The Business Case for Convergence

Today’s IT landscape is being driven by business outcomes. As IT teams evaluate new technologies they are using a simple framework to determine which product meets their requirements in an ecosystem that is becoming less and less differentiated.
First, the solution has to save the business money. This can be realized by a lower cost of ownership over the life of the product. It’s important that the initial acquisition cost of a product isn’t the only factor to be considered in this cost analysis. How much does it cost your team in terms of man-hours or even man-years to maintain your current solution and what do you expect that cost to be for your new solution? What does the infrastructure put in place to support that solution cost you? Power, cooling, and connectivity are not getting less expensive but newer hardware is consuming less of all of those. What does it cost to contractually support your existing solution? Manufacturers want to encourage innovation and they do so with the dollars that are generated through support and maintenance. This money is, and should be, funneled back into research and development so that the next generation of hardware will be better than the previous model. But it is expensive to keep spare hardware on a shelf in a parts depot, and over time, it is more cost effective to phase those older systems out of existence. This is reflected in the annual support contact price increases many IT organizations face.
Beyond an attractive TCO, the business can also save money by generating more money. If your end users are more efficient, and there is less time spent waiting (wasting) for applications to run, for processes to complete, or for queries to be loaded, then more time can be focused on your clients. This improved user experience also provides the benefit of reducing the burden on the IT team. When help desk tickets are reduced, more time can be spent innovating. It becomes a cyclical process of improvement. Happy end users make for happy IT teams. And happy teams are more productive, easier to retain, and in the end save more money.
Finally, IT organizations need to automate. I stress the word need in that previous sentence. Scripting has been the tool of the efficient and productive IT admin for decades, but we have grown beyond a simple script to replace a mundane task. Automation today is focused on delivering an App Store like experience to end users. In IT, your customer is your end user, and that customer is accustomed to consuming services in an ever increasing Apple and Android like environment. They want the same from you. Your competition is the Cloud. If your end users can’t get what they want from IT, they will go get it from the Cloud instead. Automation simplifies the life of the IT admin, but more importantly it saves IT money by keeping IT budgets in the datacenter. Providing the same services in a private or hybrid cloud, that an end user could find in the public cloud is the key to achieving this.

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