Expand IT infrastructure to unlock its full productivity potential

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1 Expand IT infrastructure to unlock its full productivity potential IT Tools In the words of US sociologist Charles Perrow: Productivity depends more on technological changes and economy of scale than on human efforts. Mass production is the key to unlocking IT s productivity. And in the context of IT operations, cloud services providers and internet companies such as Google and Amazon are already benefiting from economies of scale, standardisation and automation. This Computer Weekly buyer s guide to IT tools looks at how you too can use software and systems to improve the running of your IT department. Contents Unlock IT s productivity potential page 2 Jean-Pierre Garbani says IT infrastructure must expand exponentially to realise the full benefit of technology Tools for IT service management page 4 Arif Mohamed looks at what the latest Hornbill Supportworks ITSM Enterprise has to offer the IT department Managing application development page 6 Tim Anderson reviews the Visual Studio application lifecycle management tool from Microsoft Does IT need its own ERP? page 8 Clive Longbottom looks at how taking a compliance-oriented architecture approach to systems management can ease the heartache of tidying up what can often comprise a very messy tangle of tools These articles were originally published in Computer Weekly. CW+ 1 a whitepaper from Computer Weekly

2 Unlock IT s productivity potential Jean-Pierre Garbani says IT infrastructure must expand exponentially to realise the full benefit of technology it tools Mass production is the key to unlocking IT s productivity. In the words of US sociologist Charles Perrow: Productivity depends more on technological changes and economy of scale than on human efforts. This has proved true in a number of industries. For example, the computer industry experienced exponential productivity growth over the past 20 years, due essentially to the rationalisation of components and automation that opened the door to mass production of computers. In the context of IT operations, cloud services providers and internet companies such as Google and Amazon are already benefiting from economies of scale, standardisation and automation. For example, the typical enterprise is content with the ratio of one administrator per 20 servers. Diversity and volume Amazon.com, ebay, Google, Yahoo, and others actually achieve ratios that are closer to one administrator per 2,000 servers. This is the type of productivity gain IT organisations must achieve to meet the need for exponential growth in business services within the next five years. Unfortunately, to achieve this level of productivity, IT organisations face two major obstacles: diversity and volume. Diversity is the ball and chain that s dragging IT down. Over the years, IT has accumulated a large, complex base of applications that have to be maintained. Likewise, volume keeps pushing the goal posts out. The constant influx of technology innovation and technology progress constantly pushes down the cost-value ratio of business services. Because services equal business productivity gains, IT becomes submerged by new business demands that have to be balanced against the need to keep the lights on. What should IT operations do to overcome these obstacles? Automation counters diversity Diversity forces IT organisations to support a wide range of technologies. It also has consequences on IT management tools and on the validity of information coming from these management tools. Business services are often assembled using existing components through a variety of middleware, resulting in complex applications that are difficult to manage end-to-end. This diversity translates into a number of relatively routine tasks that can be automated. It also translates into a diversity of tools, each requiring specific skills. Here again, automation has the capability to integrate and abstract the differences between tools, simplifying administration and skill requirements. Cloud computing The lesson of cloud computing is that relatively cheap, cookie-cutter hardware, using virtualisation and embedded functionality, brings flexibility in computing, storage and network capacity, management and enormous improvements in administration. Whether this is achieved internally or through external services is mostly irrelevant in terms of 2

3 productivity, as long as IT organisations adopt the full cloud model. As demonstrated in other industries, such as manufacturing, the use of automation technologies and economy of scale through standardisation has direct consequences on processes and organisational structures. As a result, IT leaders must consider this evolution globally and consider the impact of technology changes on processes and people. Technology improvements need what is commonly referred to as complementary inputs to yield their full potential. In the case of internal clouds, differences will affect applications, configuration, monitoring, and capacity management. External clouds will require additional attention to security and network latency performance issues. Availability of financial data also plays a capital role in selecting the right solution. Without progress in these complementary technologies, the benefits of using a cloud computing model cannot be fully realised. Cloud technology offers embedded virtual to physical configuration management, virtual machine (VM) provisioning, orchestration of resources, basic monitoring, or data collection in an automated environment (in the managed cloud environment) with a highly abstracted administration interface. To realise the full benefits of the cloud model, here are some of the complementary inputs Forrester recommends I&O professionals embrace: l Asset discovery and management; l Application portability; l A new application architecture; l Financial management systems; l Capacity planning tools. Asset management When adopting the cloud model, the discovery and tracking of assets and