How To Re-engineer Your IT Silos

How To Re-engineer Your IT Silos

How To Re-engineer Your IT Silos To Release The Teamwork Within

The technology exists today to implement a fully converged infrastructure that integrates servers, storage, networks and management into a single, flexible, and adaptable IT environment. Among its other benefits, a functional converged infrastructure is the gateway to all the advantages of cloud computing. When it comes to realizing the full potential of a converged infrastructure environment, however, technology may be the easy part. Probably the single biggest barrier to realizing a converged infrastructure is political. Before you can effectively change the technology, you have to change the culture of the typical IT department.

Traditionally, IT departments are divided into different groups or silos depending on the specific technology they are responsible for. There’s a server group, a storage group, a network group, an applications group. Separated from each other by specialty, there is often very little interaction between members of the different silos. Each silo makes decisions independently and often competes with each other for budget.

In many ways, the silos in IT departments are configured like the conventional component-based IT infrastructure that they have supported. As their respective technology focus has become more complex and specialized, they have become more vertically oriented. IT departments have worked that way for years, and there is a definite tendency to want to keep working that way.

Fear of Change

The advantages of a converged infrastructure are very compelling on a broad technological and financial level. When you get down to the people involved, however, it can get more nuanced. Questions of job security and anxiety about future downsizing can cause technologists to feel threatened by their own technology. Fear of change, may well explain some of the resistance to converged infrastructure and cloud computing within IT departments, even though these advances in technology hold the promise of making their jobs easier…and more interesting.

The existing silo-culture reflects the mindset that every application requires its own dedicated environment: server, network interface, storage device, etc. As a result, when some business user comes in asking for a new application, each department head in IT has to spend hours figuring out the current optimal hardware (which may be different than what was specified six months ago), order it, get it in, stand it up, test it, and move it into production.

With a converged infrastructure, there is a shared-use model where resources are available by going to a portal and requesting them. Intelligence built into the IT fabric takes care of the provisioning and deployment of the appropriate resources according to the rules and best practices established by the IT department. Now instead of spending all his or her time assembling the technology piece by piece, the technologist can focus on the more creative task of enhancing what the business user actually wants to accomplish.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

This capability doesn’t happen over night. Implementing a converged infrastructure is a long term project. The best way to get your server and storage people collaborating with your networking people is to get them participating directly in the process of defining what it will take to make the culture reflect the horizontal orientation of a converged infrastructure IT environment.

It is also important that the technical specialists in your department understand that a converged infrastructure doesn’t make their knowledge irrelevant, or diminish their value to the organization in any way. Virtualization abstracts the physical hardware and software in separate layers, but you still have to have the people who know how each layer interacts with the one above it.

Cultural Challenges

In our experience, the organizations that are successful in implementing converged infrastructure environments address both the technology and the cultural challenges that this new model represents. Typically, the decision to implement converged infrastructure and advance toward cloud computing comes from the top down. The CEO wants the increased performance, flexibility and resilience. The CFO wants the pay-for-what-you-need efficiencies of the shared-resource model. And the CIO realizes he or she can’t get to the kind of intelligent, dynamic, self-regulating IT environment that will be required in the future with the component-based data center architectures of the past.

The better CIOs also realize that, just as they can’t toss out all their old technology and get new stuff, they can’t just tear down the silos that have existed in their department and expect spontaneous team spirit and high fives around the IT department. The transition to converged infrastructures, and the development of an ITIL-based IT system management (ITSM) strategy, automation, orchestration that lead to cloud computing means a dramatic change for the IT department itself.

A good way to get your technologists to embrace the shared-use mindset is to engage them directly in strategy meetings to re-organize themselves in a way that reflects the convergence of the underlying technologies. Most will appreciate being given the opportunity to drive change as opposed to being run over by it. The decision to commit to converged infrastructure may come from the top, but it needs the buy-in of the people who are going to implement and support it, if it is to succeed.

Opportunity for Innovation

The process of working together to implement a new shared-resource architecture can actually contribute to a more inclusive and cohesive sense of team spirit as new working relationships develop across the technology specialties that once defined—and separated–departmental silos. In fact, the greatest opportunity for game changing innovation today exists around the edges of the technological specialties that once divided your IT team into competing fiefdoms.

As advanced as it is, technology still can’t think. Designing solutions, implementing them, managing and supporting them is still essentially a task for people. Fortunately, the activity of developing and carrying out a converged infrastructure strategy as a precursor to cloud computing can be an ideal exercise in building team familiarity. Many studies have shown that people who have collaborated before work better together than people who have not.

The latest generation of ITIL best practices is available to guide you in the development of an effective IT System Management strategy that contains the intelligence your IT environment needs to run smoothly. But every IT environment for every organization is unique. The intelligence to empower your IT environment to live up to its full potential still has to come from your IT team.

For my next column, I’ve asked our ITSM expert Mike Alley to sit in for me and talk about how—and why–to develop a service catalog and put in place the ITIL processes that will allow you to progress with confidence along the IT transformation journey.

