Earlier in the afternoon, I attended a session by Simon Yates, a Forrester VP analyst. The session was entitled "IT Infrastructure and Operations: The Road Ahead."
Yates covered many different topics during his session.
Success imperatives for IT that he is seeing from Forrester's clients (mostly large enterprises):
- Stay ahead of next-generation data center technologies.
- Consolidate IT for cost, efficiency, and simplification. Yates seeing a lot of interest in consolidation from their clients—very high demand over a short period of time (6 months).
- Deliver always-on, always-available infrastructure within an ever-tightening budgetary envelope. One interesting quote: “Every year is a recession in IT operations.”
- Enable user productivity through mobility.
- Automated and simplify IT processes. ITIL, Forrester is developing research around IT management and automation.
- Maintain and optimize core IT systems.
- Virtualization everywhere: servers, storage, networks, and clients. Improving server manageability and server flexibility is the number one reason for virtualization (41% consider very important and 46% consider important). Reducing hardware costs is the next reason (43% very important, 39% important) CIO's are “talking about virtualization at cocktail parties like it’s their favorite martini.”
- Next-generation data center technologies could fundamentally. Change the economics of IT. Cloud computing has burst onto the scene. This could have a profound impact on how people build data centers.
- Mobility requirements are driving investments in infrastructure to support a changing workplace.
Gaps in the virtualization portfolio
- Management tools: need management that is common across silos. Most management tools from the “Big Four” are designed for physical things.
- Sercurity tools can’t see into or protect virtual instances.
- Licensing: still a black art that gets even more complicated. MSFT licensing is even more complicated in a virtualized environment.
- Organization challenges: ownership and responsibility as virtualization bridges traditional functional domains (e.g., storage management).
Cloud computing is on the horizon. Yates urged attendees to get ready for the onslaught of cloud-computing products and initiatives from systems vendors. Most enterprises are not ready, and most cloud-computing providers are not ready yet either.
- 87% of CIO’s plan to restructure IT operations, and 60% have already started. Basically looking at traditional silos, such as storage, and looking at realigning to business imperatives and changing technologies.
- Consolidation of everything- data centers, storage, applications, and IT staff. Automation will drive the consolidation of IT staff.
- New requirements drive IT ops professions to develop new business and technology skills. CEO’s and CIO’s want to invest in the personnel they have.
Changes that will happen in IT:
- Distributed authority will give way to centralized oversight. Instead of many mini-CIO’s, control will be centralized under the CIO.
- Bottom-up projects will be replaced by top-down initiatives from the CIO.
- Tech silos will be broken down and replaced by tech interdependency. There’s a push for IT service management instead of functional silos. There will be ITIL projects in the coming 6 months.
- Technology specialists will transform into personnel with cross-technology skills. These individuals will be required to “see beyond their silos” and understand how IT affects (and can improve) the business.
- Traditional tech metrics will give way to business-centered metrics. IT performance will be measured at a business level.
IT skills requirements are changing: technical versatility, business knowledge, interpersonal skills.
- IT departments are shifting from the management of things to the automation of process and services.
- Increasing interest in ITIL and increasing adoption in tools for automation. After consolidating hardware, companies are turning to ITIL (to consolidate process after they’ve consolidated everything physical.