applications in real time is more important than ever. As configurations can easily be changed and applications easily moved, maintaining control of the datacentre requires complete visibility. Likewise, service catalogues and configuration management systems (CMS) must also adapt to this new environment. I&O must adopt the latest dependency discovery solutions available from a variety of tools such as application performance management or business transaction monitoring. Application portability To take advantage of the flexibility offered by cloud-enabled orchestration, provisioning, and configuration automation, applications must be able to be easily loaded and configured. This assumes that there is, upstream of the application release, an automated process that will bring together applications, their dependencies, and configuration elements in a movable unit. This will affect the application lifecycle and the release process. As a result, a new application supply chain is required. This implies that I&O organisations fully embrace the development to application (dev ops) movement and be fully IT leaders must be able to choose whether a service should be deployed internally or externally involved in automating the release management process. Application architecture Today s applications use middleware extensively to link multiple tiers containing sometimes very different but functionally complementary pieces of code. This complexity is a clear obstacle to using the flexibility offered by cloud computing. In the future, new application architectures will be needed to take advantage of internal or external clouds. Without being involved in application development per se, I&O organisations must be involved in the application lifecycle process and be in a position to advise on the production consequences of application architectures. Financial management The corollary of infrastructure flexibility as offered by the cloud is an equal flexibility provided by the application itself. Since the way applications are developed and packaged needs to change, IT leaders must be able to choose whether a new service should be developed or acquired and deployed internally or externally. This choice cannot be made without a thorough cost-value analysis. Capacity planning tools Contrary to popular belief, cloud resources are not infinite and certainly not free. While cloud technologies do increase the options and capacity available to I&O professionals, forecasting capacity, internally or externally, still requires an understanding of capital and operational costs. Because more choices are available, along with the ease of procurement, cloud computing makes capacity planning more complex. As a result, capacity planning becomes a corporate-level discipline that forecasts the mid-term and longterm needs of the enterprise and defines a strategy to meet them. I&O plays an important role in capacity planning: it owns the tools that make resource forecasts possible. This is an extract from the report: IT Infrastructure and Operations: The Next Five Years by Jean-Pierre Garbani and Marc Cecere, VP and Principal Analysts at Forrester Research. 3

4 Tools for IT service management Arif Mohamed looks at what the latest Hornbill Supportworks ITSM Enterprise has to offer the IT department Features Supplier: Hornbill, founded in 1995 Product: Supportworks ITSM 3.2 Category: IT service management/ business process automation Architecture: Supportworks is a modular and templated system, built on Hornbill s Enterprise Support Platform, which is based on C++ and web services Main features: ITIL v3 compatible (ITIL processes supported: incident management, problem management, change management, release management, service asset and configuration management, service level management, service portfolio management, service catalogue management, financial management, knowledge management and request fulfilment.) Customer self-service it tools Hornbill s Supportworks ITSM Enterprise has grown from being an IT helpdesk application into an ITSM (IT service management) and business process management (BPM) platform that adheres to the rigorous ITIL v3 management framework. Arif Mohamed looks at what it has to offer. Supportworks competes with products from the likes of BMC, CA, IBM and HP. However, Hornbill has shown significant innovation, updating its offering with mobile features, and even allowing IT service professionals to access Twitter and Facebook chatter to detect IT problems that are being discussed by frustrated employees. The latest major release of Supportworks also has new customercentric features, such as customer self-service, and the ability to allow employees to contact the service desk using their preferred communication method. Analysts view these factors as the product s major strength, along with its open architecture. Supportworks ITSM Enterprise is at the top end of the product family, which also includes helpdesk application Supportworks Essentials, and Supportworks ITSM Foundations, which is designed to help organisations transition from a helpdesk to a service desk. Supportworks is a modular system with templates for most common help/service desk and ITSM processes, and is built on Hornbill s Enterprise Support Platform. This primarily uses C++ and web services APIs to run Hornbill s modules and integrate with third-party business applications and databases. About 750 organisations use Supportworks, ranging from those with 1,000 employees right up to 10,000. Software with a human touch Version 3.0 of Supportworks came out in April 2010, with 3.2 released in April It follows version 2.0 which came out in mid-2009 and was a major overhaul of the first version, according to Hornbill product manager, James Ainsworth. He says that a lot of the changes in v2 were driven by ITIL v2, with v3 doubling the range of processes included in the product, in line with ITIL v3. Consequently, Supportworks ITSM Enterprise has modules that cover ITIL processes such as incident, problem and change management, as well as more advanced processes such as financial management. However, Pat Bolger, technology director at Hornbill, says: We saw a bit of an issue with the ITIL Framework which was designed from a 4

