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A services-minded Technology strategy

September 7, 2010 • Opinion

Leon Erasmus, HP Technology Services Country Manager (HP South Africa)

Managing an information technology budget is often like managing a professional sports team. In the sports world, team owners look to managers to acquire the brightest talent and maintain a winning team while keeping a watchful eye on the results. In the technology world it’s the same concept; chief executive officers (CEOs) look to chief information officers (CIOs) to acquire and maintain the latest technology to drive innovation with expected returns.

One winning solution for CIOs is to plan for change, so that functionality can be quickly and easily added as the business requires it. A services-minded technology strategy, from cloud computing to outsourcing, will help the business stay a step ahead of the competition. In developing a technology playbook, ensuring that today’s innovation does not become tomorrow’s legacy is critical to a victorious outcome.

Step one: Redirect investment from operations to innovation.

A global survey of more than 500 business and technology executives commissioned by HP and conducted by Coleman Parkes Research Ltd. in April 2010, reveals that one out of every two business executive’s feel their companies suffer from innovation gridlock. Innovation gridlock is a situation where IT organisations are blocked from driving new business innovation because the majority of their funding is consumed by operating the current environment. More than 50 percent of business and technology executives feel this gridlock prevents their organisations from keeping up with the competition.

By adopting technologies like cloud computing, CIOs are able to lower costs and redirect funds to fuel innovation and help drive business growth. New cloud-based services can quicken time to market for new offerings, improve efficiency, and free up resources while lowering the risks associated with the adoption and management of cloud computing initiatives.

These types of offerings help organisations get applications in a much quicker and more efficient way than it takes for current processes to deploy applications.

It is crucial to take into account the full lifecycle of cloud services by helping CIOs plan and design, automate and manage, and most importantly, assure that cloud services will meet the performance as well as cost objectives required to drive business outcomes. In cases, these projects can be “self-funding,” meaning that CIOs are not asking CEOs for more money, but rather, improving upon what is already in place.

Step two: Obtain essential knowledge and know-how to make the most of technology solutions.

Excellence in business is dependent upon excellence across an organisation’s technology environment. That, in turn, demands expert staff and an efficient technology infrastructure that is highly available, consistently reliable, readily scalable and totally secure. Enterprise infrastructures are inherently complex and rely heavily on skilled staff. However, many technology companies are challenged with having the in-house expertise to prevent and rapidly resolve issues associated with these complexities.

Outsourcing services help CIOs simplify and streamline their organisation’s infrastructure environment to achieve business goals while reducing costs as well as maintaining their competitive edge. Outsourcing services should work to support businesses, helping clients drive measurable value from technology investments. This can dramatically reduce the time, cost, complexity, disruption and risks associated with creating and managing dynamic data centres as well as updating existing applications.

Step three: Transform the approach to facilities and IT resourcing to reduce ongoing energy and operation outlays.

Organisations need ever increasing computing capabilities to stay competitive, yet many data centres are reaching their capacity limits. As the workload requirements for data centres increase so does the need for power and cooling increase. At the same time, technology executives are tasked with reducing overall energy costs as well as lowering the organisations carbon footprint.

Engaging in a services approach can help overcome these challenges. Services organisations are able to devise and implement a sustainable energy-efficiency strategy to:

· Eliminate over-provisioning of power and cooling resources

· Improve power usage effectiveness

· Analyse the impact of prospective changes in layout, equipment or cooling capacity

· Identify the return on investment of moving to industry benchmark best practices.

Whether it’s a sports team seeking out the next great sports star, or an enterprise business developing a data centre that is engineered for change, the best move is to utilise experts that can ensure success. A services-minded strategy, along with the right funding options, can provide a winning outcome for even the most challenged CIO.

By Leon Erasmus, HP Technology Services Country Manager (HP South Africa)

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