Platform-as-a-Strategy: It’s All About Business Capabilities

By Bill Reid, Senior Director, IT Platform Strategy and Engineering

Developing Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a vital part of corporate IT operations these days as such operations strive to become more responsive to their internal business customers by shedding the traditional model for IT-as-a-Service. Through the EMC Federation, we have multiple options that we have embraced to support both new and legacy capabilities, including Cloud Foundry from Pivotal which is well-positioned for the Third Platform supporting multiple Big Data and mobility needs and VMware tools supporting the automation of public, hybrid and private cloud management.

While we embrace all of these capabilities within EMC IT, we are also taking a broader, more holistic approach to PaaS. Rather than simply thinking about Platform-as-a-Service, we are thinking about Platform-as-a-Strategy.

With a traditional PaaS model, users request platform capabilities (servers, storage, web capabilities) on a project-by-project basis and IT provides the landscape on which users can develop their applications.

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IT Financial Transparency: Eyes Wide Open to Opportunity

By Neil Thibodeau — Senior Director, IT Business Management

EMC IT’s evolving financial transparency model is letting IT users see more than costs and billing details for the IT services they use. It is also opening their eyes to the opportunity to take control of those costs and free up funds for more strategic IT investments that will result in operating efficiencies, increase profitability and enhanced growth.

For nearly four years, EMC IT has been transitioning our IT operation from a traditional centralized, cost-center based IT budget— where users had little or no information on the cost and value of what they consumed—to a financially transparent one providing increased detail on users’ IT spend. It is a crucial part of our transformation to an IT-as-a-Service model. I’m happy to say our IT customers—the business units— are beginning to use that information to take control of their IT investments as we had hoped they would.

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Putting Customer Happiness First: EMC IT’s New-Look IT Service Management

By Dana Swanstrom — Director of IT Service Management, EMC IT

If early results are any indication, EMC IT Service Management is making its customer 30 percent happier than we did two years ago. We are also giving them more control over addressing IT Service incidents via self-service options, cutting down on reassignments of their service requests from one service agent to another, and using more standardized processes resulting in fewer emergency service issues.

It’s all part of EMC IT’s recent initiative to transform our clients’ IT service experience by forging a new IT Service Management (ITSM) program that optimizes service management processes and technologies.

The project, which we call UnITy, was a massive undertaking to replace our outdated, inconsistent and less-than-agile ITSM processes and obsolete platforms to better meet the evolving needs of our customers.

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Automated Storage: The Final Piece of IT Optimization

By Srinivasa Maguluri — Consultant Architect, Cloud Platforms, EMC IT

While today’s business organizations have gained tremendous IT agility and efficiency with technology that automates the management of their computer and network resources, handling growing data storage demands across multiple environments has remained a time-consuming challenge—until now.  Software defined storage opens the door for enterprises to achieve automated and on-demand management of their data storage resources to provide the final piece of IT optimization in the cloud.

I am part of a team at EMC IT that is currently incorporating a groundbreaking software defined storage platform into our IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) model.

Amid the ongoing explosion of data creation and the demand to access and analyze such information quickly, enterprises have been struggling to manage their multi-vendor storage environments. Software defined storage turns physical storage arrays into pools of virtual shared storage resources so that users don’t have to care which platform their data is on. After all, business organizations are interested in data modeling and getting the data storage services they need, and not whether that information is in box A, box B or box C.

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Tech Prediction for 2014: IT’s Ability to Evolve Quickly

VicBy Vic Bhagat — Chief Information Officer

The era of instant gratification is upon us with the proliferation of cloud computing and software-as-a-service, Big Data and the latest analytical tools, and anywhere, anytime access to information on our mobile devices.

Our true test as IT professionals will be our ability to evolve quickly to create contemporary and innovative solutions and apps that enable our users to be more productive, to analyze Big Data for real-time information, and to make decisions that unlock value for the business.

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Predictive Analytics For IT Operations: Inventing The Future With Our Customers

By Dan Inbar — Senior Director, EMC IT Global Service Operations Center

Alan Kay, a renowned computer scientist said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

And this is my addition: “If we are about to predict the future, let’s use past events, learnings and data to make that prediction as accurate as possible.” This is how EMC IT came about using Big Data analytics to predict service outages.

Like many of our customers, we at EMC IT are exploring the potential of using Big Data analytics to improve the availability of mission critical IT applications and services. We also know that our customers share similar operation issues, so we are excited to share our progress as well.