5 focus on the infrastructure and technology, which we consider to be an inside-out way out of looking at things. We introduced human touch features that focused on things like customer satisfaction and experience, and usability for service desk personnel who are, for example, logging calls. The usability features include intuitive drop-down menus and templates, and the ability to select multiple users who have similar types of helpdesk problems, and responding to them as a group. To further aid usability, the application comes with a suite of design tools so that users can make extensions to their database and design their own forms. Advanced mobile features Bolger says Supportworks ITSM Enterprise is continually improving its mobile features. These are primarily aimed at mobile analysts who are moving around multiple sites, managing problems and performing changes. However, Hornbill is also extending its customer self-service tools for Android and other mobile users, as well as Apple ipads. With version 3.2 of Supportworks, we have made continual improvements, particularly in terms of human touch, to make it easier to use for people who use the product day in, day out, says Ainsworth. We also continue to help users improve their business processes by making the product as flexible as possible and easy to use. downloads Social Media: Computer Weekly Buyer s Guide computerweekly.com/ htm Security: Computer Weekly Buyer s Guide computerweekly.com/ htm Cloud Computing: Computer Weekly Buyer s Guide computerweekly.com/ htm Financial Services IT: Computer Weekly Buyer s Guide computerweekly.com/ htm ERP for SMES: Computer Weekly Buyer s Guide computerweekly.com/ htm Green IT: Computer Weekly Buyer s Guide computerweekly.com/ htm Network Security: Computer Weekly Buyer s Guide computerweekly.com/ htm Analyst view: Martin Gandar Hornbill Supportworks is a service management toolset aimed at enabling organisations of all sizes to consistently deliver IT and non-it support processes and the services they support. Its flagship ITSM offering, Supportworks ITSM Enterprise, supports all of the core ITIL v3 processes. Ovum particularly likes the three-level availability of its ITSM solution (relative to customer needs and maturity) and Hornbill s human touch approach to engendering real customer focus within the service desk. Among the strengths of Supportworks 3.2 is its ability to integrate social media into the product. It listens to the chatter on Twitter, and if people are talking about IT services and highlighting issues, it can grab that and turn it into twickets a tweeted support ticket. The system can also work out who the common customers are and automate the process of responding to them. Supportworks ITSM Enterprise is designed to be quite easy to use and not over-complicated, and it ticks all the Case study: Toyota Motorsport In 2008, manufacturer Toyota Motorsport replaced its BMC Remedy ITSM suite with Hornbill Supportworks ITSM Enterprise v2.1. It is currently using v3.2, which has been upgraded to support ITIL v3 processes, and has 15 members of staff using it to support the organisation. Previously there were 45 users, but Toyota Motorsport reduced its staff when it ended its contract with Formula 1. IT staff at all levels use the application, including the IT manager, service desk staff, configurations manager, and a dozen Level 2 analysts. On a daily basis, the organisation uses the incident management, problem management, change management and configuration management processes. Toyota Motorsport also uses the self-service feature, which allows its customers to log and update IT calls themselves, access their mobile phone usage details, and utilise asset management tools, electronically signing for equipment and viewing all of their assets. Supportworks collects data from Toyota Motorsport s HR database, Active Directory, Vodafone mobile calls database, and from the Novell asset lifecycle management system. The Supportworks application server runs in a virtualised environment under VMware ESX Server, with the hardware which has just 1GB of RAM also housing a MySQL database. Toyota customised the user interface, adding its own branding to the self-service portal, while removing and adding certain fields and functionality for users in the IT team, who have their own individual IT support dashboard. According to Per Nordqvist, service delivery manager at Toyota Motorsport, the organisation implemented the system in just six weeks, with an additional five days of consulting services from Hornbill. He adds that BMC Remedy would have required six months of professional consulting services and three or four times the resources to upgrade for it to offer the same capability. Nordqvist says the Supportworks implementation enabled the business to cut its maintenance costs by 80%. It also reduced its hardware footprint and database requirements by a further 90% compared with the previous system. boxes in terms of features. Hornbill has made it more proactive in terms of helping users, with more workflows and a better interface. Its modern architecture enables it to be integrated easily with other applications and databases. The main solution omission, relative to the highly competitive ITSM tools market, is the lack of a SaaS delivery option. However, Hornbill currently offers a subscription-based, externally managed, on-premise offering and will introduce its SaaS option later in Also, in terms of ITIL v3 adoption, there are areas that Hornbill and others need to look at in terms of improving the financial management side. A lot of suppliers look at service life management in terms of retiring services after their life, but they should try to look at the lifecycle of an organisation s assets and better utilisation of capital, better planning and the risks and implications of the process. The financial management side is an area where Hornbill