By David Twohy
Anyone who took high school physics knows the Sir Isaac Newton created the three laws of motion. As a refresher, those laws are:
- Inertia – a body in motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an external force.
- Acceleration is produced by force applied against mass. The greater the mass, the greater the force required to produce acceleration.
- For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction
So what does this have to do with information technology? Quite a bit; it turns out that Sir Isaac was talking about Cloud Computing in the late 1600’s, and today’s CIO’s have an opportunity to apply his ideas moving forward.
Let’s start with inertia. We all know about inertia – and momentum. Today’s IT organizations continue to struggle with traditional issues. How to align better with the business units? How to drive down costs? How to increase efficiency? The 80/20 budget trap is a perfect example of this; 80% of IT resources are still consumed “keeping the lights on”. This is what I call “IT organizational inertia”. How can a sufficient and appropriate “external force” be applied to impact IT organizational inertia and create momentum for the business?
For enterprise scale clients, this issue is compounded by Newton’s 2nd law of motion. The greater the mass (i.e. - existing IT infrastructure), the greater the force required to move it and create acceleration.
And finally, the 3rd law of motion shows that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Think of a rocket ship – the action we’re all familiar with is “3…2…1…blastoff”, which is the action that causes the rocket to lift off the launch pad and accelerate into space.
Now let’s apply all of this to today’s IT shops. Conceptually speaking, today’s CIO has a couple of constituents that he or she is most concerned about. The first, of course, is his or her own IT organization. Most IT organizations are designed in a way that’s very familiar to anyone who has been in this industry for a while. Frankly speaking-- most IT organizational organizations haven’t changed much at all in the 20+ years that I’ve been in this game. There are still NT administrators managing the x86 environment, Unix administrators managing the various flavors of Unix and Linux. There are the mainframe people, the network people, the database and middleware people, and of course the application development and maintenance folks. In most cases, these people don’t talk to each other, and when they do, they speak different languages! This is a classic case of organizational inertia, and this is a key question for today’s CIOs - what are the forces that they can apply to change IT organizational inertia? IT organizational structures have remained relatively static during that time, but the technology has changed dramatically. And within this technology evolution there is sufficient “force” available to change the trajectory of most IT shops. The most recent opportunities to apply new force to the IT infrastructure are Cloud computing technologies, of course. CIO’s everywhere are thinking about, planning, or applying this technology to change the fabric and culture of their shops.
The CIO’s second constituency is comprised of the business units that the CIO supports. Recently, I spoke to a CIO who said he aspired to be perceived by his business constituents as the Chief Acceleration Officer. (That got me thinking about Newton in the first place.) So how does one accelerate the deployment of services into the enterprise in such a manner that they are going to help drive business advantage -- versus spending all resources on traditional, operational IT tasks? Remember: Force = Mass x Acceleration. In this case “force” is the ability for IT to build, provision and deploy services rapidly, leveraging the latest technology such as self service portals, automated orchestration, and cloud based infrastructure – whether public or private, hybrid or community. “Acceleration” in this case is the CIO’s commitment to shifting IT focus from managing assets towards managing services.
And it’s not just IT that has options, by the way. We’re observing business units that are electing to “go around” IT and take advantage of lower-cost public cloud offerings, like Amazon Web Services or Google’s EC2. Those cloud services give businesses the ability to turn on the IT services that they want, when they want them, and get them up and running very quickly. When the business is done with their project, they turn those services off and go their merry way. This is another “force” being applied to IT… whether IT is aware of it or not!
So, as your IT shop considers what’s on the strategic horizon, think back to the late 1600’s for inspiration. Sir Isaac Newton would be pleased, I think.
For more information on Cloud Consulting Services from HP, check out http://www8.hp.com/us/en/business-services/it-serv
Dave Twohy is WW VP of HP’s Technology Services Channel Organization. He has 23 years of experience in the IT industry and has worked extensively with large and small enterprises and channel partners around the world. He is a frequent speaker at industry events, partner conferences, and HP’s customer experience center.