CIO Zone

Devil in disguise or dream come true?

What is IT management as a service and why are there so many fears surrounding this solution?

Read time 4min 50sec

IT management as a service (ITMaaS) may be defined as outsourcing the management of a company's IT. I prefer to call it common sense.

In a world where applications are the face of business, the application economy has changed the business landscape forever. Traditional business channels are being usurped by electronic and mobile. The pace of business, coupled with continuous change, creates unparalleled challenges for IT.

By outsourcing the management of a company's IT, businesses are provided with the ability to forget about having to manage the day-to-day IT chores, and instead focus on their core business issues - namely, running and growing the organisation. That makes perfect sense, surely?

But, for some execs and specifically CIOs, ITMaaS can be a frightening prospect. It includes loss of control over the IT domain, possibly diminishing the extent of the CIO's role, and even worse, the company's data may now reside in another country.

However, the real nightmare for CIOs is worrying about how they will manage IT and, at the same time, ensure they deliver world-class services that support the business and keep pace with their competitors, not to mention the ever increasing demands of their customers. All this must be achieved while simultaneously leveraging technology to take advantage of the opportunities of the application economy. The latter in itself brings major challenges for IT execs, not least of which is managing legacy systems while focusing on shiny new apps that have been developed to support the goals of marketing and the business leaders.

Also, many companies simply don't possess the best-in-class skills required to manage all the elements of infrastructure and systems right across the enterprise. This makes it tough for IT execs to ensure a perfect customer experience that the business, and the app economy, demands, if it is to attract new (while retaining existing) customers. This is especially true when one considers that quality of service is reliant on all the old legacy systems that could be managed by vendors with appropriate skills to ensure the required high service levels.

All of this is no mean feat, but is achievable - through ITMaaS.

ITMaaS value proposition

The ITMaaS segment forms part of the broader SaaS world, which is increasingly attractive amid the grim economic conditions. It is predicted by Gartner to represent the bulk of IT spend into 2017.

ITMaaS vendors provide the essential management tools that enable users to access and view an IT environment, monitor and evaluate performance, and ultimately, improve the functionality of IT environments through a cloud delivery model. The ability to gain visibility into an internal IT structure and deliver the performance data is a critical component within the management process. Through ITMaaS offerings, enterprises are able to easily capture, analyse and monitor the risks, costs, capacity constraints and other performance metrics that help ensure the optimisation of IT resources. Moreover, ITMaaS can deliver the ability to monitor new technologies, in a seamless and time-effective manner, as they are added to the stack.

Today's customers do not give second chances.

Above all, leveraging IT to deliver consistent, quality customer service is pivotal to competitive advantage in the application economy, where consistent, quality customer experience is the name of the game, with one of the key goals being the acquisition of a single view of customers' transactions.

The IT landscape has had to change to keep pace with the dynamics of the application economy. Traditional business channels are being usurped by online and mobile. The pace of business, coupled with continuous change, creates unparalleled challenges for IT, where service delivery is not expected but rather demanded by consumers with many choices.

Way of the dodo

Businesses failing to deliver the quality and consistency of experience customers expect today are doomed to failure. They simply will not survive. Today's customers do not give second chances.

Customers' service perceptions are a direct reflection on the quality of a company's IT provisions. Consumers are unforgiving if exposed to erratic service experiences.

ITMaaS is a new way of allowing IT executives to focus on value-added services and have peace of mind that their IT services will meet market demands. Moreover, it goes beyond traditional service desk or service management as a service by providing the infrastructure, application monitoring, security and service management capabilities needed to underpin an efficient and cost-effective IT management operation.

It is an alternative software delivery model that extends the boundaries of traditional offerings. It can provide a highly secure, scalable, and certified environment that offers seamless integration, zero maintenance headaches, quick time to value, painless upgrades and more.

Obviously, there are considerations around choice of partner, with first prize for peace of mind being a solution that fulfils SA's governance and legislative requirements and keeps data local.

To summarise, adoption of an ITMaaS model translates into outsourcing the day-to-day administrative and operational tasks associated with the service management environment, giving businesses the flexibility to adapt quickly to changing situations and technologies. Above all, this solution empowers companies with the ability to provide incomparable service delivery to their customers, which is the holy grail of all businesses today.

Gary Lawrence

MD, CA Southern Africa

Gary Lawrence is managing director of CA Southern Africa, responsible for all aspects of the business across Sub-Saharan Africa. He is an industry veteran, having more than 20 years' experience in creating, building and managing software businesses in the Southern African market. Lawrence has more than eight years' experience with CA, serving as country manager for five years prior to the formation of CA Southern Africa within EOH. He was previously country manager for Business Objects and Baan for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. He was also founder and CEO of Softworx, a local software and services business in the ERP, business intelligence and supply chain space. Lawrence is a member of the EOH executive committee, reporting directly to the group CEO.

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