IT-as-a-Service: Need for speed and drive to align is changing operating model

Posted 6.25.14 by

Note: This is the third of three blog entries from Online Tech Director of Infrastructure Nick Lumsden reflecting on his key takeaways from EMC World 2014: 1. Speed of Change, 2. Shift in Ownership of IT Dollars, 3. Transition to IT-as-a-Service.

Speed of change and a shift in ownership of IT dollars – two topics covered in previous posts – have been the driving force behind the topic of the third: the paradigm shift of internal IT departments to IT-as-a-Service, a trend touched on in nearly every EMC World session I attended.

IT-as-a-Service is a growing operating model, especially for those internal IT departments serving multiple lines of business (LOB). No longer strictly a cost center, the IT-as-a-Service model focuses more on operational efficiencies, competitiveness and response.

The traditional model of IT is perceived as slow and lacking emphasis on LOB outcomes. Internal IT organizations are now competing with shadow IT organizations, acquired or divergent IT organizations, and/or business units outsourcing their IT needs.

The common scenario that develops is finding that LOBs end up outsourcing IT needs when they need fast deployments instead of benefiting from the security and compliance frameworks that the core internal IT organizations have evolved. Reconciling the speed of change with increasing compliance pressures and cybersecurity risks remains challenging.

The need for speed and the drive to align IT to LOBs has created a need for internal IT organizations to adopt an IT-as-a-Service operating model. This means a significant shift in the role of internal IT from owner to facilitator, especially when it would ease the burden for internal IT and meet the need for speed for other LOBs to outsource when appropriate.

The shift to ITaaS is intended to turn internal IT organizations into cost-transparent business partners delivering as-a-service services in a rapid and predictable manner. They act as both a broker and a business partner.

EMC & VMware are targeting this shift with their drive for “software-defined” everything, pushing intelligence up to the software layer and making every product software accessible. If internal IT organizations are to survive this transition, they need to embrace the speed of change that LOBs expect and adopt a role as a business solutions partner to their LOBs, brokering and delivering the cloud services that LOBs need.

Speed of change: Enterprise business technology advancing daily (and faster!)

Shift in ownership of IT dollars: Competition makes everyone better
The big switch to managed services and private cloud

Nick Lumsden is a technology leader with 15 years of experience in the technology industry from software engineering to infrastructure and operations to IT leadership. In 2013, Lumsden joined Online Tech as Director of Infrastructure, responsible for the full technology stack within the company’s five Midwest data centers – from generators to cooling to network and cloud infrastructure. The Michigan native returned to his home state after seven years with Inovalon, a healthcare data analytics company in the Washington D.C. area. He was one of Inovalon’s first 100 employees, serving as the principal technical architect, responsible for scaling its cloud and big data infrastructure, and protecting hundreds of terabytes worth of sensitive patient information as the company grew to a nearly 5,000-employee organization over his seven years of service.

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