Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"CIO Master" Tuning XVIIII: Three “Hybrid” Elements in Digital IT

Digital IT has a “hybrid” nature. IT management philosophy is also transforming from “built to last,” to “wired for change.”

There is no one size fits all formula to run a highly effective IT, because, different IT organizations and the business as a whole are at the different stage of business maturity, IT can be used as a tool, enabler, catalyzer, or a digital game changer to meet the ultimate goal of an organization's short-term quick win and long-term strategic advantage. IT also has to strike the right balance between the “old way” to do things and the new way to reinvent IT as a digital change agent. There are a few “hybrid” elements in IT management to ensure a seamless digital transformation.

Cloud & On-Premise IT Service: From IT service management perspective, Cloud brings unprecedented opportunity for IT to speed up and improve IT agility. However, it takes step-wise strategic planning to push the cloud envelope. In quite a long period of time, IT organizations will have to keep both models: the on-premise models to keep IT stable and reliable, and the hybrid cloud model to take the path for IT growth and expansion. Cloud has different flavors and types, Hybrid, Private, and Public; SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, etc. There are important considerations such as mission criticality, integration requirements, data volumes, pricing model, and competitive differentiation required. There is no denying that Cloud is a disruptive IT strategy that drives a services-oriented delivery model, which, in most instances, can provide a tangible measurable, quantifiable value, but not everyone is ready to get the most of the value from Cloud. The cloud shift needs to focus on what's differentiating to the business, the "what" value of IT services rather than "how" to do it. So it makes sense that businesses are constantly seeking new flexible tools that totally exceeds what the available arms and legs can provide. The decision what goes to the cloud should not just look at technology but the process maturity and the culture discipline to maximize the value of cloud. It is important to weave "the cloud" into the digital IT picture, and keep the balance of “on premise” and “on demand” IT applications, to ensure IT is running with faster speed, reliability, and agility. To be successful, IT leaders must support the existing environment (provide a reliable secure infrastructure, maintain the application portfolio) while deploying innovative value generating (business cost reduction and revenue generating) initiatives that are leveraging SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) technologies. IT enablement is all about planning, funding, designing, building, operating, securing, optimizing for improving organizational agility, effectiveness, and maturity.

DevOps: DevOps is the natural result of organizations taking agility past their development processes to encompass the entire software lifecycle, including deployment and maintenance. DevOp is a mind shift not only in the way products are developed but also the way is supported; developers and operation staff should be in lockstep from the conceptualization phase, in this way specific needs required by the operation teams are integrated during the development of the solutions, automation, monitoring, performance, etc. DevOps, as a technical discipline allows IT to short-circuit a lot of the longer human-oriented processes and automate things. Although overall DevOps is still in a growth phase to make corporate cultural differences, and there are unreasonable expectations in some organizations because there are major gaps in talent and knowledge.The skills required for an automated and integrated service-centric team requires collaboration and scripting (coding), configuration, application and networking skill sets.

CapEx & OpEx:  SAAS on-demand IT service model also provides the opportunity for IT to manage both capital expenses and operational expense with flexibility. Shifting IT spending from Capex to Opex might be a good strategy for organizations that have already solved the riddle of delivering excellence in IT operations. It provides the opportunity for the CIO worth his/her weight to shift the resources and focus on strategic projects that will benefit the business's long-term goals. Shifting CapEx to OpEx can save on capital expenditures, and use your limited budget to its fullest. While your budget may be thin, a cloud solution can maximize it and get your organization the updated technology you need. You’ll have a system that’s more affordable to implement and maintain than traditional on-premise technology. Also, as you identify areas in IT portfolio that have become commoditized, they should be prime candidates to move to the cloud. CapEx to OpEx shift can well align the business benefit with the cost.

Digital IT has a “hybrid” nature. To compete at digital speed, IT is transforming from a builder to an integrator, from a plumber to an orchestrator; from an order taker to a business rule comaker. IT management philosophy is also transforming from “built to last,” to “wired for change.” IT needs to proactively create and response to changes, IT also needs to be flexible in delivering the optimal solutions to tailor the business needs timely. And IT value has to be driven, indicated and understood at all levels of the organization, in order to bridge the gaps and run a high-performing digital organization.


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