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When I look into current numbers of  SAP installations running in virtualized environments, I see that this becomes the standard. Besides huge systems majority there are no many reasons not to virtualize, because benefits are speaking for themselves like better utilization of compute ressources and
better manageability, just to name some of them. Very often the virtualization projects have created their benefit by simply consolidating the huge amount of physical servers, avoiding investments in new hardware. So the server sprawl has been more or less reduced, savings has been realized. This was what I call the “phase of efficiency”. But what’s next?

    

In case operations model keep unchanged, then virtualization will not be able to unleash the potential of helping the business being more effictive. How does this look like?

Responsiveness means:

   

  • to provide a project team a development or test environment in hours instead of weeks
  • to add capacity to running systems when demand is there, finally:
  • projects decide, when they need what kind of system and help them to manage and provide systems or additional instances on their demand

    

This is what I would call the “phase of effectivenes”. In order to develop the landscape into this phase I see following steps:

    

  • identify the use cases in your landscape. Majority of IT organizations have a service catalogue. This is a good position to start this work. Use cases are in general more detailed and do not have a billing, but a business or business process context. And this is the core: To run the IT like any other business in the company.
  • identify value vs. effort of these use cases. Value stands for the value of this service to the business. I.e. providing a development system creates a value in this project by letting a team work faster, having the project effort earlier realized etc. This is very often the hardest exercise, but absolutely worth of it. Why? It helps to develop a certain understanding of the value IT provides to the business – beyond for the need I describe here – identify how often they are needed, identify importance based on the number and the value vs. effort and rank them.
  • look for methods to automate these use cases. Automation helps to increase speed, decrease the certainty of errors and gives the possibility to hand over the responsibility, i.e. by provisioning a new instance automatically by a project team itself.

This means business process optimization in your IT organization. Of course this is sometimes not a popular approach – but benefits are clear. And not using them means closing the eyes and waiting until business takes IT services quickly from the shop next door: The friendly man in the cloud without even involving IT anymore. So maybe its like maintaining the own retail store to have him a well stocked alternative versus the good new online store. And if online and offline store shall even be complementary instead of competitive, I will write in one of my next blog entries.

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