Keep IT off the boardroom agenda says VMware

IT not a cost but a service

The growth of virtualisation and cloud computing is changing the agenda when it comes to the way that IT is perceived within the enterprise.

And according to VMWare this is going to mean a dramatic transformation of the role of CIOs and other IT managers.

As part of this ongoing initiative, the company has written a White Paper and set up a website to lay out its philosophy for the new generation of IT managers.

"There's an irony here," said Tod Nielsen, VMware's chief operating event speaking at the initiative's launch in London. "We've been arguing for 25 years that IT deserved its place in the boardroom but we're now arguing the opposite."

What VMware is stating is not that IT's importance has been diminished but that it now is of more strategic importance. The move towards virtualisation and cloud computing has changed the way that companies look towards IT.

There appears to be an easy identification between virtualisation and cloud computing but VMware insisted they weren't the same thing. "Google is a massive cloud company without any element of virtualisation," said Milind Govekar, Gartner's research VP for IT infrastructure & operations. "There are also plenty of examples of virtualisation projects that don't involve any cloud. But they are connected, I prefer to see virtualisation as a foundation for cloud computing."

Govekar said that IT departments needed to change the way that they thought. "You clearly need technology to deliver the services in place but the crux of the whole thing is how to run IT as a service. It's too often seen as a cost centre, and what's the first reaction to cost - is it cut."

He said that the worrying trend for corporate IT departments was that cloud computing was seen as an easy option. "Business sees cloud computing as a means of bypassing IT and going straight to the cloud. What businesses should be doing is talking about how to make money from IT."

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