Now that cloud, big data and other next generation technologies are here to stay, CIOs face a fundamental choice. They can either accept the fact that they are now service providers competing with external vendors for budget dollars, or become impediments to change and lose relevance. Those choosing to become service providers are finding they need to develop a new operating model for IT, one that requires new platforms, processes, and skills.
We had a great webinar with Rackspace today that explored these topics with Lisa Larson, VP of Enterprise Cloud Solutions and Deepen Shah, Sr. IT Strategist. The discussion focused on the technology, operational and organizational changes required for CIOs to transform and become IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) providers.
ITaaS is not a cloud delivery model, but rather a new business model for IT. With ITaaS, IT becomes a modern service provider that offers and orchestrates both internal and external IT services instead of organizing around technology silos. This model requires CIOs to shift from their traditional role of “operator” to embrace a new role as “innovator”.
CIOs need to acknowledge the new processes and skills required to deliver ITaaS. IT now needs to design, price and “sell” their services next to external cloud providers. This requires a new set of skills typically associated with product management, including service design, pricing and demand management. The primary design point for services needs to now focus on enabling business experimentation and innovation, and not necessarily on cost reduction.
A central component of ITaaS is the service catalog, which enables users self-service access and provisioning of internal and external services, as well as chargeback and billing. In traditional enterprise IT environments, the ticketing system or project request process drove service access. In ITaaS models, service catalogs are required to provide the availability and experience that users have become accustomed to with consumer technologies and platforms.
Hybrid cloud environments that provide public, private and even dedicated platforms are another important component of ITaaS. Hybrid models provide the breadth of capabilities needed to support diverse enterprise workload portfolios. The flexibility provided by hybrid is also critical, as optimal platforms for different workloads will change as cloud models continue to evolve.
The good news? Many CIOs and enterprises are responding to the challenge. In fact when we polled the webinar audience, over 70% of respondents said their organizations had begun their journey to ITaaS.
Overall the webinar provided a great introduction to the technology, organization, and operational issues associated with ITaaS transformation. In case you missed it, you can check out the full webinar here.