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Take Good Care of My Business (Using ITaaS BRM Best Practices)

By Jason Stevenson

Jason Stevenson“We be takin’ care of business–every day–every way!”1 At least that’s what we choose to believe in IT. Unfortunately, the reality is often far from it. The business would likely sing a much different tune — something closer to “It’s the work that we avoid. We’re all self-employed. We love to work at nothing all day.” 1 It sounds harsh, but more often than not, IT does avoid the real work of business, acting as an entity in and of itself, accountable to no one, focusing on putting out fires.

Now more than ever, the business has real choices in information technology. An internal IT department is no longer the only show in town and must provide measurable business value to compete with external solutions, particularly innovative solutions such as Software (SaaS), Infrastructure (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).  IT must meet the business needs without clinging to old ways, regardless of whether that means developing solutions in-house, brokering services from appropriate providers or a combination.   Regardless of the solution, IT’s focus must be squarely on making business success easy, so positioning the IT organization as using an Information Technology as a Service (ITaaS) approach is paramount.  The foundation of this business-centric, service-based approach is business relationship management (BRM).

Who is the customer?

IT provides services to both customers and users. A customer is someone who pays for the service, while a user receives the service. In many instances, the customer and user are not the same. Service desk functions and processes like request fulfillment and incident management focus on the user. In contrast, business relationship management focuses on the customer. Often there are multiple customers in an organization including officers, executives, directors and their delegates.

What is business relationship management? 

The purpose of business relationship management is to establish and maintain a strategic connection between the service customer (business leadership) and the service provider (IT representative). Process activities include:

  • Communicating: Sharing ideas and information and coordinating communication channels between the customer (business) and service provider (IT).
  • Understanding: IT comprehending what is important to business; business realizing IT capabilities, value, and implications of changing technology.
  • Matching: Correlating business wants and needs to IT services within the portfolio to set clear expectations.
  • Navigating: Guiding business through IT organization and engagement of the project portfolio.
  • Prioritizing: Ranking IT services and projects and mediating competition for resources.
  • Tracking: Documenting customer opportunities, issues, compliments and complaints and translating desired business outcomes into service packages or solution roadmaps.
  • Escalating: Taking corrective action as needed.
  • Assessing: Continually soliciting customer satisfaction.

When and where do we engage the customer in business relationship management?

Often the means we use to facilitate business relationship management will change, depending on the participants and the length and quality of the relationship. Technically savvy customers may prefer to use a service web portal, while senior executives and officers may prefer the informality of golf or other social activities. A large organization may require a symposium to accommodate a many (potentially geographically dispersed) customers. The approach and frequency should align with customers’ positions within the organization, their personalities, and what works culturally and historically within the organization. At a minimum, IT representatives should engage customers in a conference quarterly unless specified otherwise by the customer.

How do we provide business relationship management?

Transparency and trust directly relate to our human nature and are only accomplished through good old-fashioned communication. Both verbal and written communication create opportunities for IT to market how its commitment to an ITaaS approach to service provisioning benefits the business and how it drives business-focused IT decision-making. Stay tuned for an upcoming post with tips for building transparency and trust in your organization.

BRM: The Foundation

In summary, business relationship management is the foundation for ITaaS. Think of business relationship management first as a guide and translator then as a partner for the business. By balancing wants and needs with funding, we gain understanding of the business and translate that understanding into traceable business outcomes. Through integration with service and project portfolio management, IT representatives submit business outcomes in service packages to IT through an ITaaS services web portal after using multiple communication means with the customer. Now, the inner workings of IT are engaged to evaluate business value and risk and subsequently refine priority, which is then confirmed with the customer. Ongoing communication and reporting continually reinforce the relationship between the customer and IT, resulting in greater transparency and trust.

The following diagram illustrates the summary of these concepts.

BRM Concepts

There you have it, critical success factors for ITaaS BRM. Give it a try! “Chances are you’ll go far if you get in with the right bunch of fellows.” 1


Jason Stevenson is a Transformation Consultant with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services.


