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Delivering IT as a Service with a Software-Defined Data Center, Part 2: 4 IT Trends To Watch

In Part 1 of this blog series, we discussed what IT as a Service (ITaaS) is and why it’s important for your company to thrive. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll take a look into IDG’s 2012 survey and the four key IT trends your company should follow in order to successfully deliver ITaaS.

Trend 1: Changing Mindset, Roles and Organizational Structure is Paramount

Success with ITaaS requires IT to take a strategic outlook and break down IT silos. To stay competitive in the market, IT must overcome internal barriers and cope with growing competition from established service providers that offer a proven value proposition for outsourced cloud, IaaS and software as a service (SaaS) models.

One vice president of IT for a $2 billion firm summarizes the new IT era as, “It’s not about support, it’s not just about providing capabilities, it’s about truly providing services in the context of leadership and achieving equal footing with other departments such as marketing, sales, HR and finance.” He later adds, “This dynamic means you can’t have merely good performance. You’ve got to have great performance that is sustained all the time.”

Similar challenges are being reported from other CIOs, CTOs and VPs, as needs for a more flexible IT framework that can adapt to a rapidly changing 24/7 business environment increase. According to another vice president and CTO of a $500 million firm, ITaaS can serve as a way to reduce risk and trim costs through a build-versus-buy approach.

Trend 2: It is Vital to Attain Executive Support

Over 64% of survey respondents acknowledged a need to acquire executive endorsements of ITaaS business objectives. However, educating senior executives and middle level managers about the benefits of ITaaS can be challenging. One CIO in particular noted, “You have to take every opportunity to discuss technology decisions as well as the pros and cons of a decision. You need to talk about why an approach such as ITaaS may align better or worse with a longer term strategy for the business.”

It’s common to encounter “pockets of resistance” from “conservative” and highly change-averse IT staff. Therefore, it’s important to get your staff “attuned” to the ITaaS model, so that they understand the reasoning behind the realignment of resources to support the change.

Trend 3: Organizations must Refactor ITIL and ITSM Practices

56% of the survey respondents in IDG’s survey said “Refactoring Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and IT Service Management (ITSM) practices, procedures, and metrics across all domains… to accelerate the adoption of ITaaS” is a high priority. At the core of this concept is a need for clearly defined standards and a clear vision of technology and ITSM lifecycles, which can be done by assessing core architecture capabilities and then expanding the process.

One senior operations manager at a $3 billion consumer packaged goods firm explained that their organization has worked to define core architecture capabilities, and shared, “we have created a huge metrics-driven scorecard focused on resource allocation and innovation, solution delivery, the percentage of the roadmap that is completed, service level agreements (SLAs), scheduled up time, support staff satisfaction levels, percent of run budget as a percentage of revenue, and more.”

Trend 4: Organizations Must Redefine Their Core Architecture to Accelerate ITaaS

2/3rds of IDG’s survey respondents cited the importance of “defining core architecture capabilities for service delivery with consistent standards.” It’s next to impossible to embark on an ITaaS strategy without a Software Defined Datacenter that enables IT departments to organize consistent governance and standardized systems. Surveying and assessing all dimensions of an IT infrastructure and workload portfolio is necessary in order to identify the right mix of internally delivered services and broker with external service providers.

One VP of IT for a $2 billion firm noted that agility is not about accommodating every technology that comes along. “What it means is that you have to select the things that will become part of your core architecture…and you have to try to do that in a way that does not completely box you in for the next 20 years.”

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, where we’ll share tips on how you can put ITaaS to work in your organization. Download the whitepaper to learn more, and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP for future updates!