Changing the Psychology of IT in the Era of the Cloud

Michael Vizard

Most therapists will tell you that unless the patient is committed to change, no amount of therapy is going to make any substantial difference in their lives.

Right now, IT organizations are confronted with a host of innovations, starting with virtualization right on up to cloud computing, that require a new approach to IT. The question is: How committed are IT organizations to embracing those changes?

Most IT organizations will use these technologies in one form or another. What's not clear is to what degree they will change the way they think about delivering IT services. Instead of acquiring all the hardware and software needed to deliver an IT service, cloud computing allows an IT organization to think like a general contractor of IT services. That can be both scary and liberating.

According to Eric Pulier, CEO of ServiceMesh, a cloud computing service that allows IT organizations to aggregate and track third-party services used across the enterprise, the issue that IT organizations need to come to terms with is that the unique value they bring to the business does not involve managing hardware or deploying software. Instead, he says IT organizations need to focus on accelerating the standardization of IT services wherever and whenever it can occur in order to drive cost out of the business. The best way of doing that, says Pulier, is to set a new Agile IT Operational Model for delivering IT services where building custom software or deploying a packaged application on premise is very much the exception rather than the rule.

To accomplish that goal, Pulier says IT organizations need to set up the equivalent of the "App Store for the Enterprise." That approach allows IT organizations to bring some governance to all the money that is spent throughout the organization on various cloud computing and software-as-a-service applications. In addition, it allows IT organizations to rein in rogue spending and cut better deals for services based on volume discounts. Of course, IT organizations could build their own app store on premise, but Pulier says it makes more sense to manage cloud services with a service that already exists in the cloud.

ServiceMesh is trying to help customers exercise some clout when it comes to negotiating these services as a founding member of the Enterprise Cloud Leadership Council (ECLC), under which companies such as Deutsche Bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Austrailia are pooling their purchasing power in the cloud to cut better deals, and demand standard application programming interfaces and simpler contract language. The next step for the ECLC, says Pulier, will be to create groups in the organization that are aligned around specific vertical industries.

As part of these nascent efforts, Pulier says he sees an unprecedented level of cooperation across IT organizations within the same vertical industry as companies realize that their competitive edge is not defined by how they set up their IT, but rather how they use it.

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