AUTHOR: Craig Stanley
VMware has found that the major CIO business strategies in 2012 are to grow the business, attract and retain new customers, and reduce enterprise costs. Across every industry, CIOs are aligning their IT strategies to these objectives by becoming more cost efficient, more agile in delivering business solutions and increasing service reliability. Specifically, they are devoting attention to delivering better and more innovative business solutions, actively looking for ways to architect core efficiencies into IT, and building a more responsive, agile and resilient infrastructure.
We are seeing a great deal of progress in increasing virtualization and cloud capabilities, but there is another challenge CIOs are facing that’s almost as daunting as the transition to the cloud: how to communicate this progress to the business.
- Do you have the information you need to garner executive and line of business (LOB) support for transforming IT to meet these challenges?
- Do you have a process and plan for evangelizing the enterprise value of IT and demonstrating its value as a business transformation enabler?
- Do you know where your transformation efforts are with respect to your peers and industry?
Benchmarking methodologies define the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most and give IT the insight to answer these questions.
The Accelerate team offers a high-level view of performance on seven critical cloud KPIs today called a “Move the Needle” (Figure 1). These KPIs are compared against best industry peers and estimates the potential value to IT in reaching comparable performance levels.
Each of these major KPIs has an impact on making IT more effective, agile and reliable, which in turn support business growth, keeping and retaining customers and reducing costs.
- Making improvements in the percentage of x86 servers virtualized has a huge impact on efficiency and reliability by reducing CapEx and OpEx costs and reducing downtime. A higher virtualization footprint also improves agility as workloads as far easier to scale and burst with capacity demand.
- Making improvements in the percentage of end-user computing devices virtualized significantly impacts reliability, as virtual desktops are far less prone to physical damage, hardware and software failures. To a lesser degree, OpEx costs are reduced and CapEx savings can be realized through reductions in hardware refresh cycles. Furthermore, having the ability to access your desktop anywhere, anytime, on any device significantly impacts user agility.
- An improvement in the percentage of tier 1 applications virtualized generates large savings potential in reliability. Through high tier 1 virtualization, mission critical workloads can be moved around as workload, throughput and availability conditions change, providing users with uninterrupted service. When tier 1 apps are not being closely monitored, IT can then redeploy resources into agility and infrastructure improvement becoming more proactive and predictive.
- Achieving a higher VM:Admin support density mostly impacts efficiency as IT admins are able to effectively support more workloads with the same amount of labor. Personnel motivation and morale can also be improved by automating repetitive, tedious, low-tech tasks. With these resources doing less “keeping the lights on” (KTLO) work, admins can devote more effort to agility and reliability improvement.
- Reducing the length of time it takes to provision a VM has the greatest impact on agility in the organization. By getting VMs in the hands of developers faster, innovative customer facing solutions are easier to build, test and deploy. In addition to the impact on the business growth and customer attraction, improvements here also reduce the labor time and support required from VM admins, thereby driving additional efficiency and reliability.
- Making improvements in the ability to chargeback or at least support a consumption-based showback process largely impacts the ability to be more agile as resources can be acquired and released as workload demand changes. With a fully implemented consumption model, IT can typically have fewer resources tied up and potentially unused resources assigned to specific users or departments. Chargeback enables IT to more fully leverage the capacity of all the resources it supplies, and thereby deliver a more agile and timely service to its customers. Chargeback can also impact efficiency by reducing the tendency for business users to over allocate and hoard resources. Likewise, having reserve capacities can impact reliability as well.
- Making improvements in the level of self-service ability represents a huge opportunity to increase agility in the enterprise. By having common user applications and services prepackaged and pre-staged, users don’t have to wait for IT to get around to set them up. IT can recognize additional efficiency improvements as more repetitive tasks can be automated and by using automation, fewer human errors occur leading to improvements in reliability and standardization as well. This improvement, in conjunction with chargeback, leads to significant opportunities to improve the enterprise’s technology agility.
Additionally, VMware is leading the way with a more comprehensive IT Transformation Dashboard framework. This framework is designed to help customers plan and measure the impact of the cloud, provide a repeatable way to demonstrate improvement over time, and create a communication vehicle to articulate the value IT is making.
Having this information enables the IT organization to measure internal progress, obtain insight into what peers are doing and where they are, compare the speed of technology progress with peers, and develop a baseline for comparing and communicating the cost of technology and operations.
Understanding and managing cloud capabilities helps IT transform from reactive, to proactive, to innovative. Defining strategic objectives along the lines of efficiency, agility and reliability and implementing a robust measurement methodology will help enable the organization to achieve those goals.
Come visit the Accelerate Advisory Services demo booth at VMworld 2012.
Craig Stanley is the Benchmarking Practice Lead for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services. You can follow him on Twitter @benchmarkguru.
Accelerate can help you undertake your journey to the cloud and IT transformation. Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Want to continue the conversation with your C-level executive peers? Join our exclusive CxO Corner Facebook page for access to hundreds of verified CxOs sharing ideas around IT Transformation right now by going to CxO Corner and clicking “ask to join group.”