The vast majority of cloud migration programs supporting IT transformation rarely end up with the promised business benefits.\nThese scattered initiatives, decided in the CIO\u2019s office, are often disconnected from any basic business strategy. Who can objectively pretend that leveraging the cloud to cut IT costs and streamline IT operations is enough to help the business become an innovation champion, prevent market share erosion or stop customer churn? These are actually the challenges.\nThe fact of the matter is, these short-term initiatives result from a combination of weaknesses ranging from misunderstanding of industry disruption\u2019s impacts on businesses and blurred IT strategies to deficient IT transformation approaches and guidance.\u00a0They\u2019re still based on the now outdated belief that what business units (BU) expect from IT is massive cost reduction and speedy IT operations.\nWhat then should IT do to effectively help\u00a0business units make a profit? How could IT properly do it? Those are the recurrent questions your CIO peers have been increasingly asking.\nThe answer is threefold: Focus on core business, operational agility and competitive innovation.\u00a0Using an IT as a service (ITaaS) capability that removes the hassles of managing IT while boosting business operations allows\u00a0business units to focus on what matters: revenue generation.\nThis article covers the foundations of ITaaS as I\u2019ve been implementing it to help clients align to the rising digital economy\u2019s requirements.\nThe common and terrible IT mistake to avoid\nA mistake IT professionals (particularly IT vendors and consultants) make is to reduce digital strategy to a technology matter. Yes, you read it right: They\u2019re wrong. The challenge isn\u2019t technology implementation, it\u2019s competitiveness. Here is why.\nTackling the competitive issues is the primary challenge, not implementing the technology\nRecent IT innovations \u2014 including cloud computing, big data, internet of things (IoT), machine learning, continuous deployment infrastructure and more \u2014 act as disruptors to your industry. As illustrated here, they reshuffle the competitive game:\n Credit: ITaaSNow \nBy reducing IT infrastructure investment close to zero and enabling innovative services, they create a competitive context where proliferating new tech startups eat up market shares, proliferating digital services cannibalize established products and, more importantly, customers get volatile by fleeing to competitors.\nDon\u2019t get trapped by the massive marketing hypes and propaganda out there. The actual challenge your business units face is to provide effective answers to the following competitive questions; without answers no profit is possible:\n\nHow to prevent market share erosion?\nHow to prevent service cannibalization?\nHow to prevent customer churn?\nHow to increase customer value?\n\nAsk yourself this: \u201cIs my favorite IT vendor serious when he pretends that migrating my infrastructure to the cloud will help BUs meet the competitive challenges? How would my BUs welcome that holistic approach to the business value of cloud computing?\u201d\nToday\u2019s cloud strategies are insufficient; they miss out on BUs\u2019 business objectives\nDigital strategies as formulated by BUs show a severe disconnect with today\u2019s infrastructure-oriented visions primarily thought to increase IT vendors sales. The following picture summarizes a generic digital strategy I captured at the recent\u00a0Hamburg Aviation Conference, ThinkFuture17. I was invited to give a keynote speech on industry disruption and the steps business leaders could take to meet the challenges:\n Credit: ITaaSNow \nThis image shows that customer loyalty is the primary revenue driver. It\u2019s part of a virtuous circle structured around four continual steps:\n\nIntegrate customer data to facilitate customer analytics.\nAnalyze customer data to spot expectations and innovative service ideas.\nDevelop expected innovative services in agile and cross-functional contexts.\nImprove customer experience through leveraging technology innovations to secure loyalty and revenue.\n\nWhat this digital strategy framework unveils is this: The business units\u2019 visions transcend infrastructure concerns; greater contributions to business issues, particularly revenue generation, are expected. Three elements enable it:\n\nInnovation enabled not only by big data technology but also by the adoption of innovation culture. It demands a transformation of the organization\u2019s operational model.\nBusiness agility enabled not only by DevOps principles and continuous deployment technology but also by the elimination of organizational silos. It speeds up interactions and makes the business responsive to market opportunities.