Home > Blogs > VMware Accelerate Advisory Services > Monthly Archives: February 2014

Monthly Archives: February 2014

How to Keep an IT Professional Happy

by Alex Salicrup

It’s 6:00AM; my alarm clock just went off.  Another day started in a hotel bed hundreds of miles away from home and family. As a consultant, I do this half of the week most weeks, working with my customers. And, my team’s experience is very similar to mine.

We meet this morning, all traveling from every corner of the U.S., to discuss several challenges that two of our clients are facing while making the cultural transition from traditional IT to service providers. Both clients are two of the largest, everyday brands we consume worldwide; both strive to achieve similar outcomes.

The mood in our conference room is passionate, yet full of humor and laughter. Sometimes we have tough days, but as innovators, we are always motivated by the answer yet to be formulated—we are IT explorers. We all believe in what we do and have seen the success that each of us uniquely brings to the problem-solving process.

As a strategist, I could likely secure a lucrative position within a major IT department. I receive emails every week for consultant-, director-, even executive-level roles. I pay no attention to them. Yes,  I endure long separations from my family and heavy travel. However, it’s difficult for me to contemplate leaving a job environment where I get to collaborate with amazing and motivated individuals and have a positive influence on so many organizations. To me there is no greater satisfaction than seeing my customers increase their skills and develop their capabilities to morph into a culture that uses a lot more of their annual budget innovating rather than reacting.

Why do I use myself as an example? Because I am the outcome of a well-aligned service provider. Because my attitude is likely to mirror any employee’s within your IT organization. All IT professionals would love to forge new routes, develop plans, and create innovative ways to forecast and meet or exceed business needs. No one is satisfied with reacting to repetitive requests and remediation.  These tasks still need attention, and there are more effective ways to address them. For many IT organizations, there just isn’t time or in-house experience to change status quo.

Unfortunately, most IT resources are still dedicated to reactive tasks. Many of the IT organizations I work with have tried to move away from this behavior but without the best practices to achieve service-driven ambitions, many stall in spite of their efforts. In the end, I believe the skill to execute is what’s lacking. Few IT organizations systematically tackle transforming their operations by subscribing to a roadmap that embraces the key pillars of a successful service provider.

Three key pillars of a successful service provider include:

  1. A proactive service culture,
  2. Robust processes that drive automation as well as using technical tools and,
  3. The technical skills required to operate the new environment.

Many organizations try, but find it hard to do it on their own. They may be so immersed in their culture that they can’t see the opportunities change will bring. The motivation may also be lacking to get them to the finish line.  This can change with the right focus and, possibly, the right help.

In my experience, it’s a fact that IT employees who embrace and subsequently become part of a service-driven culture enjoy their jobs significantly better—and like me, increase their productivity through efficiency. Over time, they find it hard to let go of those opportunities to innovate. Everyone loves it when a plan comes together! They learn new skills that are less tactical and more strategic. And the attrition rate among service-driven IT organizations is much lower than traditional ones.

I partner with clients to understand their goals and act as a shepherd to guide them in developing these results by constructing long-term road maps with game-changing milestones throughout their journey.  With the right direction and tools, the short-term wins soon amass to reach the organization’s end-state goals.

Alex Salicrup is an IT transformation strategist with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services.

IT Transformation and its Impact on the IT Organization

How can the “old IT” be competitive in a marketplace crowded with external cloud providers? The promise of agility, cost savings, as well as self-service capabilities requires the new IT organization to truly transform to the role of service provider.

In this video, Accelerate transformation strategist Padmaja Vrudhula explains how IT’s new role as service provider elevates the business value the IT organization can bring to the business.


Move at the Speed of Business with an ITaaS Model

Salicrup-cropby Alex Salicrup

I knew this would be no ordinary customer engagement when the CEO of a global food retailer announced he expected to triple revenue in five years. I also knew an ITaaS model could exploit the cost and operational benefits of a software-defined data center.

But was their existing IT infrastructure capable of meeting his business goal? Simply put—no. Read the story behind our strategic approach and the company’s progress toward an end-to-end transformation in my post on the VMware Consulting blog.

Alex Salicrup is an IT transformation strategist with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services.

4 Ways to Build Better Roadmaps

By Barton Kaplan

BART K-filterRoadmaps are uniquely leverageable tools for IT leaders. They can be used to drive consensus among stakeholders, bridge strategic and operating plans, and provide a framework for multiyear investment decisions.

But the current state of practice leaves a lot to be desired. According to a recent poll from best practices firm CEB[1], 70 percent of IT professionals are either ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly dissatisfied’ with their roadmaps; only 3 percent are highly satisfied.

In my engagements with IT organizations, I typically encounter one of the following root causes:

  • Relevance: Roadmapping can easily become more of an academic exercise, with no tangible connection to the outcomes business partners care about.
  • Accuracy: A lot of effort usually goes into the creation of a roadmap, but much less to its ongoing maintenance. Once out of date, roadmaps quickly lose their usefulness and become shelfware.
  • Actionability: Although they contain valuable information, many roadmaps aren’t being used to inform IT investment decisions. They often use technical language and are poorly visualized, causing them to confuse rather than educate decision makers.

But getting roadmapping right can make a big difference. At one utility organization I worked with, unplanned IT spend fell from 30 percent of the total IT budget to 13 percent as a result of the improvements made to its roadmaps. And at a large pharmaceutical company, roadmaps helped it rationalize its applications portfolio by 20 percent over two years.

So what are these organizations doing differently than your average practitioners? In my experience, they have adopted the following four tactics:

  1. Expand the use of capability roadmaps. Capability roadmaps align IT spending to business objectives by identifying the technologies needed to enable specific business capabilities. Capabilities are accessible to business partners but also stable and detailed enough for IT to effectively plan around.
  2. Make the creation and maintenance of roadmaps more efficient. Leading organizations focus on resolving underlying data quality issues to improve roadmapping process efficiency. Poor data quality undermines roadmap credibility and requires time-consuming validation steps. Exemplars set data quality standards that have to be met before roadmaps are created.
  3. Measure and monitor roadmap usability. Progressive organizations establish standards for content completeness and visual quality. These two dimensions, which are relatively easy to measure and monitor, most influence end-user perceptions.
  4. Integrate roadmaps into strategic and annual-planning processes. Roadmaps are only as powerful as the decisions they inform. If not incorporated into the appropriate planning processes, their impact will be limited.


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

[1] Corporate Executive Board (CEB) Whitepaper : Six IT Roadmaps for Better Business Outcomes, 2013