The growing use of technology in everyday life is changing the traditional way IT services are delivered inside large organizations. Expectations of employees and stakeholders are changing, thereby creating significant consequences for IT organizations. On one hand the disruptive change to the IT landscape brought by the Cloud, whose consequences go far beyond the mere technological aspects, is creating brand new processes and way of working (which can be considered part of what we call XaaS – Everything as a Service). On the other hand, the pressure for an ever more competitive market in a period of economic downturn asks for the need to reduce the costs of the IT systems against a more and more increasing quality in the levels of service to both internal and external consumers.
In order to challenge these market trends, many organizations are considering the creation of Service Catalogues. But to enable effective delivery of such services, convenient Service Centres should be created, being committed to develop, store, deliver and possibly improve the involved services. Service Centers should be highly industrialized entities (typically hosted in backoffice or even X-shored) that are anyway able to align delivery priorities to business objectives and desired quality levels. In such perspective one interesting chance is to start creating Factories-as-a-Service (FaaS).
Key Features of Factory-As-A-Service(FAAS):
- The Factory is highly industrialized, i.e. implements standard platforms, tools and procedures allowing for a rapid start-up of operations against new engagements and leverages on repeatable and measurable processes allowing for improved quality, reliability and predictability of projects outcomes.
- Granted that a convenient Project Portfolio Management is put in place, a Factory can be highly flexible, being able to scale-up (or down) to meet peaks and troughs in the demand of resources. Notice that nowadays agility and responsiveness are key attributes of Digital Enterprises, as they need to work according to a process-on-the-fly approach since fixed ways of working do not suffice any more to establish long-time relationships with Customers.
- The Factory is able to deliver according to different commercial models, there included T&M(Time and Material), Fixed Price and Agile.
Benefits of using a Factory-As-A-Service Model:
- Reduced Cost of Operations: FaaS leads to the consolidation and processes to remove redundancies and achieve economies of scale to reduce costs. Basically the reduced costs are made possible by the re-use of the same delivery assets by a number of different projects and Customers. Nevertheless, in order to attain the maximum benefit, such assets bust be duly maintained i.e. they have to be consistently and dynamically organized, provisioned and integrated in a corpus that will become the Intellectual Property of the Factory.
- Higher Efficiency and Productivity: The establishment of FaaS allows for the development of enhanced competencies, resulting in high productivity and a better service, able to leverage on highly skilled resources and state-of-the-art technologies, organized according to repeatable effective processes (what we call Industrialization). A couple of outstanding aspects closely related to industrialization are the chance of exploiting standard technology platforms, allowing for the re-use of core development and testing environments and of architectural frameworks, and the establishment of both business and IT standard processes allowing for a rapid start of the engagement.
- Improved Quality of Service: Consolidation finally allows for monitoring quality and standardization of quality processes. While setting up a Factory, IT processes must be built on market standards or company specific best practices. This leads to better standardization and improvement in the quality of services offered to Customers by using effective quality assurance systems.