Gartner Infrastructure & Operations Mgmt Summit – Road Trip Wrap-up

Posted on 20 June 2012

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance Management

I’m back from a couple of weeks of travel and most notably, the annual  Gartner Infrastructure and Operations Management Summit (IOM) the first week of June.  There were more than just a handful of aha moments, much churn in what has been a mature market and many great conversations on the solution showcase floor and hallways.  Let’s start with the opening keynotes on the first day:

10 Emerging Trends that will Impact Infrastructure and Operations – David Cappuccio

The trends are in last week’s InfoWorld article, “10 for 2012: Gartner’s Top Emerging Infrastructure Trends” and are as follow:

    • Consumerization of the Tablet
    • The Infinite Data Center
    • Resource Management
    • Mobility
    • Hybrid Clouds
    • Fabric Data Centers
    • IT Complexity
    • Big Data – Big Problems
    • The End of Service Desks
    • Virtual and Software-Defined Networks

David opens with the statistic of >75% of IT budgets are spent just keeping the lights on, operating, not driving the company forward.  IT didn’t see the (or didn’t want to see) the tablet coming to the workplace.  Just 5 years ago 1G of storage cost $7995, today it is 25 cents – that was yesterday! and I was 2 years away from my first cell phone, still had a pager!  We have LOTS of data to secure, not hardware or devices to manage, the focus must shift from the device to the information and data.  The Cloud will replace storage from the PC / Workstation to be accessible from any device, anywhere.

Even this old timer, slow adopter (me) is synching 3 devices via the cloud to share data across devices without the help of my company and I share that data with outside parties as appropriate due to the size limitations imposed by IT.  We all find a work-around!  At a minimum we each have 4 devices, yes, I have 2 phones, an iPad and a laptop, 5 if you count the Kindle I stopped using – have to keep Microsoft and Apple, Google and Blackberry all in check.  ;-)  I still live with the “Blue Screen of Death”, but have been seen checking the weight of that boat anchor of a Mac Book Pro.  :-)

The expectation is that no matter what we are using, it “just works”.  IT lost control of the environment a long time ago, now is the time to embrace the next generation and the self service culture.  Companies are now considering a stipen to aid in funding a device of the users choice lowering support and break-fix costs.  My bet is it happens within the year.

Another interesting statistic was for every 25% of functionality added to the current infrastructure, there is an increase of 100% in complexity.  The cloud is here, the business is subscribing with or without IT as I’ve posted previously out of frustration to deliver innovation over just operating.  We in IT are in catch up mode and need to move quickly.  With that said, we all need to be wary of the hype and focus on the value delivered and concentrate on the right delivery model for the value.

Of all the trends, the one indicating the end of service desks surprised me most from this conservative crowd and having spent the early part of my career in this market.  The more I have pondered this trend over the past week the more I agree and see it.  I have often posted and consulted that IT needs to stop turning support into a custom adventure and at 10% of an IT Operational budget, it is well suited for SaaS and/or outsourced.  Customers expect service now (no pun intended :-) and IT is diminishing it’s own value in the loss of productivity, especially with the next generation of workers.  IT needs to become proactive, embrace new technology and begin focusing on the right deployment options and securing the data / information, rather than device support and lock down.  This shift has occurred very quickly and the war already lost by IT.

Applications 2020:  The Impact on Infrastructure and Operations of Current and Emerging Trends in Applications – Valentin Sribar

To my surprise, an old friend presented this session, Val, and was quite an interesting topic and approach from an Operations outsider in front of 800+ Infrastructure and Operations leaders.  The first half of the session focused on the next generation worker and their expectations of technology.  I had to think about my baby nephew during this session (now 17) who grew up with a whole different view of technology and it’s capabilities.  Who, by the way, is the only person I’ll “text” with as it is his only means of communication and a communication method I dislike.  I think of one of the first applications I provided for him, a Crayola painting application.  My father and I watched a 3 year old at the time drag and drop the primary colors into his paint tray and paint a picture.  I with, my back to him, asked, “create and use purple, my favorite color”.  Sure enough he does it without question to my father’s exclaim, “how did he know he could do that?”, (dragging and dropping red on blue) I said, “because he didn’t know he couldn’t”.

This generation expects devices to just work, expects them to work together and expects to easily share data and applications across platforms and devices and communicate instantly in 140 characters or less.  My nephew doesn’t understand that if he texts me while I’m driving, what’s the delay.  Connectivity is instantaneous and global.  I travel globally, my nephew hears the action of a car race on the phone, turns on the tv to see it live, we text and IM across the globe as if I’m in his house daily and part of his daily life.  When he was born and I lived 10 hours away, I wanted to be sure we had a tight relationship.  Little did I know that in 6 short years the world would change and in a couple more years, distance would no longer be a challenge.  This is the next generation worker, not hindered by device, time or distance.

Development for the mobile world should be the default and workstation minority as an afterthought.  The user experience from these devices will be like jewelry, a microphone, speakers, cameras, gamification of applications, scoring and choice of applications, etc. etc. etc.  These workers expect an AppStore, not IT, to choose, download and just use in an instant – it just needs to work.  Apps and options are not one size fits all.

STOP what you are doing today and turn it upside down.  Reduce costs at the bottom to add value at the top and get away from one size fits all and join the value add discussion.  This is where Val provided several insightful slides and a paper (G00147079 - Application Leaders:  Stop Eating Profits and Capital with the Unnecessary Operational Expenses).

 

Both of these sessions set the tone for the remainder of the sessions and 3 days of the Summit that I’ll save for additional posts.  What this all points to is Change is inevitable, with Change comes Complexity and with Complexity and the need for speed comes Risk.  We all need to embrace the Change, learn to manage Complexity and mitigate/control Risk to take advantage of new technology and deploy innovation into our organizations.  As someone in the Service Management or Business Service Management market for quite some time, this was music to my ears.  The Cloud is the disruption creating the urgency for change, as well as the next generation.  Ignore the hype, focus on the value and choose the right deployment and technology options that will drive your business into the future.

The one thing that did strike me odd in most of the sessions was the use of the term “User”.  The reason this struck me odd was that the focus should be on the customer, less on the internal users, and driving the business.  Working to drive the business is about the organization in support of the customer.

As I entered the workforce, a southerner was transplanted in Boston and a year and a half later relocated to Texas with a New York co-worker and friend .  At that time our confusion was a result of different words and concepts like Round-abouts, The Green Monster, The Garden and BBQ of which I had no idea what the first 2 were, the third I thought was a botanical garden and the fourth was of course stringy pork with a vinegar based sauce and coleslaw sandwich versus steak on a bun.  We had dumb terminals and PC’s were off in the distance.  Change has come lightening fast.

I walked away from the Summit knowing it is about the service, driving revenue, embracing technology, ignore the hype and concentrate on the value, securing an unknown perimeter and creating freedom of the imagination.  Technology with Imagination – Endless Possibilities.

Thoughts?  Were you at the Summit?  What struck you the most?

Michele

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