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Support for a Diverse IT Environment

  • July 2014
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 20 pages

Summary

Table of Contents

Evolving IT Support—From the Service and Help Desk to Broader IT Management

As more employees work outside of the office, working arrangements are becoming more fluid with improved company IT environments, including IT support (ITS) help desk and service desk sectors. Cloud computing, bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own application (BYOA), and bring your own device (BYOD), are all joining and replacing on-premises and employer-supplied hardware and software. Furthermore, connected devices, or the “Internet of Things” (IoT), is creating a new set of users in the form of remotely monitored and managed equipment, machinery, devices, systems, and vehicles. This insight discusses how companies’ ITS department can cope with evolving IT environments while also facing demanding users and tight budgets.

Introduction At a time when more employees are working outside of the office, and working arrangements are becoming ever more fluid, companies’ IT environments are evolving, including IT support (ITS) help desk and service desk. Cloud computing, bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own application (BYOA), and bring your own device (BYOD), are both joining and replacing on-premises and employer-supplied hardware and software. Finally, connected devices, or the “Internet of Things” (IoT), is creating a new set of “users” in the form of remotely monitored and managed equipment, machinery, devices, systems, and vehicles. Meanwhile, so many companies continue to regard IT as a “cost center”. So how can companies’ ITS departments cope with evolving IT environments while also facing demanding users and tight budgets?

ITS Trends There are ongoing changes in how IT hardware and software is being sourced, deployed, configured, and leveraged, all of which impact ITS. Consider the following key trends: Rise of the Cloud More software is being delivered in both the public and private cloud. Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the U.S. cloud infrastructure as a service market will grow from $billion in revenue in 2012 to $ billion in 2016, a % compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Frost & Sullivan research also forecasts that annual revenues of North American hosted solutions will climb from $ billion in 2013 to $ billion in 2018, an % CAGR. Revenues from hosted/cloud solutions already have exceeded on-premises contact center product sales (excluding maintenance) in terms of annual spending. That trend will continue for the rest of the forecast period. But few companies are moving their suite of applications to the cloud en masse. Frost & Sullivan research reports that companies are most likely to have Web site hosting, archival storage, and communications and business productivity solutions in the cloud. Also, companies are less likely to have cloud-delivered finance and accounting, human resources (HR), human capital management (HCM), and desktop virtualization applications. Proprietary data and critical workloads also tend to remain on-premises longer, as do other cumbersome legacy systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Many companies also will want to fully or mostly depreciate their on-premises software before replacing it, unless new cloud solutions pose sufficiently attractive benefits to warrant their earlier introduction. Even so, more new solutions are moving to the cloud. Frost & Sullivan is seeing strength in the demand for cloud HCM software to replace legacy on-premises systems, and to offer new and enhanced capabilities, such as talent management. The net result is complex “hybrid cloud” IT environments of software in public clouds, other software in private clouds, and while other software is deployed on-premises. Hybrid clouds occur also when software applications are deployed and operated in the cloud, but data management may remain on-premises. Many network management platforms are now cloud-based, providing monitoring and management to on-premises networking hardware. Meanwhile many lines of businesses (LOBs) are using a mix of cloud and on-premises solutions.

The shift to the cloud creates a mixed situation for IT organizations. Having applications hosted off-site shifts technology ownership, management, and support from IT to suppliers. IT organizations also are demanding high availability and reliability, quality of service, effective ITS, tight security, flexibility, and low total cost of ownership (TCO) from hosted vendors. Hardware and Software Centralization, Convergence, and Virtualization Companies are virtualizing computing devices and services. Virtualization consists of technologies such as virtual servers or “virtual machines”, routers, and security appliances. Virtualization allows IT to minimize the use of costly and cumbersome physical equipment and to increase IT resource utilization. By virtualizing and converging various services, companies require fewer systems, but these must have higher processing power. But implementing virtualization and its related systems require personnel who have the “know-how” to manage them. Application Performance Management (APM) Evolution APM has expanded from monitoring and managing application availability and performance to ensuring excellent user experiences, including how long it takes users to sign-in and complete their tasks. With APM, user issues are pinpointed and resolved.

New and Specialized Solutions As companies’ needs evolve, more specialized software solutions are rising to meet them. There is a widening array of applications for specific fields, such as accounting, customer care, CRM, HR/HCM, and security, and for key verticals, such as financial services, government, healthcare, hospitality, legal, and retail. Software also is being written for mobile platforms, including Android and iOS. IoT also is introducing many hardware types and systems onto enterprise networks. There also have been changes in user-specific requirements and environments that affect ITS. There are three principal examples of such trends: IT Consumerization Employees, accustomed to their generally positive experiences with their consumer computing and mobile devices, applications, and with self-service sites and support, expect to have high quality experiences with their employers’ technology, sites, and support. Users want intuitive self-service, immediate assistance, proactive contact, first contact resolution, and mobile device access. Most importantly, users want IT organizations to proactively enable their productivity with technology, as opposed to continually denying their requests for, or access to, new solutions.

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