The IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) model began as a way of provisioning IT services, infrastructure and support for businesses that did not really understand how to create or run IT services. The ITaaS model does this at scale in a cost-effective and predictable manner. Put another way, ITaaS is a pay-as-you-go model aimed at SMBs who want IT services—including business applications like mail and messaging as well as services like storage, networks, security, licensing, disaster recovery, helpdesk and support—but have no one to guide them on how to go about it. ITaaS, with its shared resources, emerged as a response to this need.
Today, large enterprises find that they too can leverage ITaaS services. This is especially true in scenarios where demand is unpredictable and organizations—especially large ones—tend to over buy because they want to ensure that services are always available. In an era where cloud services are common and shared resources are becoming common practice, it seems a waste of budget to provision for what can be bought off a catalog in convenient units.
Enterprises ripe to pluck the fruits of ITaaS
A fundamental reason why enterprises want to use the ITaaS model for IT provisioning is that the nature of the IT buyer has changed. Today, business users can choose the services they want. Purchases don’t have to be made by the IT organization. This cuts down provisioning time and makes teams more nimble. There are other reasons for enterprises to consider ITaaS. Business users often do not know the exact technologies they want; they only know the desired outcomes. By implication, ITaaS presents a lowered risk from inaccurate decisions as well as allows the ability to change purchase decisions quickly. In a sense, ITaaS allows for a high tolerance for imperfections in strategy and implementation. The question is how do buyers who have little or no knowledge of IT change their decisions with any degree of confidence? This is where ITaaS providers have excelled. Instead of making solutions and catalogues complex, they drive simplification and standardization that ensures the service is easy to understand, even for the lay person.
15 Top ITaaS Dos and Don’ts for enterprises
Do ensure there is executive backing for ITaaS within the organization. This means educating stakeholders and senior management about the benefits, applicability and outcomes of ITaaS for the enterprise. Without positive executive support, ITaaS will remain a concept that is discussed but rarely embraced.
Do use ITaaS for small new projects that are surrounded by uncertainty. Use ITaaS as a sandbox.
Do use ITaaS for rapidly changing business environments and models.
Do use ITaaS for projects and needs that call for speed and agility.
Do use ITaaS to test new ideas or where start-up like behavior is prescribed.
Do change IT procurement policy and enable people make different choices and ensure # 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 become possible.
Do encourage business units (BUs) to explore ITaaS options and make their own decisions while staying within budgets.
Do train BUs to make the right choice. If training is not possible, make in-house technical expertise available. Let the BU use creativity to solve its IT problems and let the in-house technical expert be a support in the process. Doing this ensures that experience gained through solutions created by other BUs gets leveraged.
Do be prepared for resistance as ITaaS will mark a change in the balance of control over IT. However, if the change is incremental (which is what it should be), it may go un-noticed. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for the concerns of employees that may begin to manifest themselves.
Don’t let the IT organization within the enterprise get bogged down by simple, repetitive tasks. Turn to ITaaS as a solution to free high-end resources in the IT organization. These resources can then focus on adding value to the business by ensuring it focuses on bringing products to market faster, improving collaboration between BUs, partners and customers and championing innovation around new technologies.
Don’t ignore people capabilities and limitations. This means being vigilant towards complexity. Don’t let complexity creep into the ITaaS model. The simpler the ITaaS model, the more people are comfortable with it.
Don’t try to create massive IT transformation within the organization using the ITaaS model. ITaas is best adopted in incremental steps. Its success depends on step-by-step evolution.
Don’t think of ITaaS as a point solution. Think of it as a well-rounded, standardized (and therefore get used to the idea that it will have limitations) service that you should be able to scale when required.
Don’t ignore the need to establish clear milestones, outcomes and ROI for the ITaaS initiatives. Large enterprises often make the mistake of ignoring this aspect because investments are not large and are sometimes seen as being temporary. Nothing is further from the truth. ITaaS can quickly begin to grow as the preferred model for IT. But its further adoption may face organizational barriers because initial ITaaS initiatives failed to establish milestones and show success.
Don’t lock yourself into fixed or rigid contract for ITaaS services.
It is important for every enterprise to carefully examine what ITaaS has to offer. This is to ensure that the enterprise is not left behind as competition figures out ways to leverage faster and cheaper services to power change or respond to uncertainty. Enterprises that overlook ITaaS as being “an SMB thing” do so at their own peril. What is your vision for iTaaS in your organization?
About the Author: Ben Trowbridge is an accomplished Outsourcing Advisor with extensive experience in outsourcing and managed services. As a former EY Partner and CEO of Alsbridge, he built successful practices in Transformational Outsourcing, BPO, IT Outsourcing, and Cybersecurity Managed Services. Throughout his career, Ben has advised a broad range of clients on outsourcing and global business services strategy and transactions. As the current CEO of the Outsourcing Center, he provides valuable insights and guidance to buyers and managed services executives. Contact him at [email protected].