Survey finds debate over IT buying influence to be spurious

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 23, 2017 11:21:44 AM

There’s fierce debate these days over just who in an organization makes the decision when it comes to acquiring IT products and services. For the past several years, many IT vendors have been making the case for focusing on line-of-business executives rather than IT professionals. At the core of that thinking is the simple fact that most IT budgets are only a single-digit percentage of overall revenue, and most of those dollars are already allocated.

Less than 20 percent of the average IT budget is allocated to new products and services. The only tried-and-true way to get the amount allocated to new products to increase is to convince IT leaders that buying something new can be paid for by reallocating IT budget dollars away from something else.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Blockchain technologies will create raft of IT services opportunities

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 21, 2017 10:53:01 AM

As blockchain technologies start to move up the hype curve, it’s only a matter of time before customers start asking IT service providers how and when what amounts to a new way of storing data will be relevant to them.

Pioneered as a means to create an immutable ledger to keep track of transactions involving Bitcoin digital currency, distributed databases that time-stamp data to create a system of record are now being developed for use in a wide range of applications. At the IBM InterConnect 2017 conference this week, Everledger CEO Leanne Kemp described how the startup company is leveraging a blockchain database that IBM has exposed as a service to keep track of where diamonds are shipped.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

The time to address the customer productivity conundrum is now

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 16, 2017 11:51:28 AM

One of the primary reasons companies don't invest more in IT is the simple fact that many of them don’t see enough of a material return on that investment (ROI). Due to a range of socio-economic issues outlined by a report from the U.S. Council of Competitiveness, not only has the economic recovery since the Great Recession been slow, actual productivity has been declining for the best part of a decade regardless of investments in IT.

Most IT budgets are a single-digit percentage of the overall revenues an organization generates, usually in the two to three percent range. Assuming most companies turn 10 percent of their revenues into actual profit after taxes, that would suggest that at least 85 percent of the revenues an organization generates gets allocated to fund things other than IT. Obviously, changing the distribution of that allocation is going to require convincing business leaders that additional investments in IT will fundamentally improve the productivity of their organizations.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

GDPR Promises to Forever Change How Data Gets Managed

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 14, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Given the rise of both Donald Trump and Theresa May, there’s never been more focus on regulations in recent memory. But the regulation that is starting to loom largest in the minds of business executives emanates from Brussels rather than Washington or London.

In a little over a year, the European Union is gearing up to implement its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that requires all personal data collected by companies operating within the EU to be centrally managed under the auspices of a chief data protection officer—and regularly audited. Any security breach pertaining to any of that data must also be reported immediately.

But the GDPR doesn’t just stop there.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Tantalizing NFV future lies just over Mobile World Congress horizon

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 1, 2017 8:35:02 AM

The future of network services enabled by network function virtualization (NFV) software was on display in full force this week at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 conference.

The working NFV theory is that many of the network services that are processed at the core of the network today will soon be moving out to the edge. To enable that, many of the physical appliances that are currently relied on to both process network services and secure them will be transformed into software that can run on commodity processors at the edge of the network.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Digital business to drive cloud application convergence

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 23, 2017 3:19:25 PM

Arguably, the first phase of cloud computing has been mainly about moving applications and their associated data into the cloud. Whether that involves merely invoking a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application or building a custom application that gets hosted on a public cloud, the business outcome is essentially the same. One way or another, the internal IT organization is getting out of the business of deploying and managing IT infrastructure.

That trend has been playing out to varying degrees for the past 10 years. What should be of paramount interest to IT service providers is what will happen in the next 10 years. Today what runs in the cloud is essentially a mirror image of applications that were once deployed on premise. Thanks to the rise of digital business initiatives coupled with advanced analytics, it’s only a matter of time before many of those applications start to converge.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

If data is the new oil, here's how MSPs can seize the opportunity

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 16, 2017 1:49:12 PM

They say data is the new oil. But just like oil, data is worth much more when it’s refined than when it's in its raw state. In fact, raw data isn’t all that valuable. It’s only when that data is correlated against other data that valuable insights gets created. The challenge IT organizations face is they need to move data from one place to another to refine it and get those types of insights. 

The IT industry is on the cusp of a unique moment in time when many organizations have come to understand the potential value of their data. The trouble is most of them have limited ability when it comes to turning their data into actionable intelligence.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Vendor reliance on indirect channels increases

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 9, 2017 11:00:00 AM

A new report issued by the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) finds that 62 percent of the vendors surveyed expect the amount of business being generated via indirect channels to increase in 2017. The bad news is only 13 percent of those vendors rely 100 percent on channel partners to sell their products.

Most vendors profess a lot of love for their channel partners. But the terms of that endearment is generally limited by concerns those channel partners might not be as faithful to them as they would like. That insecurity often results in vendors investing in various forms of direct sales efforts that almost invariably lead to some form of conflict with their channel partners.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Turbulent times ahead for providers of managed GRC services

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 7, 2017 11:19:32 AM

They say it’s truly an ill wind that doesn’t blow someone some good. As far as managed service providers (MSPs) are concerned, that’s pretty much been the case for the past eight years when it comes to anything to do with governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC). Many MSPs have been able to considerably shore up their bottom line by offering a wide variety of managed GRC services. Now the Trump administration via an executive order is signaling its intention to either not enforce or altogether abandon key provisions of the Dodd-Frank act, which enshrined many of the regulations that created the need for managed GRC services in the first place.

The Dodd-Frank act is, of course, only one piece of the GRC puzzle. The Trump administration has made it clear that just about every Federal regulation is now subject to review.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

MSPs need to look far beyond immigration issues

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 2, 2017 2:57:23 PM

Any conversation involving U.S. immigration inevitably comes around to the merits of an H-1B visa program under which a fixed number of highly-skilled IT workers are permitted to move to the U.S. For years now allegations concerning abuses of this program have been rife, and the Trump administration has promised to review the program.

Many managed service providers in the U.S. have complained that rivals based in, for example, India were abusing the program to bring skilled workers to the U.S. that they would then pay at a much lower rate to create an unfair competitive advantage. It’s been alleged that many of those workers were housed in low-cost rental apartments and paid salaries commensurate with what they might expect to make in their native countries.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

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