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Living in the Age of the Software-Defined Taxi

Kipp_Bertke Co-authored by: Kipp Bertke and Scott Weinstein

How on-demand service, on time delivery and full cost transparency make Uber customers very happy—and what that means for enterprise IT

If you’ve ever tried to hail a taxi when it’s raining, you know it can be nearly impossible. But Uber—an app-based service that connects users with a taxi, private car or a rideshare in minutes—has leveraged innovations in software and smart phones to ensure that a dry car ride is always just a few clicks away. With just a few taps, Uber has completely disrupted the traditional taxi business in 200 major cities across 45 countries—and they’re just getting started.

Why is the software-defined taxi service so compelling?

The rising popularity and adoption of Uber highlights the fact that customers are turning to software-defined services in droves, and coming to expect the service on-demand model in more and more areas of their lives. And that paradigm is carrying over into enterprise IT departments. How will that affect your IT department? To answer that question, let’s compare the traditional taxi service to the traditional IT department:

Traditional taxi service Traditional IT department
Delivery Time  Unpredictable at best, unavailable at worst. The time for traditional IT to deliver a new service can exceed weeks to months.
Cost Transparency  You get the bill at the end of your ride, and you hope you have enough money. IT spend is hidden in the costs of projects – and emergency funds might be requested mid-project.
Operations  They use an inefficient, outmoded system (hand gestures, telephones and CB radios) to attempt to match taxis to customers. Siloed teams work on core competencies, which can result in disparate views of the health of a service, and no desire to share whatever visibility IT has with others.

As you can see there, are a lot of similarities to the pre-Uber taxi industry and the traditional IT department. Ask yourself this: if you could pick the size and type of car, the exact location where the taxi picks you up, and get complete transparency of the cost to get to your destination, would you ever take a traditional taxi again? Now, ask yourself the same question in the context of IT: if you were working on a project with aggressive timelines and high business value and you could provision your own services—including all security needs—in minutes with just a few clicks of your own mouse, would you ever go back to waiting months trying to get IT to do it for you?

Now, ask yourself the same question in the context of IT: if you were working on a project with aggressive timelines and high business value and you could provision your own services—including all security needs—in minutes with just a few clicks of your own mouse, would you ever go back to waiting months trying to get IT to do it for you?

  Uber Transformed IT
Delivery Time

 

Real-time and adaptive End-to-end services fulfilled in hours
Cost Transparency

 

Cost before commit Reasonable cost estimation and interactive cost modeling and reporting
Operations

 

Customer focused transparency of service availability Single window of a services health and proactive corrective actions

It’s time for a change

Delivering on the growing demand for end-to-end delivery of cataloged services, resources on-demand, and “pay-for-what-you-use” resources  is simply not possible with existing models used in traditional IT environments. If you have an entrenched workflow and no interest in finding a different—better—way to deliver services to your end-users, you just may be replaced by the new guard, one that lives in software, imagines a world without boundaries, and embraces capabilities with no dependency on people, processes or technology. The software-defined enterprise represents a sea change, similar to the one Uber brought down on the traditional taxi industry. Navigating the shift to a service delivery model—based on a software-defined foundation and abstracted from the physical world of traditional IT—calls for a transformation, and not just with technology. The people and processes used to deliver IT services must transform as well. This calls for a total enterprise-wide transformation to deliver IT-as-a-Service (IaaS) for business users.


Kipp Bertke is a Business Solutions Architect for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services.


Scott Weinstein_Profile1 Scott Weinstein is a Senior Systems Engineer at VMware.