4 Ways IT Can Better Align Itself to Fulfill Business Needs

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Take the Self-Service IT Portal Plunge

Although self-service IT portals are widely regarded as the antidote to shadow IT because of their ability to consumerize the IT service experience and accelerate service delivery, relatively few organizations have rolled out this strategy for processing end-user IT requests. Until they do, business units will continue to turn to third-party sources to get the technology services they need, compromising governance and security while also creating a fragmented technology environment with all of the associated inefficiencies.

Example: Datalink recently completed an engagement with a bank on the East Coast that was grappling with shadow IT issues. Users were going to AWS, Dropbox and other services because the IT team could not deliver needed services fast enough. As a bank, the customer could not allow data to leave the company so the goal was to bring rogue business units under control.

  • A self-service portal was built allowing business users to request 20+ services ranging from onboarding new employees to providing resources for testing new applications.
  • Almost immediately, the portal and an accompanying automation system began slowing the use of third-party services by giving business units a fast-track solution for provisioning IT services internally.
  • The bank is also saving money by eliminating the need to provision each set of VMs twice: once to set them up on AWS, and once to bring them back home.

Making these four changes will go a long way toward reshaping IT shops to accommodate shifts in the technology landscape and end-user expectations. IT may no longer be the gatekeeper on how technology funds are spent, but it can still hold the keys to getting business units what they want and need. Put the right processes in place, and you'll be ready to meet the challenge.

Every day, it becomes increasingly clear that the IT-makes-all-the-technology-decisions model is as outdated as dial-up Internet access.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.


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