PUBLICATION:  ENGINEERING NEWS ONLINE
DATE:  10 NOVEMBER 2008

Company Announcement: ICT – its time to batten down the hatches and work smarter
Robert Sussman, CEO at Integr8 IT
Published: 10 Nov 08 – 11:01

ICT – its time to batten down the hatches and work smarter

By Robert Sussman, CEO at Integr8 IT

The crash of financial markets worldwide and the consequential pressure on currencies has brought many a company to the proverbial ‘cross-roads’ scenario. Decisive action is called for – but with a healthy dollop of circumspection and review. There has never been a more pertinent time for strategy in the adoption and application of information and communication technology infrastructure.

Locally, many operators are looking to their ICT investment to help drive business forward and the focus is on efficiency and automation.

In order to do this there has to be emphasis on updated infrastructure and systems, as well as the improvement of operations in order to reduce costs.

A recent report by Gartner makes mention of the need to modernize infrastructure to streamline operations and reduce costs. The global research house has identified this growing trend as one of the nine most contentious IT issues for the next two years.

And virtualization, together with SaaS, has emerged as key areas that are likely to dominate ICT trade in the foreseeable future. This is because they underpin the specific ICT strategy and approach as depicted by Gartner.

Virtualisation and SaaS are widely acknowledged as means to effectively empower organizations and companies and enable them to work smarter – and leverage off infrastructure easier, quicker and with better results than was the case in the past. In current market conditions this ability is a huge advantage and differentiator.

In addition to the outsource of SaaS providers and partners that can deliver on automation and critical managed services, there is a distinct move towards adopting a rental approach to IT assets/ investment as apposed to acquiring ownership through purchase.

The improvement of cash-flow is one of the main reasons for this strategy. Another is the peace of mind gained by bringing in expertise, support and outsourced proven credentials. Whilst few would argue that the investment in information, communications infrastructure is non-negotiable, many would now seriously consider the lease-type scenario over acquisition and ownership.

This trend has become prevalent in specific markets such as the formidable small-to-medium sector and this is likely to continue going forward as decision makers look to convert operational costs to savings.

Much of this approach is based on the need to self-sustain ICT investment and, in essence, work smarter with technology. The days of simply ushering in more technology to maximize off the initial investment are well and truly over.

It is also interesting to note that Gartner speaks of the need to focus on what it refers to as “three core IT management disciplines” – that being Enterprise Architecture, Business Process Management and Service Management.

There is no doubt that existing business frameworks and environments will be influenced decisively on the extent to which they can make these disciplines count.