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3 key roles IT needs to play now




By Erik van Busschbach


The ‘digitization of everything’ seems to be one of the key themes in the industry today. We see this all around us. Think about the business and personal apps on your phone, the electronics in your car or home automation. Increasingly IT is becoming the business innovation engine, instead of just a back-office function. The new operating model for IT is challenged to bridge proven, core IT and fluid IT. This is also referred to as two speed or bimodal it.


I’ve spent the last several years of my career as a consultant working with customers to help them transform their IT organizations so they can deliver continuous service innovation. The key question I often get from customers is how to do this and where to start?


Start the journey to value

My approach has always been grounded in the idea to keep focus on delivering value, which (to quote Peter Drucker) is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. To do this effectively, you need a blueprint for where you want to go, and use this to identify the biggest opportunity to improve. In other words, think strategically yet act tactically when you improve your IT Value Chain.


To get to continuous service innovation, you need to change how you plan, how you develop, how you fulfill requests, and how you operate—these are the four key elements that make up the IT Value Chain. And it’s this concept that underpins the IT4IT reference architecture, a new standard for managing enterprise IT. While this is related to technology, it also requires a cultural shift.


I am proud to be part of the core HP IT4IT team, and HP’s role as one of the founding members of the new IT4IT reference architecture, which was published last November by the Open Group. As some of my colleagues in HP Software Professional Services have written, IT4IT is grounded in the holistic, value-chain approach that characterizes our services and solution offerings.


IT4IT and the IT Value Chain provide the blueprint for looking at the end goal. But having worked with several customers through this process, I have concluded that the new style of it operating model is composed from three interrelated roles: service broker, hybrid developer, and cloud provider.


The 3 roles: service broker, hybrid developer, and cloud provider

To achieve continuous service innovation, you need these three roles in your organization: service broker, hybrid developer and cloud supplier. And you need them all working in harmony.


  • Service broker: Provides whatever services the business needs and making them available through the service catalog, either by developing them in-house (see DevOps) or brokering them from somewhere else.
  • Hybrid developer: Using DevOps to deliver highly differentiating new applications at an accelerated time to market.
  • Cloud provider: Provides cloud services like IaaS or PaaS on the fly that have high availability, a high level of automation, are very easy to consume, and are easy to measure.

In my experience, understanding the unity of three is what customers are really struggling with. They know they have to do their cloud project. They know they have to do DevOps. They also realize they need to change their service catalog. But no one’s telling them it’s the combination of those three elements that makes a difference. And each of these is a transformation journey.


3 transformation journeys in one

Three transformation journeys might sound overwhelming. But not if you start with end in mind and you take baby steps (see my post on ‘Why the IT Value Chain is your blueprint for strategically regaining control of IT’).


Any organization has within it a group of people who should be focused on brokering services. So start maturing that group. Even if you do it all in-house, it’s the mindset shift that is important. It’s transformational to think differently about who you are and how you operate. So start transforming yourself from traditional portfolio management and a project-centric mindset to one where you’re service-centric and brokering services that someone else provides.


The second transformational journey is for the development team. Their journey is to embrace DevOps and break down silos because they need to be faster. But this team also must focus on those pieces of functionality that are really value added. Don't focus so much on the system of record. Instead, focus on the system of engagement: the user experience and the system of insight. You want to know what your users do and apply big data principles to this.


Last not but least, there is infrastructure operations. Traditionally, this role in IT provides you with hardware on demand. Their transformation journey is really to become differentiating compared to public cloud vendors in what they offer. But the first step is they need to start private cloud services similar to what public cloud is doing.


These three journeys are complementary and partially overlapping—that’s why we have solutions in all three domains. The benefit and the value really comes when you start taking these baby steps and orchestrate them all together.


As one of the founding members of IT4IT, HP has embedded IT4IT in its offerings and acquired years of experience in helping customers define their journey to value. To find out more, visit our IT Strategy Service page. Or learn more about our perspective on IT transformation in this Frost & Sullivan report, Helping IT Transform: The Rise of Management of Organizational Change Services.


Erik headshot.JPGErik van Busschbach is a CTO in the HP Software Professional Services Strategy and Solutions team with 15 years in IT enterprise software development and delivery. With experience across the entire software value delivery chain he knows what it takes to turn strategy into results. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikBusschbach.


Related links:

HP Software Professional Services

Ebook: Value Streams: A user-centric model for the enterprise CIO

Blog post: IT4IT and the path to continuous service innovation

Blog post: Why the IT Value Chain is your blueprint for strategically regaining control of IT

Ebook: Deliver business value with the New Style of IT

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