Has the 'elephant in the room' suddenly appeared or has the IT world merely been turning a blind eye when it comes to recognizing one of the most important facets of virtualization and cloud computing? There seems to be resistance to the inevitable and necessary restructuring of IT organizations in this new virtual, services-driven world.

Technology shifts are remaking the Chief Information Officer (CIO) career trajectory, and as a result organizations will have to evolve to meet these new demands and expectations. The increasing reliance on IT across the enterprise has seen the CIO evolve from being a 'function' leader to a 'business strategy' leader. Statements like: “We are more focused on business outcomes than technology,” will likely become the norm rather than the exception. The CIO role is evolving from a support-based position; it's now shifting to a role more closely-aligned to corporate strategist, especially in this rapidly-changing service-orientated cloud computing environment.

To get the most out of highly-virtualized, cloud-ready environments consumers and users have to rethink and realign IT organizations. Consider the typical organization of a data center, which usually contains a hardware department, a network department, and a storage department. Internal customers can no longer require separate equipment and management tools -- the world of standardization has arrived.

Many organizations operating in physical data centers leverage an IT Service Management (ITSM) or Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework for best practices and have developed corresponding management and maintenance practices. With an ever-increasing virtualization footprint, automated processes such as vMotion move workloads and applications between hosts based on business rules. These rules require firms to realign and reassess their organizational structures and convert the 'siloed' specialist into a service delivery 'generalist'. This means that the hardware, network, and storage departments of a typical data center can no longer exist as separate entities.

Items to Consider for Review Within Your Business

  • Reinforce the need for change and instill a sense of urgency

  • Drive clarity of IT organizational dependencies

  • Revise organizational measurements, expectations, and success criteria to reflect new, virtualized environments

  • Determine priorities and phases of transformation

  • Determine training and development needs

  • Quantify the cost and benefit areas

As ITaaS becomes more of a need-based reality, businesses should measure their operational readiness capabilities and review key infrastructure processes that need to be revised to support virtualization and Hybrid IT strategies. The procedural efficiencies highlighted through automated provisioning, monitoring, and management releases staff from repetitive tasks -- freeing up time to focus on more business objectives.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all manner in which to approach virtualization in the ever-changing world of IT, especially since organizational overhauls can be difficult and time-consuming. Change is part of business, and that 'elephant' in the corner -- well, it's now sitting front and center.

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