tech in BPS I2

Service providers are responding to buyers’ demand for “low-intrusion” technology options by focusing on new augmentation (versus standalone) solutions, increasing the share of augmentation solutions significantly over the past several years

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At Everest Group we’ve noticed a growing trend in our client base. As I’ve blogged before, business stakeholders have become increasingly independent and make independent decisions. Mostly they have adopted point solutions, standing up functionalities and making decisions to use SaaS products and developing their own skunk works, agile teams to develop fast functionality. The implications for the services industry are interesting.

We’re now seeing that, as these point solutions embed themselves, they flourish and become more ubiquitous. They then need to stretch and integrate into legacy systems as well as affect multiple stakeholder groups.

At the same time, we see the CIOs upping their game. They no longer resist these new technologies and are willing to embrace them.

Here’s the growing trend: increasingly organizations make decisions in a collaborative group with business stakeholders and CIO groups working together to initiate, plan and execute these activities.

Using a skiing analogy, as point solutions grow beyond the capability of business stakeholders to appropriately manage, they get in over their skis, which opens the door for partnering with IT. We see IT eager to take advantage of this opening and forging effective partnerships going forward.

This is an encouraging trend, but it presents a more complicated selling picture for service providers. They can be easily confused as to buyers’ decision-making rights, which necessitates reaching out to each stakeholder to make sure they leave no one out. That’s the downside – increased selling costs and complexity.

But there’s also an upside: as these collaborative partnering opportunities grow, we observe they are well worth a provider’s sales effort.


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One of the great struggles in today’s enterprises is the ongoing shift of influence from the CIO community into other stakeholder groups. I’ve blogged about this before. An important aspect of this influence shift is the fact that IT has increasingly become unaligned with business goals. But the pendulum is now swinging back. The mechanism the pendulum is using is the as-a-service offer set.

During the recession, companies focused on cost reduction and operational excellence, and IT increasingly lost touch with the business. Purchasing departments focused relentlessly on driving up unit costs and countless operational process improvement vehicles to further lean out organizations. As a result, IT organizations became more efficient — but also less aligned with business needs.

Business users reacted by demanding greater focus on business outcomes and began taking things into their own hands and purchasing as-a-service offerings.

The as-a-service path is a reorganization

One of the benefits of the as-a-service model is that it creates a seamless linkage between business functionality and delivery. And it cuts through layered IT organizations, reorganizing according to business functionality.

As a service

The benefits that an organization extracts once it goes down this path is tight alignment by business functionality — close to functionality on demand — and far more flexibility. It enables focusing on the business impact of technology. Businesses can move more quickly and flexibly to adopt the functionality and also scale their consumption to usage.

The implications for IT are enormous in that it requires a rethinking of the classic IT functional organization, which has been in place for the last 15 years. It requires a reconceptualization of the following aspects:

  • How IT is organized
  • How assets, services and software are procured
  • How IT is measured and managed

The benefits of the functionality and scaled consumption to usage are extremely powerful and can only continue to reshape how IT is delivered. But the reconceptualization of IT is far from trivial. It is not just a new pose for IT. The as-a-service model fundamentally reshapes the IT philosophy on how it’s organized, procured, measured and managed.

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Too much. That’s an accurate assessment of IT environments in most, if not all, enterprises. They have more data center space than they need and more servers than they can use at any point in time. They have more software operating systems, middleware, and enterprise licenses than necessary. They also have more of the wrong resources and never enough of the right resources in application development and maintenance. The as-a-service movement seeks to address this, but the journey to get there isn’t as simple as it appears.

So how much overcapacity is present in enterprises? At every level there seems to be a 25-50 percent overcapacity in IT. Since IT varies from 1-7 percent of revenues, the 25-50 percent overcapacity is in the range of 40 percent overcapacity overall.

As we at Everest Group look at applying as-a-service principles into IT environments, we see an opportunity to remove 40 percent of the IT cost by eliminating the wastage in service capacity. But the journey to achieve this as-a-service cost benefit is neither quick nor easy.

Renegotiating enterprise licenses takes time and often requires waiting until they expire. Reconceptualizing the infrastructure and application support is also complicated and requires a resolute effort and substantial patience.

It can take a year to three years to complete the journey. But the benefits are very substantial, starting with a 40 percent cost reduction in IT — a heady prize for the journey. In a future blog I’ll discuss other benefits.

Since the beginning of 2014 Everest Group has seen a real shift in large enterprise CIO organizations in their strategic intent toward cloud services. What are the implications on the traditional infrastructure outsourcing market from this strategic intent?

Timing

First, we expect that this shift will not happen overnight. As organizations work on their cloud plans, it’s clear that this is a three-to-five-year journey for migrating some or all their environment into this next-generation environment.

Runoff of work from legacy environments

Second, we expect the runoff on traditional outsourced contracts to accelerate. The runoff has been running at about 5-10 percent a year. We expect this will pick up to something close to 50 percent of the workloads to shift over to the cloud in the next three years with 30 percent of that shift happening in the next two years.

So this is a dramatic runoff of work from legacy environments into the next-generation models. This will put significant pressure on the incumbent service providers in that space.

Who will be the likely winners?

The third implication is the likely winners from this strategic shift. We think that at least for the next two years the Indian players or those with a remote infrastructure management (RIM) model will enjoy substantial benefits. Often a move to cloud or next-generation technologies can be facilitated by a move to a RIM model. So we see RIM continuing its torrid growth.

We also believe the providers with enterprise-quality cloud offerings will be players. One that particularly comes to mind is IBM’s SoftLayer, which we think is well positioned for the shift. It has its own runoff and can grab share from asset-heavy or other legacy providers as runoff occurs there.

We expect to see Microsoft and its Azure platform play an increasingly prominent role in cloud services. It will be interesting to see if AWS, Google, and Microsoft can make the shift from serving rogue IT and business users to enterprise IT. At this time we certainly believe IBM can. And it looks like Microsoft is making deliberate efforts to transition its model. It remains to be seen if AWS and Google are willing to shift their models to better accommodate enterprise IT.


Photo credit: Photo Dean

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