The benefits of leveraging IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) are manifold and well-documented. Organisations know the time is right to adopt this IT delivery model to drive digital transformation. And CIOs are spearheading the change, as their role evolves from IT provider to business strategy enabler.
But the road to ITaaS is different for each company and varies wildly from industry to industry. It can be a struggle to know where to start – and so many questions remain unanswered. Can you start small and build out your capabilities? Is it “all or nothing”? How do you manage shadow IT? Here are five tips to get you started on your journey to ITaaS – and kickstart your digital transformation.
1. See the big picture
The cloud is a core component of ITaaS. But many businesses make the mistake of simply migrating processes to a public or private cloud and assuming that there’s nothing left to be done. The organisation saves money through reduced infrastructure costs initially, but it quickly finds that driving further savings is difficult, because it has not aligned the move with core strategic goals. Blindly migrating to the cloud can prove to be a dead-end; ITaaS isn’t just about saving money – it’s about increasing customer value, which in turn drives whole companies forward, faster.
2. Position yourself as an enabler
Just as the role of the CIO is evolving, so too is that of the IT department. IT teams need to position themselves as “a business within a business”, providing services internally to other departments. It’s perhaps the most important first step. If IT divisions don’t do this and don’t ask the different areas of the enterprise what they require and need to achieve, then these areas will proceed on their own – creating shadow IT across the enterprise. This not only threatens to derail high-level objectives, it can jeopardise the fundamental security of a company. IT teams must provide the services each business division needs, while creating new in-house capabilities such as centralised governance of services and line-of-business-specific management capabilities.
3. Use quick wins to your advantage
Momentum is crucial. It helps justify the decision to embark on your ITaaS journey and it helps stakeholders buy into the shift. “Quick wins” help drive that momentum and can have a far-reaching impact on your organisation. It’s important to view the results of any action through a broader lens and not just focusing on how much money can be saved (see tip one). For example, to increase agility, an IT team could quickly create a DevOps environment that brings new, highly scalable applications to market fast. Senior stakeholders would then see tangible evidence that ITaaS is paying dividends, aiding the broader shift in culture.
4. Prepare for a new world order
IT teams must be prepared to embrace an “ecosystem” of service providers as opposed to a more traditional structure of one or two major players. We would, of course, recommend that businesses have a single, high-level service management partner to provide a central control point for all services in use – covering areas such as deployment, provisioning and security. But all other service towers, be that infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service or software-as-a-service, should and will be bought from multiple providers. This switch to multiple vendors is a big change – and challenge – for larger organisations. The IT team moves away from being the sole runner of IT to being the purchaser and manager of multiple solutions for each individual requirement of a business.
5. Get the balance right
As enterprises continue to embrace ITaaS, the fundamental battle for IT teams in the years to come will be balancing the desire for greater agility with the need for control. This can become a headache if not managed effectively. Whether you are planning and running services from multiple suppliers or deploying and monitoring the latest mobility software, introducing cognitive technology can help automate and manage your IT infrastructure and enable you to continue driving innovation and agility across the business.
The road to ITaaS is different for every company and every industry. But by shifting your mindset, taking relevant steps that incorporate your organisation’s long-term aims – and working with the right partners – it can be a straightforward and rewarding one.
If you’d like to find out more about kick-starting your journey to ITaaS, download the IT as a Service for Dummies Guide and please feel free to get in touch – I’d be happy to discuss this topic further with anyone.