Over time, most IT shops develop quasi-formal workflows that dictate the steps followed to complete different tasks. These often ossify into we-always-do-it-that-way routines that become permanent fixtures of the IT operation, even in the face of technology changes, organizational shifts or inefficiencies in the original processes themselves. That, in turn, can undermine efforts to operate at the speed that today's users expect.
Example: A pharmaceutical company was receiving numerous complaints about the average three to four weeks it took to fulfill requests for compute, storage and network resources. No one understood why it took so much time until the team analyzed their workflow.
The analysis revealed a series of steps dating back nearly 10 years related to security policies in force when Mac devices were not allowed on the network.
By eliminating those now-irrelevant steps, associated approvals and other unnecessary processes, the company slashed provisioning times to a maximum of three days after receiving a request and to an average of three HOURS for simple requests.
The exercise also led to a better understanding on both the IT and business sides of factors such as budget, security and compliance that must be considered in each provisioning request, paving the way for an improved relationship.
As a fringe benefit, the work processes that are now understood and documented will form the foundation for future automation projects designed to produce even faster response times.
Every day, it becomes increasingly clear that the IT-makes-all-the-technology-decisions model is as outdated as dial-up Internet access. From executives demanding that IT investments deliver concrete business results to end users bypassing IT departments by signing up for services like AWS, Dropbox, Office 365 and Yammer, the days of IT exercising absolute control over technology spend are over.
The question, of course, is: now what?We all know Gartner's prediction that 90 percent of IT spending decisions will be made outside of IT by 2020 as individual business units define their own technology needs. We all talk about shifting to an IT-as-a-service model in order to adapt. But the whole mindset has to change before IT can reinvent itself to fit the new role it is expected to fulfill. In this slideshow, Peter Kraatz, senior manager of cloud service management and IT resiliency at Datalink, has outlined four steps to help you get there.
Peter Kraatz is senior manager of cloud service management and IT resiliency at Datalink, a leading data center solutions and services provider for Fortune 500 and mid-tier enterprises.