Most IT strategies have at their core some form of business impact. For most, the impact comes in the form of cost reduction, investment for new innovation, or business process improvement. IT organizations that I have talked to have grown organization by organization over a long period of time. Their growth has happened kind of like the weeds shown below. A converged infrastructure–or datacenter consolidation–aims to take out the weeds.
At its core, this is about rationalizing IT services by unifying datacenter resources, people and infrastructure, around fewer datacenters and standardizing and about virtualizing what remains in the surviving datacenters. This reduces people and maintenance cost and optimizes the use of the IT infrastructure by targeting full capacity. But more importantly, it improves both the performance and agility of IT operations. In its most simple form the reason for this is that IT ends up supporting fewer things. While this is a great technical achievement, the business impact is even more significant. According to Jeanne W. Ross of MIT CISR, an enterprise architecture that has standardized key elements of the IT environment does establish greater business agility. This is clearly a laudable objective for IT organizations since it provides so much benefit to IT’s business customers.
Proving the business value from a converged infrastructure investment
So, besides the obvious infrastructure and FTE cost reduction, how do you prove the business value of investing in converged infrastructure? And how do you make the business excited about their funding this investment in the first place? Well, the success of converged infrastructure needs to be shown through derived measures. Specifically, you can see the effect of converged infrastructure through the following measures:
1. Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) because a convergence strategy allows you to run better what is in your environment.
2. Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) because having fewer things to maintain means there is greater expertise to fix things. This causes the MTTR to in fact goes down
3. The time to procure infrastructure: Standards typically mean there is more knowledge of remaining suppliers.
4. The number of asset types in maintenance: This decreases simply because the infrastructure types are reduced, including the number of software licenses that are purchased.
5. Finally, the average time to provision server and storage should go down as the number of asset types is dramatically reduced and expertise is increased.
COBIT and ITIL clearly add more KPIs covering enterprise architecture, project management, benchmarking, asset management, and service level management, but these five are great starting points to measure the success of a converged infrastructure strategy.
Solution Brief: HP Financial Planning and Analysis Software
Solution page: IT performance management
Solution page: Converged infrastructure