Cognitive computing comes to IT staff allocation

Posted by Mike Vizard on Aug 23, 2016 9:50:53 AM

The allocation of IT staff across multiple ongoing projects is often the most challenging management issue that IT service providers regularly face. After all, there are a limited number of IT specialists in any given category, and optimizing the deployment of those experts is often the difference between success and failure across multiple IT projects that need to be managed simultaneously.

Because of these issues, IT service providers should pay attention to an effort Capgemini has embarked on to employ the IBM Watson platform to optimize IT staff deployments.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

How 5G technologies from Intel will transform IT services

Posted by Mike Vizard on Aug 18, 2016 11:15:00 AM

At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this week, providers of IT services were given a glimpse of how Intel plans to transform the delivery IT services by the end of the decade.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

EMV chip card controversy puts IT services firms in the middle

Posted by Mike Vizard on Aug 11, 2016 9:29:47 AM

It’s fair to say that the transition to credit cards using chips in the U.S. has not gone nearly as well as planned. Based on technologies jointly adopted by Eurocard, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV), so-called (EMV) chip cards are designed to cut down on the number of instances of credit card fraud. But issues slowing down usage of chips on these cards span everything from the cost of upgrading a point-of-sale (PoS) system to the length of time it actually takes to get those systems certified for use.

While PoS systems have long been profitable endeavors for IT services providers that serve retail customers, many IT service providers now find themselves caught in a wave of recriminations being hurled back and forth between retailers and the credit card issuers.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Navigating the politics of a digital business transformation project

Posted by Mike Vizard on Aug 9, 2016 10:36:40 AM

When it comes to digital business transformation, there’s plenty of hype these days about how line of business units and “citizen developers” are leading the charge. After all, most of the applications being developed directly impact a business process these types of units typically manage.

But a new survey of 301 employees working at U.S. businesses conducted by Market Cube on behalf of QuickBase finds that the internal IT organization is still firmly in charge of these projects. In fact, the survey finds that 67 percent of the respondents say the internal IT organization is in charge of building applications that will be used in a digital business transformation. Another 48 percent cited third-party consultants. A third (33 percent) said these projects were being led by non-technical staff working closely with IT. Only 23 percent said they were being led by non-technical staff working on their own.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Overcoming an Olympic network bandwidth challenge

Posted by Mike Vizard on Aug 2, 2016 11:06:25 AM

This week, the Summer Olympic games are about to begin in Rio de Janeiro. While most of the world will be rooting for their countries’ Olympic teams, most managed service providers will be glued to a different kind of screen. As it turns out, the Olympics tend to bring a phenomenal amount of pressure on the average corporate network.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

CompTIA study: MSPs gearing up to add more services

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 21, 2016 10:30:05 AM

Managed service providers are ready to expand. A full 59 percent of the 400 U.S.-based MSPs surveyed by CompTIA plan to increase the number of managed services they provide. Managed print services (32 percent), help desks (31 percent), virtual desktops, and database management topped the list as providing the most opportunity to deliver more services to both new and existing customers alike.

Not too long ago, managed service providers (MSPs) came in two forms. There was a small cadre of MSPs that focused exclusively in enterprise accounts. At the other end of the spectrum was an aspiring group of MSPs trying to service small-to-medium (SMB) accounts. The CompTIA survey would suggest that the latter group is finally coming of age.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

IT service providers start to see financial daylight in the cloud

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 12, 2016 10:19:19 AM

For some time now IT services firms across the channel have been struggling with transitioning their business models to the cloud. While recurring revenue generated via the cloud is more profitable in theory, providers of IT solutions that previously ran on premise now face a host of challenges ranging from how salespeople get compensated to cash flow issues that stem from how they recognize revenue.

The good news is that a new survey of 150 leaders across the IT channel spectrum conducted by Nintex, a provider of workflow automation tools, suggests that many more solution providers are finally making the transition to a cloud-first business model.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

How certification costs are driving investments in IT automation

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 7, 2016 12:00:00 PM

In theory, IT services firms that have more certified engineers on staff are supposed to be able to promote that fact to gain additional business. In reality, most end customers are more interested in successful track records than they are in the number of certifications held by the engineers working on behalf of the IT service provider. The challenge, of course, is that for better or worse the compensation model for IT engineers is frequently wrapped around the number and type of certifications an engineer can acquire.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

How global IT services firms will react to Brexit

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jun 28, 2016 10:22:36 AM

It’s difficult to say what impact the decision made by voters in Britain to exit the European Union (EU)—otherwise known as Brexit—will ultimately have on IT services firms that operate globally. But if that decision stands, two things are almost certain. Once the UK is no longer a member of the EU, the talent pool available to IT services firms headquartered in the UK will shrink because they'll no longer be able to leverage IT professionals who can freely move between jobs in the European Union. It will also be much harder for UK firms to hold onto those IT professionals because as the English pound weakens the cost of living in Britain is going to be much higher than most other places in the EU.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Time to focus on customer renewal rates in age of the cloud

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jun 23, 2016 12:53:35 PM

When it comes to selling IT solutions in the age of the cloud, the biggest change for IT service providers is the emphasis that needs to be placed on customer renewal rates for services that are sold as a subscription. Historically, IT services providers almost always focused on the initial transaction. Renewals of software licensing contracts were an afterthought because most providers were rewarded for their efforts upfront. Now most of the deals in the age of the cloud involve subscriptions where vendors and partners get compensated over the course of one- to three-year contracts.

The vendor, however, still has to invest in the core technology to deliver the service. For that reason, most providers of cloud services are underwater for the first year of a subscription contract. They generally break even on the second year and then begin to make a reasonable return on the third year. As a result, cloud service providers need to have a fanatical emphasis on customer renewal rates in order to succeed.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

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