may be able to differentiate its offering. Martin Gandar is associate senior analyst at Ovum The service desk application has improved IT response rates, halving the IT department s response time despite logging an increased number of calls. In addition, the reporting functionality of the suite has enabled Toyota Motorsport to make significant cost savings through improved decision-making and asset management, with managers able to create their own reports rather than rely on consultants. Nordqvist notes that v3.2 of Supportworks has a number of improvements in terms of usability. For example, in task management, the system has included support for incidents. However, he adds that one feature that would improve this process is the ability to create tasks in a change request and distribute the work between employees. Often you need support from different people in the IT team. It would also be nice to have better sequencing of the tasks and to be able to run parallel tasks, says Nordqvist. Another improvement is in the way that users can navigate in finding a specific process, such as a change process. There is a better understanding and overview of the complete process and where you are located in the process of a specific call. One feature that Toyota Motorsport is considering implementing is the Knowledgebase module, to replace a Microsoft SharePoint-based system that stores IT documentation. 5

6 Managing application development Tim Anderson reviews the Visual Studio application lifecycle management tool from Microsoft it tools How do you keep track of application development projects, particularly if you are not a developer? Modern software development methodologies have moved beyond the idea of software development teams accepting projects and eventually delivering code. Agile development includes the idea of stakeholders as members of the development team, in touch with the detail of the development process and giving constant feedback during short iterations. Making software development more transparent promotes good communication and realistic pro gress assessment. One way to enable greater transparency is to use Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools, which let both developers and nondevelopers collaborate and track progress. Microsoft s solution is based on Team Foundation Server (TFS), a collaboration server designed to support the Visual Studio development environment. TFS 2010 is the third major release, following Visual Studio 2005 Team System and its update in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server runs on Windows Server 2003 or higher. It is based on Microsoft.Net with Share Point, SQL Server and SQL Server Reporting Services, making for a somewhat complex installation. Once installed, it handles key ALM features including version control, bug and task tracking, build automation, test case management, and generic work item tracking. ALM features Collaboration features include SharePoint portal sites for each project. Each SharePoint site includes a dashboard for team members that shows elements such as outstanding tasks, bug reports, recent check-ins, and project progress. You can access a shared calendar, and participate in a Team Wiki. These portals are standard SharePoint sites and there are many possibilities for customisation. The SharePoint-based portal links to Team Web Access, a web user interface for TFS. Using Team Web Access, you can view and create bugs and other work items, manage builds, create reports, and drill-down into code check-ins and version history. There are links with Microsoft Office, so you can create work items in Microsoft Excel and Project as well as with Visual Studio tools, and export reports to Office applications. Another feature of Visual Studio ALM is called Lab Management. This combines the test and build features of Visual Studio with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and Microsoft s Hyper-V virtual machine technology. The idea is to automate the process of testing multi-tier applications by deploying to preconfigured virtual machines and exercising the application. When bugs are discovered, you can snapshot the environment to reproduce it later. Lab Management takes considerable effort to set up and configure, but the benefits of automatically deploying and testing a multi-machine application in a clean environment are considerable. Project handling and tracking The basic unit of Visual Studio ALM is the work item. A work item can be a bug report, a test case, a generic task, or a task that is customised for a particular way of working. Work 6

7 items are sophisticated, and can be assigned various states from New to Done, categorised in various ways, prioritised, and linked to source code, test cases, or to other work items. Work items have history and several different kinds of notes. Some work items let you specify aspects including backlog priority, effort and business value. Work items do not all look the same, but exist in several predefined, customisable forms. Visual Studio ALM uses the concept of process templates to meld the environment to support particular development methodologies. If you choose the Scrum process template, one of the work item types is a sprint, which defines a project iteration in the Scrum methodology. Project templates include process guidance documentation, report definitions, and other elements. Creating a project template is a large project in itself, but several are supplied and others are available from third parties. Popular templates include Visual Studio Scrum, MSF (Microsoft Solution Frameworks) for Agile, and MSF for Capability Maturity Model Integration. Another key feature of Visual Studio ALM is the ability to enforce policy. Using check-in policy, for example, you can specify that code must build successfully, or that certain tests must pass. You can also require check-in notes for code review, security review and performance review, and specify that check-ins are linked to work items. ALM without the full package One implication of Visual Studio ALM is