Cisco Blogs

IT as a Service: Building a Partnership Between Business and IT

September 20, 2010 - 0 Comments

Is your company’s IT budget shrinking while the IT department is expected to deliver the same level of quality and services? Are you looking for ways to allocate IT resources that are more consistent with business needs? Would you like to improve productivity and efficiency inside IT and reduce IT spending?

If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” you might want to consider the merits of moving your IT organization to a services-centric model such as IT as a Service (ITaaS). This is the model Cisco IT is moving toward.

The role that IT plays in business today has shifted dramatically.  Initially seen as a support for non-business critical operations and a luxury, IT has become a necessity and the enabler for business.

“Lead every move Cisco makes with IT.”


John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO, expects IT to not only enable but to lead every move Cisco makes. This requires IT to be one step ahead of the rest of the organization at all times. Never has so much been expected of IT.

Perhaps your company faces similar expectations, but you cite that maintaining or upgrading the infrastructure is costly especially in the current economic climate.

This might continue to be an obstacle if you apply the traditional approach to IT’s role in the business. Within Cisco IT we are changing this approach and breaking down the obstacles by moving to a services-centric ITaaS model.  We are able to reap the benefits of cost-effective solutions, like virtualization, cloud computing, and collaboration, and create the foundation for a more transparent services model that is consistent with the business.

“IT as a services organization” is a business model for running IT that delivers value as defined by IT’s clients/customers in a cost-effective manner.”


ITaaS is a business model in which IT resources, like storage, computing power, email, etc., are accessed (delivered) as services in a cost-effective manner. In this model, IT must shift from producing IT services to optimizing production and consumption of those services in ways that align with business requirements.

ITaaS  is based on three principles:

  • Client/Customer Centric

ITaaS focuses on delivering a set of services that meet the needs of clients and customers, not the needs IT.  We have the things that make it work – you have your own vision and requirements.  IT has to deliver services to the business at the quality level the business requires, while managing its own IT resources as efficiently as possible.


  • Business Value Driven

ITaaS focuses on identifying, quantifying, and billing for the value that the business gets from every single IT investment. The goal is to maximize the business value from IT investments.

  • Cost Effective

The ITaaS model reduces IT costs without compromising quality of services, with an emphasis on reinvesting savings.  Achieving these goals is possible through utilization of technologies based on alternative pricing models (pay-per-use, subscription fees, etc.).


This ITaaS organization alignment brings business and IT much closer together. This approach enables the business to understand what it is paying for, and allows IT to fine tune IT needs and  demands for new IT services based on the cost to the company.  This transparency enables a closer alignment of IT expenditures to business goals and improves efficiency. What’s more, architectural components in ITaaS are reusable, which increases scalability and drives simplicity and economies of scale. A robust architecture supports many types of applications but at the same time is specific enough to meet your individual needs.

It is not just about the “box” or the physical product. ITaaS is an organizational model. The transition to a services organization requires progressive cultural and process change within IT. The IT organization has to align its work to a services portfolio and undertake various refinements to its processes, roles, and skill levels to meet the ITaaS goal. 

The world and technology are radically changing. What about your IT organization?



In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.