I spent a couple of days this week at the Cloud Computing World Forum in London. It was interesting to talk to people from many different industries and hear about the needs and expectations that they had of the cloud - or more accurately, the expectations their users, whether colleagues or customers, had for the cloud.
The key unifying factor, however, was in enabling IT to say "yes" to requests from users more often than "no". This is not because of real-world followers of Mordac, Preventer of Information Services, but because of the large and ongoing workload IT has to commit to when accepting to provide some service to users.
Historically, the way IT has managed its workload has been by ruthless triage of user requests: determining whether something needs to be done, needs to be done now, how much of it needs to be done today and what the expectations for the future are, and who will be inconvenienced if it is not done. This is of course not ideal for users, as many requests get flat-out denied, and even the ones that are approved take ages to make their way through the system. This is, of course, what leads to "shadow IT", where frustrated users or entire departments go around IT to obtain the services they need directly from third parties.
Even today, however, the response from many IT departments is still to try to limit what they sign up to support. Today, though, technology is finally available to enable IT to say "yes" to user requests without committing themselves to insupportable workloads for the foreseeable future. BMC's Service Blueprints let IT assemble catalogue entries from small, manageable components, instead of the old way of mapping every single possible selection from the catalogue to a monolithic template. In addition, Service Blueprints enable users to make changes and additions to basic requests on the fly, or to request a single offering in various different sizes, without requiring IT to rework an entire definition behind the scenes.
If you are interested in saying "yes" to users more often than "no", check out www.bmc.com/cloud for more details.