The Outsourcing of All Things IT
By Samuel Greengard
Only a few years ago, many CIOs found themselves summarily dismissing the idea of outsourcing IT infrastructure. At the time, it seemed like a somewhat risky proposition, but things change rapidly. According to a new study conducted by Vanson Boume for Savvis, organizations will outsource nearly 70 percent of their IT infrastructure by 2018. At present, about 65 percent of IT infrastructure is contained in-house.
The global study of 550 IT leaders found that enterprises will increasingly tap into IT outsourcing through hybrid clouds, including colocation and managed-service models. Approximately 90 percent of respondents are already using clouds in some way. The most popular cloud uses currently involve storage, e-mail hosting and web hosting, including intranets and portals. The most common reasons cited include cost containment, improved quality of service, flexibility and scalability, and better security.
By now, it's fairly apparent that that sentiment is changing. Cloud services are maturing and evolving rapidly. At the same time, CIOs and other decision makers are growing increasingly tolerant—if not entirely receptive—to the idea of tapping outside providers for Infrastructure as a Service and other capabilities. This trend is heavily rooted in the practical realities of running a business and staying focused on core strategic issues rather than serving as a provider of lights and plumbing.
Amid all the upheaval, CIOs must get smarter about IT outsourcing. While it's critical to look to cloud-based tools and technologies as a way to outsource tasks and focus on key business issues, it's also essential to view IT outsourcing on a case-by-case basis, particularly when mission-critical tasks, such as storage and data center management, come into play.
Meanwhile, it's wise to dump certain commonly held myths, including the often-mistaken belief that an organization can deploy better security measures than a top-tier cloud provider.
As numerous once-strategic IT tasks fall into the tactical and functional bucket, CIOs must take a closer look at outsourcing infrastructure and understand how it can ratchet up value.