If your IT organization is one of the many adopting an on-demand IT service delivery model, you’ve probably been undergoing a philosophical shift in the way you think about the IT solutions you provide – a change from technology-based to services-based thinking.

The kind of changes needed to become a full-fledged participant in tomorrow’s digital economy don’t happen overnight, however.  They’re part of a larger transformation journey that begins with the preparation of in-house systems to take greater advantage of virtual machines in the cloud – and that starts with the basic building blocks of virtualization and implementing a converged infrastructure.

Smart IT pros who want to cement their value within their organizations have already begun preparing their IT infrastructures to handle the kinds of demands for more “experiential” IT services that are likely to come their way very soon.  For those at the beginning of this curve, implementing a converged infrastructure (CI) strategy is a solid first step.

If your IT department is undergoing similar changes, there are five important principles that can help get your CI movement off the ground:

  1. Put a plan in place: As cloud computing makes its way to the top of CIOs’ priority lists, a well-implemented virtualization plan can be the key to success.  Virtualization can lead to a truly converged infrastructure that is more efficient, adaptable to changing business requirements, and easier to maintain and support.  Unfortunately, a surprising number of enterprise IT departments don’t have a plan in place that clearly defines the goal for their virtualized IT environment or any next steps beyond virtualization. They need a blueprint for IT transformation, a step-by-step guide that helps them determine where they are as well as where they’re headed.
  1. Centralize management tasks: The speed and agility made possible by deploying a converged infrastructure that is designed to meet the needs of specific applications allows IT to focus on the business rather than trying to source individual best-of-breed components while managing this infrastructure from a single pane of glass.  Therefore, a converged infrastructure is more than a preconfigured resource; it requires – and makes possible – a centralized management framework.
  1. Establish a starting point: CIOs have always known CI offers a myriad of technical and business advantages; what’s changing is how CI is being used – and these new implementations can quite literally spell relief for CIOs’ shadow IT woes by answering the need for better, faster delivery of technology services.  Targeting converged infrastructures to run mission-critical applications and workloads like VDI or mobility is a perfect example: The organization gets the benefits of a converged infrastructure where they’re needed most, and the CIO establishes a starting point with a high-performing working model that can be extended incrementally throughout the organization as time and resources allow.
  1. Don’t get stalled between CI and the cloud: Enterprise organizations are clearly taking the steps needed to become virtualized, and many already have a solid converged infrastructure foundation in place. The problem is, they’ve stalled there; they’ve stopped just short of implementing a cloud strategy that can give them the kinds of IT efficiencies they wanted when they started the virtualization process.
  1. Embrace the service provider model: Servers, storage, networks, applications and management – all the technologies the enterprise uses today – have evolved to the point where they can be converged into a single entity.  In effect, the capabilities that a converged infrastructure makes possible can turn a corporate IT department into a service provider rather than a cost center, though each organization is in a different stage of its IT transformation journey.

Interested in learning more? To find out what a converged infrastructure can do for you, read about the ways CI can spell job security for enterprise CIOs, then explore a Logicalis infographic that details the ways you can use CI to centrally manage your infrastructure and direct it to meet your business’ goals.  You can also download an informative white paper, “Converged Infrastructure for Targeted Workloads,” then watch two short videos; the first illustrates how Logicalis and HP are working together to deliver more intelligent computing infrastructures, and in the second, Logicalis’ Samad Ali describes the benefits and challenges associated with CI.