What started as a pilot program to use Big Data analytics to improve the operation of our Exchange email system at EMC IT has evolved into a more extensive outage prediction tool that is piquing customers’ interest.  Our Big Data Analytics for Outage Prediction system could allow our operations team to collect, analyze, store, and leverage key indicators to predict and prevent interruption in mission critical operations. It is “green fields” for PAITO (Predictive Analytics for IT Operations).

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infinIT: EMC’s Gateway To IT as a Service

Throughout this blog, you have read many use cases of how EMC IT puts IT as a Service into action. Yet, among the many services and products EMC IT offers to its customers, perhaps there is no better representation of our commitment to ITaaS than infinIT (pronounced: in-fin-i-tee) — our internal portal that allows EMC IT’s employee customers to browse and purchase the tools they need to work faster, smarter and with greater agility.

Like the stores you shop online, infinIT enables EMC IT’s customers to order packaged IT products and services with transparent prices and services levels when they need them. Yet, infinIT does much more. The portal includes knowledge-based articles, FAQs and user instructions that provide self-help guidance to customers, allowing customers to be proactive in their support needs. The result has been greater accountability and faster response times in provisioning, and more importantly a smoother, more enjoyable customer experience with IT.

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Labor Allocation For Production Support: A Ticket To Increased Efficiency

 By Neil Thibodeau — Senior Director, IT Management

Third blog in a three-part series on labor sourcing

In my previous two blogs about labor allocation, I talked about how EMC IT’s move to an IT as a Service business model required us to redefine our sourcing strategy.  I described our transition to a variable consumption model, how we are gaining efficiencies from labor pooling and continuous improvement activities. In my final labor sourcing blog, I will explore how we applied this strategy to Production Support Services.

As noted in my second blog, using EMC IT’s new variable consumption-based labor model for Production Support Services (PS) is a bit trickier than for other types of service delivery in that it’s a non-discretionary spend and is usually a reaction to when something is broken. It does, however, still offer plenty of potential for increased efficiencies.

Production Support Services are measured by the number of “tickets” IT issues. Tickets are the means by which we track business unit requests to resolve issues with IT assets. Because they are logged with each problem that customers report and seek help on, tickets are completely variable. Since most tickets involve issues that need to be resolved in a specific amount of time (SLA), you could get into trouble in a pay-per-unit-of-work contract model. In other words, you will pay for all tickets generated for an application since it’s non-discretionary. Since the demand is not typically within the control of the customer, it puts a lot of pressure on IT to understand the drivers behind the ticket volumes.

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ITaaS And Financial Transparency: Refining The Cost Model Takes Time

By Paulo Prazeres — Senior Director of IT Finance

Forging an effective financial transparency model for an IT-as-a-Service operation is an ongoing process, extending months and even years after sending out those initial chargeback invoices to IT users sharing the cost and the control of the services they consume.

At EMC IT, we have been steadily refining the process since creating cost transparency around our IT services as part of launching an ITaaS model in late 2011. And as the summer of 2013 wears on, we are already in the thick of analyzing and honing projections to make improvements for 2014.

Summer vacation season notwithstanding, cost transparency takes persistence and time, especially when we are adding new IT offerings to users. That means we are dealing with new services in our catalog, and making sure we are costing and pricing them correctly depending upon what future demand looks like.

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Building The IT Factory: IT as a Service Hinges On Process Automation

By Norm Simmonds – Consulting System Administrator, EMC IT

From determining business needs to defining and pricing a service portfolio to meet them, transitioning your organization’s IT operation to an IT as a Service (ITaaS) model is a complex and challenging process. A crucial aspect of that transformation that you may not immediately focus on is the need to automate the delivery of those services.

The fact is, ITaaS is an empty promise without process automation. It is the only way IT can meet users’ demands for consistent services in an agile, on-demand timeframe not typical of the traditional IT model of the past.

After establishing a service portfolio and launching our ITaaS catalog at EMC, we are in the process of developing an end-to-end global orchestration process to automate our service delivery. While we are still evolving our system, what follows are some of the insights we have gained over the past year.

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Everybody Into The Pool: A More Agile Model For Labor Allocation

By Neil Thibodeau — Senior Director, IT Business Management

**This is the second part of a three-part series about labor sourcing in the ITaaS business model**

As IT operations evolve to become more agile, less siloed and increasingly standardized, it makes sense that the way we source skilled labor to deliver services to IT users in our business units should make a similar transition.

