Cisco IT embarked on a journey in 2007 to become an IT as a Services Organization (ITaaSO) so we could operate more like a business—and think like a service provider. This move required progressive cultural and process changes that transformed everything from how IT services are defined, delivered, consumed, and financed to how IT measures success, evaluates costs, and assigns roles and responsibilities. Our senior IT staff created an IT services organization playbook outlining six major focus areas for transformation that helped us to segment our work:
● Taxonomy: We developed a new “service taxonomy”—a common language—about what IT provides. This was the primary enabler for establishing the ITaaSO model.
● Service costing: Transparent service costing is critical to helping IT quantify its value to the business. It also fuels value-based discussions between IT and the business and leads to more informed decision-making.
● Roles: Our employees needed to align their work to a services portfolio, and refine their processes, roles, and skill levels.
● Governance: A consistent accountability cycle underpins our ITaaSO model. IT service goals and metrics are reaffirmed and reported in quarterly service reviews; the measure of success is effectiveness of services and related investments.
● Service portfolio and service catalog: The service portfolio is the “single source of truth” for all services we provide to employees. We add all operational and available services offerings to our service catalog, which is called Cisco eStore.
● Change management: The ITaaSO journey has required rigorous change management through five major stages: align senior leadership; define high-level changes; activate first adopters; accelerate adoption; and sustain the new culture.
In 2012, once we had established the ITaaSO model, we rolled out the BOST (business, operational, systems, and technology) framework. It was at this point that we truly became “architecture-led and services everything.” The framework helps us ensure that only programs and projects that align with a target-state architecture and one or more business capabilities receive funding.
Today, because of this transition, Cisco IT is delivering competitively priced services to our internal clients and influencing business outcomes. Before moving to the ITaaSO model, there was little or no recognition of the link between IT investments and company performance. The closer partnership Cisco IT has with the business now is leading to better IT investment decision-making. IT is viewed as a trusted partner that helps Cisco to grow and compete.
Other benefits we have seen since our transition to the ITaaSO model include increased business agility; cost-effective delivery of new services; improved operational excellence; and lower TCO. One of our most significant accomplishments to date is development of a self-service model for building and deploying software, which has helped us to cut build times by at least 60 minutes. This is freeing up 32 developer hours daily, allowing us to accelerate innovation.
The next leg of our ITaaSO journey, which is already well underway, is to mature how Cisco IT operates by focusing on integration and optimization of capabilities to manage IT services. Our ultimate goal is to develop an end-to-end service model that extends from the enterprise customer to IT services to all the elements in the data center.
For More Information
Cisco on Cisco Case Study: How Cisco IT Transformed into a Services Organization