The Great IT Reset: From Months to Minutes


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It used to be the case that IT leaders could get away with incremental performance improvement year over year. Last year’s metrics were this year’s benchmarks and the goal was to simply move the needle in a positive direction.

This kept everyone relatively happy because the performance of IT organizations, while perhaps a source of frustration, was what we all learned to expect. IT was your cable company and you simply accepted periodic inconvenience as a matter of course. You had no alternative.

That has certainly changed.

Just as your cable company now faces competitive alternatives in new models for media distribution, so too does your IT department. Cloud computing in all its SaaS, PaaS and IaaS goodness has entered under the radar, following the path of least resistance in the service of unmet demand.

These alternatives are both the escape valve to the IT bottleneck and the pattern for the future of IT: They’ve broadly reset the expectations for IT responsiveness.

Today, it’s not uncommon to wait months for IT to provision a new service. What if business lines could have the same service in minutes?

What would you do?

According to Forrester’s James Staten, “There’s this fear that the public cloud will make IT irrelevant.” While that’s not likely to happen tomorrow, you can be sure that it will happen in time to those IT organizations that fail to embrace this change.

And there sits the CIO: Smack in the middle of a fundamental disruption. Suddenly, yesterday’s incremental performance improvements are simply not good enough. The expectation is transformational performance improvements—from months to minutes … and at a fraction of the cost.

At the same time IT is being told to dramatically improve their game, they’re faced with the reality that 2009’s budgetary collapse is—to invoke the cliché—the “new normal.”

They’re told to transform from months to minutes … for pennies on the dollar.

It would seem that living in such interesting times is the curse bestowed upon today’s CIO.

So, what exactly is this transformation?

Take a look at a public cloud service like Amazon EC2 or Rackspace and you’ll see shades of the future of enterprise IT: Self-service, automated and elastic. The public cloud has defined the pattern for the future of IT.

That’s what is driving interest in self-service IT, private and hybrid clouds, IT-as-a-Service, DevOps. Whatever you choose to call it, the goal is the same: Removing the IT bottleneck via transformational improvement in the performance of IT.

At the heart of this transformation is automation—of the supply chain, the demand chain and the service construction process. Today’s IT organizations should take a page from modern manufacturing organizations, which have yielded exponential efficiencies through industrialized automation of the full product lifecycle.

Today’s IT organizations are far from this level of operational maturity. But this is exactly what it will take to make giant leaps in performance improvement and to ensure the continued relevance of IT as a value-added function in the enterprise.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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