Should You Be Using Service Level Management Tools?

A couple of years ago, my then-colleague Patrick Connaughton wrote a market overview about service-level management tools, which included a discussion of specific toolsets intended to help customers manage both internal and external services-based relationships. Among the technologies in this space include Digital Fuel, Oblicore, Compuware’s APM, Enlighta, Appirio, and others. Such service-level management tools, as we described them then, reflects one key aspect of toolsets like Digital Fuel and Oblicore, to monitor service levels for both internal and outsourced delivery. But the technologies also have other capabilities, including the ability to create catalogs and manage financial implications of services consumption, both internal and external.

Since that time, challenges in service consumption, including measuring and managing services relationships, have only gotten harder, complicated by the widespread trend toward multisourcing and multi-supplier relationships and new categories of cloud-based services like IaaS on the other. Given these challenges, tools like those described above would seem to have some possible value. Big industry suppliers sure seem to think so: Since we wrote our last report, NewScale has been snapped up by Cisco and Digital Fuel was bought out by VMware, with the goal in part to help customers of virtual solutions and cloud services meter their usage and help charge back for consumption. In addition, KPMG acquired Equaterra, meaning that KPMG also took ownership of Equaterra’s EquaSiis, an outsourcing governance suite developed in conjunction with Microsoft. Oblicore was acquired by Computer Associates just months prior to our report. The acquisitions have in some cases meant a change in focus for the technologies acquired, to fit more cleanly to the broader product and services agenda of the acquirer.

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Turning Threat Into Opportunity: Dell Acquires Wyse

This morning, I participated in an analyst conference call to discuss Dell’s intent to acquire Wyse with Dell President Jeff Clarke, Dell Senior Vice President Dave Johnson, and Wyse President and CEO Tarkan Maner.

According to Dell, the acquisition will help Dell extend its virtualization solutions and create more integrated enterprise solutions from traditional IT hosting to the cloud.

This can potentially be a smart deal for Dell:

  1. Channel partners have experienced healthy growth in this space. Based on conversations with prominent resellers in Q4 2011, many are experiencing explosive growth in client virtualization inquiries and thin client sales. One systems integrator we spoke to has experienced a 40% annual increase in the number of VDI inquiries, while another reseller experienced a 55% YoY increase in thin client sales. 
  2. Dell is now better positioned to address the full range of enterprise mobility projects that are expected to come. Virtualization and consumerization is very much a reality. In terms of hardware and software, Forrester data suggests that over half of companies surveyed are looking to support tablets and smartphones in the enterprise in the near future. Client virtualization software allows these devices (and thin clients) to connect to their enterprise data and applications. 
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A View Of VERGE From An IT Expert's Perspective

Part of my role managing the Business Technology Futures team at Forrester is to keep an eye on "what's next" for CIOs and their business partners.

My team is chartered to create an early-warning radar screen of new technologies, new business models and new demands from customers that will change technology's role and impact on business.

That's where the VERGE conference comes in. I spent two very engaging days at this GreenBiz event earlier in March, soaking in the conVERGEnce of energy, transport, buildings and information.

And what a great event! I am an experienced consumer of industry conferences and this was one of the best I've attended. The mix of topics, speakers, and formats really clicked for me, because the event featured:
 

  • Multidisciplinary thinking. Not just across the four big domains, but across three dimensions of convergence taking place within them: technology (analytics meets network meets social), organizational (HR meets marketing meets facilities) and ecosystem (suppliers meet distributors meet customers). Holding this 4 X 3 Rubik's cube in one's head is daunting but also mind-expanding.
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