As trained technology professionals, we’ve become used to the idea that technology changes faster every year and the need to ‘minimize negative business disruptions’ is even more critical today, when more and more business transactions are relying on effective and efficient IT Services. Many years ago, I learned how difficult it was to be ready and able to support hardware, software and, most importantly, customers in the face of this rapid change.
To put this into context, in just a few decades, we’ve gone from mainframe to distributed systems to cloud computing. Now according to Gartner, the cloud market grew close to 20 percent in 2017. With digital transformation at the top of every executive’s mind, it’s likely that this trend will only accelerate. So much so that by 2020, Gartner estimates that the overall market will reach $411 billion, and IaaS $72 billion, 87 percent and 185 percent increases respectively from 2016.
When we see this rapid growth and the current compute power, storage quantity and networking capacity required to handle today’s daily business transactions, the numbers are really quite astonishing. However, most demand faster response times, more compute power, more storage, increased bandwidth and throughput, and much faster provisioning just to meet the most basic daily business needs.
Better, Faster and Cheaper
Better, faster, cheaper is and has always been the name of the game; no surprises there. Some organizations, though, can’t quite seem to focus on all three of these attributes at the same time. In my experience they tend to focus on just two, faster and cheaper, and disregard the better.
But, can they really afford to just deliver two out of three?
I am surprised that many organisations pay little to no attention to their IT operations’ maturity level. Organizations large and small, new and not so new, are sometimes so entrenched in delivering the faster and cheaper that they forget that the better can significantly contribute to achieving the performance and cost efficiencies that we all seem to be chasing after and dreaming about.
Cloud computing is certainly not a new concept. The availability of today’s amazing compute power, paired with fantastic virtualization solutions, represent key contributing factors to achieving faster and cheaper IT service. This is very evident with an efficient orchestration layer that automates provisioning by providing the end customer with a powerful and complete IT catalogue, at their fingertips, to meet their needs faster and cheaper than ever before.
But Is It Really Fast and Cheap?
What happens when companies decide to invest in new cloud computing technologies to make their IT run faster and cheaper, but lack the backbone and processes to deliver better IT services?
Even worse, what happens when they invest in cloud computing to migrate business critical applications, such as SAP, to a cloud environment without having the ‘better’ factor in place and actually end up doing damage to their business?
In these cases, the new solution fails to deliver any of the three desired attributes: it is not faster due to recurring service disruptions, is not cheaper due to the lack of service availability and is certainly not better because it ends up hurting the business.
The better factor is, in my opinion, critical for success in deploying new technologies such as cloud computing.
This better factor I’m referring to is also known as maturity. The maturity level of your IT operations is a key factor in provisioning a fast and reliable IT service at the right cost, enabling your organisation to meet, and sometimes exceed, business demands.
Finding the Better
Whether you run your business on a private, public or hybrid cloud, increasing the maturity level of your IT organisation and engaging IT service providers with a proven record of effective operational maturity is critical to achieving faster, cheaper and better IT services.
Reaching appropriate ‘Operational Maturity Levels’ – by yourself and in conjunction with your IT partners – will save you money in the short and long term. You will enjoy the benefits of a proactive support organization that will:
- Enable your IT services to minimize and even eliminate negative impacts to the business, sometimes even before disruptions actually occur.
- Empower the business to self-serve their own needs consistently with technology and enjoy higher levels of availability with predictable service levels.
- Increase retention of key resources. A higher level of operational maturity immediately translates into less “firefighting”, reduced stress and minimized unpredictable working hours.
What Can You Afford?
So, can you really afford not to focus on the better factor and do you still believe you’ll be able to deliver IT services faster and cheaper without it? Can you afford to not reach an appropriate maturity level in your IT Operations? Can you afford to hire vendors who are lacking operational maturity?
If you think you can, my advice to you would be to take a closer look at your bottom line, particularly around hidden costs such as project delays, loss of business, and loss of potential business. It should become apparent quickly that fast and cheap will not deliver over the long term without the presence of better.
It makes the most sense to partner with vendors who can prove to you how mature their operations are and who will willingly discuss their operational best practices. Include certain maturity level requirements (for whatever level is appropriate for your organisation) in your future RFPs before hiring new vendors and make operational maturity a prerequisite. This will not only improve your overall services but will also contribute to increasing the maturity level of your own operations at a much faster pace.