Next Gen ITaaS are doing more than just IT

ITaaS is not a technology offering but an elastic business model. With every organization at an inflection point of needing to transform into a digital business and the proliferation of new technologies, the impetus for IT consumption to move towards an As-a-Service model is becoming an economic dichotomy between thriving and surviving.

The demand on IT to deliver against business needs to quickly gain or sustain a competitive advantage is ever increasing and legacy infrastructure and processes make this difficult to achieve. The promise of digital benefits largely rests on establishing a new business model, not just implementing digital technologies. IT departments will have to reorganize from their traditional function-based structure to an IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) construct. Low IT costs and accelerated application delivery are not the only growth drivers, businesses should also be concerned about market responsiveness achieved through agile and collaborative environments that bring business and IT together. An integrated digital strategy is a pre-requisite to succeed.

The ITaaS model’s objective should be to increase customer value through 3 drivers: the Cloud Platform, the Cloud Services and the IT operating Model. To achieve this, clients require access to cloud services provided by vendors that guarantee availability, reliability and scalability, all consumed in a self-service and on-demand manner. This model enables operational efficiency and effectiveness and creates organizational agility.

To bridge the disconnect between IT and business, CIO’s need to think beyond the role of an IT tools provider. Without a clear understanding of the business value drivers and the digital enterprise value proposition the misalignment between IT and business will remain. The journey of the IT organization to ITaaS involves converting the datacenter into a virtual computing capability that will unlock cost benefits and streamline IT processes. Cross-functional collaboration with business must be focused on removing the barriers to create an agile IT environment built upon operational consistency, shared governance, executive consensus and effective policy adoption. Simplifying the organization’s collaboration network will accelerate prioritization and decision-making resulting in a more agile operating model.

The ITaaS provider must enable clients to choose from a varied catalogue of IT services that deliver the expected business services. The catalogue must offer software services and hardware configurations specifically designed to meet the business requirements. Instead of working in functional silos, IT staff need to be flexible, respond rapidly and have the technical skills and capability to support the business requirements, enabling clients to pay for IT services on a “pay-per-use” model.

Cloud adoption will most likely mean that companies will function under the hybrid IT model using a combination of legacy systems, cloud computing and internal and external IT. The role of the ITaaS provider is to act as a broker for these choices. As clients move to a service-orientated model a clear roadmap is required. Technical infrastructure and architecture need to be organized around relevant business services. The focus must move away from assets and projects to service architectures. Finance models need to support rapid changes in business operating models and business service volumes. This elastic pricing model must enable clients to maintain a low fixed IT cost base with variable costs moving in proportion to business demand and requirements.

The service-orientated model requires a change in culture. IT specialists must adopt a cross functional service orientated culture focused on managing IT in support of business services rather than delivering technical IT support. User experience becomes core to the digital workspace with a seamless interface between IT and business. Alignment between service levels and user experience become the primary measure of success for the ITaaS provider.