Last month, I got the chance to meet the Information Technology (IT) leadership and think-tank of at least three of the world's largest IT spenders. It was interesting to see some of the evolving conversations and the change in thinking. Till recently, the dominant thinking was that IT is not considered by the business to be their core competency but however it is an essential constituent for the business performance. Enablement and assurance of IT services is crucial for any organization and it is sufficient for smaller units within to carry the mandate supported by some external providers augmenting for scale.
There is perhaps changing today and this is emanating from the enterprise expectations on the changes in business climate they operate in. The world going digital is getting sufficient press that it is no more possible to ignore and wait and watch. The parting words of John Chambers at Cisco Live is a good capture of some of the thinking. Be it a Manufacturing, Services or a Trading business, the world going digital has the potential to disrupt existing models. IT is emerging as an integrated part of an organizations product and services offering, therefore an overhaul of thinking around this is mandated.
My recent paper on the Digital Modulation of IT discusses the impact of digital and how the value chain should be analyzed in the context of how "sensing and controlling interaction amongst and between artificial things, natural things and humans will open up a world of value generating opportunities." The paper discusses areas that require special focus from an IT capability perspective to address these.
A key capability discussed in the paper is the evolution of data center services around clouds and the need to establish a Hybrid IT capability and a service broker. This is a topic coming up repeatedly in conversations amongst the think tank. While the earlier wave of interest in public clouds were mostly centered around the cost saving proposition, the next wave of cloud adoption will see enterprises chasing solutions that is solving specific business problems better, faster and cheaper. Multi-cloud scenario for an enterprise is a reality with providers embedding their IPs and having unique approaches to solving problem through their PaaS, SaaS and even IaaS offering.
This multi-cloud scenario means enterprises will have to deal with a variety of cloud (public, private) providers and services in a dynamic way. A globally spread organization will come with further challenges of multi-currency, taxation, billing modes etc. This means that the shared IT organization or a primary service provider has to play the role of a broker, present a marketplace and be able to compose, integrate, aggregate, commercial fulfillment and also provide assurance of the services. The need for specialized service broker system, process, new roles and responsibilities come with the appreciation of the scenario.
There is a lot of innovation happening in this field of Hybrid IT, the cloud ecosystem, management providers, community, OEMs, ISVs, service brokers etc. with them aligning towards real practical needs today. The viability of this today and living examples makes this a serious pursuit topic for enterprises.