As SVP of IT, Jon Peirce is responsible for driving EMC IT’s transformation into an IT-as-a-Service provider/ broker and strategic business partner through technology, operating model, process and organizational innovation and evolution. Additionally, he oversees operations for several of EMC’s revenue generating cloud services and leads EMC’s Centers of Excellence in the Americas. In his prior role in IT from 2006-2013, Jon was responsible for Global IT Infrastructure and Support Services and led an aggressive standardization, consolidation, virtualization, tiering and optimization program across EMC’s IT infrastructure that delivered in excess of $220M in cost savings along with improved agility, resiliency, scalability, sustainability and security.
We have shared many insights on EMC IT’s multi-year journey to transform from a traditional IT operation to an IT-as-a-Service model—from steps which determine a new organization structure to strategies on changing the mindset of employees to focus on serving our clients. With some significant transformation successes under our belt and many more in the works, it seems like an opportune time to look back a bit on how far we’ve come and reflect on what we’ve learned in the process.
What follow are the Top 10 Lessons EMC ITlearned in its IT transformation process. Regardless of whether your IT organization is just beginning this crucial transformation or is in the throes of the climb, we hope these lessons will help you move forward. #1: IT Transformation is not a project. It’s a journey. IT transformation is a complex challenge, for which a prescriptive approach to change management is inappropriate. A more iterative and agile approach is necessary.
In describing our journey to Redefine our IT organization at EMC, I told you how we brought in consultants to help us bridge the old IT world with the new, devised a fresh strategy and workstreams to execute on our roadmap and used added insights about our customers to define wins for IT. What we still needed to do beyond those milestones was to determine what our new organization would look like; we were struggling with several organizational components.
While we had broken down some technology silos in the past, we still had not taken the leap fully into a services-based organizational structure. We still had “sand in the gears” with respect to how teams worked together. Each group had its own goals and objectives, and what was important to our end customer was too often getting lost in the “interlock.” (more…)
Sometimes simple steps can lead to substantial insights in the midst of transition. One such instance proved extremely valuable in our Redefine IT effort.
In my previous Redefine IT blog, I described the structure of our IT transformation program, the workstreams we used to reshape our organization, and our pursuit of a more inclusive process for driving change. In this installment, I want to share an elegantly simple exercise that ended up bringing new focus to our IT Strategy.
As our transition to IT-as-a-Service was taking shape, we decided to actually spell out our IT Strategy and how it connects with what matters most to EMC. We have always had an implied IT Strategy that was tightly aligned to EMC’s corporate strategy; however, we had never written it down, and consequently there was varied understanding of it across our IT organization and across the company. (more…)
As I noted, we were stalled. While we had achieved significant benefits from adopting a standardized and virtualized infrastructure, we had an operating model and 2,000-person organization that had one foot in traditional IT and one foot in ITaaS. With EMC Services’ help, we regrouped, assessed our model’s maturity level and created a clearer roadmap to move forward. The next step was creating the workstreams to execute against that roadmap; reshaping our organization’s processes and the roles of our people in the new ITaaS world.
Making the transformation from the old, traditional IT world to the new IT as a service (ITaaS) world is about more than technology. It involves the much more gradual and, at times, more challenging evolution of your operation’s people and processes into a new operational and organizational structure, while maintaining the old processes and structures that need to exist until the transformation is complete.
This split focus of having one foot in the traditional IT world and one in ITaaS can undermine your transformation journey by adding complexity and uncertainty that conspire to prevent true change from taking root in the organization. The reality is, every IT organization on a transformational journey faces this type of challenge and there’s no need to tackle it alone. You may want to take the time to get some help from someone who’s done it before and can provide some “tough love” to get you over the hump.
When it comes to transforming your traditional IT operation, convincing business users to embrace your new cloud architecture can be an uphill battle.
As I noted in my last blog, EMC IT initially provided infrastructure to our business users free of charge and stepped up our guaranteed service levels to convince them to adopt our new infrastructure. Virtualization and multi-tenancy were creating tremendous cost and efficiency benefits.