© ITIL is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.
1 Quote from Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Takin’ Care Of Business

Is Corporate IT Doomed to Bankruptcy?

By Kipp Bertke, Strategist, VMware Accelerate Services

Kipp_BertkeCorporate IT departments have been the best kept business secret in history. Evolution for IT has been a constant since the beginning, and IT departments have been the masters of their destiny. Who else has a captive customer base, a cost plus business model and a reward for slow and steady? If an IT department were a startup company, and you had invested in it from the start, the market capitalization would have been through the roof…until now.

A look back at history brings us to the defining moment facing today’s IT.

The First Disruptor
Most IT departments started with a mainframe and added a midrange due to the costs and complexity of the mainframe. The first disruptor of IT came on the scene in the early 80’s: the personal computer (PC). At first it was just a fad; it was fun and cool and any average person could do really neat things with it. (Yes, and there were the geeks, too, who did geeky things with it.) But IT departments had nothing to worry about, right? After all, they were in control of the real computers in the company.

But then something amazingly crazy happened. Accounting started using the personal computer for working on simple spreadsheets. They didn’t have to rely on IT and its inflexible systems. Over the next two decades the personal computer quickly spread throughout the business world and IT departments had a new technology to manage, like it or not.

New Layers of Technology
In the midst of the personal computer invading IT, another disruptive technology emerged: the x86 server. It was cheap, flexible and didn’t fall under the control of traditional IT departments. But for all the good it did, the x86 added yet another layer of technology for IT departments to support. This is the start of the ‘silo’-ing of technology and the people and processes that are the ecosystems around it, which largely still exists today.

With the x86 server came additional disruptors: the evolution of client-server and multi-tiered architectures. These, along with the multiple changes in form factors of x86 servers, impacted the ecosystem and significantly increased its complexity. It was the start of the x86 sever sprawl. Despite all the predictions of these architectures replacing the “old” mainframe/midrange computers, it never happened. And the silos grew deeper and wider, as did the complexity of managing, operating and budgeting.

The Internet Layer
Then there was the Internet. Not an IT disruptor at first. It was more of a social disruptor; innovating they way people shared information and communicated. Again, IT departments had nothing to worry about as long as they secured the connections.

This is where it gets good.

Power to the People
With smartphones and tablets, people started to bring their personal devices into work. At the same time, the Internet was taking a leap forward in evolution with software ‘as a service’ offerings. Again, IT departments largely saw these events as just another fad that they wouldn’t have to deal with, not a disruptor. There was no way they were going to let a personal device get on their network.

This is the dawn of the cloud and mobile era, which is liberating IT’s customers with flexibility, elasticity, accessibility and cost transparency.

The cloud and mobile era is a disruptor, but is a different from those of the past. It is not just another technology to adapt, integrate and support; it is a paradigm shift. It’s radically impacting the business of IT and forever changing the landscape of those who deliver and consume it. With infrastructure offered ‘as a service’ and the advent of the cloud, the bubble burst for IT.

A New Dawn…
History is rich with businesses that were once wildly successful, but due to a lack of innovation, lost their way and their customers. And those that didn’t heed the signs went bankrupt or out of business. There are also success stories of businesses avoiding or coming out of bankruptcy leaner and more competitive than ever.

If IT can adjust to the paradigm shift, knowing that its customers are empowered, emboldened, and liberated with cloud (XaaS) and mobile, they can avoid the painful process of bankruptcy. One of the keys to success in this new paradigm is IT acting as a broker of a portfolio of capabilities and services and being held accountable over a competitive landscape. Accomplishing these shifts will finally result in that ever elusive alliance between corporate IT and the businesses it serves — ensuring the health of IT for decades to come.


Kipp Bertke is an Architect and Strategist with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and has over 25 years of professional IT and leadership experience. His passion is helping organizations develop actionable and prescriptive IT strategies and roadmaps, closely aligning them to their organization’s business strategy and mission for a measurable business outcome. He leads teams through strategic development engagements with VMware’s Enterprise clients.

