Kent Christensen, Practice Director, Virtualization & Cloud, Datalink, says:

Those talking about public, private or hybrid clouds often tend to describe IT as a Service (ITaaS) in the same breath. In reality, cloud and ITaaS are intricately linked. Each offers agile, efficient, on-demand delivery of important IT services. Each also offers the means to leapfrog traditional limitations of legacy IT and replace them with scalable, innovative new business services.

Whether you call it cloud or ITaaS, we’ll briefly describe three ‘golden rules’ to ITaaS success.

1. Think like a cloud provider.

Is your IT team competing with outside cloud services? You bet it is! So, it pays to start thinking like your competition. Be agile. Be service-oriented. Give your internal business customers confidence that you can solve their biggest challenges–and quickly! Internal IT’s emerging role will be more of a service broker, who decides on internal or external services to meet IT needs. This is one more reason to understand how service providers think.

2. Don’t procrastinate. Automate.

Are there activities your IT team does over and over? How much time do they take? How many people and steps are involved? Provisioning new environments for application development or testing might be one of them.

Start to identify such time-consuming, repetitive activities that never seem to get done fast enough for the business. Stop reacting to them. Instead, be proactive and learn how to automate them. Many organizations now offer turn-key, self-service catalogs for developers. These let them automatically provision new environments in a few minutes without IT involvement. (Examples of these in operation can be found in Datalink on Demand (DoD) Labs [].

3. Market your services internally.

With ITaaS, IT’s role has begun to change. It’s no longer enough to do your best to save the company money. ITaaS focuses on what value your organization brings to the business. How are you helping bring product to market faster? How are you helping the company innovate and move ahead of its competition? Your IT team needs to be able to answer these questions. It also needs to be able to sell and market itself, through such answers, to the business customers who really matter.

Proving the value and worth of your services is critical to ITaaS success. It may also be key to your data center’s very survival.