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31Oct/130

Avoid Confusion: A Knowledge of Supplier Agendas Mean Substantial Savings in IT and Telcom

(PRWEB) September 2, 2005

Convergence is a life changing event provided we can overcome our initial confusion as our traditional suppliers stake their claim in non traditional (to them) IT services.

The suppliers clearly have their own agenda’s but once you understand those agendas and can leverage off the various benefits each supplier gives to you. You should see significant productivity improvements as old ideas remerge and new ideas and alliances form. All indications are that IT services are a strongly growing market and a market fuelled by these new ideas.

IT convergence means that as a customer today you are now finding your traditional Telecommunication carriage providers selling you IT equipment and applications; and your IT equipment and application providers selling you telecommunication services. Traditional boundaries that existed between voice and data are being swept away and everyone is talking about IT convergence.

This is not a new story and those that have spoken with Cisco, NEC, Avaya, IBM or Nortel (to name only a few) would be aware of the claimed benefits of IT convergence to maximise your usage of your current infrastructure or applications. Each will claim to have a unique solution, however there stories are surprisingly similar and each is clearly after expanding their share of your “wallet”.

This is simply because IT convergence means to them accessing a share of the total IT & Telecommunications wallet that they were not able to access in the past. However often to the buyer IT convergence is confused the benefits are often esoteric or poorly explained and it is easy to be caught up in the various agendas of the suppliers.

A current example is IP Telephony, where you have the traditional voice infrastructure providers protecting their customer base. They advocate the “safe and sure” approach of migrating your voice environment to IP. While the IT and network vendors approach voice as an application advocating voice “call servers” and a big bang approach of integrating voice services with IT.

Both approaches will meet particular user requirements; however it is easy to get caught up in the agenda of the various providers in the market.

However what are the agendas? How do you make yourself aware of them?

The best description of the various agendas I have seen comes from IDC who categorises suppliers into three types. Those types are Network Centric, IT Centric and Equipment Centric, defined as follows:

Network Centric: this category comprises the network operators that have offerings beyond the typical access and transport component; network provisioning, configuration and monitoring. They are often building capabilities to migrate and install next generation services.

IT Centric: the category encompasses the IT vendors with data centres capabilities including server hardware and operating system, Web applications and databases. They often bundle solutions with application implementation services and application management and monitoring.

Equipment Centric: this segment includes the equipment side of the convergence supply chain, with provision of LAN/WAN routers and switches, IP PBX, IP Phones and also sometimes maintenance, network readiness assessment.

In the past a customer who had an application requirement would go to their traditional IT vendor or if they wanted equipment they would go to their equipment provider. Those clear cut deliverables from suppliers are disappearing with each supplier vying for a greater share of their customer’s “wallet” and driving for a greater share of the IT services market.

It is interesting to note that each supplier is coming from their position of strength today and leveraging the strength and relationships in their customer base to break into non traditional (for them) areas of IT services.

From a marketing perspective access to adjunct IT services is the low hanging fruit. This means as a carrier managing customer networks and moving the telecommunications “cloud” to the desk top port makes logical sense. However in Australia with Telstra’s acquisition of KAZ, Optus and NCS (Singapore National Computing Systems) and Telecom New Zealand’s acquisition of Gen-I, there is a clear move from the Telecommunication companies to own the end to end IT services market including the applications.

From general research this appears to be a global trend especially in the UK, Europe and North America and Asia is not too far behind. Gartner recently (3/5/2005) published Asia/Pacific’s IT services market revenue growth at 12.4%, which outperformed the global market growth rate for 2 straight years. In the light of this type of growth it is obvious that this market represents an attractive area of growth for companies especially the Telecommunication companies who have been stuck at single digit growth for a number of years

All this means that following the initial confusion and the struggling with the various supplier agendas you should see IT service prices drop across the board. Each supplier will be using there business model to full advantage. Telecommunication companies cross subsidising and bundling their service elements. Application pricing erode with shared services and new technologies such as IBM “On Demand” services reducing CPU cost and storage. Equipment suppliers marginalising the cost of equipment to gain a greater share of the surrounding service elements and push for annuity revenues.

For those that have been in the IT and T industry of 20 years or more we have seen all this before with bureau services of the 80s and CPU time sharing of the 70s.

However with the global economy and the drive to maximise productivity, the re-emergence of old ideas and the creation of new ideas and alliances will, I believe, accelerate. So provided we can overcome the initial buyer confusion IT Convergence has the potential to drive significant synergies and efficiencies into business processes and deliver even greater quality of life.

About the Author:

Craig Price is the Managing Director of BITTS Pty Limited, http://www.bitts.com.au. He has over 22 years expereince in both IT and Telecommunications and today through his company provides consultancy, provisional services for customers and vendors in ICT.

