The Changing Role of IT: Becoming a Service Organization To Enhance the Customer Experience

By Jessie McKay, IT Program Manager, NetApp

Let’s face it: The role of IT is changing, as organizations evolve from being builders and operators to brokers of services for the overall business. “If you work in IT, you are a service provider,” said NetApp CTO Jay Kidd, referring to one of his top 10 technology predictions that will shape the IT industry in 2014.

Kidd’s sentiment was further expressed by NetApp CEO Tom Georgens who earlier this year in an interview with InformationWeek said, “So there's a transition [among] IT professionals from being effectively owner-operators to figuring out the role of external services, whether it's Software as a Service, traditional enterprise services, or hyper-scale services.”

At NetApp IT, the operating model is changing from a traditional plan-build-run to IT service management. For example, today IT provides nCloud, a pay-as-you-go, self-service cloud offering for non-critical business applications. For business-critical applications an automated Infrastructure as a Service provision model is used for on-premises solutions, making them on par with readily available cloud services.

With this new model, IT can deliver holistic compute environments that provide operating systems, user access, server monitoring, and applications storage within a few hours.

In managing our transition to a service provider we use a set of best practices based on a strong customer-focused approach called “IT service management” (ITSM) that enables us to:

  • Align IT services to the capabilities our business units need
  • Create a proactive plan to match both the business strategy and demands to ensure that IT consistently provides what truly is needed and valued
  • Define, develop, and negotiate service-level agreements with the business stakeholders to establish a mutual understanding of the service levels provided

We all know that IT operates best when it operates like a business, with a clear focus on customer needs and full transparency into its ability to meet those needs. IT service management will help us bridge the gap between customer expectations and IT deliverables – our best practices will grow over the years, putting the customer first.

Our journey toward ITSM is just beginning. Our goal is to become the service provider of choice for NetApp.


The NetApp-on-NetApp blog series features advice from subject matter experts from NetApp IT who share their real-world experiences using NetApp’s industry-leading storage solutions to support business goals. Want to view learn more about the program? Visit