By Kevin Gruneisen, Logicalis Senior Director Cloud and Data Center Solutionskevin

Kevin has nearly 30 years of experience in the Infrastructure Technology business. His key responsibilities at Logicalis are focused on matching Logicalis’ capabilities with the cloud and data center needs of its customers. Kevin joined Logicalis in 2004 when Logicalis acquired Solution Technology, Inc. He began his career in technology with IBM in 1984. 

For more information, Kevin recommends IT pros explore the IT Transformation Journey, a microsite dedicated to this topic, at www.unlikeanycloud.com.

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comic
Fully Autonomous Cars: How’s It REALLY Going To Work?

Fully Autonomous Cars: How’s It REALLY Going To Work?

Pros and Cons and What the Experts Think Science fiction meets reality, and modern civilization is excitedly looking forward to the ubiquity of self-driving cars. However, an omnipresence of fully autonomous cars won’t happen as quickly as even some hopeful experts anticipate. While the autonomous car pros versus the cons race (See infographic discovered via…

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Bottlenecking

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Bottlenecking

By David Fletcher Please feel free to share our comics via social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest. Clear attribution (Twitter example: via @cloudtweaks) to our original comic sources is greatly appreciated.

Recent Articles - Posted by
Fintech Systems, Advancements and Investments

Fintech Systems, Advancements and Investments

Fintech Growth According to a recent report, global investment in fintech companies including both venture-backed and non-venture-backed businesses reached $9.4 billion in the second quarter of 2016; investment in venture capital-backed fintech startups, however, fell by 49%. Nevertheless, the Pulse of Fintech, published jointly by KPMG International and CB Insights, suggests venture capital investment in…

How Identity Governance Can Secure The Cloud Enterprise

How Identity Governance Can Secure The Cloud Enterprise

Securing The Cloud Enterprise Cloud adoption is accelerating for most enterprises, and cloud computing is becoming an integral part of enterprise IT and security infrastructure. Based on current adoption trends, it’s clear that the vast majority of new applications purchased by organizations will be SaaS applications. The allure is evident, from cost savings to speed…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…

Cloud-based GRC Intelligence Supports Better Business Performance

Cloud-based GRC Intelligence Supports Better Business Performance

Cloud-based GRC Intelligence All businesses need a strategy and processes for governance, risk and compliance (GRC). Many still view GRC activity as a burdensome ‘must-do,’ approaching it reactively and managing it with non-specialized tools. GRC is a necessary business endeavor but it can be elevated from a cost drain to a value-add activity. By integrating…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? You know how enterprise resource management (ERP) can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and…

Get Ready For Virtual Reality and the Cloud

Get Ready For Virtual Reality and the Cloud

Virtual Reality Cloud We’re lucky to live in an era where virtual reality is no longer relegated to the confines of a sci-fi movie universe. Thanks to technology introduced by products like Oculus Rift, consumers now have access to virtual environments with fully immersive graphic capabilities. As a result, companies have only just begun to…

Cloud Computing Services Perfect For Your Startup

Cloud Computing Services Perfect For Your Startup

Cloud Computing Services Chances are if you’re working for a startup or smaller company, you don’t have a robust IT department. You’d be lucky to even have a couple IT specialists. It’s not that smaller companies are ignoring the value and importance of IT, but with limited resources, they can’t afford to focus on anything…

Cloud Infographic – Monetizing Internet Of Things

Cloud Infographic – Monetizing Internet Of Things

Monetizing Internet Of Things There are many interesting ways in which companies are looking to connect devices to the cloud. From the vehicles to kitchen appliances the internet of things is already a $1.9 trillion dollar market based on research estimates from IDC. Included is a fascinating infographic provided by AriaSystems which shows us some of the exciting…

Business Analytics Vs Data Science

Business Analytics Vs Data Science

Big Data Continues To Grow Big Data continues to be a much discussed topic of interest and for good reason.  According to a recent report from International Data Corporation (IDC), “worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will grow from nearly $122 billion in 2015 to more than $187 billion in 2019, an increase…

The Future Of Cybersecurity

The Future Of Cybersecurity

The Future of Cybersecurity In 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order to protect critical infrastructure by establishing baseline security standards. One year later, the government announced the cybersecurity framework, a voluntary how-to guide to strengthen cybersecurity and meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to approve the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), moving it one…

Will Your Internet of Things Device Testify Against You?

Will Your Internet of Things Device Testify Against You?

Will Your Internet of Things Device Testify Imagine this:  Your wearable device is subpoenaed to testify against you.  You were driving when you were over the legal alcohol limit and data from a smart Breathalyzer device is used against you. Some might argue that such a use case could potentially safeguard society. However, it poses…

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware A new report published this morning by Menlo Security has alarmingly suggested that at least a third of the top 1,000,000 websites in the world are at risk of being infected by malware. While it’s worth prefacing the findings with the fact Menlo used Alexa to…