The change in the IT landscape brought about through the introduction of Cloud Computing is now driving a next generation of IT enablement. You might call it Cloud 2.0, but the term 'Liquid IT' much better covers what is being developed.
In a recently published white paper by the Atos Scientific Community, Liquid IT is positioned not only as a technology or architecture; it is also very much focused on the results of this change on the business you are doing day to day with your customer(s).
"A journey towards Liquid IT is actually rather subtle, and it is much more than a technology journey"
The paper explains in detail how the introduction of more flexible IT provisioning, now done in real time allows for financial transparency and agility. A zero latency provisioning and decommissioning model, complete with genuine utility pricing based on actual resources consumed, enables us to drive the optimal blend of minimizing cost and maximizing agility. Right-sizing capabilities and capacity all of the time to the needs of the users will impact your customer relationship – but, very important, designing such a systems starts with understanding the business needs.
"Liquid IT starts from the business needs: speed, savings, flexibility, and ease of use"
Existing examples of extreme flexibility in IT (think gMail, Hotmail or other consumer oriented cloud offerings) have had to balance between standardization and scale. The more standard the offering, the more results in scaling can be achieved. This has always been a difficult scenario for more business oriented applications. The paper postulates that with proper care for business needs and the right architecture, similar flexibility is achievable for business processes.
Such a journey to 'Liquid IT' indeed includes tough choices in technology and organization, but also forces the providers of such an environment to have an in-depth look at the financial drivers in the IT provisioning and the IT consumption landscape.
"The objectives of financial transparency dictate that all IT services are associated with agreed processes for allocation, charging and invoicing"
There are two other aspects that need to change in parallel with this move to more agility in IT; the role of the CIO will evolve and the SLA that he is either buying or selling will change accordingly.
Change management will transform into Information Management as the use of IT as a business enabler is no longer the concern of the CIO. IT benchmarking will become a more and more important tool to measure the level of achieved agility for the business owners. The focus on the contribution to the business performance will be measured and needs to be managed in line with business forecasts.
The white paper authors conclude that "Business agility is the main result of Liquid IT" – sounds like a plan!
This blog post was previously published at http://blog.atos.net/blog/2013/03/08/watch-this-space-would-you-like-a-cup-of-it/