Data Centers organizations are interesting to watch as many problems for how data centers get designed and run are influenced by the organizational structure. Jonathan Eunice guest writes on CNET News regarding IBM's reorg of HW under SW.
IBM's reorg shows shape of IT to come
I'm always wary of analyzing corporate organizations and reporting structures. They change frequently--every year or two, in some companies--so they're always in flux. And the details of who reports to whom, or what they want to call this business unit or that--those things matter, a bit, but not nearly so much as the products and services a company offers, how it goes to market, who its competitors are, and so on. Finally, company structures are very "inside baseball"--the kind of detailed who's-on-first, who's-warming-up-in-the-bullpen information that industry insiders may find interesting, but that isn't really all that useful to most customers or investors.
But I'm going to make an exception here because the changes going on at IBM illustrate important structural changes in IT overall, how vendors approach the market (and each other), and what customers can expect from IT providers in the coming years.
The news is as simple as it is astounding: IBM's Systems and Technology Group (STG)--the unit that makes IBM's mainframes, Power and x86 servers, storage, and microprocessors--will henceforth report into the IBM Software Group (SWG). Strictly speaking, IBM hasn't been "a hardware company" for nearly 20 years. Software and services have grown up to be, both in terms of revenue and industry footprint, what the company's about. Everyone who's looked at IBM or industry finances realizes this. Still, when you started thinking about IBM as "a computer company" all those years ago, it's hard to fully internalize the idea that it's no longer really "a computer company."
Google has all its data center infrastructure and hardware report up to Urs Hoelzle.
Urs Hölzle is senior vice president of operations and Google Fellow at Google. As one of Google's first ten employees and its first VP of Engineering, he has shaped much of Google's development processes and infrastructure.
Urs being a SW guy looks at data centers as a computer for Google Software.
Before joining Google, he was an Associate Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Barbara. He received a master's degree in computer science from ETH Zurich in 1988 and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship that same year. In 1994, he earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University, where his research focused on programming languages and their efficient implementation.
As IBM follows Google's model to have hardware report to a VP who is a software guy, it will be interesting to watch who follows the model.
And the world's changing. Enterprises are much more likely to start their IT planning and acquisitions with what they want and need to accomplish, not with pre-determinations of what hardware they'll run it on. That's a shift in customer thinking that benefits those focused on software and services. It similarly benefits those who consider non-IT issues such as financing, demand generation, and partner ecosystems equally important to products and services. IBM definitely thinks this way, about "the whole package," and not just about computers, or any other single element.
This is one way to bridge IT and Facilities. Put it all under a software executive.