Will “IT as a Service” be a lifeline for the Internal Service Provider?

The ITIL 2011 Edition Service Strategy core volume defines two types of Internal Service Provider:

“Type I – an Internal Service Provider that is embedded within a Business Unit

Type II – Shared Services Unit, an Internal Service Provider that provides Shared IT services to more than one Business Unit (page 16)

These ISPs are organisational entities that perform a defined set of activities to create and deliver services that support the activities of Business Units” (page 72).

In my experience there is a culture of complacency within Internal Service Providers who have been in a monopolist position for far too long and therefore slow to change.  

Internal Service Providers are coming under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they can deliver value whilst responding to business needs in a flexible and responsive manner.

What is IT as a Service and how can it help Internal Service Providers?

IT as a Service is the transformation of IT to a more business-centric approach, focusing on outcomes such as operational efficiency, competitiveness and rapid response.  This means that the Internal Service Provider must shift focus from producing IT services to optimizing production and consumption of those services in ways consistent with business requirements.

IT as a Service (ITaaS) is a highly virtualized private cloud offering where customers / users can select from a published menu and self-provision IT services on demand.

The IT as a Service capability provides the business customer / user with the ability to:

(a) get on a self-service portal

(b) pull up the available IT services from a service catalog,

(c) choose the level of service required,

(d) provision the services requested,

(e) as necessary, combine them for increased business value using business process and service tools, and

(f) start using the services.


Bob Laliberte – Enterprise Strategy Group

At 00:50 – CIO is the broker of IT services with a Business priority first

At 01:20 – An overview of the ITaaS Key Characteristics

Please watch upto 5 minutes

Enabling IT as a Service – CISCO (Dec 2011)

For years, the promise of running IT departments like an internal service provider in an IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) model has been elusive. Frameworks such as ITIL have provided an impetus for this service mentality, but with an emphasis on IT operations and less focus on infrastructure and application development. The result was still a siloed IT environment held together by heroic efforts. The majority of IT spending is dedicated to “Keep The Lights On” activities, hindering IT’s ability to keep up with the pace of business innovation. Enter virtualization and cloud computing: essential building blocks for the agility, flexibility, and “services” focus that IT needs to deliver to the business.

IT as a Service Becoming Commonplace – Nathan Eddy (Oct 2011)

Nearly 75 percent of [survey] respondents believe that the shift to IT as a service (ITaaS) will take place in the next three to five years.

“Users now typically want to obtain a service without having to call and ask someone for it. ITaaS is doing just that—providing a catalogue of services to users and allowing them to self-provision applications.”

Profiting from IT as a Service – Johnson (Dec 2011)

IT as a service turns the data center into a revenue-generator instead of cost center,” said Mike Kaul, CEO of Sentilla Corp., Redwood City, Calif. “But analytics are needed to maximize data center efficiency by measuring performance, utilization, capacity, energy usage and total cost of ownership.”

IT-as-a-Service: Save Money on IT Costs While Improving Quality and Service – Chisolm

Many companies are finding that it is simply too costly to maintain internal comprehensive IT departments. As a result, many CFOs are looking to “IT-as-a-service” – IT resources such as email that are accessed as services – to help lower the total cost of ownership and reduce downtime.

Considering that the use of IT-as-a-service can save your company significant costs, while helping you to remain focused on what you know best–how to run your business–what could be better? Your organization will gain technology peace of mind with always-on IT-as-a-service, and significantly reduce business risk in the process.

IT as a Service Reference Architecture – Harzog (Dec 2010)

IT as a Service is the new name for what used to be called a “Private Cloud” – and it simply means a Private Cloud plus the software required for you to offer IT services on an automated, managed and self-service basis to your constituents. To embark upon an IT as a Service initiative, the most important thing you need is a reference architecture that describes the pieces that you will need to assemble in order to deliver IT as a Service (note- you cannot buy “ITaaS in a box” from any single vendor

At this point in time, there is not an IT as a Service product that you can buy from one vendor. Therefore careful attention needs to be paid to every layer of the proposed reference architecture to make sure that the selected products fit together.

There’s No Need to Reinvent the ITaaS Wheel – Gormley (Jan 2012)

EMC is in transition from a traditional IT operation to a groundbreaking IT-as-a-Service model

Why struggle with every change in a vacuum when you can benefit from the experience of others? The pursuit of ITaaS is a great example of when this makes perfect sense.

IT as a Service Competing for Business – Jon Peirce EMC  (Jul 2011)

IT as a Service is a delivery model that leverages cloud infrastructure to enable business users to be more agile through readily-consumable IT services that have transparent prices and service levels.

While it is built on technology, ITaaS isn’t a technology.  It is an operational model that transforms our traditional approach to IT into a services-based world.

So what does all this mean for the Internal Service Provider organization?

It is imperative that the Internal Service Provider moves from a focus purely on IT service levels to enabling the provisioning of business services. 

To achieve this aim the following capabilities should be established:   

  • Private Cloud Virtualized Platform
  • Secure Multi-Tenancy by partitioning shared virtualized environments
  • Software Provisioning & Lifecycle Management
  • Service Orchestration & Automation
  • Published Service Catalog
  • Robust Configuration & Change Management practices

The Internal Service Provider must address the significant People, Process and Tools changes required to establish the foundations of the “IT as a Service” model.  By doing this the Internal Service Provider will become non-optional.

I believe that Internal Service Providers will eventually be forced to adopt “IT as a Service” as the only way of staying relevant to the Business.

What do you think? – Let me know at whatdoesgoodlooklike@gmail.com or @WDGLL


Leave a comment

Filed under Business

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s