How to Keep Your IT Strategy from Becoming Shelfware

By Barton Kaplan

Barton KaplanWe’re living in tumultuous times. That sounds like a cliché, but a cursory glance at the most recent headlines and earnings news bears it out.

Technologically, we’ve moved from the mainframe, to the client-server, and now to the mobile-cloud era, with tremendous implications for both the sellers and consumers of enterprise technologies. Recent geopolitical events have shaken long-held assumptions and created new uncertainties.

Together, this combination of forces has made the work of an already beleaguered group within IT – strategic planners – even tougher. And it’s not as if things were going swimmingly prior to this latest wave of change. When advisory company CEB surveyed business partners about IT strategic planning, a meager 23% agreed that it was effective.[1]

But as tempting as it might be to fire your IT strategist and declare planning dead, 93% of those very same business partners also said they thought IT strategic planning was important.

Which begs the question: In a time of unprecedented change, how do you keep your strategy from becoming shelfware?

Leading organizations I’ve worked with employ the following three best practices to ensure their IT strategies stay relevant:

  1. Embed scenarios into strategy. It’s standard practice to align IT initiatives to business goals and objectives. In today’s environment, however, it isn’t enough to align to a single outcome. An automotive company I worked with looks instead at a range of possible outcomes, listing best case, worst case, and most likely scenarios. Each scenario is then heatmapped against the current IT portfolio to understand the potential impact. As a result of this exercise, project cycle times were reduced by up to three months.
  2. Define strategic triggers. To increase the agility of its strategy, a financial services company began to include possible economic, business, and IT events (e.g., an acquisition, a new product launch, etc.) that would require revisions to its roadmap. They go so far as to list specific actions that need to be taken should any particular event actually come to pass.
  3. Make it a living document. Strategic plans are especially vulnerable to quickly falling out of date and losing their currency. Too many organizations place a lot of emphasis on and resources behind the creation of a strategy, but don’t adequately think through how that strategy will be maintained and refreshed going forward. Effective strategies require ongoing care and feeding, which only happens when owners are named and responsibilities clearly spelled out.

In times of constant, radical change, maintaining both focus and flexibility will ensure your strategy stays relevant.


[1] “Flexible Strategic Planning,” CIO Leadership Council Webinar, June 2014.


Bart Kaplan is a business solution strategist with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in Maryland.

The Evolving Face of Business

By Daryl Bishop

Daryl BishopReading popular press or watching movies such as the Aliens series where Weyland Industries pretty much ran the world, you would be under the impression that the future of business is pre-ordained with large behemoth corporations running the show.

The notion that large corporations will evolve into globally dominating entities is not new and not without historical precedent. Certainly, the U.S. Government has in special cases, split up large companies with the aim being to minimise monopolistic behaviours. I would, however, like to offer a counter view that market forces are compelling the move from large centralised organisations to ones where greater profitability is linked to smaller nimble businesses that can rapidly react to changing market conditions.

Here are my reasons why:

Built for Creativity and Innovation
The two companies below highlight the advantages of keeping organisation sizes small or at least acting small

  • W.L. Gore & Associates – Bill Gore, the founder of W.L. Gore & Associates, the maker of the famous Gore-Tex fabric, organised his business into small task force groups. To promote communication he limited teams and manufacturing facilities to 150-200 people. There was a sociological imperative for this sizing as it was thought that this was the maximum number where people could build connections with each other.
  • Flight Centre – Flight Centre, an Australia-based travel company with over 2000 stores, uses an organisational structure where stores within a region operate as tribes competing with other stores. This encourages connectivity and belonging within the tribe while promoting competition between stores.

In both examples the key to unleashing the creativity and innovation of people was limiting the size of the corporate ‘tribes’ to encourage connectedness.

Agility
The last few years have seen the rise of the startup movement; these companies attract the best talent, have a source of funding through venture capital and crowd funding sites and have a lean startup framework to build and quickly adapt to the market. Startups innovate quicker and produce products that customers want, as they can rapidly pivot as needed to match their products to customer demand.

