A Toast

IT Is Dead! Long Live IT (as a Service)!

A ToastWhile concepts like Big Data, Cloud and Software-Defined FILL-IN-THE-BLANK shoot up the technobabble chart, promising everything while too often delivering little but promises, another concept is actually delivering real value. IT as a Service (ITaaS), also known as utility computing, treats IT as a commodity, providing the customer with exactly the amount of hardware, software, and support needed for an agreed-on monthly or even hourly fee.

What a novel concept, buying what you need, when you need it — or in this case, “when you need IT”. Sounds suspiciously like the way we’ve been doing things since forever.

The benefits of the ITaaS approach are huge, including minimal upfront IT investment; regular, predictable expenses; financial transparency; tax advantages; continuous monitoring of services; expert technical support; scalability; regular software upgrades and patches; and guarantee of up-to-date hardware. And let’s not forget service level agreements, getting what you paid for, or compensation when you don’t.

Instead of the marketing hype, let’s take a look at some numbers on the surging interest in ITaaS and examples of what it can deliver.

Delivering ITaaS is a top priority for many organizations: 76% say it is a critical/high priority; 36% critical priority; 40% high but not a critical priority; and 24% moderate priority.

According to IDG’s “Cloud Innovation Study: IT as a Service”, benefits of an ITaaS include:

  • reporting on line of business IT usage costing (68%);
  • enhanced ability to manage compliance and regulatory requirements (63%); and,
  • improved customer service (62%).

Under the US Government’s PortfolioStat program, agencies and departments have identified $2.5 billion in IT savings that can be achieved by fiscal 2015. “A key lesson learned is that agencies should evolve their IT portfolios to deliver IT ‘as a service,'” U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel, wrote in a blog post. “Unlike traditional capital models where assets are purchased for individual projects, the service delivery model entails agencies deploying their IT like a business, optimizing it for consumption agency-wide. For example, with cloud computing solutions, agencies have a scalable and transparent way to provision IT services, giving agencies a viable enterprise alternative to often stove-piped, capital IT investments.”

A new survey released at the end of June estimated that IT-as-a-Service models will net $11 billion in health IT savings over the next three years, and virtually all of the respondents — 94% — report that they have purchased at least part of their IT portfolio “as a service.”

IDG has identified four key IT trends a company should follow in order to successfully deliver ITaaS:

  • changing mindset, roles, and organizational structure is paramount;
  • it is vital to attaining executive support;
  • organizations must refactor ITIL and ITSM practices; and,
  • organizations must redefine their core architecture to accelerate ITaaS

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

About the author
Steve Wexler
Steve is a proficient IT journalist, editor, publisher, and marketing communications professional. For the past two-plus decades, he has worked for the world’s leading high-technology publishers. Currently a contributor to Network Computing, Steve has served as editor and reporter for the Canadian affiliates of IDG and CMP, as well as Ziff Davis and UBM in the U.S. His strong knowledge of computers and networking technology complement his understanding of what’s important to the builders, sellers and buyers of IT products and services.