To that end, our Solution Delivery Services (SDS) in EMC’s IT organization has been moving to a new, consumption-based global operating model for some time. This transformation started with building out Technical Competency Centers (TCC) in which we aggregated, or “pooled,” similarly skilled EMC technical professionals.

Rather than the suboptimal approach of having individual professionals assigned to a single business unit, we set up groups of similarly skilled individuals who can be utilized in any project by any business unit as they are needed. The benefits of this competency center model are significant.

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Gateway To The Promised Land Of ITaaS

By Monisha Shekhar — Director of IT Strategic Programs

If your IT organization, like so many today, is in the midst of making the transition from a traditional IT operation to an IT as a Service model, you are likely wrestling with a fundamental question: when is the best time to actually launch your self-service IT Portal?

As the director of EMC’s ongoing IT as a Service program, which launched its first ever self-service IT portal six months ago, I am here to tell you, the sooner the better.

Don’t get me wrong though. It is definitely not an easy endeavor. It will require trying out processes and designs and making adjustment as you go. But the reality is that if you are waiting for the perfect moment to launch your IT portal, it will never arrive.

You need to get that real-time feedback from users; that real-life, trial-and-error process to determine how to make this on-demand, consumer grade shopping approach to IT services work as it should. That dialogue can’t truly begin until users are actually engaged in consuming the services you are offering them.

We spent many long, laborious months prior to our launch, creating our ITaaS model, defining services, marshalling resources, lining up technology and creating financial transparency around our IT operations to allow us to determine service costs.

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CIO Oasis at EMC World 2013

By Vic Bhagat, Executive Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Information OfficerVic

While Las Vegas is known for its bright lights, vibrant atmosphere and clattering casinosounds, I was most enamored and impressed with the energy and enthusiasm at my very first EMC World conference.

I spent my first 120 days with the company drinking from the proverbial fire hose – getting to know the company’s employees, business units and products and services.  However, I was equally inspired by the unvarnished conversations I had with the more than 70 CIOs attending EMC’s CIO Summit at EMC World. 

As a former EMC outsider and host of the Summit, I understand and empathize with the challenges and opportunities facing CIOs today.  After all, I have walked a mile (or two) in their shoes as a CIO over the last 20 years.  Sure, there was excitement around the latest product news during the conference, but a lot of our conversations revolved around how we, as CIOs, should approach the 3rd platform, defined by IDC as the next-generation compute platform comprised of mobile, cloud, big data and social media.

Want to read more? Visit the EMC Executive Reflections Blog for the full post

Running IT Like a Business: ITSM is a Challenging but Worthwhile Journey

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.

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The EMC IT Transformation: Five Years In The Making

By Jon Peirce – Senior Vice President, EMC IT

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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The 2012 EMC Corporation IT Performance Report Is Now Available

When EMC discusses its Journey to the Cloud, we do so knowing that we’ve planned, tested and validated the various technologies and solutions we used first-hand inside our own walls.  This is driving force behind EMC IT Proven.

Over the last few years, EMC IT organization has transformed tremendously – embracing cloud computing, building a new cloud data center, and replacing its dated ERP system. This has resulted in:

  • $157 million in capital expense avoidance

    Click to Enlarge

    Click to Enlarge

  • $66 million in operational expense savings

Today, EMC IT is focused on leveraging its cloud foundation and numerous EMC, RSA, VMware and VCE technologies to develop and broker services with a rich user experience, while driving agility and time-to-value for the business and its go-to-market opportunities.

For a peek into EMC’s own IT Transformation, IT as a Service, Big Data and to providing our users with consumer-grade experiences, read the 2012 EMC Corporation IT Performance Report now available as a PDF and iBook.

After you’ve read the Report, be sure to return to this site for the latest chapters our IT transformation story which we will share via blogs, white papers, and other reports throughout the year. And, most importantly, don’t hesitate to comment, ask questions or share what you read here with your colleagues.

Thank you for visiting EMC’s IT Blog.

