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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Vic Bhagat, Executive Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer
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
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.
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.