that if used carefully, project progress is thoroughly documented and visible to other team members. Although Visual Studio ALM is designed as part of Visual Studio, it is also possible for non-developers to use the system. This might be for full participation, or just for keeping track of progress. Not all team members need Visual Studio. Designers may State diagrams let you visualise the status of outstanding tasks The complexity of Visual Studio ALM and its integration with other Microsoft products means that it is daunting to install and maintain. Many developers do not use it to its full potential, perhaps because they prefer a more lightweight approach work using Adobe tools and on Macs, for example, while managers and users may work mainly in Microsoft Office. There are a couple of different ways of using Visual Studio ALM without the full Visual Studio. The first is Team Explorer, which is essentially the Visual Studio shell combined with the add-on that forms the TFS client. While this works well, it still feels developer-oriented. The project portal site, on the other hand, is potentially more accessible for non-developers, particularly if the developer side of the team keeps their needs in mind. Users can report bugs and managers can track progress, raise questions and assign tasks via this web interface. If used to the full, Visual Studio ALM can analyse the workload of the team so that you can see who may be overloaded and whether the current timescale is too demanding, or whether the team is not stretched and could be assigned new projects. It is also worth mentioning Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere, a plug-in for the Eclipse open source IDE that enables use of Team Foundation Server for developers on Mac, Windows and Linux, including users of IBM s Eclipse-based Rational Application Developer. Licensing Visual Studio ALM Microsoft s licensing for Visual Studio ALM is designed to cover a variety of scenarios, from small developer teams who might install Visual Studio and TFS on a single machine, mainly for source code management, up to large organisations with hundreds of developers. Most paid-for editions of Visual Studio include TFS and a single client access licence (CAL), though there is a low-end Professional with MSDN Essentials version which has neither. The Professional with MSDN edition includes TFS and basic unit testing. The Premium edition adds features such as code coverage and user interface testing, but many features of Visual Studio ALM are reserved for the Ultimate edition or the specialist Test Professional version. Load testing and web performance testing are only supported in the Ultimate edition. You can also get separate CALs for Team Foundation Server. You would need these, for example, for nondevelopers who need access to the project portal or Team Web Access. Since features such as Lab Management involve other Microsoft products, in this case System Center VMM, licensing a large TFS deployment can be complex. Configurability pros and cons Like any ALM system, Visual Studio ALM is only as good as what gets put into it by the team. It is possible to populate work items with useless or obscure information, defeating the purpose of communication and transparency. No two teams will use Visual Studio ALM in exactly the same way, and how it is configured is critical to success. Having too many constraints and requirements will weigh down development with administrative overhead, while having too few can result in the ALM system having little value. The strength of Visual Studio ALM is its flexibility, comprehensive tool set, integration with a familiar IDE, and the use of SharePoint, Team Web Access and Microsoft Office to open it up beyond developers and the Visual Studio IDE. There are many parts to the system, but teams can pick and choose which they use and which they ignore. The starting point is source code control with Team Foundation Server, but beyond that there are few constraints. The test tools such as load testing, web performance testing, and lab management, are of significant value in themselves, irrespective of their place in the wider suite. On the negative side, the complexity of Visual Studio ALM and its integration with other Microsoft products means that it is daunting to install and maintain. Many developers do not use it to its full potential, perhaps because they prefer a more lightweight approach, or have not had time to explore all its features. From the perspective of a company executive or manager who needs insight into application development progress, a well-run implementation of Visual Studio ALM has substantial value. It is not necessary to understand every aspect of coding to make sense of the reports in a project portal, and it enables non-developers to be part of the team. 7

8 Does IT need its own ERP? Clive Longbottom looks at how taking a compliance-oriented architecture approach to systems management can ease the heartache of tidying up what can often comprise a very messy tangle of tools it tools formance and even the datacentre facility level. This has led to a new term being bandied around enterprise resource planning for information technology ERP for IT or just ERP4IT. However, to see if this has any value to the business, it is first important to see how we have got to where we are today. Diversity leads to complexity Initially, in the days of the main Increasingly, there is a need to be able to manage the whole of an IT platform, not only at the server, storage and network levels, but also at the software, perframe, systems management was built-in. When distributed computing came in, different systems evolved to manage each type of environment, leading to specialised tools for managing the mainframe, the midi-server, Windows-based machines and so on. From this, the super management suppliers emerged the likes of CA with Unicenter, BMC with Patrol, HP with OpenView and Tivoli (now IBM) with TME. However, these solu tions only supported certain aspects of IT management, which led to a need for new sets of tools to manage and support additional IT management tasks. There are several tasks required in today s broad IT management ecosystem. Suppliers such as Flexera Software (was Macrovision) and Frontrange provide software licence management systems to optimise the use of software and operating 8

