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Spend time to save time and innovate

SusanMerriman ‎05-31-2013 06:03 AM - edited ‎06-26-2015 01:48 PM

In our last conversation, Patrick Eitenbichler explained why IT finds itself in a situation where, typically, 70 percent or more of time is spent on operations and 30 percent or less on innovation. From his discussions with customers Patrick sees a groundswell move to change this equation in favor of innovation. Here he shows how it can be done.


Two key things

The two most important things you can do to make time for innovation are:


  1. Simplify and automate IT – the technical name we give this process is the Converged Infrastructure Capability model.
  2. Certify and up-skill your people.


The two, of course, go hand-in-hand. And we recommend preparing an infrastructure simplification plan together with a skills audit of your people, with clear goals for training and certification. The skills audit will help you identify if you have the right mix of people, if new hires are necessary and what type of certification is needed for your team to run the converged environment.


At HP, we offer a complete range of certifications for each of the five steps in the Converged Infrastructure Capability model. We also pride ourselves on being honest brokers – if your team needs to be certified for other vendors’ products, we will tell you and advise how to go about it.


Five steps to simplify, automate and converge your IT infrastructure


  1. Standardizing your IT infrastructure: People often mistakenly think that we’re suggesting consolidating on single vendors for storage, servers, etc. While that can ease complexity, the most important thing is to implement standard processes for all infrastructure requests. These are designed to ensure that changes made in one area of your system do not cause problems elsewhere. As an added failsafe, our certification courses develop a broad appreciation of all areas of IT to ensure that people actively think about all of possible outcomes of any changes they make.
  2. Virtualizing and automating: Although most companies have virtualized their servers, there’s still scope to virtualize storage and networks. Training and certification equips your people with the knowledge to drive virtualization deeper into your IT systems, ensure consistent storage and network performance in highly virtualized environments, and start automating frequently used processes and manual tasks.
  3. Creating self-service infrastructures: Well-known software is available to create a catalog to automate services. Certifying your people in your chosen cataloging and service tool will help them make the most of it and easily develop the self-help apps that automate services such as request for new email addresses. Automation of such high-volume service requests delivers serious time and cost-savings to your business.  
  4. Automating apps: In the penultimate stage of the process, we offer more advanced training to prepare teams to program software to automate application provisioning. Training typically includes the knowledge and skills needed to architect and implements cloud service automation – providing the capability to not only automate the deployment of applications, but also ongoing maintenance with patches and software upgrades.
  5. The hybrid cloud environment: It’s not necessary to train all of your people to level four and five, as these areas require more advanced skills and strategic oversight. The certification program is designed here to ensure that your IT team becomes a true service broker with the agility to automate services using an internal cloud or public computing resources.

Those of you who read the first blog might be thinking that training your team to deliver a simplified and converged IT environment requires time and money: two things I pointed out are in short supply. But the complexity and demands on IT will only get worse if they are not addressed. And with the careful use of internal resources and standard tools and processes, the costs do not need be too onerous. Payback will be worth it. Once your catalog, standard processes, and automated tools are in place, you save time from day one. You will also gain benefits from up-skilling your team as the figures below suggest.


Some figures  

According to IDC’s Market Spotlight: The Benefits of Training and Certification, sponsored by HP: “Certified skills of IT staff members will continue to be reign as the single biggest predictor of IT project success.” Also, moving to a converged environment can result in major cost savings. For instance, the IDC report: Avoiding the Stall: Riding the Momentum of the Next Levels of Datacenter Virtualization shows the impact that standardizing, converging and virtualizing data center technology can have. It shows that:


  • The mean time to deploy new services can be reduced from 20 to 12 days
  • Annual IT costs per Gbps workload throughput fall from $24,000 to $2,000
  • Availability increases from 99.892 to 99.989  percent

Time for innovation

The CIOs I have spoken to who have made the move to converge, simplify and automate and, qualify their people with certificates, tell me that they have prepared a solid foundation for the future. And critically, they save time too. Some customers have managed to reverse the ratio I discussed in blog one, spending just 30 percent or so of time on operations. Their people also have time for innovation – reemphasizing that IT is a critical partner to the business – at a time when there’s a risk that we are overwhelmed with service requests.


Have you delivered your own converged and automated IT environment? We’d love to hear any advice you have for people considering similar projects.


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