Dec 20, 2011

The Business Model of the IT Channel Needs to Evolve to Seize Growth Opportunities in 2012 and Beyond

Today's turbulent economic climate is forcing companies to rethink their IT infrastructure investment strategies and shift towards consumption of IT-as-a-Service. The pride and prestige of owning IT assets has quickly become diminished and companies are looking at how they can shift their spending from a CAPEX- towards an OPEX-based model, which allows them to pay for IT infrastructure, platforms and software as a service. How can IT solution providers embrace these trends to maximize their strategic value to the customers they serve in 2012 and beyond?

1. Go beyond reselling hardware and software.
In an IT-as-a-Service model, businesses no longer wish to concern themselves with capital expenditures or amortization of IT assets, nor do they want to think about licenses, servers, storage, rack space and power costs.

Opportunity: deliver private and hybrid clouds as a service by either purchasing or renting IT infrastructure and data centre facilities on behalf of clients and offer complete IT service "bundles" that encapsulate hardware, software and managed services.

2. Increase visibility and insight into IT assets.
Companies have made significant investments into hardware and software assets, which need to be addressed throughout desktop and data centre transformation engagements. However, existing applications and infrastructure may lack standardization and are often dispersed across multiple silos, business units and locations.

Opportunity: use analytics tools to develop a unified view across hardware and software assets as well as dependencies among them to help clients make strategic investments in IT services while minimizing business risks.

3. Expand IT services beyond on-premise deployments.

Since the beginning of this century, solution providers have been playing a critical role in helping companies decouple workloads from the underlying IT infrastructure using virtualization technologies. In the next ten years, companies will look to migrate applications and workloads towards utility-based Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models.

Opportunity: develop advisory and migration services that help clients transition towards "Everything-as-a-Service" and leverage state-of-the-art tools for desktop and data centre transformation planning throughout this journey.

4. Develop the right strategic partnerships.

As companies shift spending towards IT-as-a-Service, it is necessary but not sufficient to partner with hardware and software vendors. In the not-so-distant future, businesses will start demanding resources and SLAs, not servers or storage from a particular vendor.

Opportunity: partner with PaaS, IaaS, SaaS and cloud-enablement providers to address all key IT-as-a-Service delivery models and challenges.

In summary, solution providers need to become less dependent on margins from hardware and software sales. On-premise deployment services need to evolve towards advisory and migration services that accelerate adoption of IT-as-a-Service. And solution providers need to leverage services-oriented analytics tools from vendors such as Lanamark to gain deep insight into application, desktop and data centre assets in order to continue playing a strategic role with existing clients and new prospects as they sail, in often turbulent waters, towards IT-as-a-Service.

This article was published on VMBlog.
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