Nonetheless, we faced an interesting phenomenon—even though our infrastructure was free, some business units were still opting to work around us and spend real money on services. It really caused us to pause, and ask, “Why is this happening?” (more…)
A big mistake companies make as they work to transform their IT operation is thinking that they can achieve that change without making some bold, big bets.
CIOs and IT leaders I talk with often reason, “if we make a bunch of little incremental steps, we’ll get to where we want to get.”
That is absolutely not the case, because when you make small incremental steps, in most cases, you’re ruling by consensus; you’re letting the silos dictate the strategy and the direction. And in the end, there are so many vested interests in traditional IT organizations, that a CIO or a VP of infrastructure responding to consensus can end up missing the bigger picture.
You’re engineering complexity into the system, as opposed to taking complexity out. The bigger picture is that there is an entirely different model that we need to get to as quickly as we can, and to do that requires some bold moves.
The reality is if your IT organization is working to transform into an IT-as-a-Service model to meet changing user demands, you didn’t just wander onto that path. Transformation is typically not something you do when everything is good… it’s a response to disruptive influences that make the status quo increasingly untenable.
To understand what’s driving today’s IT transformation groundswell, you need only look at the escalating pressures facing the CIO in a traditional IT operation. On one side, you have external IT service providers, promoting standardized offerings with friction-free consumption experiences and pay-by-the-drink pricing selling directly to the lines of business in competition with corporate IT. On the other side, many CIOs contend with Corporate Finance models that want to treat corporate IT like a regulated monopoly–rationing the supply of IT in order to keep total IT costs in check.
While corporate IT may have once been somewhat of a monopoly within an enterprise, those days are long gone. Increasingly tech savvy business users, empowered by consumerization trends and an explosion in IT services offered from the public cloud, are finding alternatives to corporate IT. They perceive IT as too slow, too expensive, too restrictive and too rooted in traditional thinking.
For those of us in corporate IT, if we want to achieve our ITaaS aspirations, we need to become more professional in how we deliver services. In the past, we’ve had the luxury of being able to impose services on our captive clients and with little competitive imperative for us to “be the best we could be.” We delivered client experiences that would have resulted in market share loss had we been a commercial service provider.
With the cloud, everything has changed. Public cloud services are competing for our clients’ business and, in some cases, winning by providing better value than our clients perceive we’re capable of delivering. We now clearly understand that we must transform ourselves to operate more like a business and offer levels of quality, cost and service that differentiate our offerings from alternatives our business clients might have. A core component of running our IT operation more like a business and becoming a more professional service provider is adopting a set of processes and enabling technologies supporting IT Service Management (ITSM).
ITSM is an industry standard term (much like ERP [Enterprise Resource Management] and CRM [Customer Relationship Management]) that defines a process framework describing an effective and efficient way of conducting IT’s business. Technologies that enable effective IT Service Management are referred to as ITSM Systems. As is the case with ERP and CRM systems, effective ITSM implementations rely on process and behavior change. The technology alone will do very little.
And herein is the challenge. Delivering ITaaS, or running IT more like a business requires making substantial changes to IT processes and our culture and behaviors. As someone who is sponsoring our ITaaS transformation and the implementation of a new ITSM at EMC, I can tell you that it’s not at all easy.
The transformation of IT organizations from a traditional service model to an IT as a Service (ITaaS) provider is a multi-faceted, comprehensive endeavor requiring a universal commitment from the enterprise, and tests the persistence and patience of all of us leading the charge.
In the case of EMC IT’s transformation, it is a story that began nearly five years ago, when we recognized that we would not optimize the beautiful infrastructure we built if we continued to operate with the same antiquated processes and governance we had used in the past. When looking at ourselves objectively, we had to admit that the truth hurt.
• We never had enough capacity to meet requests, and were constantly in the position of having to “manage demand down” to meet the available supply.
• Disconnects between the funding made available for IT services and the consumption of IT services was creating unproductive friction between IT and our clients.
• Increasingly, Business Groups looked to the public cloud because it’s faster and they could avoid the IT bureaucracy, even if it came at an increased cost.
• The increasing speed of EMC’s business was putting huge pressure on us to become faster and more adaptive.
• We found ourselves “sweeping up the mess” too often.
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