A CIO’s Perspective on Service and DevOps Skills for IT Transformation

“CIOs have to move from simply being data center owners to becoming providers of solutions that may not even need their own IT resources.”- Larry Carvalho, IDC, Responding to a New Breed of Services

OpsRamp recently hosted Epic Games’ CIO, Chris Gerhardt on a webinar where he and OpsRamp CTO, Varma Kunaparaju engaged in a great interactive discussion covering topics from cloud strategy decisions to IT service delivery. In this blog post, read some of Chris’ advice on transforming IT to respond more quickly to customer needs. We will share Chris’ insights on cloud adoption and operational challenges for hybrid clouds in future blogs.

IT Should Be More Like The Ritz Carlton

It’s much more easier to go rogue with IT than it used to be. Cloud has empowered users everywhere. The reason cloud services are so compelling to the business is that they’ve done a much better job than most IT departments in delivering an amazing user experience.

Corporate IT should transform into service providers to better support business outcomes. IT teams have traditionally adopted a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) culture. IT has become obsessed with oversight and control that they’ve lose sight of the customer.

“We need to be less like the DMV and more like the Ritz Carlton. That’s what IT as a service really means to me at a philosophical level. It’s about self-service portals, service catalogs, and quickly being able to ramp up capabilities at the press of a keyboard.” - Chris Gerhardt

IT as a service means that you start with the customer and with the premise that “no service is good service”. IT should offer self-service by making it frictionless for users accessing the services.

The other part of IT as a service is being deliberate about the things you do. Wrap your service offerings in an ITIL framework, figure out which services you will offer and which you will outsource, and then tie all these services to an audacious goal of delighting users.

DevOps Skills Are Crucial For IT Transformation

Much like the 1990s where architectures transitioned from mainframes to distributed systems, there’s a sea change in the technology skillsets that you need today. Building Devops skills in your team is an important part of the IT transformation agenda.

“DevOps folks are developers who are passionate about infrastructure and operations. It’s a weird mix of skills from a classic IT perspective. DevOps engineers are exactly who you need for software defined data centers.” - Chris Gerhardt

Work with your employees from a career planning perspective. Seed your team with DevOps engineers with the relevant experience. Don’t think in terms of rip and replace because there are not enough DevOps resources looking for a job.

There’s a great opportunity for IT folks who love to learn and are motivated to transition from an infrastructure admin of some kind to this new model of DevOps. CIOs should offer the additional training their employees need become a DevOps style engineer.


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