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The eight IT services issues you must consider in 2009

There are eight major IT services issues that companies and their suppliers must consider in 2009, according to Ovum.

The analyst firm said new business process outsourcing (BPO) models, cloud computing, quality assurance and supplier management will top IT services agendas in 2009.

"In this challenging economy, IT services providers will need to navigate a host of new and continuing challenges as they attempt to maintain and grow their business," said Ovum analyst Eamonn Kennedy.

"The 'Ovum Eight' highlights some of the key issues we are talking with clients about every day. Providers must get ahead of these trends as they work to capture new customers and keep the ones they have," he said.

The Ovum Eight

Competing for the cloud
Cloud computing can encompass and potentially disrupt "traditional" models of infrastructure and applications outsourcing, third-party managed services and software as a service. Cloud Computing is quickly becoming one of the most competitive markets in IT as services firms attempt to leverage these technologies and others to deliver new value-added services to the market.

Quality assurance and information security
The worsening economic environment is driving demand for improved value from applications, applications-led outsourcing and other IT services. In practical terms, this means demonstrable and sustainable cost effectiveness and reduced time to market. Pressure is growing on developers and outsourcing service providers to raise the twin bars of quality assurance: ensuring products and services are fit for purpose and being right first time.

High-pressure IT
IT services suppliers will argue that their IT delivery is done under high pressure, although for many this is more hyperbole than truth. Ovum believes high-pressure IT is about delivering IT services on the biggest stage, under the highest level of scrutiny, and with no room for mistakes.

Retained organisations
Outsourcing decisions driven by short-term requirements to save costs are potentially the most difficult kinds of contract for retained organisations to derive business benefit from. Negotiated in haste and not necessarily with a medium- or long-term strategic intent, such contracts will require significant skill on the part of retained organisations to make them work effectively for the client organisation while also delivering the savings they have been put in place to achieve.

Fixing BPO
In 2009, white-collar business process outsourcing will overshadow the importance of IT in the outsourcing market. Consolidation among IT services and BPO companies will bring the two industries closer. IT suppliers that do not have a considered stake in the BPO market, either directly or indirectly, will miss out on a sea change in the way that IT and IT services are delivered to client organisations.

Waste not, want not
The efficient use of people and resources should be a core discipline for all CIOs, IT managers and IT services providers. It means a focus on disciplines such as ITIL and a drive to improve infrastructure maturity - to standardise, consolidate and rationalise IT infrastructure and processes. Now there are new demands for IT to improve its efficiency around energy, the environment and IT's consumption of resources.

Enterprise 2.0
Enterprise 2.0 is about enabling stakeholders to affect services and offerings and achieve more meaningful business-driven interactions between people and systems through community collaboration, sharing and "debating" of ideas, concepts, services and products. This sounds great from a philosophical perspective, but how is it going to deliver business benefits to the adopters of such technologies?

Economic flux
Even in the darkest reaches of a recession, user businesses will continue to expect quality services delivered at appropriate pricing levels with continual improvements to both. It is vital that suppliers retain a sense of perspective: the recession will end demand for IT services will recover. The market will continue to evolve and suppliers' strategies must evolve with it.


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