Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Orchestration is Now Strategic

OchestrationOver the past two weeks we sat down with several IT managers of five large enterprises. There was a peculiar similarity to what these managers were telling us.

In October 2009, we were making a conscious attempt to predict the future of corporate IT. In those days the term 'orchestration' (or 'regievoering' as managers in Belgium and the Netherlands are calling this) was not yet in common use. Now, things are completely different. Every IT manager we met seems to be thinking about this. Even if they have not yet formalized it as a strategic objective, in practice they are already selectively outsourcing more and more of their services.

Ochestration is the new role of enterprise ITThis means that corporate IT is gradually taking on a new role. The focus is no longer on technology. Instead, the attention needs to be on the business. Once the modern IT department understands the business needs, they don't build what the business has asked for. They take the requirements to external service provides. Their new role is to find the best external party, or parties, to build what is needed and to support this going forward.

In this new role, negotiating SLAs becomes routine. Some organizations still haggle over a 99.9 rather than a 99.8% availability target, but most have already realized that writing down a target in an SLA does not guarantee that this target will get met. It is far more important to safeguard flexibility. Always allow for the possibility to quickly get out of an agreement if the business is not satisfied with the level of service provided by an external party. This means making sure that it is legally, as well as technically, possible to switch service providers as needed.

Once agreements have been signed, however, there is one thing without which orchestration is not even possible. It is the ability to measure the performance of the external service providers. This is the unique capability that ITRP brings to your orchestra. ITRP allows IT specialists from multiple companies to work together seamlessly. And while they are collaborating, ITRP keeps track of the service levels.

This is what makes orchestration a realistic possibility today. For those of us who have lived through the horrors of huge long-term outsourcing deals, it's about time.