What percent of your IT budget do you spend on "keeping the lights
on"? If you're anything like a typical company that I work with, the
answer is more than half. That doesn't leave much money for spending on
new initiatives and projects. In fact, in 2010, the average IT
organisation spent less than 25% of their IT operating and capital
budget in these categories.
Most companies that I speak with tell me they wish it was more, but they get constantly caught up in the day-to-day "firefighting" which leaves little time and budget to spend on new innovations, more proactive measures, and new initiatives. And the treadmill just keeps getting faster and faster as more projects are piled on with little or no additional budget to help implement them.
While we can't stop the treadmill, I have seen some organisations
slow it down enough to spend more time and money on new initiatives.
How, you might be wondering? The key is in the organisational separation
of the infrastructure (engineering/design) groups from the operations
Traditional infrastructure and operations organisational
structures had the design, engineering, operations and all the support
done by the same group of people. Sure, they may be grouped by the
supported technology, but often still all sharing the day-to-day
Slowly, we are starting to see companies separating
the functions by assigning certain resources to operations and others to
infrastructure, but the most benefit can be found when the two groups
are under separate reporting structures.
By taking infrastructure
engineering and design resources out of the day-to-day operations, they
will have more time to devote to new projects, upgrades, requests for
enhancement and most importantly, innovation. Of course, infrastructure
and operations can't each exist on their own, they need to remain
tightly linked through governance and service management.
This trend is not new, but it has been accelerating as IT enters a new industrialized era
and as the business becomes more and more reliant on, and demanding of, its supporting infrastructure.
Next week, my colleague Glenn O'Donnell and I are leading a track session at Forrester's IT Forum on this topic as well as on the new skills that are required to survive this evolution.
I hope you can join us and join in on the discussion around the IT industrial revolution, the bifurcation of infrastructure and operations, and what impact the cloud and automation will have on our organisations.
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