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