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Coffee, Cloud and the Software Defined Enterprise

My family and I recently took a week-long vacation in Cape Cod, MA. On the way, we made a quick stop at a local café/coffee shop.  To protect the innocent, let’s just call the establishment “Java Joe’s.”

The coffee shop is small hometown-type of place featuring fantastic pastries and bagels, and really good coffee (they use frozen coffee ice cubes in their iced coffee). But, despite my affinity for Java Joe’s, it represents a fantastic analogy to the mounting challenge (and dare I say crisis) facing legacy IT.

TakeoutCoffeecupBut first, let’s go rapid fire through the agonizing mountain of steps it took for my family and I to place a simple breakfast order at Java Joe’s shop. When it was our turn to order at the counter, the following events occurred in exact succession:

  1. My daughter ordered a bagel
  2. The clerk behind the counter grabbed the bagel, sliced it & placed it in the toaster
  3. The clerk returned to find out what else we wanted
  4. My son ordered an “everything bagel” with sausage, egg and cheese
  5. My wife immediately added to that we also wanted a large hot coffee and a large iced coffee
  6. The clerk grabbed a bagel for my son, cut and dropped it in the toaster, and placed the egg and sausage on the grill for cooking
  7. The clerk abruptly re-approached us at the counter and said “I’m sorry, what kind of coffees did you want again?”
  8. We repeated the coffee orders once (again), and she left to make them (again)
  9. Once both bagels finished toasting, she first prepared my daughter’s, then my son’s
  10. While attempting to ring us out, we discovered both bagels were incorrectly prepared to our original order
  11. The clerk apologized, and proceeded to re-cook the meat and start over…from scratch

All told, I calculate about 15-17 minutes of our time was invested in what should have been a simple breakfast order to complete. That’s just unacceptable.

We often talk about legacy IT in terms of siloed resources that are limited to a single operation. We talk about IT teams in terms of being misused as system integrators, forced to run around like one-armed paper hangers, tying everything together as a completely custom job, each and every time. FunnyCoffeeMugWe identify pockets of underutilized – or overtaxed – resources, and the inability to effectively load balance.  We lament how this lack of efficiency makes legacy IT (and respective IT teams) too expensive, too mistake prone, and far too difficult to deal with…. and this is essentially what we had at the coffee shop I mentioned earlier.

Let’s compare the “Java Joe’s” experience to Starbucks where I stopped a mere 2 hours later. At Starbucks, one person took and verified my order and then that same person took my money right away. Another person got my iced coffee and the food, while a third person prepped my wife’s skim vanilla latte. All in, MAYBE 4 minutes of my time devoted…. and the kicker, just like every other time I’ve been to Starbucks, not a single error was made on my order. They NEVER get it wrong.  Do you know how important that is to a coffee fiend aficionado like me? And the reason for both the efficiency and the accuracy, and ultimately my user experience, is that they load balance. They don’t have silos and they do not have to  rely on a single person to tie everything together.

Here’s why this matters:

I love Java Joe’s. I really do. . But, I never, ever, ever stop by during the work week: only on weekends. As much as I love the “little guy/local flavor”, it’s just easier and faster for me to stop at Starbucks  to get what I want. And this is the same outside service provider problem that IT departments are facing.

Internal IT departments are losing share of wallet with their customers – the business users – and they’re losing because it’s faster, cheaper, and easier for them to buy a similar capability somewhere else. The proof can be found in the growth of companies like– which is perhaps the most famous example of successfully circumventing IT, and selling directly to the line of business- and in surveys including RightScale’s 2014 State of the Cloud Survey. The study found that 87% of companies with over 1,000 employees are already using public cloud services.

For IT departments to remain relevant, they must take a big leap forward.

For IT departments to remain relevant, they must take a big leap forward. Folks in IT often lament that IT budgets aren’t growing and staff counts are stagnant. However, this isn’t a staffing problem. It’s a clear operational efficiency problem. IT departments need to break from their Mom & Pop, legacy model of being system integrators. They need to transform in a way that doesn’t sacrifice quality for speed, or even price. FacesMugsThey must learn to  adopt a software defined cloud model that creates the efficiency, speed, quality, and responsiveness necessary to drive customer satisfaction and competitiveness. This approach goes hand-in-hand with providing automated cataloging and ordering, so that they can create the time/money/headroom to focus on redefining their role to that of a trusted IT Advisor and a Broker of IT services.

If IT departments fail in this transformation, it won’t mean immediate doom. But like Java Joe’s, they will be helpless to stop drips and drops of their customers’ spend instead to outside service providers…until one day, it will just make more sense to go to Starbucks each and every time.

The post Coffee, Cloud and the Software Defined Enterprise appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

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More Stories By Keith Waryas

Keith Waryas leads marketing for EMC’s Technology Services Portfolio. He and his team are responsible for formulating and executing the product service marketing and packaging strategies, with a primary mission of helping customers accelerate the value they get from EMC technology. Keith has more than 20 years experience driving marketing, business development, partnerships and sales for emerging as well as established mobile and enterprise technology companies. Today, he's applying that experience to help EMC, and EMC customers realize success in Cloud, Big Data, and the Software Defined Data Center.