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Thursday, May 02, 2002

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`Aligning IT with business still a challenge'

V. Rishi Kumar


DESPITE years of effort, most IT departments are still struggling to get their operations aligned with corporate business goals.

However, the emerging service management approach could be a way out, according to Ms Nancy Li, Chief Executive Officer, iCan SP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Computer Associates.

For years companies have been searching for ways to align IT more closely with the ever-changing needs of the business.

With service management solution, IT managers would have greater visibility into their operations and tighter control of their costs, while dramatically improving IT service levels, Ms Li, said.

According to Ms Li service management comprises all the essential business and operational functions an IT department must implement to contain costs while improving services.

By deploying service management approach, IT managers no longer have to guess which users are using what resources — because they have the tools to measure bandwidth, storage or server usage by user, department or line of business.

A recent Meta group survey of Fortune 1000 companies indicated that 70 per cent of corporations continued to look upon their IT organisations as cost centres, not as strategic investments.

This aspect made them more prone to outsourcing IT operations to the lowest-cost provider.

In order to address this vital aspect of an enterprise, IT executives of a number of forward-thinking enterprises are gradually embracing the service management concept.

They have begun using these tools and techniques to track resource usage and more efficiently deploy new services, while significantly improving service levels.

With the usage of service management tools, IT planners can allocate hardware, software and communications charges, identify superfluous and redundant expenditures, and compile usage-based cost data for budgeting purposes.

While cost and budgeting is one side of the equation, quality and service is the other crucial issue and the service management provides a holistic view of services levels and performance, according to Ms Li.

Interestingly, service management then takes this a step further and gives managers the ability to set service levels by providing a way to implement service level agreement without placing excessive resource and administrative burdens on IT.

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