How strategic is your IT team? Ask two questions to get a sense of your strategic value:
- Ask the employees in your organization whether they feel like Information Technology makes the organization run more effectively.
- As an IT professional, ask yourself whether your IT team helps your organization get the most out of its critical business applications.
If the answer to either of these questions isn’t yes, your IT team may have a strategic focus problem.
I’ll define strategic focus as the ability to find, prioritize and deliver business applications that drive better customer service, new lines of business, higher revenue, and lower costs.
The Chronic Problem – IT infrastructure
Whether its located in-house or at a colocated data center facility, selecting, managing, maintaining, and repairing IT infrastructure still accounts for a huge portion of the IT team’s available work hours. Add in the choices for cloud-based servers, storage and software, and an IT team can quickly become overwhelmed by the complexity inherent in supporting multiple clouds and on-premises systems. This infrastructure-focused work leaves little to no time for the IT team to focus on helping the business run more effectively.
The Solution – Optimize Your Cloud Stack Based on Business Requirements
What are successful IT teams doing to improve their organizations and help their internal customers get the most out of their applications?
- Choosing an optimized combination of SaaS, enterprise cloud platforms, hyperscale cloud, and on-premises equipment based on business requirements.
- Minimizing infrastructure-related workloads using enterprise VMware-based cloud for legacy applications, hyperscale cloud for new development, and SaaS applications when functionality and cost make sense.
For many organizations, the key to reducing the workload associated with IT infrastructure is the intelligent use of enterprise cloud. Enterprise cloud is VMware-based cloud infrastructure with these characteristics:
- Performance – Most organizations expect their applications to run faster on newer IT platforms. The best enterprise cloud providers provide higher memory, disk and network performance for better application experiences. Hyperscale clouds and SaaS don’t measure up to the best enterprise cloud performance levels.
- Comfort – Your critical business applications are comfortable running on VMware-based infrastructure, and your Systems Administrators are comfortable using the VMware management plane. Hyperscale cloud often includes a learning curve and new skillsets.
- Economics – Ultimately, the cost of IT must be in alignment with the value it brings to the business. The best enterprise cloud providers offer predictable spending and cost changes that reflect changes in the business. Accurate cost evaluations should include estimated reduction in FTE hours, licensing and hardware maintenance costs.
- Service level – How much downtime can your organization tolerate? Hyperscale cloud provider’s 99.95% uptime means more than four hours of downtime per year is acceptable. Enterprise cloud providers such as Expedient offer 100% uptime with service credits.
- API – As more companies automate IT functions, application programming interfaces (APIs) become critical for enabling optimized IT management processes. The best enterprise cloud providers deliver APIs to enable automation.
There is still more to do. The IT team still must repurpose the freed-up time to:
- Work closely with the organization to evaluate, implement, support and change critical business applications.
- Lead the organization to better long-term technology planning and usage
Skeptical? See how Prodigo Solutions reduced their tactical IT infrastructure workload and refocused on new applications and better business outcomes. Or contact me to discuss your organization’s specific situation.
Doug Theis is the Director of Market Strategy in Expedient’s Indianapolis market focused on engaging with and improving the regional IT community through planning, sponsoring and attending community events, facilitating IT-focused continuing education opportunities, and sharing strategies, tactics, and research to help IT professionals stay abreast of best practices and industry trends. Connect with Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.