The “cloud era” of information technology is upon us. Readily available, low cost, Internet-based services providing access to new capabilities and information have given rise to a new set of experiences and expectations for technology users.
Furthermore, a new generation is entering the workforce, one that has grown up with technology at their fingertips. These tech-savvy business users are mixing the technology experiences from their consumer lives with those of their profession to morph into a new “prosumer” workforce. And they are able to drive game-changing innovation without a dependence on IT intervention.
This is the reality of the cloud economy. Cloud services are the enablers for the next frontier in business and government, one where technology-enabled services are easily sourced and woven into the fabric of enterprises across all industries.
Such breakthrough is set to change the way companies do business. Cloud computing promises data space efficiency with affordable cost, which makes it attractive for thriving economies of developing countries where businesses are more than keen to build themselves into competitive international players. Indonesia — a country where business is blooming and where its population has adopted a thirst for more cutting-edge technologies — is no exception.
But, cloud sourcing can also introduce new levels of complexity and risk without proper management. Security and privacy remain the top concerns for business players all over the world. Hybrid cloud is often viewed as the most effective approach for companies who seek to regain a sense of control but would still like to cut significant costs. The approach allows businesses to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness that a public cloud computing offers, without exposing mission-critical applications and data to third-parties.
Furthermore, in Indonesia in particular, infrastructure plays a major role, especially considering the archipelagic nature and the expansive size of the country. Despite their general acknowledgement of the possible benefits of cloud computing, companies are still cautious in implementing it due to limited bandwidth available, as a result of unequal broadband distribution in the vast archipelago.
Such caution, while fully understood, does not need to be so, because when appropriately applied and adapted to the specific needs of each company, hybrid cloud could be a worthwhile solution that may boost business productivity and efficiency.
IT leaders must adapt to the cloud phenomenon and change their operating model so they are able to manage services that the enterprise values in an almost near, real-time manner. This is the experience that “prosumers” expect. This requires fundamental changes to the structure of IT itself. IT needs a business model that allows it to effectively act as the central service broker for the enterprise.
The service broker model should be viewed as the enterprise model for the CIO and must be designed around the IT products (a portfolio of services), a series of provider/consumer relationships and the value chains that enable them. This model forces IT tribes to work more collaboratively. The service becomes the organizing principle and the value chain becomes the catalyst that brings the IT tribes together. But the creation of this new IT business model will demand new roles and tools.
In terms of new roles, any existing roles such as datacenter operations, IT service desk and application development will still be needed, but will likely require modification. These roles must exhibit new behaviors and shift from a project-driven orientation to a more versatile, service-centric culture.
Concerning new tools, traditional IT automation is oriented around the processes of the different IT tribes. Because of this approach, there is no systems architecture for the function. Instead, IT has a collection of tools that are hard-wired together to keep systems operational on a daily basis.
IT is also handicapped by the fact that information flowing throughout the IT automation ecosystem is locked in islands, only accessible to the highly trained tribal member who is most familiar with the tool. As such, it is virtually useless in helping shape enterprise decisions and outcomes.
The IT mechanization to support the service broker model must be deliberately designed to power the enterprise model and the service life cycle: how services are sourced, consumed and managed.
The automation of the service broker model should be an integrated ecosystem that streamlines the sourcing and provisioning of services from multiple providers and exposes information that can be used for advanced analysis to shape new business behaviors.
Cloud will drive significant changes to business models going forward. IT organizations that continue to focus exclusively on the technology attributes of cloud will likely see innovation investments and resources shift to the business unit budgets.
On the other hand, IT organizations that adopt a new structure and position themselves as the central service broker for the enterprise will be able to mitigate risk, optimize costs, measure deliverables in value terms, and be at the forefront of business innovation.
To move in this direction, transformation is required. The focus must be on injecting shifts into the IT deliverables and engagement model, along with the roles and tools that power them. Recommended next steps for IT leaders include defining the set of services that their enterprise needs to execute its strategy, which becomes the basis for the service portfolio and sourcing strategies.
In addition, they need to develop the basis for the organization model, which is a blueprint of the IT model organized around the service portfolio, laying out the value chains for the function. Lastly, IT executives need to design the technology ecosystem required to power the service broker IT model.
News from the Jakarta Post