The growing hunger for consumption-based IT services

Demand for mission-critical IT services bought through subscription is soaring, but Forfusion’s chief technology officer Ian Musgrave warns IT leaders must focus on understanding their strategic needs before identifying products

Businesses and organisations no longer need to rely on CAPEX budgets when purchasing and managing mission-critical IT infrastructure. Instead, there is a huge opportunity to save time and money, and mitigate risks by harnessing consumption-based models.

The idea began 20 years ago when Amazon launched AWS, establishing a mindset shift in how enterprises bought technology and applications.

Take email as an example. This once necessitated the employment of a small team just to manage the server infrastructure. The same can now be achieved on a per-user-per-month basis as one internal person works with an external provider that will manage everything at a transparent and forecasted cost.

The same theory extends to all manner of software, as well as to on-premise servers and legacy infrastructure being migrated to the cloud. Control, configuration, compliance and day-to-day operations are provided by a third-party vendor or services partner.

Consumption-based services offer greater predictability for CTOs and simpler financial security for CFOs, alongside agility, flexibility and reduced management. It allows CTOs to spend more time focused on the mission-critical, freeing up budget to spend elsewhere.

The advantages already experienced from consumption-based services are a key factor in why CTOs are attracted to adopting them elsewhere across their network infrastructure. This includes everything from LAN and WAN infrastructure to data centre fabrics, and complex end-to-end security solutions.

As current five- to seven-year programmes of capital investment end, organisations can act differently to deliver the same while avoiding the increasing complexity coming their way.
There are many integration challenges to be worked through. But a trusted partner can guide CTOs through all levels of migration and implementation, while allaying any fears.

However, to do this successfully, a clear strategy must already be in place. The primary focus must be to develop a roadmap founded on strategic imperatives. The answer is not simply to dive into more procurement for another investment cycle and then write this off as a capital expense, as has traditionally been the case.

Tacking the strategic imperatives

CTOs can safely, securely and effectively consume IT infrastructure in a way that’s fit for the future without owning all, or any, of it. Organisations can invest today in the technology of tomorrow without having to pay upfront.

But one major risk must be tackled first. Putting too great a focus on the ‘what’ – the products – rather than the ‘why’ – the strategic imperatives – can quickly lead to failure. A roadmap helps here because a company must fully understand where it is, before it can know where it is going.

Whatever the sector, every company must have a clear view of its future state. To achieve this takes time and a deep analysis of the current state, identifying all the gaps. This creates a firm blueprint that will identify all the demands and challenges in the years ahead.

Having this as the foundation upon which to make decisions means organisations can be more creative about the way they choose to consume services. Knowing the strategic imperatives is also critical for CTOs when approaching CFOs and CEOs for their buy-in.

Today’s core business challenges faced by the C-suite – efficiency, automation, agility and sustainability – are perfectly met by consumption-based services. Boardrooms and leadership teams do not need to fully grasp the technology involved, but they do need to understand the investment opportunity for the bottom line and productivity. Being able to use OPEX rather than CAPEX budgets is a major positive for them. But whether the need is to migrate 10% of an estate from perpetual to subscription-based licences, plug resourcing gaps or free up capital to consume the latest products and services, a trusted partner can help.

Consumption-based services offer greater agility, flexibility and predictability for CTOs and simpler financial security for CFOs

Their work will include delivering operational consistency and owning the risks as CTOs continue delivering mission-critical projects on time. This change in approach to product and service delivery through consumption requires a different type of experienced integrator, one who can effectively source the right products and services.

They should also be capable of plugging any resourcing gaps along the way through staff augmentation services. Resourcing can be consumption-based by finding the right skills at the right time. This is becoming harder and harder during the current battle for talent and the best integrators can deliver this expertise at a fraction of the cost of a large annual salary to deliver on a specific project.

Navigating the roadmap

Whether in the public or private sector, CTOs will always seek to minimise risks and improve efficiencies. Consumption-based services are ideal for managing peaks and troughs, alongside complex moving parts.

Any trusted partner navigating this with you must fully understand the scope of all markets to help clients strategise. They will have significant experience in developing cost models to support transitions to the cloud or to myriad consumption models.

This is where Forfusion brings value. Our clients are mid-sized and large enterprises in the private sector, alongside health, local and national government, and the broader public sector. We can also utilise our security-cleared personnel where required.

Our significant expertise comes from developing and delivering consumption-based services for our clients’ mission-critical infrastructure, understanding that CTOs will fear connectivity problems and availability issues. For the NHS Trusts we work with, this can literally be a matter of life and death when there are machines keeping patients alive.

It is a responsibility we take extremely seriously. We will assess and advise, and together we will design, integrate and operate across one or more technology pillars. Whether the requirement is licence consolidation, secure networking infrastructure, cloud migration, or circuit provision, we deliver consumption-based services precisely the way you want them.

Our roadmap and strategy definition ensures successful realignment and transition by focusing on long-term return goals. These might include competitive advantage, financial gain or making a positive impact on sustainability.

Forfusion has years of experience assessing existing environments and aligning them to a future state. The scale of the digital transformation required in the next three to five years can be daunting for a CTO, but we are vastly experienced at handling the most complicated and complex scenarios.

Consumption is a model that is moving aggressively, far quicker than many technologists had anticipated. When approaching this, your organisation should never just be another number for a vendor. The risk of failure is too great. For this type of implementation to work, the notion of consumption must be realised and achieved via a robust initial strategy.

The path to consumption rather than traditional procurement is unavoidable. Now is the time for CTOs to identify their challenges, set baselines and move their organisations forward by embracing the advantages and benefits that consumption-based services can offer.

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