Profitability
Interestingly, when Standard Oil was broken into 90 separate companies in 1911 as a result of an anti-monopolistic legal action, the share price of these separated companies on average more than doubled. Companies survive, thrive and die based on their ability to innovate and quickly bring products to the market. The speed of business has accelerated over the last decade due to globalisation, the Internet era and the aforementioned rise of the startups.  The companies that can create and react quickly to the market will survive and thrive.

Small but Large
The recent 19 billion dollar sale of WhatsApp to Facebook is an example of how companies can be small and still attract large valuations. In WhatsApp’s case it had 55 employees at the time of sale.  The historical link between the payroll and company valuation no longer applies. Smaller organisations make ready use of a larger service and capability ‘organism ecosystem’. This minimises capital investment by use of a service consumption model, allows focus on their market segment, and supports rapid growth. The use of cloud services is an example of a technology service offering from this ecosystem. This also expands to manufacturing services such as design, fabrication and batch run.

Joining the dotted lines, I believe the trend will be towards smaller organisations that will better react and compete in a fast paced marketplace than their larger brothers. Of course, large organisations will still have a place across all sectors; however, I predict the market will provide a natural brake on unrestrained growth, as size becomes an impediment to competitiveness.

So what’s this to do with technology? IT needs to work closely with the business to ensure that the right strategy and services are in place. As technology is at the forefront of change, the onus is on us to inform, educate and be creative for our business. Finally, IT needs to be the model of agility that other business units strive to replicate.

Evolving Business Image


Daryl Bishop is a business solutions architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Streamlining Service Management to Achieve Cost Savings Targets

By Reginald Lo

ReginaldLo-cropIT departments continue to face aggressive cost saving targets.  During the recent recessions, many IT departments did not just “cut the fat” but they have also “cut into the bone.”  How can IT cut more?  Every stone must overturned to find even more cost saving opportunities.  A legitimate question is, “how does Service Management help achieve the cost saving targets?”

To answer this question, there are a number of perspectives that will help:

  1. How does Service Management directly save costs?
  2. How do we reduce the cost of Service Management?
  3. How do we change the conversation around Service Management so the Business becomes more interested in maximizing the value of IT Services as opposed to minimizing the cost of IT services?

This discussion is focused on cost savings so we will investigate the first two perspectives.

How does Service Management directly save costs?
The adoption of mature Service Management processes can improve productivity and (let’s be honest as to what Executives are looking for) opportunities for reducing head-count:

  • Reducing the re-work.  The biggest cause of re-work is failed changes.  Better Change Management, Release and Deployment Management, and Testing and Validation, can reduce this largest contribution to waste.  Configuration Management can enable Change Management and make it more effective.
  • Reducing the fire-fighting. Many organizations do not realize the high cost of constantly fire-fighting.  Fire-fighting pulls resources from strategic project work so there are the direct costs to fight the fire as well as the indirect opportunity costs that the projects must bear.  In contrast, a proactive approach, giving people time to think strategically and plan reduces the number of fires and frees the resources that were fighting fires.  Being proactive means emphasizing, among many other things,  the Service Design processes, Event Management, Problem Management and Continual Service Improvement.  Another not well recognized cost of fire-fighting is the impact on the Business.  Fires, by its very nature, do not just create costs and inefficiencies within IT but also create costs (real and opportunity costs) for the Business.  So a reduction in fire-fighting will help IT as well as the Business.
  • Consistent adoption of efficient and effective processes. Too often, processes vary across the organization: different teams follow different processes, different individuals perform processes differently, there are differences between geographic regions, between different legacy organizations (due to the history of mergers and acquisitions), and between different services that IT provides.  If an organization identifies/defines the best practices for its organization and ensures consistent adoption, the organizations as a whole will experience a productivity boost.

