Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Deferred IT maintenance is a ticking time bomb

Check out this article we found:

$500 billion -- it's a number so big you'd assume it's a component of the national debt. It isn't. Instead, it's what Gartner analyst Andy Kyte calls the IT debt. "When budgets are tight, maintenance gets cut. After a decade of tight budgets, the scale of the maintenance backlog has created systemic risk, particularly for large organizations," he says.
The "debt" really has two major components: One is underfunding and even neglect of routine but important hardware replacement purchases and software upgrades. The other is the slow degradation of enterprise applications.
[ InfoWorld's Bob Lewis explains why running IT as a business is a train wreck waiting to happen. | Subscribe today to Lewis' Advice Line newsletter for IT managers. ]
On the most obvious level, managers like Steve Davidek, the system administrator for the city of Sparks, Nev., scrambles to keep systems up and running with budgets that barely covered the basics. Sparks, with a population of about 88,000, was hit hard by the recession, and when it came time to trim services, the IT department was in the cross-hairs, losing 6 of its 14 full-time employees.
"It's been a Band-Aid approach, and the people we support are on the verge of not getting what they need," he says. When money does flow, Davidek says, he hopes to complete the virtualization of servers in the data center, a key task that was just half done during the recession.
Choices made by IT have also contributed to the "debt." Mundane "run the business" expenses are taking a backseat to initiatives, particularly cloud computing, that management hopes will save money in the not-too-distant future, says Harcharan Sing Rajpal, head of Tata's IT application services consultancy for North America.
The second leg of the "IT debt" monster has to do with aging enterprise applications. In reality, these apps are collections of data and business logic encapsulated in programming instructions and myriad platform components, such as operating systems, databases, hardware, and network infrastructure, Kyte says. As they age, these apps are "inevitably diverging from an ideal state toward a suboptimal state, and potentially toward obsolescence or failure."
In normal times, maintenance would slow the decay, "but such investments can be tough to justify in a tight economy when precious investment funds need to be used to deliver short-term, visible business benefits," Kyte says. Even if the current version of an application is running well, the next upgrade for many applications is going to involve a substantial shift in the underlying platform infrastructure.
It would be easy to dismiss Kyte's analysis by claiming IT always wants more. But he says this time, it's different: "While it is true that there has never been an IT organization without a backlog of maintenance activity, the scale of the problem is significantly greater than it has ever been. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the maintenance backlog -- and, therefore, the 'IT debt' -- was probably at an all-time low on 31 December 1999, when every IT organization had spent a significant amount of money upgrading or replacing systems in order to deal with Y2K.
"Since then, however, the demands for IT investment to deliver real business value through running, growing, or transforming the business have drained the maintenance coffers year after year, so year after year the IT debt has grown," Kyte says.
Is that $500 billion number too high? Kyte says he derived it by analyzing several large Gartner clients that generally do a good job of keeping applications up to date. That led him to estimate that a typical Fortune 2000 company would require upgrades costing more than $200 million each.

Monday, October 21, 2013

IT service management

Read this Wikipedia article we found: 

IT service management or IT service support management (ITSM or ITSSM) refers to the implementation and management of quality information technologyservices. IT service management is performed by IT service providers through people, process and information technology.[1] The following represents a characteristic statement from the ITSM literature:
Providers of IT services can no longer afford to focus on technology and their internal organization[;] they now have to consider the quality of the services they provide and focus on the relationship with customers.[2]
ITSM is process-focused and has ties and common interests with process improvement frameworks and methodologies (e.g., TQM, Six Sigma, business process management, CMMI). The discipline is not concerned with the details of how to use a particular vendor's product, or necessarily with the technical details of the systems under management. Instead, it focuses upon providing a framework to structure IT-related activities and the interactions of IT technical personnel with business customers and users.
IT service management in the broader sense overlaps with the disciplines of business service management and IT portfolio management, especially in the area of IT planning and financial control. ITSM is generally concerned with the "back office" or operational concerns of information technology management (sometimes known as operations architecture), and not with technology development. In this respect, ITSM may be seen as analogous to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) discipline for IT.

5 Reasons to Outsource Your IT Company

Every business has its focus.  It can be advertising, design, finance, business, etc. It is beneficial for these companies to hire employees with knowledge and experience about their given field   Therefore, it does not make sense for a business who's main focus is not IT to hire a full time IT employee.  Doing this could cost the company money and productivity.  To avoid this, businesses should outsource their IT support company. 

Check out TVG Consulting's blog, an IT support company in Los Angeles.



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Technical Support

Read this article we found about technical support:

Technical support or tech support refers to a range of services by which enterprises provide assistance to users of technology products such as mobile phones, televisions, computers, software products or other electronic or mechanical goods. In general, technical support services attempt to help the user solve specific problems with a product—rather than providing training, customization, or other support services. Most companies offer technical support for the products they sell, either freely available or for a fee. Technical support may be delivered over the telephone or online by e-maillive support software on a website or a tool where users can log a call/incident. Larger organizations frequently have internal technical support available to their staff for computer related problems. The internet is also a good source for freely available tech support, where experienced users may provide advice and assistance with problems. In addition, some fee-based service companies charge for premium technical support services.[1]

to read the rest: