As the IT industry continues to be shaped and changed by Digital Transformation, there is one area that requires particular focus – Services.
Those of us who have been in IT industry for some time know that roughly every 10 years some level of major technology shift takes place, and this next period is no different. These shifts usually occur when new types of technology enable the creation of a new ecosystem, for example the rise of Hypervisor and Virtual Machines in the late 2000’s. However, when these shifts occur and customers look to adopt these new technologies they require assistance in the form of services, primarily as there is usually a massive learning curve, both for the customer and the industry.
Vendors need to build products and services that can be easily consumed, people need to be trained, educated and certified, and customers’ operations and processes need to be transformed. As we saw with hypervisors, it took around 3-4 years before the ecosystem was totally mature and skilled resources were readily available.
However, the latest shift towards Digital Transformation is somewhat more radical for enterprises, requiring them to rethink the existing ecosystems they have with traditional vendors, while customers rethink their IT strategies. If you open any IT publication today, you’ll see plenty of discussion about ‘what’ Digital Transformation is, but what’s not actively being discussed is ‘how’ Digital Transformation can be achieved.
One of the key differentiations of Digital Transformation is the change it demands in the technology stack, requires the moving of traditional workloads into the cloud through the implementation of Anything as a Service (XaaS). This means customers are now looking for automation and some form of intelligence built into the software they use. As a result this has led to the creation of a new Cloud Management Platform (CMP) that integrates products that provide management and self-service for applications.
So what are some type of Ecosystems that are formed with this transformation?
1) Lets start with the Base Technology… The main ingredient is Linux.
Linux has been around for years, it is an operating system present in several of today’s organizations, but what makes it different is it’s “Open Source” approach, meaning users can choose from many different distributors and software Cloud Management Platforms (CMP). This enables innovation and provides customers with the ability to make tailored solutions.
2) The next is the Applications Moving traditional applications into and onto a CMP requires development and lots of work to change how this is managed. Additionally we are also seeing new types of Applications and Services providers moving into this space which are being developed in a new technology called Linux Containers (e.g. Docker) which will be deployed via this new XaaS Service model.
3) The new service process… Getting these apps built, tested and created is no simple task, infact a new model of DevOps has been developed the enable this ecosystem to transform.
Briefly these 3 Items are only just touching surface with the new ecosystem transformation and it will take time for some of these are mature enough to reach the broader enterprise customers in the market. However Enterprises are now starting to look at their apps and building proof of concepts to analyze, test and understand the technology so they know what will be required in order to migrate applications across to this new service model. This is partly because when these apps are re-written and ported across to a new platform, they need to become self-healing, self-configuring apps, with the data and integration residing on distributed platforms, just like certain public cloud offerings today.
So if this is the reality where can IT organizations go to obtain advice, gather information and work on how to digitally transform these new technology stacks?
Services are required now more than ever for customers heading down this path, and they need to be aligned to Digital Transformation to not only help guide and migrate customers but to also introduce a new way of consuming technology within the IT organization.
In the past, Services were added on to products primarily for implementation, for example Hypervisors or Converged, which were pretty easy to consume with plenty of resources and capacity available.
However, when shifting to Digital Transformation, new services will be created that help enterprises outsource things that are too difficult or costly to handle as well as things that enterprises just don’t want to implement internally anymore.
Fundamentally, IT and the business need to be aligned with these types of new Service offerings, particularly when evaluating which technologies to take with them into this era of Digital Transformation. Specifically, enterprises need to be reviewing the capabilities inside their organization, such as their data center foundation, integrated management, operations, and existing IT Processes and Programs (e.g. ITIL, DevOps & IOT), which need to be agile and adaptable if Digital Transformation is to succeed.