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Shifting to the Information Technology Utility Model

By  Douglas Vargo Douglas Vargo  on 2012-12-11 05:43:00  |  Featured in  Information Management
Douglas Vargo
Posted By Douglas Vargo
in Information Management
on 2012-12-11 05:43:00

Technology continues to advance at monumental scopes, and so is the way it is delivered. With the introduction of cloud storage systems, businesses have more opportunities than ever before to manage their technology systems.

In the past, technology services existed within an enterprise. These types of systems were self-contained within an office, whether it was their email system or human resources platform. Information technology professionals worked out of a network room, which housed servers and all of their equipment. Each location, if there were multiple facilities, had their own self-contained system, which also presented the need to have IT professionals at the ready whether they were in-house or vendors contracted out.

The game is changing, though, because the development of cloud systems lets companies put all of their systems to the cloud—or they can opt for a hybrid version adding some services to the cloud and keeping some in-house. This offers more possibilities than ever before for companies and organizations to manage technology components of their entities. Now, information can live anywhere. It’s known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which refers to an organizations technology set up delivered via a utility model.

Cloud and hybrid services give organizations more choices for IT services

I liken this shift to a home that sits in the country. In the past, the home had only one choice for an electric company—the hometown or regional utility provider. In the same way, offices could only manage their information technology systems in-house. Formerly, there was only one option.

In the electrical arena, that all changed when deregulation came around. With it, the house has more options to choose where they purchase power services. More electrical providers are popping up promising better rates and always-reliable care.

This is very similar to what’s going on in the technology arena. Now businesses can get their in-house services from an array of providers, and the same goes for cloud services. An increasing number of companies are emerging as viable cloud providers, and organizations appreciate the options they have. The cloud is a managed service utility model that gives an entity the service they need at the time they need it, and businesses are charged based on what’s used instead of a flat-fee to have the service and related equipment.

Now you can extend data between a shared drive, so you don’t have to have separate storage systems. It is almost an internal cloud system, if you will. You also can store that information in your trusty information technology closet if you choose. But companies can certainly save money by having to retain less information technology professionals if they have separate locations.

They are also paying for what they need using utility models, the same way you would pay for the electricity you use in a home. In deploying a utility model, they can better optimize the capital investment for technology resources and improve resource allocation. After all, a company housed under one roof does it all from that location, but some organizations with different branches or locations may not need certain services on site. In this case, the utility model can help an organization classify its needs and deploy the right resources exactly where they are needed, so the company only pays for what it uses—again, like a utility bill for a home or business.

We as a society are getting away from a singular enterprise perspective and shifting to this more flexible model. Information technology companies are introducing information service management models that help companies establish how they want to design their technology infrastructure and implement either on-site, cloud or hybrid platforms. They can adopt different models for security, discovery and search, compliance-related data, and other internal components.

The on-demand revolution

The cloud is just one aspect of what I like to call the new utility model. Companies still care about which providers they choose, but the fact is that they know they can obtain the service because of the plentiful options. For example, a company may maintain its servers for databases and files internally, but maybe chooses to use the cloud or other hosted services to handle their email communications. They can tie everything together under any governing regulations and still comply while choosing a flexible path that appeals to the entire organization. They like the model of “pay for what you use” instead of “pay just to have the capability” because many services are not always used. It is all possible in our on-demand world.

The key is to enable companies to adopt a service management model, which encompasses data management wherever it lives, regardless of which services an organization chooses.

In the next two blog posts, I’ll be talking in depth about the methodology for the utility model, and then I will delve into what steps organizations have to take to leverage this model.

Does your company use a traditional or utility model for information technology services? If not, do you plan to transition to this model?

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Douglas Vargo

Douglas Vargo

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Doug Vargo is Vice President and leader of Paragon’s Digital Information Management team. Doug provides business process and technology solutions that apply to the generation, management, use, compliance and disposition of enterprise content. Paragon’s Digital Information Management team focuses on ensuring organizations have effective, pervasive content management strategies, business processes and technology to ensure the right content is available at the right time, for the right person. Prior to joining Paragon, Doug was the Director of Records Information Management for Rusco, Inc., where he was responsible for the implementation and validation of Document and Records Management Systems at several life sciences companies with a specialization FDA compliance. Doug holds a BS in Environmental Science from Slippery Rock University, PA.

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