\nInnovative technology made easily accessible and cheap through comprehensive managed cloud services. It helps to continuously improve customer experience.\n\nYou might be asking yourself, \u201cWhy doesn\u2019t my favorite cloud vendor or consultant offer that integrated vision? Is there any IT capability implementing such vision? How long is the implementation? How expensive is it?\u201d\nThe foundations of the managed ITaaS capability\nContrary to what the complexity of such effort may suggest, it\u2019s possible to cost-effectively and in a record time transform your IT from cash-eater to profit-maker.\u00a0The capability making it possible has a name: A managed ITaaS platform.\nIt\u2019s the idea that combining managed cloud services and ITaaS principles to make the business agile and enable profit-making processes is a cheaper and faster way to generate revenue than engaging in scattered and expensive migration to infrastructure as a service (IaaS).\n Credit: ITaaSNow \nThree fundamental building blocks make up the managed ITaaS capability:\n\nA managed cloud platform.\nITaaS services.\nAn agile value stream.\n\nLet\u2019s explore how these components contribute to making IT an actual profit-maker.\nThe immediate benefits of managed ITaaS capability\nIt\u2019s time for CIOs to stop wasting time with IT transformation approaches that bring no business value. Make no mistake about it: Taking advantage of the cloud to cut storage costs, take advantage of cheap disaster recovery capability or quickly provision infrastructure will never make BUs innovation champions, keep your customer loyal or increase revenue. Things aren\u2019t that simplistic.\nHere are three reasons why your company needs a managed ITaaS capability:\n100% designed to generate business profit\nThe business\u2019s bottom line is to make profit through innovation, business agility and market responsiveness.\nUnfortunately, today\u2019s IT value propositions are limited to reducing infrastructure costs and speeding IT operations. Enabling money-making processes through managed cloud services to make money in a timely manner is what\u2019s expected.\nIt\u2019s the purpose of the managed ITaaS platform, here are the substantial benefits it provides:\n\nAn\u00a0ITaaS platform\u2019s managed cloud services not only eradicate IT costs but also absorb the hassles of managing IT and keep the organization focused on its core business.\nAn\u00a0ITaaS platform\u2019s\u00a0value stream through agile practices breaks down organizational silos, increases cross-functional collaboration and accelerates the interactions across your business.\n\nCheap, flexible, speedy and managed IT services platform\nBUs\u2019 concerns have shifted from IT efficiency to IT\u2019s business profitability. Let me repeat it: The issue isn\u2019t the amount of money IT helps save or how speedy IT operations are, but how well IT can effectively contribute to profit.\nThe ITaaS approach to managed cloud services takes cloud implementation to the next level; it helps to meet BUs\u2019 expectations. As illustrated, it\u2019s a holistic computing approach that transcends IaaS issues to boost the organization\u2019s profit-making processes:\n Credit: ITaaSNow \nSome of the key benefits include:\n\nIT management hassles removed from your organization to the managed cloud service provider. It gives the IT department latitude to contribute to profit making.\nIT operations get flexible and agile. It contributes through SaaS, PaaS and IaaS services to making the business agile.\nFit for purpose, secure and reliable enterprise cloud architectures provide on-demand infrastructure resources. It accelerates the IT transformation effort.\nSubstantial cost savings \u2014 both CAPEX and OPEX \u2014 that give latitude to invest in innovation and research and development.\n\nBusiness agility and velocity\nInnovation, operational agility and market responsiveness aren\u2019t miraculously achieved by migrating infrastructure to the cloud or massively deploying automation infrastructure.\nThat\u2019s a myth. They demand proactive transformation of the most strategic piece of your business: Its value stream.\n Credit: ITaaSNow \nThe deployment of the agile value stream automatically removes organizational silos and operational dysfunctions, and it reconfigures your business into a flexible, agile and responsive work environment.\u00a0\nConclusion\nThe disruptions brought about by recent technology innovations raise competitive issues that force business units to focus on the things that matter: market share, service innovation and customer loyalty.\u00a0\nThis will never be achieved with IT strategies that primarily seek to cut technology costs and speed IT operations. It will be achieved by radically different approaches and capabilities that truly stress business concerns. That\u2019s why ITaaS is a game-changer.