I listened to a great webinar hosted by Ziff Davis and Dell today. You can hear the recording at eSeminarsLive. Michael Vizard, SVP, Editorial Director from Ziff Davis provided the top key IT challenges we face today. Here are the highlights as I see them.
- Vista migration is still a concern but needs to be overcome. Waiting for Windows 7 will not help much since it is based on the Vista platform. There are very few compatibility concerns now and the integrated network design has much better security over XP. Also, there is a learning curve so end-user training is needed. CMIT clients should be added to our help desk to answer end-user questions!
- Utility Computing is coming! My understanding is that you have the buzz word, Utility Computing as the main header. Cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) are buckets under this umbrella. Cloud Computing is hosting hardware to make the environment more dynamic. Software as a Service (SaaS) is the software applications that are hosted in the cloud. You are already seeing SaaS getting adopted but hardware virtualization and managed hosting of hardware will become more and more common. I would expect to see a hybrid of on premise and cloud computing happening now with more hardware virtualization options growing over the next 12 to 36 months. SaaS has a shorter roll-out period with no in-house maintenance. This has caused adoption to grow and will continue as security concerns are addressed. Small businesses use SaaS primarily for email, web conferencing, e-commerce and professional services automation. The ability to pay as you go and use it from anywhere will keep SaaS on the top of the list in 2009.
- Security remains a top concern and IT challenge. Compliance continues to drive more spending in this area but it is hard to keep up. The economic slow down will cause more regulations so CMIT needs to continue to advance this service offering. I see professional service fees being spent in this area to document security practices. CMIT Guardian will protect the small business data but consulting practices needs to be added to the Guardian package.
- There is an IT skill shortage. Many technicians cannot keep up with current technologies. CMIT Marathon really adds value by outsourcing the necessary but tedious tasks like anti-virus updating and asset management.
- Green IT is a growing request from small businesses. It is more about cost savings than the environment. Energy is the main expense for IT which is why companies are seriously looking at Cloud Computing. CMIT already helps with Green IT by provisioning about 75% of issue resolution remotely. CMIT could also help small business recycle their hardware and consolidate their servers. What do you think about a packaged offering for Green IT? This would include services for paper recycling, equipment recycling, server consolidation and virtualization. Thoughts?
- Business Process Improvement (BPI) is what every small business is looks for, especially with the economic crisis we face today. It is important for IT to be at the strategic meetings. IT goals and planning should align with the overall business goals. CMIT Marathon frees up time, resources and money so that more IT resources can be spend planning for future growth.
Then Dean Wade, Sr. Prod Manager from Dell Global Services spoke on Dell’s Modular Services Offering. He only spoke about Desktop services. First off, why is Dell calling it modular services? You would think their marketers could have come up with something that indicates proactive management to keep desktops maintained and running… something like Marathon branding perhaps. In the Q&A section of the webinar, he said that they have been offering these services for years and can be added to any desktop purchase today. He also said that they target businesses with 5 to 10,000 users. Wow! That is a range if I ever saw one. So the good news is that Dell is getting the message out that businesses need to be using managed services to streamline business. CMIT will be there to provide the local relationship and hands-on advice.