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Are you ready? – Convergence and Cloud calls for changes to how IT operates

December 15, 2011 - 0 Comments

I was at Gartner Summit in Las Vegas last week after missing the prior year.  One thing that struck me this year was the increased dialogue around changes IT organizations need to make in their people and processes in order to prepare for both the convergence of IT infrastructure and the move to cloud.  Now I know that analysts have talked about the area of IT operations management for some time but what was different was that customers were talking about it too.

At Cisco Services, we’ve had an increasing number of customers asking us to help them better align their people and process to take full advantage of Cisco’s innovative data center technologies.  This growing interest in change was on full display at Gartner Summit, as both analysts and customers were discussing what change would mean to them.

So what are some of the things you should consider to get your IT organization best prepared for change?  First, you need a leader committed to changing the way your IT runs.  The CIO at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Drex DeFord, says he started by re-setting his organizational purpose, identifying patients as their customers, not employees.  He then focused his strategy on removing complexity from his IT organization, not just on the technology side but in his people and processes as well, to allow IT better flexibility to understand and deliver against their customers’ expectations.

Next is looking at the required skills within your organization.  Dave Cappuccino at Gartner Group refers to “Teeing out” your employees.  In addition to depth of technical skills, your new team needs to broaden their knowledge across technology (hence the “T” shape) so that they can consider the impact of decisions across silos, not just within their own.  Finally, look at current processes and determine if they are helping drive the business or impeding it.  Then automate those that work and get rid of those that don’t.  This will free up your people to put more time in learning how best to manage in a converged IT organization.  For example, at CareCore National, a leading healthcare provider, they were able to reduce the time their IT staff spent managing their infrastructure from 80% down to 20% as a result of making changes across people, process and technology.  This freed up the IT team to work more closely with their customers to drive business objectives.

At Cisco, we have a long history of changing the IT game. From the convergence of voice and data into IP Telephony, to Storage Area Networks, to the Unified Data Center, Cisco has led technology convergence to the benefit of our customers.  What many people don’t know is that Cisco Services, together with our partners, have become experts at helping our customers make the organizational changes necessary to deliver a better customer experience.  We’re bringing skills and our Intelligent Automation software to enable our data center customers to manage within and across clouds.

I look forward to your comments and feedback and will continue the dialogue in this area as IT continues to evolve.

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