The year 2008 saw economic turmoil all across the world as developed countries are gripped by recession. Even the fast growing countries like India and China slowed down significantly. The year 2009 is not going to be any better as pundits predict that it will take at least the first nine months to recover.
Though infrastructure management and operations (IMO) have non-discretionary spending patterns, the overall economic situation will have a significant impact. The following are my predictions in the IMO area for the year 2009.
Enterprise IT organizations will have no options but to reduce their IT spending.
Though classified as non-discretionary spending, the year 2009-10 will see a significant drop in the IT operations budget. Upgrades, new technology adaptations, and new tool implementations, will be curtailed, deferred or canceled. The support agreements with product vendors and service providers will be re-negotiated and IT will move to efficient “Lights On” operations.
However, there is some good news. The projects which have short-term and medium-term savings potential will gain acceptance. One area where new projects may get started is in Green IT where ROI can be achieved in the short term. Some examples of Green IT initiatives that may garner attention include KVM power switches, consolidation of data centers, virtualization, and server and storage consolidation.
Another area where new investments may be seen is in the video conferencing, live meeting and unified communication segment. These initiatives can significantly reduce travel costs and make meetings more effective with larger participation.
Low cost IT management tools and open source tools will also be evaluated and implemented. This will save on the high support renewal costs of traditional NMS tools.
Processes implementation will increase across IT to improve efficiency and reduce dependence on people.
The dependence on people in IT is increasingly affecting the productivity and efficiency. Process oriented operations will gain significant attention this year. ITIL/ITSM is emerging as the de-facto standard for IT operations and services. Run books will be Web enabled and will be real-time, live documents that become knowledge repositories.
IT processes will also be re-defined to adhere to ITIL standards. As this occurs, there will be increased implementation of ITIL/ITSM based frameworks. In addition, infrastructure process maturity will be assessed and new structures will be implemented to make the operations more robust and efficient. The end result will be the restructuring of IT organizations based on the IT process maturity.
SLA based managed services will take over from staff augmentation. Risk/reward models will emerge, as well.
Managed services will relieve IT managers from day to day management of certain operation tasks. Tying this with SLAs and a measurement methodology enables managers to focus on certain important strategic initiatives like future planning, optimization of IT and improved productivity of available resources. In addition, service providers can bring the value of their experience, processes and best practices, without the costs of staff augmentation.
As managed services gain momentum this year, customer satisfaction and end user satisfaction will come to the forefront as SLAs will be tied to customer satisfaction. Fixed price and outcome based pricing models will also emerge, and vendors will be measured not just on the SLA adherence, but also on the value they bring to the table