Using and Developing IT Skills within the Organization
Many organizations today are faced with the challenge of adopting cloud-based IT services, a move which may involve a significant transformation of IT infrastructure. One option is to adopt a private cloud model to learn the necessary lessons before rolling the cloud out to the wider organization or the public.
Using the private cloud to improve the value of IT
Having internal systems that enable the private cloud to operate automatically can be an important step on the path to becoming an IT broker. Many IT Service Management (ITSM) systems on the market today offer a degree of automation that can be used within the internal (and later external) cloud platform. They provide a reporting system offering an overview of all process-related and technical events in order to achieve a high degree of automation and to ensure transparency regarding performance of the overall IT organization, i.e. its value proposition.
Why not incorporate all this into the private cloud model? While this requires significant investment, it is an investment in the future, in the skills of your employees and in the tools to provide IT infrastructure services – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Making this change will solve one particular challenge for IT organizations: using the data made available by the ITSM tool, business questions relating to IT resource utilization can be answered using key performance indicators for cost, system utilization, performance and utilization intensity and the relationship/correlation between these elements can be demonstrated. Questions such as: does the system utilization correspond with what was forecast and does this follow the load profile for utilization intensity? Or, are IT resources (servers, storage etc.) being utilized well? Do the resulting costs correspond with what was forecast?
By harnessing the private cloud, IT organizations can demonstrate the potential that agile IT has to offer and establish themselves as an IT broker, promoting their value proposition.
But without ITSM committed to best practices, this will not work. Best practices, such as ITIL®, are a key requirement for any self-respecting IT shop with a goal to provide dynamically private cloud resources while automation is implemented as a structured set of repeatable activities made of separate ITSM processes, which can be tailored to achieve specific objectives.
Where will we see changes?
People and competences
Cloud computing will bring about a change from the traditional one-to-one relationship between customer and IT service provider to a one-to-many model. Internal IT organizations are also moving towards a value chain-orientated service model [Fröschle 2012, page 19].
The agile skills suitable for this market platform need to be identified and developed.; the main task will be to find providers and advisers whom customers can contact for expert advice and support.
In order for the cloud IT deployment model to function, changes and/or additions must be made to existing ITSM methods and standards and this needs considerable research. One approach could be to create an ITIL-based requirements catalogue for cloud services and providers [Fröschle 2012, page 33 et seqq.].
Harnessing the private cloud
From the private cloud, you can learn how control can be expanded to include external cloud utilization; whether or not this works depends to a large degree on the technical maturity of the IT(SM) organization.
At this point, the users of the private cloud – the department – must relinquish control over technology and standard processes which have long been an IT commodity!
Expertise must be developed in private securely and in compliance with relevant laws and regulations including industrial relations law.
Both internal and external IT providers face the same challenge: providing a service that is honest in its approach to business success and transparent in its usage-based pricing structure. Internal IT brokers can learn how to do this using the private cloud as their test platform.
In doing so, the organization's IT department can be, or at least can start to become, a valuable and independent consultant.
See our ITIL® section for more information about IT Service Management.
Carr, N.G.: IT Doesn't Matter. In: Harvard Business Review, 81st volume (2003) 5, pages 41– 49.
Fröschle, H.-P. (publisher): Cloud-Service-Management. Praxis der Wirtschafts-informatik (Cloud service management. Practice of business informatics), No. 288, 12-2012.
ITIL Continual Service Improvement. 2011 edition. TSO, Norwich.
Bergmann P., Samulat, P., Sieber, R.: Positionspapier: Auf dem Weg zum Service Provider. (Position paper: Becoming a service provider.) Ellata, 2015.
Vaske, H.: Transformieren ist Chefsache. (Transformation is a matter for the boss.) In: Computerwoche, 2015–19, page 3.