IT infrastructure—no matter how delivered: IaaS, cloud, on premise—is part of the lifeblood of an organization and the application and consumption of that technology is critical to its success. We all know it and live and breathe it every day. This is reinforced by that fact that when the technology that we are so reliant upon is not up and available to serve the needs of the organization, the organization generally suffers. The saying goes that IT success is all about people, process and technology, and it's absolutely true, but it's also not just about the technology itself, it's about the effective use and consumption of that technology. You can have the most innovative and most expensive technology out there (and many companies do), but unless it's used properly and as intended, the full benefits will not be realized.
Because technology has become so ingrained in our businesses and in what we do each and every day (picture how productive you were the last time it went down), it must be up and available to serve our needs, and frankly, as users, we don't care how it's done. It's like electricity, we don't care how it gets to our house and wall sockets, it's just there and it works. That's what we expect out of IT today with very high expectations. Hence why there is such an interest and rise in effective ways to deliver IT such as cloud (all flavors: Private, Public and Hybrid) and Reference and Purpose Built Architectures. Their premise is simple: make IT work quickly and effectively in the least technical way possible, where the technology itself takes a backstage seat to its actual use in providing value.
But let's be clear: no matter what type of technology you have as your infrastructure for your IT (like the aforementioned cloud and Purpose Built Architectures), if you don't have the appropriate people and processes in place to ensure you are utilizing—and we use the term consuming—the technology in ways that benefit you and the organization, you will not realize all of the value possible. I remember watching a hockey movie years ago where a young player was holding the hockey stick incorrectly with his hands only on the bottom half and the coach told him: you paid for the whole stick, make sure you use it. The same holds true for IT. If you invest in technology (in any form) but don't have an effective way to use it and have your users consume it, than where is its value?
So how can you be more effective at consuming the technology you already have or are considering putting into place? Get clear on the value the technology is envisioned to bring you (see past blog post on IT Clarity) and focus on the other two of the three P's: people and process. If you don't have an effective set of processes (or the right people for that matter) in place to help ensure this will happen, there is a very good chance it won't and you'll be disappointed. And the disappointment will be in not getting the anticipated value for the IT you invested in.
Engaging the right people could mean utilizing internal resources and personnel or bringing in a trusted Business Partner to help you figure out how to best consume the technology in an efficient manner. The benefit of a trusted outside Business Partner (if you have a need to reach outside) is that it will give an outside perspective. And whomever you engage should have a long history and experience in working with customers with the same challenges, technologies and environments similar to yours that can help you in providing value with ensuring IT consumption.
Consumption is not just about end users using technology effectively but about IT organizations and departments implementing it effectively with all of the capabilities possible and necessary to realize value to the organization which is serves. So create a plan and vision for not just your technology, but the consumption of that technology throughout your organization and focus on the three P's: people, process and technology. This is a case where advocating consumption (and even striving for over consumption) is a good thing for all.