The building blocks of an IT as a service transformation

By: Ray Paskauskas


Chief information officers have been asking how they can enable an IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) delivery model, incorporating all types of services across both traditional and cloud platforms. ITaaS provides an agile model for the procurement and consumption of services, both on and off premises. It can help businesses make better decisions, provide users more choices and, if done effectively, reduce costs. To achieve this goal, the first step is to understand the building blocks of an ITaaS transformation.

Traditional IT

Traditional IT, sometimes referred to as legacy or on-premises IT, is an important building block to consider in an ITaaS transformation. As businesses begin to procure and consume services in variable, pay-as-you-go models, many traditional IT assets may remain at a fixed cost at full implementation. ITaaS allows companies to optimize their IT so that it has a smaller footprint. This ushers in greater cost efficiency and requires less management and maintenance.

What the private cloud offers

The private cloud is a cloud computing platform that offers scalability and self-service through proprietary architecture. Private clouds are usually run in dedicated environments that are deployed either on customer premises or off-site in third-party colocation data centers. Applications with specific security, resiliency, data residency or availability requirements should reside in a private cloud.

Enterprises can use both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) through a common services catalog to provide users more choices, flexibility and faster time to delivery. However, IaaS needs to be developed using orchestration and provisioning technology and deployed in the private cloud environment.

Public cloud benefits

The public cloud provides the ability to consume IaaS and PaaS for workloads that are suitable for the cloud. Though the public cloud appears to be simple, the underlying complexities shouldn’t be dismissed. With the proliferation of shadow IT , it’s easy to overlook security and resiliency considerations. It can also be challenging to determine which workloads to move to the public cloud and which to keep on site. Fortunately, resiliency services can make this easier.

Orchestration and provisioning

Imagine a conductor at the helm of a symphony orchestra. She has to bring the different parts into a unified whole, empowering each section — woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings — to play together in harmony. The same basic principle applies in IT orchestration: Businesses must effectively manage a complex sets of processes, manual or automated, that are implemented through scripts, patterns or blueprints. Through their reuse, automated workflows significantly reduce execution time, which in turn provides a better, more cohesive user experience that inspires customers to return.

The term “provisioning” is sometimes used interchangeably with orchestration, but it actually refers to the execution and delivery of a service that has been built through the orchestration process. Provisioning will configure or provide access to computer systems, networks or other technology resources.


DevOps provides a platform for the automated deployment of IaaS and PaaS in hybrid IT environments. Application and infrastructure blueprints are pre-packaged, facilitating faster application development and realization of benefits.

Service catalogs

Service catalogs provide an enterprise with a single source from which users can request services to satisfy IT and business needs. The service catalog is the foundation of the ITaaS model. It’s where users consume services, where metering and billing of services occurs and where the curator of the services has end-to-end visibility of consumption patterns and costs.

Brokerage services

Brokerage services, combined with a service catalog, provide businesses with a platform for the consumption and provisioning of cloud services from the major providers. Brokerage services are more than a software platform — they provide the capability to plan, buy and manage cloud services.

For brokerage services to be effective, cloud provider services should be pre-loaded into the service catalog, and the customer must be able to order pre-approved application architectures with added managed services.

The ITaaS model is still evolving, so these building blocks will also change and develop. Analytics, cognitive computing, security, automation and service management are other factors you should consider as you look into ITaaS.

ITaaS transformation is a journey, and your business needs to start it now. Now that you know what makes up ITaaS, you can feel more confident taking that first step.

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About The Author

Ray Paskauskas

Executive IT Architect, IBM

Ray Paskauskas is an IBM Executive IT Architect providing a vast array of IT solutions for large enterprise customers. His focus is on the development of cohesive end-to-end technical solutions and deal strategies for complex large/strategic opportunities. Ray assists customers in transition from outdated infrastructure & operations (I&O) by incorporating new operating models and transforming... Read more