Appending the phrase “as a Service” (AAS) to almost every word (e.g., Software, Platform, Infrastructure, Data, Analytics) has become increasing prevalent due to the world-wide-webification of IT by cloud computing and other consumerization trends.
Rick Blaisdell recently blogged about the benefits of the cloud, which include fully featured services, monthly subscription costs, 24/7 support, high availability, and financially-backed service level agreements. “Look at the cloud,” Blaisdell recommended, “as a logical extension of your IT capabilities, and take advantage of all the benefits of cloud services.”
Judy Redman has blogged about how cloud computing is one of three IT delivery trends (along with agile development and composite applications) that are allowing IT leaders to reduce costs, deliver better applications faster, and provide results that are more aligned with, and more responsive to, the business.
And with more existing applications migrating to the cloud, it is all too easy to ponder whether these services raining down from the cloud forecast the end of the reign of the centralized IT department — and, perhaps by extension, the end of the reign of the traditional IT vendor that remains off-premises-resistant (i.e., vendors continuing to exclusively sell on-premises solutions, which they positively call enterprise-class solutions, but their customers often come to negatively call legacy applications).
However, “cloud (or public cloud at least) is not the only enabler,” Adrian Bridgwater recently blogged, explaining how a converged infrastructure acknowledges that “existing systems need to be consolidated and brought into line in a harmonious, interconnected, and interoperable way. This is where private clouds (and/or a mix of hybrid clouds) come to the fore and a firm manages its own internal systems in a hyper-efficient manner. From this point, we see IT infrastructure working to a) save money, b) run parallel with strategic business objectives for profit and growth, and c) become a business enabler in its own right.”
No matter how much of it is cloud-oriented (or public/private clouded), the future of IT is definitely going to be service-oriented.
Now, of course, the role of IT has always been to deliver to the enterprise a fast and agile business-enabling service. But perhaps what is refreshingly new about the unrelenting “as a Service” trend is that it reminds the IT department of their prime directive, and it enables the enterprise to deliver to the IT industry as a whole a (sometimes sorely needed) Swift Kick in the AAS.