The IT Transformation Pot — Picking the Right Ingredients 

Enterprises face numerous challenges in today’s ever-expanding world of IT. They have to keep up with the latest technology, meet the ever-changing demands of their customers and support the needs of a plethora of internal teams who rely on said technology to enable their success.

That’s why organizations of all sizes are seeking to transform their IT with cloud technologies. They recognize that new approaches give them new opportunities for solving their problems.

Having said that, IT has become an enormous pot of transformation — and, depending on how well you cook, it could come up tasting great — or it could be a burnt inedible mess. IT transformation is a collaborative effort, involving many stakeholders, contributors, and skill sets, and unless it’s planned and executed well, it could be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

Where do you begin?

I’d like to start cooking — what are the ingredients?

I should point out that IT transformation involves a lot of ingredients. It’s certainly not your average cheese on toast combination, it’s more like a six-course meal that needs time to simmer and stew, so bear with me.

You’ll need to begin with the basics, understanding why you want to transform your IT and identifying the outcomes that will make it a success. Here are a few pointers:

  • Understand why change is needed and be comfortable articulating this to internal stakeholders.
    • Identify resources needed to enable the success of the project (budget, time, personnel, skills).
  • Clearly define what a successful outcome will look like.
    • What will this change bring to the company? (financial savings, streamlined processes).
  • Develop internal champions that see your vision for this change and gain executive sponsorship.
    • Ensure that you not only get the support of IT, but from the wider business too. It’s critical that these two are aligned.

Identify a suitable sous chef

As we’ve already discussed, you cannot do IT transformation alone. That’s an especially complicated issue for many organizations because talent is a major key to success.

According to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Survey, businesses are still concerned about finding the right talent, governance/control of their environments, a lack of expertise and managing multiple cloud platforms. These challenges are consistent with last year and show the need for the right team of individuals who can drive positive change in the business.

Finding a suitable vendor can help mitigate this problem. Ensuring that they understand your goals, share your vision, and can even help guide you along the way will be extremely valuable. 451 Research recently highlighted how essential it is to partner with service providers that are “investing in tools and technologies that can assist customers with cloud transformation.” For a winning recipe for success in the world of cloud transformation, you need to look for companies like Rackspace who are pioneers in developing the tools, technologies, and skills you need to succeed. 

So, how do you do that?

Considering the vendor landscape, finding the right partner can be tricky. Ensure that you know what you need beforehand and set out a list of criteria you expect each vendor to meet. Put these into categories:

  • Must haves — certifications, data center presence, experience in the technology you are looking for, support options.
  • Nice to have’s — specific features and/or hardware that is niche in the market today.
  • Not needed but would be a bonus to have — support for specific applications.

Doing this will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Preheat to 375 and bake…for how long?

Once you have these ingredients, it’s time to begin the journey of planning and executing. This process can be lengthy and will involve many changes. Always ensure you are documenting these changes and articulating them back to your executive sponsors. They won’t need to know how long you sautéed your mushrooms for, but it’s important for you to know what taste they’ll bring to the final dish.

Also ensure that your vendor is doing the same. You want this to be a shared mission so that each member demonstrates accountability at the right moments.

Out of the oven and ready to eat!

Assuming you’ve done these things (and more), you’ll likely wind up with a pretty tasty meal, translated into a streamlined business model, where IT and the business are aligned on their goals, and enabled by the technologies they’ve chosen. Now it’s time to move forward, tracking your improvements and (hopefully) enjoying success as you go.

Any examples? 

Absolutely! I recently had the pleasure of designing a private cloud for one of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world — General Electric. They had multiple applications across many different platforms and sought the need for more governance over their environment to enable them to become an internal service provider to their customers.

I, along with an awesome team of Rackers, worked together to design their OpenStack private cloud. Now they have strict controls over quotas, isolation of tenants and the ability to grow their platform as demand increases over time.

(Click here to learn more about General Electric’s work with Rackspace.)

Need a sous chef? Here’s the best bit 

For over 17 years, Rackspace has worked with numerous companies through their IT transformations. We understand this journey requires many ingredients — and great chefs — for a successful outcome. Using OpenStack, an open source cloud computing platform co-founded by Rackspace, we’ve been able to provide customers a robust enterprise private cloud as a service solution, either in a Rackspace data center, customer data center or a third-party data center.

To learn more and ask questions about whether private cloud as a service might be a good fit for your organization, take advantage of a free strategy session with a private cloud expert  — no strings attached. SIGN UP NOW.

Farouk Khan is an Enterprise OpenStack Architect at Rackspace where he has worked since 2015. He has spent the last 13 years in the IT industry and is extremely passionate about how technology is enabling the world to make positive changes across an array of industries. Outside of Rackspace, Farouk is an avid practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, enjoys travelling the world and learning about new technologies.


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