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22Jan/110

Access survey reveals finance professionals? confusion over cloud computing

Access survey reveals finance professionals’ confusion over cloud computing












Colchester, UK (PRWeb UK) December 9, 2010

Many financial professionals remain confused by cloud computing according to a recent survey* undertaken by Access, the mid-market consulting, software and solutions provider. Nearly half of the respondents (49 per cent) were not familiar at all with the three cloud computing concepts, Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service or Infrastructure as a Service. Just six per cent described themselves as very familiar with the terms.

Chris Bayne, managing director for Access, commented, “Cloud computing has been around for a number of years now so one would expect familiarity and understanding of the concepts to be higher. However with a great deal of hype still surrounding the topic there needs to be more clarity around the benefits that it can bring to business as a whole.”

An incredible 67 per cent of the financial professionals polled said that their organisations presently did not use cloud computing. Forty-one per cent said they were not looking to implement cloud solutions, while 26 per cent did not know whether it was in their organisation’s future plans.

“Considering the finance function ultimately holds the purse strings, industry and internal proponents of cloud computing have a great deal of work to do in putting forward a clear business case for the areas of the organisation where cloud solutions would be most beneficial. It is critical for any software implementation to have buy-in from all key stakeholders,” continued Chris.

Of those organisations that currently use cloud computing solutions, most were using CRM (22 per cent), followed by document management (14 per cent), and HR solutions (14 per cent). Eight per cent of respondents said they used accounting software and 6 per cent used payroll software. Only three per cent said they were using cloud-based manufacturing and distribution solutions and no organisations were using ERP or procurement solutions.

The survey also provided insight into those organisations looking to implement cloud computing solutions, with 54 per cent saying they would do so within the next 12 months. The two top reasons cited were flexibility and scalability of IT and software services (28 per cent), followed by disaster recovery/business continuity (24 per cent). Interestingly, organisations were not looking to reductions in personnel headcount as the main reason for implementation.

However, the respondents did have some concerns around cloud computing, especially when it comes to their valuable business data. Unsurprisingly, 26 per cent of finance professionals cited confidentiality and security of company data as the biggest area of concern. This was followed by lack of control over software and data (17 per cent) and consistency of service (17 per cent).

“It is understandable that organisations should be concerned about these issues. They’re very important to the integrity of the business and are all important points of discussion to be had with the software vendor,” said Chris. “But do bear in mind that the provider’s reputation is at stake so it’s in their best interests to ensure the highest levels of contingency are in place to avoid any breach of security.”

Chris concluded, “Technology is a great enabler, providing organisations with the opportunity to leverage the most from their business and resources. Understanding the solutions that are out there, the benefits they can bring to the business or how they can compliment existing systems is essential. Consideration should also be given as to whether a combination of on-premise and cloud is the right route to take. Whatever decision is made, a good systems integrator will be vital to ensure the success of any business-wide project. The great news is that it’s really not that complicated to get your head around cloud. The biggest issue – as always – is determining corporate strategy and business requirements.”

Access announced its cloud strategy back in October this year and will release a number of new cloud computing solutions over the coming months starting with document management and HR solutions. For more information contact 0845 345 3300 or listen to our cloud computing podcast where you can learn more about the subject. Alternatively, keep up-to-date by following Access on twitter, http://www.twitter.com/theaccessgroup.

*Sample: Access sampled 100 finance professionals during Autumn/winter 2010 to gain valuable insight into the knowledge and use of cloud computing within their organisations.

About Access

    Access is a consulting, software and solutions provider, serving the mid-market
    The consulting services are backed by more than 75 accredited consultants, providing business software expertise. They operate nationally out of 10 offices in the UK and Ireland
    The software portfolio provides solutions to meet the needs of the whole organisation, helping to reduce complexity and increase efficiencies at every level. In addition to accounting and finance, Access also offers manufacturing software, professional services automation, and accounting for carbon emissions reporting. Other software solutions include distribution and warehousing, HR and payroll, document management, service and contract management and CRM and sales automation.

Accreditations and memberships:

    Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
    Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
    Business Application Software Developers Association (BASDA)
    HM Revenue & Customs: Payroll Standards Scheme

Awards:

    Accountancy Age Award 2010 for ‘Software Package of the Year’
    SIFT Media Software Satisfaction Awards 2010 for ‘Enterprise Accounting & Finance’
    SIFT Media Software Satisfaction Awards 2010 for ‘SME Human Resources & Human Capital Management’
    FrontRange Partner Awards 2010 for ‘CRM Partner of the Year’
    Green IT Awards 2010 for 'Environmental Accounting Software of the Year'
    Construction Computing Awards 2010, 'Construction Accounting Software of the Year'

Media information:

Helen Carpenter

Head of Group PR

Access UK Ltd

T: +44 (0) 1206 322575 / 07833 936311

F: +44 (0) 1206 322956

E: helen(dot)carpenter(at)theaccessgroup(dot)com    

W: http://www.theaccessgroup.com

Tim Cole

PR Executive

Access UK Ltd

T: +44 (0) 1206 322575

F: +44 (0) 1206 322956

E: tim(dot)cole(at)theaccessgroup(dot)com

W: http://www.theaccessgroup.com

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