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What is an IT consumption model?

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IT consumption model By: Ahmed Banafa

 

An IT consumption model is the way businesses use information technology services and resources to achieve a balance between cost, efficiency, and productivity, while addressing administrative tasks, collaboration, and analytics, and improving business processes and objectives.

 

The IT consumption model represents the intersection of evolving technology, growing user demands, and a changing business landscape. It's the transformation from computing to consumption for businesses, and it builds on business transactions in addition to technology processes.

 

For several decades, the traditional IT model was based on capital expenses for direct equipment purchases and expense associated with operating and maintaining them. This model required businesses to acquire an asset up front, deploy it on premise, and maintain it over time. This is a risky and costly approach due to the rapid changes in technology and consumer demands.

 

New IT consumption models are gaining ground by allowing businesses to pay for usage when they need it, as they go. This can lead to a reduction or even elimination of capital expenses and maintenance and upgrade costs, causing many businesses to transition away from the traditional model toward the new IT consumption model.

 

Benefits of the new model include:

  • Agility and flexibility
  • Scalability and availability
  • Cost reduction
  • Up-to-date hardware and software
  • Expert support
  • Security

 

The typical components of an IT consumption model include:

  • Business requirements
  • Service delivery framework (business objectives, KPIs, services catalog, monitoring and support, financial management)
  • Organizational model

 

The IT consumption model and cloud computing

As the cloud emerges as the main driver of this new model, IT services are considered a commodity wherein businesses are provided with the exact amount of hardware, software, and support— when and as needed. The term IT as a service (ITaaS) is another way to explain the IT consumption model, in the sense that service providers offer and orchestrate IT services and resources. ITaaS offers a menu of software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) options, and businesses are free to mix and match according to their needs.

 

Businesses that are serious about transitioning to an IT consumption model should start with business users, applications, and services, and then gather technical specs—this can be done by focusing on some non-traditional questions, such as:

  • What services and applications are needed to drive innovation?
  • Can internal IT provide these services and applications effectively?
  • How much will the business save if it uses an IT consumption model?
  • Are any changes in processes and policies required to support the new model?

 

When answering these questions, keep in mind that user demands, evolving technology, and business needs are the driving forces for the use of an IT consumption model—not the infrastructure.

 

Mobility drives adoption

Another major trend driving this change is the widespread adoption of mobile devices and the acceptance of BYOD practices by many businesses, giving employees and consumers access to their data anywhere and anytime. Uber and Lyft, for example, are built on consumers' smart devices to drive and scale their business model. Reliability, security, scalability, and availability are all crucial for such services—and the IT consumption model provides all these qualities. HP has emerged as a leader in this field by offering consumption-based charters for hardware and software services. This model is an attractive option for CIOs of companies attempting to migrate away from one-size-fits-all technology solutions to an IT consumption model.

 

Challenges facing the IT consumption model

Decision makers need to consider all the factors mentioned above before deciding on a move to an IT consumption model. An intermediate option, for CIOs not yet ready for a complete transformation, is to have a hybrid implementation of the model where mission-critical applications run on traditional internal IT with local control of resources and services, while everything else moves to an IT consumption model.

 

Another challenge that needs to be addressed before implementation of an IT consumption model is shadow IT, which occurs when a business loses control of the usage and type of devices used by employees. To counter this problem, businesses should update and enforce IT usage policies and processes.

 

IT consumption models can free up budgets and increase investment opportunities by offering the flexibility and efficiency businesses need to grow and compete, but only if applied correctly and monitored regularly.

 

 

About the author

Banafa AhmedAhmed Banafa

 

Extensive experience in IT operations and management, as well as a research background in a variety of techniques and analysis of new technology trends. Ahmed is a professor, reviewer, and technical contributor.

About the author

Connect with Ahmed:

 Follow me on Twitter @banafaahmed

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