The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

What is time for anyway?

what's time for.pngI was in a number of discussions this week with various organizations and one thing that I continued to emphasize were the new kinds of business value that can be generated when an organization thinks about computing (and cloud) as something other than a cost cutting strategy. A whole world of possibilities opens up if they view the computing technology as a business enabler allowing for greater depth of understanding and transparency through the use of the abundance of computing available. We seem to have forgotten that is why computers came into businesses in the first place (I know, I’ve stated this before).


I was talking with a client and they had a scenario for describing a new view for their enterprise going forward. They used the analogy that they had a business and they had a team providing a “time telling” function within the company. They started out with one clock but that was clearly insufficient, then they put clocks on everyone’s desk. Later they began to make custom clocks that were specific to individuals to the point where it became impossible to tell time, let alone support all the unique ways that time was being displayed. They then moved on to providing a common time service where individuals could make their own custom view if they wanted to, but there was only one system of record for time.


It was a pretty good analogy to IT and what has gone on in businesses with the proliferation of systems… But it did make me ask them “What is the purpose of time?”  for which I got an inquisitive look. Why have all these clocks in the first place – what is the expected outcome and how do we make money providing it?!?


We sometimes need to go back and ask some of these foundational questions. This requires a shift away from an IT centric view of optimization to “Why does the business need this function and what could we do to move the needle by looking at the problem in new ways?”


Even within the IT related efforts there are some foundational questions to be asked -- whether it is called shared services, utility computing, adaptive enterprise, real time enterprise or cloud computing, we should try to look at problems from at least three perspectives - People, Process and Technology. It’s like a three legged stool – forget one leg and the stool falls over.


As organizations start to look at issues like private and public cloud they need to define:


  1. Who will benefit from the change, how will it be measured?
  2. What new organization model is required?
  3. What are roles and responsibilities for the new org model?
  4. How will the help desk be integrated? Call escalation flows?
  5. How will new demand requirements be managed?
  6. How will communications across the business be handled?
  7. How will SLA’s be measured? Who will receive them and why?
  8. How will the company roll back a decision to move to a leveraged environment? Can we get our data back and how much will it cost to move it to a new service provider?
  9. How will internal and external audit / legal / regulatory requirements be met?
  10. What new training will be required to support the new model?
  11. What is the financial model required to support the new model? (funding, charge-back etc.)


The technology components are the easiest to define. The above are issues should be top of mind for senior execs moving to leveraged services.

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