How do we reduce the cost of Service Management?
Many of the cost saving arguments for Service Management have been discussed before.  However, a “dirty little secret” is that Service Management is sometimes the cause of “non-value-added” cost to the organization.  This is not the fault of Service Management framework but of an adoption that does not focus on business value.

If you hear comments like “I spend more time writing up a Change record then implementing the Change,” there are probably many cost saving opportunities within Service Management to:

  • Streamline processes and make the more efficient
  • Remove bureaucracy and administrative “busy work”
  • Remove overlapping controls, e.g., between Change and Release
  • More efficient use of tools that support Service Management

Another way of finding to reduce the cost of Service Management is to analyze who is doing what activity within each process.  For example:

  • Can the activity be performed by a less expensive resource?  What training and tools can we provide the less expensive resource so they can be successful at the same tasks as the more experienced / more expensive resources?
  • Can the activity be off-shored (again to a less expensive resource) in a way that we can still keep the process coherent?

To ensure Service Management is not causing a burden to the organization, you need metrics to measure the cost and value of each process.

———
Reginald Lo is Director of Service Management Transformation with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in California.

Transforming Your Business with End-User Computing

By Daryl Bishop

Daryl Bishop-cropIn my last blog, I talked about the need for a common definition around what constitutes transformation within the IT organisation. In this follow-up post, I’ll discuss the VMware approach to an end-user computing (EUC) transformation.

First a recap, for an initiative to be truly transformational it must satisfy the criteria of change across the elements of people, process, and technology. Additionally, it should be aligned to business objectives and have clear benefits.

If we look at the typical EUC environment today, it’s transitioning from a rigid environment based on a desktop or laptop running a Windows operating system to one that is application and data-centric rather than device-bound. This has some profound transformational impacts for business and IT.

Today’s End-User Computing Environment
Let’s first take a closer look at the EUC environment found in most organisations today.

BISHOP-EUCAs shown in the diagram above, staff have historically used either a laptop or desktop as a primary device. This device, running Windows as the operating system, is locked down at the configuration layer with applications installed natively. This stack forms your traditional and very common standard operating environment (SOE) model. Coupled with the SOE, the EUC ecosystem included printers, isolated (not integrated) mobility devices, and finally an identity management authentication and authorisation component.

This model served us well, providing control, standardisation, and management of risk. However, the rise of the consumerization of technology, a modern IT-literate workforce, ubiquitous access to applications, the decreased usage of the Windows operating system, and the always-connected Internet means this model is, at best, inflexible and, at worst, irrevocably broken.

The Transformed End-User Computing Environment
So what does a transformed EUC environment look like? In the diagram below, the focus has been abstracted from the devices to the application and data access layer.

BISHOP-EUC2

Let’s look at each layer in a bit more detail to better understand the benefits of removing the focus on devices and elevating it to the application and data access layer:

  • Business layer
    Business is typically not just a single entity: It consists of your internal business and external B2B organisations that collectively form your business ecosystem. While your business will provide a core service, in the future it’s likely that smaller, more nimble organisations like start-ups will utilize your core business services and APIs to provide customers with innovative products. Your applications and data will not just be consumed internally, but also by external organisations as business-to-business transactions.
  • Application delivery platform
    The application delivery platform is a standardised access point where your consumers will access applications, data, and desktops. The key features of this abstracted application access layer are:

    • Device independence
    • Centralized management via policy
    • Auditable access and usage
    • Accessed over secure channels
    • Simplified ease of use

Where security and control was traditionally applied at the device and operating system level, it is now abstracted to the application and data access layer.

  • Lightweight device management
    In this context, lightweight management means the minimal IT controls necessary to manage devices, primarily for security reasons. While rigid, locked-down control has historically been the norm, in the transformed environment only lightweight controls are applied. For example, mobility devices use mobile application management (MAM) containerisation to ensure IT can remotely wipe or lock access only to the corporate container. Data, applications, virtual desktop access, and security controls are now applied at the application delivery platform layer via centralized policy controls.

