Jan 27 2012

The Model for Future IT Is in the Factory

Automation, service and high productivity will be key for IT departments in the future.

The days of captive internal customers for IT departments are over. Shadow IT has cast a long shadow across many enterprise IT departments because it is easier than ever for users to go outside the company to meet their IT needs and desires.

Chuck Hollis, a marketing VP for EMC, argues that in order to compete for today’s business and win new business in the future, IT departments should look to the factory model for increased efficiencies and productivity. He writes:

At one level, a data center can be thought of a black box where value is created. Inputs in, valuable services out.

They compete with others doing the same. Just as no factory has a right to exist, neither does a data center, or an IT organization for that matter.

Data centers have to figure out what their customers want, and do it better than the alternatives. They have to leverage their supply chain to maximize their unique value add, including perhaps using other data centers run by others.

The heavy intellectual work will be around continual process improvement: supported by automation and analytics. Demand processes, supply processes, quality processes, cost processes, compliance processes, etc. At one level, any IT organization will only be as good as their processes, just as is true in the manufacturing world.

How is your IT department adapting to this brave new world of big data, automation, efficiency and analytics? Does the factory analogy that Hollis poses crystallize the need for consistent and standardized processes?

For more on the correlation between factories and IT, read the post on Chuck’s blog.