The impact of the slowing economy on business process outsourcing (BPO) models, the convergence of IT and telecom services, and the continued importance of quality and security are among the top issues IT service providers will face in 2009.
A new report, The Ovum Eight identifies eight of the top IT Services issues that will impact IT vendors, their partners and end-users.
In this challenging economy, IT services providers will need to navigate a host of new and continuing challenges as they attempt to maintain and grow their business. Providers must get ahead of these trends as they work to capture new customers and keep the ones they have.
Here are the eight main areas for 2009:
Competing for the Cloud: Cloud Computing can encompass and potentially disrupt traditional models of infrastructure and applications outsourcing, third-party managed services and SaaS-powered services.
Cloud computing is quickly becoming one of the most competitive markets in IT as services firms attempt to leverage them and others to deliver new value-added services to the market. Customers, meanwhile, have seen and heard plenty of marketing messages around cloud computing, but are now searching for answers as to what IT and business benefits could ensue.
Quality Assurance & Information Security: The worsening economic environment is driving demand for improved value from applications, applications-led outsourcing and other IT services.
In practical terms, this means demonstrable and sustainable cost effectiveness and reduced time-to-market. Pressure is growing on developers and outsourcing service providers to raise the twin bars of quality assurance: ensuring products and services are fit for purpose; and being right first time.
High-Pressure IT: All IT services vendors will argue that their IT delivery is done under high pressure, although for many this is more hyperbole than truth.
Ovum believes High Pressure IT is about delivering IT services on the biggest stage, under the highest level of scrutiny, and with no room for mistakes. We will explore the opportunities for IT services providers in High Pressure IT - those targeting the global market for major media, sporting and cultural events.
Retained organizations: Outsourcing decisions driven by short-term requirements to save costs are potentially the most difficult kinds of contract for retained organizations to derive business benefit from.
Negotiated in haste and not necessarily with a medium or long-term strategic intent, such contracts will require significant skill on the part of retained organizations to make them work effectively for the client while delivering the savings they have been put in place to achieve.
Fixing BPO: In 2009 white-collar BPO will overshadow the importance of IT in the outsourcing market. Consolidation among IT services and BPO companies will bring the two industries ever closer.
IT vendors that do not have a considered stake in the BPO market, either directly or indirectly, will miss out on a sea change in the way that IT and IT services are delivered to client organizations.
Waste not, want not: The efficient use of people and resources should be a core discipline for all CIOs, IT managers and IT services providers.
It means a focus on disciplines such as Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and a drive to bring infrastructure to maturity to standardize, consolidate and rationalize IT infrastructure and processes. There are new demands for IT to improve its efficiency around energy, the environment and IT's consumption of resources.
Enterprise 2.0: Enables stakeholders to affect services and offerings and achieve more meaningful business-driven interactions between people and systems through community collaboration, sharing and debating of ideas, concepts, services and products.
This all sounds great from a philosophical perspective, but how is it going to deliver business benefits to the adopters of such technologies‾
Economic Flux: Even in the darkest reaches of a recession, clients will continue to expect quality services delivered at appropriate pricing levels with continual improvements to both.
It is vital that vendors retain a sense of perspective: the recession will end and demand for IT services will recover. We are not suggesting that economic conditions will change in a few months and that business will be back normal: the market will continue to evolve and vendors' strategies must evolve with it.
See www.ovum.com for more information.
Eamonn Kennedy, practice leader of Ovum's IT Services team