have a healthy co-existence with the "Saasy and Cloudy R Us" companies and change the IT DNA to drive co-opetition while being competitive. This is vital to addressing the challenges posed by the split-second availability of IT services to business users today.
Here are top 5 steps that need to be taken to integrate the business of IT:
Governance. Regardless of who is providing services, enterprises need to have the right level of governance in place to ensure that there is a seamless, well-knit fabric of IT services serving the overall business needs of the enterprise.
Architecture. The services consumed must be in conformance and alignment with the underlying enterprise architecture. IT behooves enterprises to have a common reference architecture while converging solutions in multiple cloud computing environments.
Standardization. Just like enterprises standardize on a rationalized set of service providers for payroll, travel, office supplies, real-estate, etc., IT services must also be standardized. It is just that the there is a well-defined set of options available for a given service -- be it for compute, network or storage resources.
Checkpoints. Hello Reality! Business Units are still going to do what they deem best to meet their own objectives. This is why building application silos is so easy! However, there are certain checkpoints that can be introduced within the supply chain process. Right flags must go up if and when business units choose to deviate from the guidelines emerging out of the governance, architecture and standardization steps.
Recognition. Shout-outs for service providers who deliver on the overall business needs of the enterprise are vital. Business is likely to be more receptive to an unbiased environment where IT is perceived as an objective, credible player in the game while letting healthy competition bring out the best of the breed for the enterprise at large. This may result in IT losing and gaining certain domains of services depending on what is best for the enterprise.
Consumerization of IT services has introduced an incredible array of options to business. The only viable way to combat this is to make these options an integral part of the ecosystem of IT services. There are precedents to this -- Outsourcing, Offshoring, Open Sourcing. What's up with the letter O? Makes me wonder.
CIOs have a critical role to play in integrating the business of IT, first by being competitive like McKendrick outlines and then by transforming IT into an effective team player by taking the steps above.
How about you? How do you perceive your IT? If you are the CIO, what steps have you taken to combat consumerization of IT services? I would be interested to know.
- HP Converged Cloud Solutions
- Are shareholders driving the IT strategy?
- Securely managing the consumerization of IT
- 2012 Tech Trends in the Enterprise