Tag Archives: XaaS

5 Tips to Successfully Adopt End-to-End IT Services

By Barton Kaplan

IT organizations are at a crossroads. More technology savvy business partners, combined with compelling third-party cloud service offerings, are leading to an explosion of “shadow” IT. Gartner estimates that 35 percent of all technology spending will occur outside of IT by 2015.[1] As a result, traditional IT organizations face a stark choice: 1) fundamentally transform their operating models to win back the confidence of the business or 2) maintain the status quo and become full-time caretakers of the legacy environment.

In response, IT organizations have initiated efforts to roll out various XaaS offerings — infrastructure, platform, software, database, disaster recovery, and so forth. This is a necessary step, but ultimately insufficient. It will be extremely difficult for internal IT organizations to compete effectively in commodity-oriented services with external providers given the scale, low costs, ease of use, and rapid innovation they can bring.

IT organizations shouldn’t view these services as the end point, but rather as a stepping stone to end-to-end IT services. CEB defines end-to-end IT services as the “packaging of all the technologies, processes, and resources across IT needed to deliver a specific business outcome.”[2] Rather than offering separate services, applications and infrastructure organizations come together to offer integrated services (e.g., collaboration).

End-to-end IT services bring inherent advantages, including:

  • More closely aligned to the business
  • Focused on business and not IT outcomes
  • More cost efficient
  • More differentiated than XaaS offerings

When implemented successfully, the results can be dramatic. CEB estimates annual IT budget savings at 17 percent. One high tech company that adopted end-to-end IT services was on target to reduce “lights-on” spending as percentage of the total budget by nearly 50 percent over five years. An insurance company I worked with saw a 250 percent increase in spend on innovation.

So how do IT organizations get there? Achieving end-to-end IT services is a multi-year journey, not a flip of the switch. To reduce the risk of increasing irrelevance, however, IT needs to start now. Here are five proven tactics that leading practitioners have followed to successfully implement end-to-end IT services:

1)     Pursue an evolutionary approach, not a big bang. Successful organizations focus first on a single service that they can roll out enterprise-wide, or a willing business unit around which they can develop an initial set of services.

2)     Define your services based on business capabilities. Don’t define your services in terms of technology, but rather the business outcome they can impact. The most effective means to do so is through business capabilities.

3)     Adopt the goldilocks principle when it comes to the service portfolio. Not too many, not too few. A handful of services is likely too few; more than a couple dozen services is likely too many.

4)     Govern and prioritize based on services, not projects. End-to-end IT services require a fundamental change to the IT operating model. Projects don’t go away, but they are subservient to the needs of the service, and no longer the primary means through which business needs are met.

5)     Manage end-to-end services like a product in the marketplace. Service owners ought to act like product managers, not operations support. Key measures of business value should be based on adoption rates and service use.

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



[1] Gartner, Inc. “Predicts 2014: Application Development.” Brian Prentice, David Mitchell Smith, Andy Kyte, Nathan Wilson, Gordon Van Huizen, and Van L. Baker, November 19, 2013.

[2] CEB CIO Leadership Council, “The New Model for IT Service Delivery”, 2012

Taking IT Out of the Shadows

by Barton Kaplan

Wikipedia defines shadow IT as “systems and solutions built and used in organizations without explicit organizational approval…by departments other than the IT department.” It’s been a sore point for central IT organizations for a long time, and judging from the most recent data, it’s only getting worse.

Gartner predicts that by 2015, 35 percent of technology spending will occur outside the central IT organization[1]. In a US$2.7 trillion industry[2], that’s a big number. What’s worse, CIOs consistently underestimate how much the business spends on technology. According to best practices firm CEB, business partners spend almost twice as much on technology as IT estimates[3].

Why is this happening? Recent technology trends compound the prevalence of shadow IT, and putting increased pressure on central IT to keep pace.

  • Business partners have become more tech savvy and are much more willing to take on technology-related activities. From technology evaluation to vendor management, some two-thirds of business executives express a willingness to lead.[4]
  • With the maturation of cloud and XaaS offerings, it’s easier than ever for the business to go around IT to meet its technology needs. And vendors are targeting these business buyers because they typically purchase more and procure faster than IT departments.
  • Across industries, technology is viewed as more critical to enterprise success and competitive differentiation than ever before.
  • As business speeds up and third party providers improve their ease of use, central IT is  perceived as getting even more slow and bureaucratic.

What’s worse, traditional approaches to managing shadow IT simply don’t work anymore. Historically, central IT has reacted to shadow IT in one of three ways:

  1. Police – Attempt to root out and shut down shadow IT. The reality in today’s enterprises, however, is that the vast majority of central IT groups simply don’t have the stature to adopt this approach, or the authority to enforce it. Further, much of this spend is business-sanctioned and viewed as essential.
  2. Ignore – Turning a blind eye to shadow IT isn’t an option either, given the size of the spend and the potential risks to the enterprise of it going completely ungoverned.
  3. Incorporate – Bringing shadow IT into the central IT organization is actively opposed by the business out of fear that it will result in lost agility and innovation. Fifty percent of business technology spending is on innovation, which is three times the size of IT’s innovation budget.[5]

So what should IT do? First and foremost, central IT organizations need to adjust their mindset. The days when shadow IT meant hiding a server under your desk are long gone. Today’s shadow IT has become much more sophisticated and central to the business.

IT organizations need to accept and advise business partners’ experimentation with technology, not resist it. Progressive practitioners who have had success changing their technology relationships with the business are adopting the following three tactics:

  1. Distinguish between healthy and unhealthy shadow IT. At one consumer products company, the IT organization differentiated between “shallow” vs. “deep” IT when determining whether a project should be business or IT-led. This more cooperative approach resulted in a 52 percent increase in IT investments directed at new opportunities.[6]
  2. Change IT’s perspectives on risk. IT’s typical approach to risk is one of mitigation. Less risk is always better. By contrast, business partners look at risk vs. reward tradeoffs. If the reward is great enough, it may be worth the risk. Leading IT organizations are adopting risk management frameworks that capture this more nuanced view of risk.
  3. Improve business perceptions of IT. IT needs to operate at the speed of business and devote more of its budget to innovation. According to VMware data[7], customers who are running IT as a service spend 50 percent of their budgets on innovation vs. an industry average of just 30 percent .

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


[1] Gartner, Inc. “Predicts 2014: Application Development.” Brian Prentice, David Mitchell Smith, Andy Kyte, Nathan Wilson, Gordon Van Huizen, and Van L. Baker, November 19, 2013.
[2] The New York Times. “Hard Times Could Create a Tech Boom.” Quentin Hardy, November 17, 2012.
[3] Corporate Executive Board (CEB) webinar: “Getting to Healthier Shadow IT.” January 9, 2014
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] VMware “VMware IT Evolution: Today and Tomorrow – Insight from the VMware 2013 Journey to IT as a Service Study.” August 2013.