9 systems across the IT platform, while the likes of Gomez and Fluke (now Visual Network Systems) offer application performance management solutions. Increasingly, the datacentre facility itself plays an important part of the equation, and the likes of nlyte (was GDCM) and Aperture (now part of Emerson Network Power) provide software to better design and monitor cooling and energy usage. As organisations were faced with numerous problems, this was matched with an even larger variety of suppliers stating they were the only ones who could solve a specific issue for them. The very act of attempting a solution to systems management created a new problem managing the systems management software itself, a broad collection of mis-matched and complex tools from a range of suppliers. Pulling together all these different solutions led to a further need a capability to manage IT projects from design to implementation, along with how the resulting systems would be monitored, maintained and managed. Unsurprisingly, a host of suppliers were available to help for example, CA again with Clarity, Primavera (now acquired by Oracle), and Microsoft offered software to provide project portfolio management software to pull everything together. As complexity grew, so did the need to be able to demonstrate IT governance. This is a broad environment, and can mean anything from managing the system to minimise downtime, to areas such as ISO27001 for IT security, ISO14000 for IT environmental governance, or ISO19770 for software asset management. The majority of these solutions are based around COBIT (from ISACA) as a governance framework and process engine. Suppliers such as Casewise and Safestone provide solutions here. Once a project has been completed, any changes to the runtime environment need to be controlled. The IT Information Library (ITIL) approach has now been adopted by most systems management companies CA and BMC have been prime movers in this area to enable best practice to be built in to managing various aspects of change. ITIL and COBIT can work hand-in-glove or be at odds with each other. Certain suppliers then tried to bring everything under a framework umbrella. Users found this constraining and expensive. New suppliers brought out point solutions and a best-of-breed distributed mess has resulted. Can IT ERP pull it all together? But will ERP for IT make any difference? ERP for IT is based on the same approach as ERP for business bringing together disparate aspects of process into a single approach to provide a streamlined and efficient means of dealing with the processes involved. However, ERP for business has its own chequered history, and a singlesupplier approach has failed in many cases to show the promised business value. Many find ERP for business to be constraining and find it difficult to build in the flexibility required for dealing with fundamental change, such as surviving a recession. ERP for IT could be hit by this, but also by any perception that it is a rip and replace approach. If a company has invested in a large systems management supplier s product portfolio, a company coming along with a rip and replace story will certainly not be at the top of its priority list. One that comes along with a single pane of glass story will also likely be damned, due to what the users have been promised previously. How about one that adds certain functions to an existing environment, working with the available tools and essentially being seamless in how it works? It sounds good, but may still be damned through the way that so much has been promised this way in the past and has failed to match its promise. If ERP for IT is aiming at pulling everything together, just what is everything? New architectures will require new thinking, and will ERP for IT suppliers be able to embrace cloud computing across value networks, or will it be an internal enterprise view only? Compliance approach It is far better for an organisation to take a compliance-oriented architecture approach and start with the desired business outcome, and then work back as to what the required technical steps are. Quocirca s recent research demonstrates good system ERP for IT is a red herring that could end up as prescriptive as the systems management frameworks of the 1990s Longbottom: Taking a desired outcome and reverse engineering can circumnavigate inflexible systems management frameworks management underpins good business performance but only when done well. Buyers should look for information management systems that can: l Primarily, put the technical environment in a better position to support the business; l Demonstrate support for industry standards such as ISO, ITIL and COBIT without fighting each other; l Fit in with existing tools and systems; l Be flexible to adapt to changes in both the business and IT landscapes. By taking a desired outcome approach, a compliance-oriented architecture (COA) can be built up that not only enables a managed IT platform to be built, but also enables internal and external compliance with standards and legal requirements to be created. This looks at things from an intellectual property point of view (which is where the business s financial performance will reside), rather than an IT one, but does require IT tools to provide the desired environment. A COA, when planned and implemented correctly, should lead to good IT management and do away with the concept of a hard-wired ERP for IT system. In itself, ERP for IT is probably yet another IT red herring something that could end up being as prescriptive as the systems management frameworks of the late 1990s, rather than the inclusive and flexible solutions that are increasingly demanded by IT and the business alike today. 9

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