CIO View: The Leap from IT Implementer to Service Manager

By Phil Alberta

It used to be that IT departments needed to be the masters of implementation. Like sophisticated mechanics, we would know just how to tune everything from our CRM system to our storage infrastructure to get optimal performance. And, if the business needed to meet a new goal, we’d build the technology infrastructure out to meet it.

However, what we’re now seeing is that the role of IT is making a dramatic shift. As we find critical applications now being run in the cloud and the increasing adoption of SaaS solutions, we need to think about IT’s role in a different way. We’re no longer the IT mechanics, but service managers.

We’re not in there making the IT motor run anymore – well, at least, not in every aspect as we used to. Now we must evolve our skill set to not only know what makes the engine fast and efficient, but how to identify the best service distribution to ensure proper delivery to the business.

Take storage for example. Rather than just hiring storage admins that know how to properly integrate your SANs and optimize your storage arrays, you now also need a more business-oriented team that can efficiently procure and negotiate cloud storage with AWS or Azure.

This service manager also needs to know how to get the most out of the technologies you have, while sourcing new options as a service. That often takes a different perspective, and new skills.

Of course, it’s still a balancing act. Careful consideration needs to be given to what technologies you still must maintain – and support – on premise, while identifying those services that are best migrated to the cloud. The advanced service manager will understand how to evaluate each, and provide a clear rational for if, when and how certain IT operations should become cloud-based.

Ultimately, the service manager also must sell back to the business. You need to become a premium service provider, offering all the advantages of your internal knowledge of the business with the external value of the cloud. Because now internal IT is being shopped against SaaS options by the business lines, you also must respond and deliver quickly. The answer to the business can’t be “no” or you’d be replaced with external options that could become out of your control.

At IPM, we have deep experience in building cloud roadmaps so your answer can be “yes.” And, not only are we excellent IT mechanics, we are also some of the best service managers in the business. If you are ready to take the next step into cloud services, or simply need some experienced eyes on your current cloud strategy, give us a call. We can help you map out your road to IT-as-a-Service while helping to build your internal team’s service manager skillset.

In my next CIO View blog, I’ll cover tips for building a security infrastructure that can withstand the test of time.

As CIO for IPM, Phil Alberta leads IPM’s Consulting Services organization, continuously evaluating industry and technology trends and collaborating with IT leaders to develop strategies and solutions for their business. Alberta also plays an integral role in developing executive client relationships, assessing their organizational and operational readiness for new services and ensuring maximum value is realized from project investments. 

Previously, Alberta was Vice President IT Business and Technology, and acting CTO at Tiffany & Co. His responsibilities included Technology Strategy and Management, Information Security, Compliance, and partnering with senior management to develop and execute the strategic direction of IT. Alberta was a 2009 CIO Magazine Ones to Watch award recipient and is an accomplished speaker, having presented at the National Retail Federation and CIO Magazine’s CIO 100 Symposium, as well as other peer forums. He graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.S. in Psychology.