Having worked in a number of organisations over the last 30 years in IT, I have noticed a common and still persistent set of issues. I have mainly specialised in the design, implementation and operation of IT infrastructure, the key blocks that support the critical applications that make our everyday modern lives possible.
It is in the infrastructure arena where I see these repeated common issues:
- A lack of ongoing investment in infrastructure leading to performance, capacity and security issues.
- Inability for organisations to understand and implement a service recharge model to effectively finance the infrastructure operation and maintenance.
- Architectural teams that design solutions that are operationally inefficient, costly to maintain and complex to integrate into existing landscapes leading to incidents and protracted recoveries.
With the advent of larger and larger virtualisation transformations, cloud or not, infrastructure robustness is more and more key, as multiple silos of implementation stacks disappear, replaced with vast swathes of virtual environments.
Organisations had a basic understanding of how to recharge the business areas when you could clearly identify the “tin” that went into platforming a specific solution. The virtual world brings a new challenge for internal IT departments to transform themselves into service providers. There’s a reason why IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are key buzz words of the infrastructure world. They shouldn’t be the sole domain of Cloud providers, and all IT departments should be seeking a way to construct their offerings in the form of “as a Service” capabilities. Along with also building with finance the associated recharge models, that give a clear process for a balanced ability for business areas to pay for consumed services, and in turn allow IT to maintain, scale and secure their infrastructure.
For some organisations these issues can be a massive barrier to bringing IT back into the fold as a performant element of the business that is seen as an enabler. The first step in this key transformation, is for IT to put its arms around its estate and understand the landscape from both an application and infrastructure aspect, fully documenting and understanding the dependencies. These key landscape documents allow for various techniques to be adopted for either assessing the current hot spots with differing heat map lenses, or setting target landscapes and providing key roadmaps for delivering to those targets.
The next key step is a partnership with finance to build those recharge models and demonstrate to the business the ability for IT to become a service provider of choice. Organisations have to avoid a default reaction of outsourcing solves all. There is a place to have commoditised elements of IT run as a managed service, but outsourcing your risk rarely works.
The final step is to have IT Change Delivery (IT Projects / Portfolio) create an operationally aware approach for the design and implementation of solutions. This is done working with their Architectural capabilities as a key bridge between the Change and Operation worlds. Solution Architects have to have a keen eye on the ability for a solution to be financially (capital and revenue) efficient and operationally acceptable. This makes service transition an enabler not a barrier to project delivery.
These transformations are not quick by nature, and there is a need to accept that those roadmaps you have built are the start of a long journey, that will ultimately deliver that performant, robust set of services that modern day organisations demand.