Transform Your IT To DevOps and ITaaS

Philippe Abdoulaye

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The Next Evolution Beyond Today's Cloud | @CloudExpo #Cloud #BigData #IoT

The art of putting together the business and IT into a common platform of people, processes, tools, and governance structure

Why the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ Is the Next Evolution Beyond Today's Cloud Implementation Approaches

As businesses around the globe seek desperately to transform their business model and get them focused on increasing customer value, they need to rely on IT organizations, systems, and infrastructures that are specifically thought to deliver the tangible business benefits they expect.

Last year to support IT practitioners help businesses achieve pure business benefits with the cloud, I introduced in my book, "Cloud Computing: Advanced Business and IT Strategies To Extract Tangible Value From The Cloud," the foundations of how businesses can adjust their IT operating model to take advantage of the cloud and derive pure business benefits.

In this article published in several languages including English and French, I introduced for the very first time to the IT marketplace, The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model. It supplements today's solution-focused cloud implementation approaches with the IT Organization Design, IT Service Management, Agile Scrum, and DevOps practices and principles which are needed to establish the Lean and Agile Organizations required to unlock the business benefits lines of business have been desperately expecting.

In order to make the difficult topic of ITaaS Transformation understandable and provide you with the insights you expect, this article follows a logical order

  • What do Lines of Business (LoB) expect from IT is a greater focus on thei critical needs and priorities
  • The zealous deployment of cloud solutions and infrastructure does not make sense, what matters is meeting business line expectations
  • IT as a Service (ITaaS) is misunderstood, it is primarily an operating model and not a technical solution as some of the major cloud vendors suggest it
  • The value brought in by the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™
  • Why the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ makes Courtney ITaaS™ unique in the marketplace

For Lines of Business The Digital Age Is About Increasing Customer Value, What They Primarily Expect from IT Is a Greater Focus On Their Critical Needs and Priorities
As I observed it on the ground, caught up in the merry-go-round of the cloud computing benefits and the massive IT innovations, IT vendors and CIOs seem to have forgotten that business benefits is what matters.

In fact, through massive marketing campaigns and buzzwords, the major brands of the IT industry without exception have been preaching the benefits of their cloud solutions supposed to bring massive benefits.

From my discussions with a number of business folks from several industries, I understand that they're aware of the cloud benefits but what they desperately and primarily expect from their IT department is a greater focus on their critical business needs and priorities. In other words, their question is straight, "Where are the pure business benefits of your cloud solutions? We don't see them."
Patrick Phillips, a remarkable operational efficiency expert, substantiates my point in a remarkable article, "IT Must Adapt or Die: A Story Brought To You by The Third Party Providers Trying To Make You Irrelevant (...)" when he says "Less than 25% iof business leaders rated their organization's IT function effective at delivering the capabilities they needed. Today, the number hasn't changed. IT functions have strived tirelessly to understand demand, set priorities, deliver effectively, and capture value, yet the result still disappoint."

Do Cloud and IT Practitioners Really Take Into Account Business Lines Expectations? The Zealous Deployment of Cloud Solutions and Infrastructures Does Not Make Sense

Cloud and ITaaS practitioners must constantly make sure they understand the fundamental needs and expectations of LoBs and that they do not confuse them with the massive hypes surrounding cloud and ITaaS.

The general feeling is, encouraged by their IT providers and consulting firms, CIOs tend to sell their lines of business the idea that cloud and ITaaS are the miraculous solutions to their competitive issues.

They’re right, shifting to cloud and in general to ITaaS is the way to go. But a close look at what they mean by Cloud Migration and ITaaS Transformation shows the surprising fact that they don’t understand the whys and wherefores of ITaaS and most importantly, it clearly demonstrate a severe disconnect between LoBs’ expectations and the cloud vendors’ vision and approach.

What is striking, funny and deserves to be mentioned is the IT industry’s response to the LoBs expectations; while a greater focus on critical business needs and priorities is expected, highly sophisticated cloud solutions are recommended as if virtualization, automation, resource pooling and elasticity will miraculously result in effective selection and prioritization of critical business needs, in a greater focus of IT on business priorities, and in greater business benefits. Michael B. Head of a LoB at Credit Suisse in New York had that wonderful remark, “The benefits to be generated by your so-called innovative software represent less than 3% of what we gain from increasing our existing customers’ value through basic techniques like cross-selling …” Point blank. Certain CIOs and cloud vendors should seriously meditate that remark.

