AWS and Azure are disrupting the world as we know it. This is extremely true for IT infrastructure teams who should not be looking for ways to avoid, challenge, or deny this disruption. Instead, it’s time for Infrastructure teams to focus on how they can accelerate this disruption. Here are five straight-forward questions and answers that can help IT Infrastructure gain this focus.

1. Should IT apply my existing IT infrastructure operating model to AWS and Azure?

I’ve only seen a handful of companies get it right and develop a new IT operating model that’s focused on transitioning towards a consultative model, which helps business units accelerate healthy cloud consumption. On the other side of the coin, I’ve seen too many companies choose the wrong path and apply status quo IT processes, which attempts to slow down AWS and Azure consumption. In the end, this wastes time, effort, and money.

2. Why is the current IT infrastructure operating model so negatively impacting to public cloud?

The answer is relatively simple. Azure and AWS act as our source of IT infrastructure asset identification, procurement, depreciation, and management, which is the core purpose of IT infrastructure teams current operating model. By applying status quo operating models, IT is performing a set of mostly redundant, wasteful processes.

3. What should an AWS and Azure focused IT infrastructure operating model entail?

IT infrastructure must transform into a consultative group that focuses on accelerating the business units consumption of AWS and Azure. This will help business units select, architect, consume, and automate AWS and Azure solutions. We like to refer to this new capability as IT service brokerage. Additionally, there should be an effort to develop new monitoring, reporting, and analytic capabilities that allow IT to identify when AWS and Azure services consumption and configuration could be improved from an operational perspective.

4. When you say service broker are you talking about a service catalog like ServiceNow?

If in reading “service brokerage” your mind has jumped to some kind of self-service IT service management portal or virtual machine service catalog, you are still in an asset-oriented mindset. The idea that a service catalog or abstraction layer over cloud providers will provide value to the business is false. AWS and Azure already have service catalogs and self-service, and you would be recreating the wheel by building your own.

5. How will a new operating model impact my people?

Major shifts in IT will always impact the skills, expertise, and structure that your people operate in. You will always have individuals whose modus operandi is to hold onto the status quo and fight the shift. You will also always have individuals who are motivated to usher in change. The critical component is IT leadership’s ability to clearly define their commander’s intent and elevate individuals who want to be part of the new world.

When IT infrastructure finally caves and starts to allow cloud into their world, they always face a critical decision. Do they stick with the legacy IT methodology of inefficient use of the cloud or new IT’s pragmatic, service broker approach of determining the what the business is wanting to accomplish and how to do it in public cloud? The choice is clear: It’s time for IT organizations to break free from the status quo and shift from asset-focused to a service-oriented mindset. Most critical to this transition is IT leadership having an unwavering commitment to shifting their organization to this new operating model.