Finally does this constitute a transformation? Let’s review the impact through the lens of people, process, and technology:

  • People
    A modernised EUC environment is a catalyst to elevate staff from traditional, task-based to knowledge creation activities using the productivity platform that best suits their work style. By unleashing staff from the rigid model of yesterday, staff exercise increased creativity, providing a real point of competitive differentiation through innovation.
  • Process
    The traditional EUC environment is awash with layers of process to manage a monolithic computing stack. From processes to deploy applications and patches to service desk support, they add complexity with many moving parts to manage. Shifting the focus to the application delivery platform with lightweight management of devices introduces policy-controlled automation and simplified management controls.
  • Technology
    Businesses today struggle with BYOD, security, and management. By abstracting the management to the access layer, BYOD becomes a moot point. IT is no longer concerned, apart from connectivity, about what device is being used. Security is applied where it should be, at the application and data layer. Finally, management is focused on controlling access to data and applications via policy, rather than managing a desktop and laptop stack.

I’ve really just scratched the surface of what constitutes an EUC transformation. The role of unified communications, changing work practices such as activity based working, the software-defined enterprise, and the changes to the IT organisational structure to support the transformed environment — can and should be significant components of a transformation program.

I’d be interested in your view from the trenches. What EUC initiatives do you have planned and how are they transforming your business?
—-
Daryl Bishop is a business solutions architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in Melbourne, Australia.

VMworld-graphicCheck out the VMworld 2014 Operations Transformation track for opportunities to hear from experienced VMware experts, practitioners, and the real-world experiences of customers transforming their IT infrastructure and operational processes.

Managing Your Brand: Communications and Marketing for Today’s IT

By Alex Salicrup

Let’s talk about the subject in which every IT department lacks expertise — and that is how to effectively market your capabilities and communicate value. And readers may think I am exaggerating on my next statement: IT departments around the world are ubiquitous in that their consumers usually have a less than favorable opinion of them.

Of course, we know that this perception is not true in all cases. However, in my experience, IT does not do a good job at managing consumer perceptions. And in the IT service provider world, managing these perceptions is critical. Unlike yesteryear, IT service providers now have to compete with public cloud providers that manage their brand very well and educate prospects on how their capabilities map to consumer needs.

During my time at VMware, I’ve had the pleasure of working with industry-leading global entities. Many of their IT organizations claim that their consumers are not taking advantage of using external providers, only to find out that they actually are — and in a big way. Others have accepted the fact that competition exists, and that they must address it.

Many IT organizations have concluded that they must manage consumer perception of their capabilities and offerings. In other words, they are trying to figure out how to sell their brand and services internally. Most have no idea how to achieve that. That’s where I come in.

IT communications and marketing is not just building out an IT education campaign.  It’s making a significant change in how IT strategizes and changes its internal culture to think and act like a hungry service provider. IT begins looking at a service as though it were a puzzle, with consumer needs as pieces of the puzzle.

Let me share a few areas to consider as you begin to develop your communications and marketing strategy. I concentrate on eight areas when assembling a marketing and communications plan:

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Interpret consumer perceptions
  3. Define your brand
  4. Identify the catalyst for change
  5. Create your vision
  6. Who, how, and what to communicate
  7. Managing organizational change
  8. Brand perception metrics

Understanding Your Audience
In every organization there are three main levels of strategic and tactical execution, as shown below:Salicrup-Comms Mktg graphicExecution is different at each of the three levels. Individuals within each level listen to and address solutions based on their domain of responsibility, and they understand solutions only from the point of view of addressing the needs of their level. This in turn needs to be addressed with the appropriate message for each level.

Interpreting Customer Perceptions
Marketing campaigns are designed to create perceptions (we’re better than those other guys). Consumer perceptions are always our reality. Understanding consumer perceptions help us identify how to manage them, and, how to package a solution.

The problem with negative consumer perceptions about your IT organization or the service you provide is that those perceptions are hard to change. So how do you communicate to your consumers that your people and services are the best solution for their unique needs?

