IT Focus Area: cloud
May 4, 2017
How to Successfully Build Your IT Marketplace
If you deliver traditional, on-premises IT infrastructure, you know just how time-consuming it can be to build everything yourself.
It can take months to deliver an app that someone can get in 60 seconds with their credit card and an Amazon account.
On the IT side, the cloud vendor takes care of everything. You don’t have the high costs of buying all of the parts individually, installing them, and making sure that they’re secure. You also won’t need to take calls in the middle of the night if something breaks.
But despite its ease, should you trust all your data to the cloud? There are key tools and processes to consider, as not all cloud models are equally secure.
How Can You Identify How and Where to Change as an IT Organization?
How do you know if you should build your IT services in-house or find a provider who can create the IT infrastructure that you need? As an IT leader, you must ask yourself these questions.
- Do you want to focus your staffing and resources on supporting your IT infrastructure? Is it more cost-effective to use in-house or third-party services?
- Who has the best “X as a Service” based on what you need? Can you meet your users’ requirements? Are you meeting your regulatory and compliance requirements?
- What roadmap is your IT organization using? Is it your own build or someone else’s build?
- Does your IT organization have the right infrastructure in place to provide IT services to the business?
- Have you created a process where business units can use your IT services? Does your IT staff have the ability to work with partners to adjust its services as demand dictates? While beneficial, your IT organization will need a process to track and monitor what services the business wants.
- How many different types of IT services do you need? For example, your IT organization may be able to deliver infrastructure now, but what happens if your demand increases and you need to deliver more IT infrastructure?
- Can your business use your IT services efficiently and in a timely manner?
To meet these needs and minimize shadow IT, you can no longer just fulfill demands for IT infrastructure. As seen in the chart below, IT organizations have options for transforming into supply chain managers and brokers who bundle disparate pieces of technology into a seamless end-user solution.
Businesses now have a variety of managed IT infrastructure or hosting choices. In addition to traditional in-house cloud, IT can choose infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). They can choose from public clouds, private clouds or hybrid clouds – whichever best fits the business’ needs.
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The most successful IT organizations offer flexibility and can support a variety of models. They also help business units select the most cost-effective and risk-adverse technologies.
How to Evolve from a Custom IT Shop to an IT Broker
Your IT organization doesn’t need to jump from an on-premise delivery model straight to a SaaS model. You can take smaller steps to ease your transition. The first step is moving to an IaaS model.
Here are five ways you can evolve from delivering one-off, custom infrastructure to delivering a steady stream of IT services:
1. Operate like a business
IT organizations often focus on the supply side and delivering “hot” technology, such as applications with the most impressive features. However, your users – especially senior executives – may not care about features. They care about revenue and results.
The cloud has forced IT organizations to look at the demand side and operate more like a business. Savvy IT organizations are driving business transformation and are bridging supply and demand by building a technology market to meet the demand. They’re finding out what users want and delivering those IT services first.
2. Identify which part of IT infrastructure you want to specialize in
Many companies start off with traditional IT services and expand as they develop a core customer base. Start small by identifying applications that will easily transition to a strategic sourcing model. Build mini success stories that will help you gain the business’ trust. Then, start more complex initiatives.
3. Standardize your IT services
Business units now expect internal IT to deliver services fast—not quite 30 minutes-or-less, but in weeks, not months. This makes it difficult or impossible to build custom technology. If a business unit wants a service ASAP, ask them to pick from a list of standard IT services. The ruthless standardizing your IT services makes it easier to deliver services on demand.
If a business unit is willing to wait, you can offer greater customization. It will cost more and take more time, but they can get exactly what they want.
4. Be comfortable living in a hybrid IT world and make IT consistent
Like it or not, parts of your IT environment now live outside of your organization. But a hybrid IT environment can ensure your security, resiliency and compliance.
Your IT organization should deliver consistent IT services to the business. Look at your compute, network and storage standards and ask how you can deliver them repeatedly. Also, when does it make sense to deliver services internally versus through a third-party? For example, you may want to find a partner when you lack the capabilities to provide an application or type of infrastructure in-house.
5. Get services from multiple vendors
When you source from multiple providers, you can commoditize your services. Identifying your overall goals at the outset will help you narrow down which service providers are a good match for your company. This allows business units to select from a range of pre-approved vendors but still go through internal IT.
Next Step: Build Your IT Marketplace
Business units may think that they can get IT with just their credit card and an Amazon account. However, they can only get the right IT from your savvy IT organization. When you centralize your IT and build a technology marketplace, you’ll be the best deal in town.