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By David Angradi, Director, Software-Defined Solutions, Logicalis US

Face it. The consumers of IT are taking over the IT department. The consumerization of IT, mobile computing, bring your own device (BYOD), cloud computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and shadow IT has made it very clear that business users are now calling the shots in IT. What they want are innovative services that help them do their jobs faster, more effectively, more efficiently and even more enjoyably; and they want them now, not six months from now.

Increasingly confident in their new-found authority, IT consumers today are offering IT departments a deal they can’t refuse: “Deliver us the services we want, when and how we want them, or we’ll get them on our own somewhere else.”

Corporate consumers of IT are showing no mercy for legacy IT. They want nothing less than a service-defined enterprise (SDE) that focuses on delivering services on demand and having the flexibility and agility to change them in response to changes in the marketplace. Increasingly, the consumers of IT who are making these demands occupy the executive suite, and they are not used to taking “no” for an answer.

Change or Become Irrelevant

The good news is that most IT departments are closer to being able to support SDE than they think. The technology exists today to make the transformation to SDE. IT environments are increasingly virtualized, and most IT departments have some level of IT service management (ITSM) in place and have begun to use software-defined-data-center (SDDC) tools to automate processes and enable the rapid delivery of services. ITSM integrated with SDDC are the core technical capabilities for delivering SDE.

Technology isn’t the hard part. The bigger challenges in accomplishing the transformation from legacy IT to SDE are cultural and organizational. Basically, IT has to stop thinking like IT and start thinking like business users. Instead of seeing themselves as an island nation on the corporate landscape, IT departments that want to stay relevant have to engage with and align themselves with the business users of IT. Admittedly, it’s a very different mindset for many IT departments.

A Service-Defined Mindset

Support for and enforcement of a service-defined mindset has to come from organizational changes driven from the top down that directly align IT with business services. A reporting structure that has business and IT working on the same team with business leaders and reporting to the same supervisor is a good start.

As daunting as SDE can seem, IT departments can do this. By thinking like business users and applying ITSM and SDDC best practices, progressive IT departments that have embraced the transformation to SDE are already seeing efficiency gains in the 85 to 90 percent range.

Besides the satisfaction of a job well done, being able to report those kinds of wins helps IT departments earn back the confidence of business leaders by showing they are able to remove redundancies, collaborate faster, provide a better mobile experience, deliver updates and new services more rapidly, reduce time to market and generate revenue faster.

So the next time the VP of sales comes up with a big idea to grow sales, instead of shopping on the Internet for commodity IT services online, he or she will call on the combined sales and IT teams, and they will work together to design and implement an innovative go-to-market strategy.

There is a common misconception that the transformation to SDE diminishes the role of IT in an organization. In fact, the opposite is true. By adopting the vision of SDE, IT finally steps out of its role as a cost center and becomes fully integrated within the organization as an innovator and driving force behind business success.

Want to learn more? Watch this Logicalis SDDC video with David Angradi, as well as a WatchIT video where he talks about the software-defined data center as a stepping stone to the service-defined enterprise. This WatchIT video offers insight into the service-defined enterprise. Another Logicalis video, “The Service Defined Experience,” describes what consumers of IT want and expect today. You can also browse our overview and list of SDDC benefits — and sign up for a free workshop — at the Logicalis SDDC microsite.