Cisco IT is transforming itself to deliver IT As A Service (ITAAS), and this is changing the way we deliver all IT services internally, including our unified communications (UC) and video services. For the business, we offer transparent IT cost information and (over time) cost reduction, as well as the ability to re-use service components for faster delivery of new services. For our employees, we are making the processes for ordering and provisioning IT services fast, automated, simple, and consistent. This goal is particularly important for our UC and video services, which provide essential voice and video communications tools for our employees. Read More »
Rebecca Jacoby, Cisco Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, explains how Cisco IT is transforming the way it manages and operates to increase the ability for Cisco technology to bring maximum value to the business. This transformation involved creating an architecture that is “context aware” and allows IT to deliver different levels of services securely.
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Some people say that in the next few years that Infrastructure as a Service cloud deployments will be focused mostly on private clouds. And then they say that enterprises will migrate to public clouds after they have become “experienced” in running a cloud. About a year ago I could really see this story played out. Now, fifteen months after we introduced Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, I have some different points of view. I would have thought that by now that private cloud architectures would have begun to converge to a few standard patterns. This has not happened. The world is still diverging when it comes to both Private and Public cloud architectures.
I do see patterns arising in successful cloud deployments and here are some of the key ones:
#5: Pragmatic Approach: IT shops that come with a long list of RFP requirements and questions take a long time to source a technology provider and to achieve production success. Others that are pragmatic (can I say Agile in their approach) get to cloud quicker and learn from their successes and missteps alike.
#4: They Have a Cloud Instance Roadmap: After a cloud deployment, some IT organizations think that is it, they are done, next project, my move to cloud is complete. Hold it right there, did you know that cloud is not a single step where you through a switch, but a succession of deployments of great scope from one step to the next? A roadmap is needed that covers: hardware, network, storage infrastructure, virtualization technology and release version, management and orchestration software instance version and finally the services that you are offering to the end users and how the service catalog is changing over time. Those that have a roadmap roughed out are generally more successful than those that have a big bang perspective.
#3: Appreciation for Challenge of Management of Change: Moving to cloud is a big change in an operating model; careers are created and new roles are defined. How does an organization move to the new model with different technology, processes and people? When a team proactively manages the change in the non-technical they ensure long term success. It is not just about self service, cloud catalogs, orchestration, domain management and virtualization. It is more about service designers and automation authors and changes in operational processes.
#2: Rise of the Cloud Architect: Since cloud is about a new operating model a new position and role is needed. If you have a cloud project and do not have a cloud architect tying it all together from cost models, to hypervisors, to orchestration and orderable service definitions, you need a organization role tune up ASAP.
#1: A Service Centric Approach: Most people get this one right away. Service centric projects are the key focus for ITaaS. However, I can’t tell you how many times when I am talking to an IT team, the opening bell results in a speeds and feeds conversation around provisioning that piece of infrastructure and that virtualization API. If you ask the question about what services they want to offer their end users for self service ordering you will get a request for more time to answer that question. Service Centric IT shops will take the time to start first with the business requirements and the perspective from the end user point of view. Transform your cloud project approach to a service centric agile project and you will go far.
Every once in a while (here, here), I have the same conversation enough times with customers that I find it useful to bring it to the blog community. Last week at VMworld 2011, I had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time speaking with customers and partners about Intelligent Automation and what it means for IT to deliver self-service capabilities to their customers (internal, contractors, etc.). During the conversations, a number of questions came up over and over again: Read More »
Not a week goes by that I don’t talk with a customer about the reality of IT as a service (ITaaS). The question I am asked most often is, “Does ITaaS really create a competitive advantage for my company?” My answer is always “Absolutely.”
If you’re wondering why I’m so confident about my answer it’s because the ITaaS approach, when embraced by a company, empowers IT to sit closer to the front end of product and service creation. Repositioning IT to the front end allows us to become a strategic advisor to the rest of the company.
As a strategic advisor, IT can develop best practices, lessons learned, and business value examples from actual implementations done within IT’s own organization. These IT learnings help the sales organization and ultimately benefit the customer, which is what creating competitive advantage is all about.
Before I go on, a word about vocabulary. In the ITaaS model IT vocabulary and business vocabulary must be one and the same. If IT is to be a strategic advisor to the business and the decision-makers on the customer side understand business vocabulary, then business vocabulary wins. IT must be able to “talk the talk.”