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Moving To A Consumption-Based Model Is Essential To Deliver On The ITaaS Promise

By Neil Thibodeau — Senior Director, IT Business Management

**This is the first part of a three-part series about labor sourcing in the ITaaS business model**

You might wonder what moving our labor to a consumption-based model has to do with IT as a Service (ITaaS). The fact is a significant amount of our IT spend is made up of labor and these costs are then passed on to our business units in the form of invoices. Sourcing and contract strategies are essential to establishing our ability to effectively roll those costs into services and then back to the business units in the ITaaS business model.

Let me start by describing EMC IT’s effort to restructure its sourcing strategy. We wanted to move beyond “name-based” or “capacity-based” supply side sourcing, and move towards “unit based” supply side sourcing. In other words, rather than setting aside a specific IT employee or contractor to deliver services to a specific business group, we wanted to designate labor resources based on specific service requirements that can be leveraged for multiple business group needs.  The idea was to pool like skills that would allow us to scale and be more efficient.  Oh yeah, and we needed to do it cheaper while meeting and improving existing service levels.

When EMC IT committed to ITaaS, a key (and critical) objective was to improve the business relationship between IT and EMC business teams, by being able to communicate in terms of outcomes and not focus on regularly having to answer the labor allocation question, “what was John working on?” Our decision to further develop the ITaaS business model was also motivated by an underlying belief that there are always opportunities to improve efficiency.

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Achieving IT Financial Transparency: Simple Is Better

By Paulo Prazeres, Senior Director of IT Finance

Sometimes simple is just better, even when complex financial and IT strategies are at stake. So it wasn’t totally surprising that EMC IT’s simple approach to creating financial transparency for its transformation to IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) struck a positive note with financial leaders at two recent conferences where I gave presentations last month.

The first was a Finance Management Board meeting of The Research Board Inc. in late January, where I got to discuss EMC’s financial transparency program with some 15 IT finance leaders from other Fortune 500 companies. The following week, I gave a presentation on “The End of Flat-Tax Funded IT” to CFOs and other financial leaders from a cross-section of industries at the Corporate Performance Management Conference.

Cost Model Structure

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Attendees at both were extremely interested in oursimplicity-first approach to making the shift from a traditional lump-sum IT service budget to a financial transparency system that shares with users the true costs of IT services they consume. Leaders whose organizations are in the throes of transformation to ITaaS wanted to hear more about how  we  created five broad “buckets” of services from which to allocate costs and establish a chargeback system to our IT users.

Want to Read More? Visit the EMC Executive Reflections Blog for the full post.

ESG IT Audit Validates EMC’s Remarkable Cloud Transformation

By Jon Peirce — Senior Vice President, EMC IT 

It’s official. EMC IT has achieved tens of millions of dollars in savings as well as huge leaps in agility and productivity over the last nine years on its journey to the cloud.  In a newly released audit report evaluating EMC IT’s cloud transformation, IT analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. (ESG) concluded “the results that EMC has achieved are truly stunning.”

The results include $66 million in operating expense savings, $157 million in capital expense avoidance, an 88 percent increase in productivity, a nine-fold increase in agility and a 100-million-pound reduction in CO2 produced over the past nine years. And while we were making those strides, EMC grew its revenue from $8.2 billion to $21.7 billion. (Read the ESG IT Audit Report: http://www.esg-global.com/lab-reports/emc-it-leading-the-transformation)

The ESG report, updating its two earlier IT audits in 2009 and 2010, is concrete validation of the cumulative results of the ongoing evolution of our cloud-based IT business model. The optimization of our infrastructure in and of itself— in terms of virtualization, standardization, consolidation and tiering—delivered tremendous financial benefits to the company. One project called out in the report is EMC’s new deployment of a fully virtualized SAP ERP system on Vblock converged infrastructure.

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EMC IT Takes a Holistic Approach to Optimizing Business Capabilities

By KK Krishnakumar, Vice President & Chief IT Architect

Planning our EMC IT strategy to meet the company’s future business capability requirements is a lot like planning for the future growth of a city.  For a city to thrive and prosper, leaders must holistically coordinate infrastructure projects and resources across municipal departments to meet the needs and demands of its residents within city policies–hopefully with the least amount of bureaucracy. Road improvements, for example, need to link to traffic and development patterns and not conflict with sewer or water line installation.

As EMC’s business has become more complex, EMC IT has been striving to work closely with business units in a similarly holistic approach to map out what capabilities they need and how IT can support them. We are in the process of forging such a strategic plan for the current year, based on an increasing level of collaboration with the business units we serve.

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