Defining Your Brand
Brand is synonymous to reputation but also aspiration. However, a positive brand, as with reputation, takes time to build and is easily tarnished. Service providers have a good awareness of their brand perception with their consumers. This allows the provider to shape a consistent message, improve credibility, and enhance its brand through advertising its goals and achievements.

Identifying the Catalyst for Change
Change is not easy. There are two groups within any business that have to experience change. The group most impacted is the IT group. They are transitioning from traditional IT delivery to a service provider model. Therefore the hardest task — the part takes the longest — will be converting the IT personnel. Identifying why change is necessary and “what’s in it for you” can motivate your staff to follow your vision.

Creating a  Strong Vision
The critical aspect of a successful service communication strategy is the clear articulation of the vision.

Your vision must:

  • Be strategically feasible
  • Be effective
  • Incorporate the current position of the enterprise and catalyst(s) of change
  • Be ambitious
  • Be evidently accomplishable

Managing Organizational Change
No one is really happy about change. Turning your organization from traditional IT or project-based consumption to a service-based consumption model will incur role and cultural changes. The former is easier than the latter, and it needs strong leadership to guide it there. Furthermore, IT is changing the way that the business deals with IT. This is why organizational change management is so important. It is not just a operating change, it’s a massive behavioral change that people need to be guided through. If this is done crudely it will impact the brand severely and cast doubt about IT’s capabilities.

Effective communications are key — it’s very important that IT staff understand the unified message. They should become active ambassadors of the IT brand and the services the team provides. Communication, in this sense, refers to the art of persuasion. Crafting a message that is persuasive is a learned skill and essential if a perception is to be changed successfully.

In order to be persuasive, the IT team really needs to learn how their consumers think, and, predict what consumer reaction will be to events and solutions. People who are good at persuasion develop a keen sense of what solutions work and how messages need to be successfully crafted. This is paramount for any emerging service provider. Communication is about knowing what influences decisions at the three levels illustrated in the figures above. Therefore, different messages need to be crafted to persuade the different levels.

However, one of the highest risks a service provider has is individuals within IT not believing in the solution, the need for it, or how it’s being delivered. These individuals that are skeptical pose a threat of creating doubt within the consumers of the solution and its merits or capabilities.

A critical and difficult aspect of change for the IT staff is the understanding, adaptation, and dissemination of the vision and how they choose to communicate it. It is essential that leaders understand the dynamics of their teams, customers, and stakeholders. Understanding how to communicate and use your team to promote your brand and vision is important to your success. (Stay tuned for a future post, where I will talk more about individual motives and capabilities and how they can be mapped to three distinctive groups…)

Measuring Success — Brand Perceptions Metrics
It is imperative that an IT organization gauges how its consumers feel about the services they’re consuming from the service provider. The IT team needs to put in place metrics that capture performance against the needs of the customer and set realistic targets on what is to be measured.

This does not have to be complex — a simple 5-question survey is a great way to start. If the response is mainly positive, the IT team can include that message to its consumers to reinforce the positive perceptions. If the response highlights challenges, it’s a great way for the IT team to focus energy on fixing them — a catalyst for change.

In conclusion, I have covered steps and actions in this post that are fairly simple — perhaps perceived as common sense. However, IT traditionally does not have these communication and marketing skillsets. And, the IT organization has not needed them before the advent of public cloud — but they are needed now.

—-
Alex Salicrup is a transformation strategist with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in California.

Beyond Hype: Transforming IT to Deliver Faster Time to ROI

By Ed Hoppitt

ED HOPPITT-cropPhil Richards, Customer CTO for British Telecom’s global arm, BT Global Services, acts as customer champion and provides thought leadership, direction, and strategy to deliver both technical and commercial elegance to his customers.

As part of the extended VMware team partnering with BT, I’ve been working with Phil’s team to help identify opportunities for transformation — not just in the technology space but also people, process, and governance into the team’s key accounts. Phil took some time out for us recently to talk about his business and his relationship with VMware.

