IT as a Service

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The previous blog, on Private Cloud Recovery Services, is an example of ‘ITaaS’ – IT as a Service.

This is referring to the utility computing nature of what Cloud services offer, and this effect has been underway for many years long before the term Cloud itself became popular.

For example going back ten years now I wrote this piece ‘Web services – Jam today, not tomorrow‘ to summarize the opportunity that service-oriented IT presented, when XML Web services where the main flavour of the month. Even then people spoke of the Internet in terms of it being a programmable and utility IT resource.

Dial forward and sure it’s the same core message but also it’s fair to say the technology has advanced considerably as well. Amazon didn’t exist then so it was more theory than fact, whereas now we have extensive availabilty of on demand ‘credit card IT’.

Even just the economics of this is a game-changer for CIO’s, who can now transform what IT can do for the business, given the opportunity to harness this new market.

The Rise of Service-Focused IT
In my Jam Today article I focused mainly on data-centre automation, so that the IT department can act more as a service provider to the organization, improving business process through this platform.

This is the same message as today, with the overall term being ‘ITaaS’ – IT as a Service.

Cisco explain this effect in their recent white paper Enabling IT as a Service (11-page PDF), and also in their blogs here, with the white paper making the most critical point right at the start:

“Frameworks such as ITIL have provided an impetus for this service mentality, but with an emphasis on IT operations and less focus on infrastructure and application development. The result was still a siloed IT environment held together by heroic efforts. The majority of IT spending is dedicated to “keep the lights on” activities, hindering IT’s ability to keep up with the pace of business innovation. Enter virtualization and cloud computing: essential building blocks for the agility, flexibility, and “services” focus that IT needs to deliver to the business.”

Bingo. “Why Cloud Is Important To CIO’s In A Nutshell”.

Programs like ITIL have stipulated service processes but this is based on fixed-asset IT. Service-oriented IT is literally that, technology that you consume (and then internally supply) as a service.

As highlighted at the beginning one simple example is Private Cloud Recovery Service, achieving a level of resilience for business continuity purposes but without buying any new hardware or software.

This new approach goes to the heart of the new transformational role for the CIO, in particular the alignment of IT agility to business process improvement.

“the CIO, who is gradually becoming a broker of IT services with a business-first mentality that guarantees a service will be delivered via the best method possible. In the future, a service could be delivered via IT internally or through an external cloud provider, depending on the needs of the business.”

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