C-level executives demand ever-lower costs, yet ever more reliable and secure services. They also need IT to deliver next-generation products and services, with elastic, scalable and revenue-generating infrastructures that can deliver big data insights on any device at any time.
No wonder industry analyst Gartner, Inc. suggests that CIOs "continue the process of further industrializing and renovating" core IT systems. A Cognizant-sponsored Gartner report suggests that accomplishing this requires the following initiatives:
Driving simplification; making IT easier to partner with. To help businesses adapt quickly while maintaining daily operations, CIOs must make IT simpler to procure, consume and manage. Making IT simpler to procure requires a number of changes, such as the creation of policy frameworks, as well as guidance and services to support "shadow IT" as users turn to outside providers for faster, lower-cost service. Such support improves the perception of internal IT and helps it compete more effectively with external providers and retain skilled staff.
Procurement simplification also requires sourcing models that are aligned with the business, rather than IT; performance goals and success metrics based on outcomes; and pricing based on measurable impact of the investment. As a result, IT will be better able to build solid business cases for technology investments and increase alignment with business goals.
CIOs can make IT simpler to consume through service catalogs that clearly describe the nature, objective, specifications and price of IT services, as well as integrated dashboards that track service performance. By providing users with a consistent view of IT services, these tools can improve decision-making, resource allocation, expectation setting and IT alignment with strategic business goals.
Finally, making IT easy to manage requires seamless services that reduce operational costs and improve customer satisfaction. Strategies include combining applications and infrastructure teams to speed feedback about performance and other issues, as well as standardized tools and processes and cross-training of staff across infrastructure and applications. Combining development/testing and operations into a single, unified team (DevOps) is another proven way to slash time-to-market for business initiatives.
Running predictable operations. Running predictable operations increases effectiveness, efficiency and agility by reducing downtime and reallocating staff from troubleshooting to higher-value areas, such as innovation.
Achieving this goal requires the ability to meet consistent and measurable service level agreements (SLAs); one way to do this is by using automation and autonomic computing to enable predictive, rather than reactive, operations, as well as a class-of-service approach to increase operational maturity through a converged, virtualized infrastructure.
CIOs can begin by setting actionable goals in the form of SLAs, with the business choosing which class of service is best for each task and functional area. Global delivery centers can further drive consistent service delivery through standard process frameworks, tools and metrics.
Building progressive solutions. CIOs must make the transition from serving current needs to anticipating and enabling new products, services and business models. Doing so will require next-generation data center and workplace services.
Next-generation data center services include:
Cloud-enabled enterprise transformation, including consulting and implementation of social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies (the SMAC Stack) and cloud-enabled application platforms and data centers.
Hybrid IT that places workloads in different internal or external "landing zones" based on their requirements for security, cost, risk reduction, rapid provisioning, elasticity and robust and auditable infrastructure.
Seamless provisioning and management across landing zones, using cloud-based collaboration and management tools.