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Ed Hoppitt is a VMware Accelerate Advisory Services business solutions architect and CTO Ambassador and is based in the U.K. Follow him on Twitter @edhoppitt

VMware #1 in IDC Worldwide Datacenter Automation Software Vendor Shares

Today’s VMware Company Blog announces that market research firm IDC has named VMware the leading datacenter automation software vendor based on 2013 software revenues.(1)

IDC’s report, “Worldwide Datacenter Automation Software 2013 Vendor Shares,” determined that VMware’s lead in 2013 jumped 65.6 percent over 2012 results and its market share now stands at 24.1 percent, more than 10 percentage points above the second place vendor. Overall, the worldwide market for datacenter automation grew by 22.1 percent to $1.8 billion in 2013. Download full IDC report here.

(1)   IDC, “Worldwide Datacenter Automation Software 2013 Vendor Shares,” by Mary Johnston Turner, May 2014

5 Tips to Successfully Adopt End-to-End IT Services

By Barton Kaplan

IT organizations are at a crossroads. More technology savvy business partners, combined with compelling third-party cloud service offerings, are leading to an explosion of “shadow” IT. Gartner estimates that 35 percent of all technology spending will occur outside of IT by 2015.[1] As a result, traditional IT organizations face a stark choice: 1) fundamentally transform their operating models to win back the confidence of the business or 2) maintain the status quo and become full-time caretakers of the legacy environment.

In response, IT organizations have initiated efforts to roll out various XaaS offerings — infrastructure, platform, software, database, disaster recovery, and so forth. This is a necessary step, but ultimately insufficient. It will be extremely difficult for internal IT organizations to compete effectively in commodity-oriented services with external providers given the scale, low costs, ease of use, and rapid innovation they can bring.

IT organizations shouldn’t view these services as the end point, but rather as a stepping stone to end-to-end IT services. CEB defines end-to-end IT services as the “packaging of all the technologies, processes, and resources across IT needed to deliver a specific business outcome.”[2] Rather than offering separate services, applications and infrastructure organizations come together to offer integrated services (e.g., collaboration).

End-to-end IT services bring inherent advantages, including:

  • More closely aligned to the business
  • Focused on business and not IT outcomes
  • More cost efficient
  • More differentiated than XaaS offerings

When implemented successfully, the results can be dramatic. CEB estimates annual IT budget savings at 17 percent. One high tech company that adopted end-to-end IT services was on target to reduce “lights-on” spending as percentage of the total budget by nearly 50 percent over five years. An insurance company I worked with saw a 250 percent increase in spend on innovation.

So how do IT organizations get there? Achieving end-to-end IT services is a multi-year journey, not a flip of the switch. To reduce the risk of increasing irrelevance, however, IT needs to start now. Here are five proven tactics that leading practitioners have followed to successfully implement end-to-end IT services:

1)     Pursue an evolutionary approach, not a big bang. Successful organizations focus first on a single service that they can roll out enterprise-wide, or a willing business unit around which they can develop an initial set of services.

2)     Define your services based on business capabilities. Don’t define your services in terms of technology, but rather the business outcome they can impact. The most effective means to do so is through business capabilities.

3)     Adopt the goldilocks principle when it comes to the service portfolio. Not too many, not too few. A handful of services is likely too few; more than a couple dozen services is likely too many.

4)     Govern and prioritize based on services, not projects. End-to-end IT services require a fundamental change to the IT operating model. Projects don’t go away, but they are subservient to the needs of the service, and no longer the primary means through which business needs are met.

5)     Manage end-to-end services like a product in the marketplace. Service owners ought to act like product managers, not operations support. Key measures of business value should be based on adoption rates and service use.

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Bart Kaplan is a business solution strategist with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in Maryland.



[1] Gartner, Inc. “Predicts 2014: Application Development.” Brian Prentice, David Mitchell Smith, Andy Kyte, Nathan Wilson, Gordon Van Huizen, and Van L. Baker, November 19, 2013.

[2] CEB CIO Leadership Council, “The New Model for IT Service Delivery”, 2012