APM, CSPs, DevOps, Enterprise, IT management, MSP

Can Enterprise IT as a Service Match Public Clouds?

Richard Patterson

Perhaps you've heard the pitch from IBM and other enterprise-class IT vendors: CIOs are ready to build enterprise IT as a Service platforms that deliver the type of automation, scalability, elasticity and predictability found in public clouds. Hmmm...

Can hybrid IT really, truly match the design goals of a public cloud? IBM is offering some updates on that very topic during IBM PartnerWorld 2016 this morning in Orlando, Fla. Among the key presenters: Richard Patterson, general manager of GTS Infrastructure Services at IBM. He's expected to explain how partners can design, build and run a mission-critical hybrid infrastructure that delivers IT as a service.

Richard Patterson Takes the Stage

The number one question Patterson got when he arrived at PWLC was, "Are you ready? I want those three simple words to ring through your head."

He's set to cover:

  • The rapidly changing landscape
  • A new Enterprise IT as a Service Framework
  • Investments with Business Partners.

The Rapidly Changing Landscape

Easy to use, personal, empowering and always-on technologies are now everywhere. "You're expecting an ease of use experience." That's true in both the consumer and business market, he added.

He mentioned AirBnB and Uber as market disrupters. (But frankly, it's time for IBM and the IT industry to move on from those examples. There are dozens more, and the AirBnB-Uber message is getting stale.)

There are conflicts in the transition: Systems need to be global but personal, open but secure, dynamic but industry strength. "In the past it was one or the other. Now it's both."

Hybrid is the new norm, he asserted, with 70 percent of infrastructure will be hybrid for the next three to five years. "We didn't think the rate and pace of hybrid would happen so quickly." (Side note: That explains why IBM was somewhat late to cloud, quite frankly.)

Systems Integrators Become Service Integrators

He sees systems integrators transforming into services integrators. It will involve (1) hybrid cloud platforms and infrastructure; (2) consumable IT services and applications, and (3) digital business transformation solutions. The step 2 piece involves self-service brokerage and management of IT service, IBM says.

That's where I believe the hybrid IT as a service conversation breaks down. Generally speaking, I believe on-premises IT can't match the self-service capabilities of public clouds. I know there are on-premises solutions for self-service -- essentially transforming corporate IT into a service provider. But I haven't heard many examples of success from customers. (Am I wrong? I'm all ears.)

Stay tuned for more updates.

How IBM GTS Is Investing In Partners

These include (1) channel exclusive, (2) teaming with business partners, (3) channel neutral model and (4) client value plays.

Yes, IBM GTS is now announcing channel exclusive programs -- though details were not shared on stage. GTS is now teaming with more than 100 partners, and the IBM digital sales team will have a neutral model -- I suspect that means compensation won't inspire IBM to take deals direct. On the client value play strategy, the PartnerWorld portal will feature the same sales guidance that IBM's own sales team enjoys.

He told partners to:

  • Engage locally with IBM's services sales rep to drive growth
  • Embrace IBM Enterprise IT as a Service model
  • And Execute to deliver deeper client value that disrupts rivals, and makes customers disrupters.

Overall, IBM delivered a strong services message to partners. But what was missing on-stage? Exactly how on-premises IT -- as part of a hybrid model -- becomes as automated, scalable and predictable as a public cloud. We'll dig for more thoughts on that in the hours ahead.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.