Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other cloud services in this class are positioned as a replacement for IT. And they are often cheaper and easier to use than their IT-supplied alternatives. We go through this about every ten to fifteen years when service providers find they can provide services directly to internal organizations better, faster and cheaper than IT can. This is largely because IT is structured as a cost center, believes it is an internal monopoly (their customers can't go outside), and has been inflexible with policy and pricing for an extended period.
BMC has been one of the most aggressive firms supplying IT with the weapons they need to fight back against this trend, from their Cloud Boot Camp offering, which was designed to bring IT and line of business together to define a better working relationship for cloud services, to MyIT, which was designed as strong competition for Amazon Web Services. Embracing cloud services but leaving IT's value intact, BMC has structured a set of offerings that are uniquely designed to help secure IT's position and fight against premature obsolescence.
However, even though MyIT had an app store component, it wasn't truly competitive. The firm recently purchased Partnerpedia to close that gap. And this week they launched Enterprise AppZone Marketplace and Enterprise AppZone Manager under their brand but as mature products from Partnerpedia.
Any organization can mistakenly believe they are irreplaceable. I was meeting with a massive Japanese company this week, and they are planning on entering the phone business. The manufacturing arm was confident that they would be building the devices but had been slow to validate designs and get the lines up. As a result, the line organization went to an original design manufacturer (ODM) and had them build the phones instead. They are stunning devices apparently built at a cost at or lower than what the internal organization could provide. As you would expect, the manufacturing arm had a cow because now the jobs and lines that had been designated for these products would be unused, and they'll likely need a layoff.
But senior management backed the line organization because the manufacturing group hadn't performed and they realized that you can't sell what you don't have. It is likely this manufacturing will continue to be outsourced indefinitely.
Increasingly, internal organizations like IT, manufacturing, security, operations, food services and maintenance have been or are being outsourced because the internal groups aren't seen as responsive or cost effective. In today's fast-moving world, if you can't effectively compete with an external service, you better have your resume ready—not only is your job at risk, so is your career.
A few years ago, I was in a meeting with one of the leading IT analysts, and we got in an argument about BYOD. I argued the phenomenon was real and the exposure needed to be addressed. He argued that he spoke to more IT folks than I did and I didn't know what I was talking about. He wasn't misstating because he did and does talk to more IT folks than I do. But the problem was that BYOD was happening outside of IT—as much of Amazon's cloud business continues to do. He wasn't aware of the trend because his customers weren't yet seeing it. By the time both became aware, it was pretty much unstoppable, and IT was increasingly becoming redundant.
If I can buy my own equipment, rely on third parties for support, and use cloud providers like Amazon for infrastructure or Microsoft (Office 365) directly for productivity, what do I really need IT for?
Clearly, IT is necessary for compliance, but that is a much smaller role, requiring far less staffing, than IT generally has. Besides, AWS can do compliance assurance—just ask them.
What is unique to BYOD is the app store model, and this is what BMC is providing in their latest offering.
AppZone was created to help IT embrace the app store. It comes in two forms: the AppZone Marketplace, where commercial app developers can feed apps to end users through a controlled interface, and the AppZone Manager, where IT can assure policy compliance, curate the apps, manage licenses and assure the user experience. In effect, IT becomes the store owner and can then provide a service to a BYOD world. This helps assure IT's valued role in the corporate world. that the user gets not only a great experience, but one that is both in compliance with policy and cost effective (because group buying discounts can assured as well).
Whether you use BMC's offerings, create your own or find another vendor to partner with, IT has a choice: they can either ride this wave to cloud services or be crushed by it. Ignoring it isn't really an option.