Out of the shadows

Embracing IT-as-a-Service can help you tackle application sprawl.

Many enterprises are adopting cloud computing at a rate faster than the IT department can cope – with many losing count of how many applications they have in the cloud. According to IDG Research, 90 percent of all organizations today either have apps running in the cloud or will use cloud apps in the next 12 months. With different contract terms and no inventory, enterprises are open to security threats, data protection violations and massive hidden IT costs.

By 2020, a corporate “no cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no internet” policy today, according to analyst firm Gartner. It is therefore paramount IT adopt a new approach to regain control of cloud use, letting IT act as cloud brokers and allowing business units choice in their solutions. This requires IT departments “select, deploy and manage cloud-based services to optimally meet the objectives of their business stakeholder clients,” says Lynda Stadtmueller, vice president cloud services at Frost & Sullivan.

451 Research also believes there is a trend towards IT departments acting as service brokers to their own organizations by delivering IT-as-a-Service, enabling them to focus on innovation and transformation, instead of simply keeping the lights on.

New operational models needed.

Becoming a cloud service broker necessitates new operational processes, organizational roles and an analytics-based overview, providing data on performance and cost across multiple cloud resources. This granular cost management must be capable of uncovering efficiencies and ensuring optimization as enterprises keep an eye on their bottom line.

“As a cloud service broker, IT accepts responsibility for ensuring that workloads are running in the optimal cloud environment.  Not just at time of implementation, but continually,” explains Stadtmueller. This includes continuous monitoring and altering of cloud workloads to ensure best performance and cost, which is no small task.

To maximize speed and agility, the IT team must create a service catalogue of standardized and automated deployment options. The IT team must also be prepared to collaborate with business units - who increasingly hold IT budgets - to better understand user preferences and requirements.  In 40 percent of companies Frost & Sullivan surveyed, business units look after their own IT budgets and expect to be fully-included in choosing and implementing technology for their projects.

IT aligned with business.

IT departments will need to deliver on performance and availability, especially those associated with business priorities such as customer experience and employee productivity. Business units will look to IT for accountability via the same breed of service level agreements provided by commercial service providers.

Even with collaborative approaches key to digital transformation, it is essential IT stays central to the procurement process. IT provides the benefits of economies of scale, enterprise-wide approved security and data sovereignty compliance, for example. Business units working agilely with IT minimizes any bottlenecks and creates a nimble, innovative digital-first organization.

But, if IT departments don’t change technology procurement and deployment, employees will go directly to the cloud for their applications, dubbed Shadow IT, heightening security risks. With cloud subscriptions easily purchased on a credit card, employees are happy to take charge of their own IT requirements, regardless of the consequences.

Partnering for success.

Transforming a traditional IT department into an on-demand service center that can support an organization’s digital transformation requirements is a big task. Budget and skills are a significant challenge, as time and money is still tied up in supporting old legacy systems. 

IT departments looking to re-invent themselves as on-demand service centers require a partner that can provide expert support, advice and possible migration of cloud workloads, leaving enterprises focused on service diversification and profitable growth.  

Orange Business, for example, provides a consultancy service designed for enterprises setting up their IT function to run as a global service center. Orange runs IT innovation programs with proof-of-concept cloud services allowing IT department to concentrate on core business activities, supporting employee productivity and providing greater customer intimacy. Alongside this Orange offers expertise in managing cloud and legacy hyper scale diversity together with vertical and customer application infrastructures.   

By partnering with Orange, IT departments can access a highly skilled team of professionals they can tap into. Orange has 5,000 engineers and project managers experienced in managing digital transformation projects from end to end. They are supported by 24/7 local contact centers around the globe.  

IT departments need a change in mindset to make this model work.  One that is willing to partner to transform the IT function into a global IT services and innovation center. One that looks to the partner to provide continuous cloud optimization and service diversification, allowing the CTO and IT department to drive core business activities and ultimately revenue growth.

 Explore the flexibility of cloud:  Orange can help you accelerate your digital transformation with the ability to control end-to-end application performance from both an employee and customer perspective.  Click here to find out more.