Expert's view: how should you spend your IT budget?

Aligning IT with Business needs: a possible challenge
Are you spending your IT budget wisely?

With enterprises constantly trying to align their business needs with fine-tuned IT services, a fresh wave of optimized BSM (business service management) solutions is hitting the market.

To find out what companies should be looking out for in these new services, we met Diana Krieger, CEO of business service and cloud management firm Savision, who provide solutions for Microsoft System Center to customers around the globe.

TechRadar Pro: Do you think IT budgets are being spent wisely at the moment?

Diana Kriger: According to estimates, an average enterprise receives about 1.5 million IT alerts every year, 90% of which are not critical. This data implies that today around 70% of the IT budget is spent just on keeping the lights on, rather than in improving the organizational efficiency of a company and its relationship with the customer.

That's why the big challenge today is demonstrating that IT can play a significant role in adding value to the business by increasing both customer satisfaction and effectiveness, instead of being a cost center.

TRP: What can companies do to be more efficient and at the same time contain IT costs?

DK: IT needs to become a means to understand, view and offer services from the customer's point of view, as now more and more organizations are aware that they are delivering services instead of applications and infrastructures.

The industry has finally started to outline the importance of merging stakeholders that understand the business processes with IT specialists who typically stay within their own technology silos, believing that the business starts with the application.

TRP: How can we get to this level of integration between IT applications and business services?

DK: The first step consists of understanding the dependencies between the company's business services and the underlying IT infrastructure and applications.

Then you should be able to define a business service and map, in real time, with all the infrastructure components and applications that provide the underlying support.

TRP: Could you make an example of what this could mean within an organization?

DK: Well, instead of reporting that a server is down, it would be much more efficient to report that customers can't pay for the items in their shopping cart because that specific server is down.

TRP: This sounds easy in theory, but what happens in practice?

DK: IT departments should be able to anticipate the impact of a change inside the IT environment and take preventive measures even before the end-user is aware of that impact on his perception of the service.

After all we live in an explosive age of efficient communication, where if a customer is not happy, the whole world is going to hear about it. This is the main reason why companies need to adopt an integrated view and go top-down and bottom-up with the support of an integration architecture.

This implies breaking down the technology silos and allowing business and IT teams to speak the same language.

TRP: What is your company doing to win this challenge?

DK: Our R&D department has been working hard to design a new solution that would enable a customer-centric approach to Service Management and align IT with business priorities. We have just released a proactive end-to-end service health monitoring solution that integrates with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager and Service Manager, providing an effective way to model business services.

TRP: How does a solution like that help improve efficiency?

DK: Customizable and intuitive service dashboards and maps that provide relevant information for all the stakeholders are shown to have improved organizational efficiency by 30%. At the same time, early warning notifications speeds up root cause analysis and prevent problems, decreasing business downtime up to 15% as well as helpdesk incidents by 30%.

This new proactive concept of IT department can help the company save up to 20% in monitoring costs and at the same time has far more time for innovation.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.