Everybody Talks About Cloud and ITaaS, But Very Few Including the Major Brands of the Cloud Industry Understand Their Whys and Wherefores Business-wise

The good news for CIOs and LoBs is, the ITaaS concept provides all the mechanisms to get them agree and focus on the critical business needs and priorities but the bad one is, cloud vendors and consulting firms either do not understand what ITaaS is or mis-sell their ITaaS consulting services and solutions.

Wikipedia gives the best definition of what ITaaS is “IT as a service (ITaaS) is an operational model where the IT organization of an enterprise is run much like business, acting and operating as a distinct business entity creating Products (including services) for the other Line of Business (LOB) organizations within the enterprise. At its core, ITaaS is a competitive business model where an enterprise IT organization views the LOBs as having many options for IT services and the IT organization has to compete against those other options in order to be the provider to the needs of the LOBs. (…)“.

In other words, migrating to ITaaS is a complex and authentic IT transformation effort whose objective is to aggregate business and IT practices into a common platform of people, processes, best practices, and cloud services specifically thought to deliver critical business needs and priorities in a cost-effective and timely manner. Cloud vendors and consulting firms does not understand ITaaS transformation that way; they erroneously / purposely think that ITaaS transformation is primarily a matter of technology change. You have here the reason why increasingly businesses get frustrated with their cloud capabilities.

Let’s say things straight, the cloud vendors and consulting firms perspective about ITaaS is incomplete and in a certain way irrelevant.

Everybody Talks About Cloud and ITaaS, But Very Few Including the Major Brands of the Cloud Industry Understand Their Whys and Wherefores Business-wise

Why Do Cloud Vendors, Consulting Firms and CIOs Need The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™?

The definition of ITaaS mentioned above points out the key notions needed to implement comprehensive ITaaS capabilities that keep IT focused on delivering critical business needs and priorities; these notions include IT Service, Operating Model, and Competitive Business Model. The fact of the matter is, these notions are misunderstood in the IT world, they’ve been diverted from their very meaning, they are part of the IT marketing lexicon and are primarily used to facilitate the sales of expensive software and infrastructure businesses do not necessarily need. Let’s take the notion of IT service which is mistakenly confused with the modules of ITSM software (e.g., BMC ITSM); how many of these Big Four understand and tell CIOs that IT services like any basic service assumes a Consumer of the service and a Provider of the service and that creating IT agility is primarily about implementing Consumer-Provider Relationships across the organization such that both parties focused on their core competency. This is what creating IT agility is about.

All these authentic IT transformation practices are overlooked and ignored for several reasons ranging from the lack of IT organization transformation qualifications and background to the decline of consulting practices where the trend is to tell clients what they want to hear and not what they must hear, Jason Bloomberg substantiates that fact in a bombshell, “Beware the Dangers of Bimodal IT” where he argues that “The brilliant minds at Gartner – and any other consultant towing the Bimodal IT line, for that matter – are telling their clients what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. Bimodal IT is simply an excuse to keep doing IT poorly.“

In my current ITaaS consulting activities at PMPragmatic Consulting I’ve been using Courtney ITaaS™, a powerful ITaaS Transformation framework that makes easy the end-to-end transformation effort. It has helped global corporations like France Telecom derive value from their strategic transformation initiatives and most importantly it was adopted several times by prestigious consulting firms like McKinsey & Company to support some of their strategic transformation projects.

Courtney ITaaS™ Framework - The cloud transformation methodology for ITaaS

Courtney ITaaS™ is the foundation of my cloud migration, ITaaS transformation and DevOps implementation practices. It is based on the verified idea that cloud-based benefits result primarily from the transformation of three dimensions of the organization including the IT Operating Model, the Cloud Services and the Cloud Platform referred to as the Virtual Computing Capability (VCC).

With Courtney ITaaS the transformation effort is approached as a five-stage journey starting with the Analysis of the Business Drivers underlying the transformation initiative through the implementation of a Proof–of–Concept (PoC) of the targeted ITaaS Delivery Model involving a panel of relevant users from the business and IT and ending with the Deployment of the Organizational Changes at the scale of the business.

Why the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ Makes Courtney ITaaS™ Unique in the Cloud Marketplace

What makes Courtney ITaaS™ unique in the cloud marketplace is definitely its Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™; it debunks the myth that vendor cloud solutions is all LoBs need to get the business benefits they expect from the cloud and offers in an integrated manner three mechanisms to keep IT focused on critical business needs and priorities including the IT Operating Model, the Cloud Services Catalog, and the Cloud Platform.

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™

The IT Operating Model is definitely what makes the ITaaS Delivery Model™ the very next evolution beyond today’s solution-focused cloud implementation approaches; it provides the foundations for the collaborative, lean and agile environment several qualified IT transformation experts have been advocating. Tranformation of the IT Operating Model is not included in either today’s cloud migration or ITaaS transformation consulting offerings.

