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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Exclusive Report: CIOs on Innovation and the Software Defined Enterprise

By Laurent Finck, VMware Advisory Services Lead, South EMEA

Laurent FinckAs the software defined enterprise becomes an inevitability, rather than a possibility, how can CIOs move their departments from the Industrial Age of IT to the Digital Age of IT?

Report

Download the full report

In preparation for the upcoming VMware EMEA CIO Summit in October 2014, we spoke to eight CIOs about their top priorities in managing the changing expectations for their role in light of business digitalization. Business digitalization is both an opportunity and a risk for companies – successful digitalization could increase revenue, while failed digitalization could mean a loss of momentum and market share. As a result, CEOs are turning their attention toward IT departments, and the work of the CIO.

Given this increased level of exposure, we asked these CIOs for their perspectives on the highest priority changes that need to occur within IT departments to keep up with the delivery and operational changes required to support business digitalization. They offered their insights on the importance of data management, refreshing IT governance, and adjusting their strategy to pivot toward service brokerage.

The future of IT requires more agility, scalability and service quality. To meet these demands, the CIOs delved into how the software defined enterprise frees up internal resources that once supported infrastructure to refocus on cloud, application and enterprise architecture. Shifts in culture and operations will be required to stay aligned with the needs of the business and the priorities of other departments that will require a high level of responsiveness and flexibility.

Download the full report for more CIO insights into the changing state of IT and the challenges and opportunities ahead.


Laurent Finck leads the VMware Advisory Services team in Southern Europe, a team of strategy consultants who help CIOs and IT organizations understand how VMware solutions can help them better serve their business needs. Prior to VMware, Laurent has been an IT strategy consultant at Accenture and Gartner, where he focused on IT organizations and IT transformation efforts, and then leveraged this experience to design and deploy go-to-market strategies for large IT vendors, on an international basis.

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 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 Governance Model

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.


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1 Quote from Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Takin’ Care Of Business