The IT Operating Model as suggested by the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model is based on DevOps. Unlike the vast majority of today’s experts it sees DevOps as the foundation of lean and agile application development environments needed not only to accelerate applications delivery but most importantly to keep IT focused on critical business needs and priorities.

To achieve that, a number of proven business reengineering and organizational changes tools as well as a number of IT standards e.g., ITIL and Agile Scrum are used to adust the IT operating model to DevOps principles, processes, best practices and people roles and responsibilities. It contrasts with today’s practices where the emphasis is narrowed to automating continuous testing and deployment using Chef, Jenkins, uDeploy, alike.

The Cloud Services Catalog is another area that’s not included in either today’s cloud migration or ITaaS transformation consulting offerings. All cloud vendors and CIOs who migrated to cloud talk about their cloud services but there is no trace of them. As a matter of fact, the notion of IT service including the concept of cloud service is misunderstood and used willy-nilly to sell LoBs benefits that will never happen. It is so misunderstood that the vast majority of ITIL and cloud experts do not see the correlation between the implementation of authentic IT (or cloud) services and the promised organizational agility LoBs have been expecting. They don’t see that the notion of IT service implies a consumer and a provider of the service that creating IT agility is primarily about implementing Consumer-Provider Relationships across the organization such that both parties focused on their core competency. The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ offers methodologies to design cloud services e.g., SaaS, PaaS and IaaS and tools to deploy Cloud Consumer-Provider Relationships Model across the organization.

The Virtual Computing Capability (VCC) represents the cloud platform in the context of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™. It abstracts the complexity of cloud platform architectures e.g., Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMware Virtual Cloud Automation Center (vCAC). Through several tools, it facilitates the design, optimization and the deployment of highly complex cloud architectures; examples of tools include the AWS-based Architecture Transformation Matrix, AWS-based VCC Architecture Reference, as well as several AWS Architecture Design Patterns including the Extended VPC-based Hosting Environment and Extended EC2-based Computing Capability.

Wrapping Up

The Courtney ITaaS™ and its Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™ are detailed in my book The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™: The Art of Integrating AWS, DevOps, and ITIL into ITaaS Delivery Models.” I honestly and sincerely encourage you to buy it, a 500% return on investment is guaranteed.

The Complete ITaaS Delivery Model: The art of integrating AWS, DevOps and ITIL into complete ITaaS delivery model

The important message to keep in mind, debate and share as widely as you can is, it is vital for businesses willing to embrace ITaaS to debunk the myths that have been proliferating in the cloud industry:

  • Public Cloud Myth – Today’s public cloud implementation approaches are just enhanced versions of traditional outsourcing based on cloud vendor solutions. As long as the IT Operating Model and IT /cloud services aren’t proactively and explicitly addressed it cannot be called either cloud computing or ITaaS. No business benefits can be expected.
  • Private Cloud Myth – Today’s private cloud implementation approaches are just enhanced versions of traditional virtualization based on cloud vendor solutions. As long as the IT Operating Model and IT /cloud services aren’t proactively and explicitly addressed it cannot be called either cloud computing or ITaaS. No business benefits can be expected.
  • The notion of IT and cloud transformation as used by the major brands of the IT industry is erroneous and confusing; it gives the feeling that what matters is the technology change./span>

As long as it does not proactively and explicitly address in integrated manner the three dimensions of businesses including the IT Operating Model, The Services Catalog and Technology it cannot be called either IT transformation or ITaaS transformation. No business benefits can be expected.

More Stories By Philippe Abdoulaye

Philippe Abdoulaye is a highly experienced IT strategist with a 25-year background leading IT transformation projects in areas as varied as cloud computing, DevOps, Enterprise Architecture and ITIL. He is Founder, CEO, and VP of DevOps and IT as a Service (ITaaS) practices at ITaaS Now, LLC a Raleigh, NC based startup specializing in IT transformation.

He is the author of several books on cloud computing and ITaaS and a top ranked CIO advisor. He is the originator of the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model™, a framework guiding IT organization transformations to DevOps.

He has been leading projects and CIO advisory consulting works around Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, DevOps and IT as a Service (ITaaS) for global firms like Credit Suisse, American Express, Ralph Lauren Polo, Educational Testing Service (ETS), McKinsey Company, alike.

He has an established reputation for:
• Building executive consensus on the business benefits of your DevOps platform
• Auditing IT operating Model and application deployment infrastructures
• Aligning IT organizations with DevOps operating model and continuous delivery pipeline