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It’s Time For CIOs And IT Directors To Wake Up To Scripting

A recent research report by independent analysts Quocirca, points out that “30% of an IT teams’ time is spent on low-level tasks such as responding to minor user incidents, carrying out routine procedures or checking for errors.” The report concludes that “One way to reduce the cost of performing such tasks is more automation.” This is not news. I recall writing articles on this wastage of time, resources, skills and money back in 2009. Yet here we are in 2013 and the wastage continues despite an environment of ongoing budget cuts, lay-offs and the need to do more with less. Amazingly CIOs and IT directors continue to overlook one of the most obvious ways to increase accuracy and efficiency while freeing up IT time to focus on more important tasks. The answer is staring us in t......

How Agile Can Help IT Meet Business Needs Faster

Since the Agile Manifesto was published in 2001, there has been a steady rise in the adoption of agile processes by a variety of organisations. Its appeal lies in how the efficient processes it creates can help businesses meet their goals. As a result, even the most risk averse organisations are embracing agile methods and thriving on their usage. However, while development teams are using agile best practices to get application updates or new software to the business faster, management processes on the other side are not always keeping pace. If developers are using these methodologies to produce updates faster, agile processes need to spread further into the business from requirements to release so that these teams can keep up. For most organisations there are hurdles to overcome before t......

2013: A Look Ahead

2012 saw a series of conflicting demands placed on businesses’ IT requirements. Economic pressures forced organisations to cut costs and demand even more from their investment in technology. Yet in stark contrast, the pace of technological change over the past year has meant that businesses must invest in their IT service management to keep pace with the changes, not least to enable them to support initiatives such as Bring Your Own Device, social media and cloud solutions. I’ve witnessed many forward thinking companies react to these pressures over the last year in a positive manner, for example by making more of their IT service management investment. Last year there was a shift to implement formalised change management processes, which enabled many organisations to invest in IT efficien......

Event Management: Making The Complex Simple

Working on large, complex IT programmes is a great way to get an understanding of how an organisation operates. It can also highlight some of the patterns that lead to inefficiencies in the way IT projects are run. This can be seen in the way in which three entirely separate programmes in the banking, payments and pharmaceutical sectors behave. Despite being very different industries, it is remarkable that all three programmes had a number of distinct features in common. All three programmes shared deficiencies in requirements specification, design, programme management and testing strategy, but the one missing consideration was the lack of event management planning. The term ‘event management’ is often one that is misunderstood. Not many understand that it refers to the combined processes......

CRM vs Vertical Marketing Solutions: Which One Is Right For You?

I’ve talked in a previous blog about the changing face of CRM but it’s a topic that I keep coming back to, after all shouldn’t customers be at the heart of all our businesses? When I talk to our customers about the need to manage their stakeholders, whoever they may be, many still believe that a traditional vertical point specific solution best fits their needs. I think that as a result many organisations are missing a trick – and potential revenues. For me, CRM has an image problem. When CRM solutions initially came onto the market they were primarily aimed at sales and general customer relationship management processes. They were perceived as ideal for companies with a large customer base and came with a price tag to match. Times have changed – and with it so have customers a......

Does IT change management lead to security breaches?

75% of organizations believe their current change management processes could put them at risk of a security breach. Having sampled 100 network security professionals directly involved in firewall management and auditing, the survey reveals that manual processes – and the time constraints they create – are the biggest challenge facing today’s network security professionals. Despite confirmation that regulatory and corporate compliance requirements such as SOX, PCI DSS and ISO 27001 are driving security operations, only 7% of the sample automates the firewall audit process. As a result, 40% of organizations spend up to a month or more a year on firewall audits. With 85% of respondents reporting that up to 50% of firewall rule changes require modification because they were not des......

Cloud computing: Trust everyone, trust no-one or trust someone

Having outlined the need to take an information-centric approach to key management in the cloud, today I would like to share the first half of a series of six strategies that could help organisations take this approach. The first strategy I would like to outline is the Trust Everyone Strategy, where existing applications, keys and management tasks are fork-lifted from the datacentre into the service provider. No special steps are taken to address the control challenges introduced by the Cloud. However, as we all know, no matter what else you outsource you can’t outsource your responsibility, so this strategy is not really an option. I’m all for SLAs bridging the gap between business desires and technical reality but wholesale handover of sensitive operations is probably a bridge too far. A......

Getting your processes right around ITSM

IT Service Management or ITSM systems have become IT’s online face to the business. While an enterprise’s applications and services are the tools users have to get their jobs done, when those users have a problem or need additional support, they turn to the IT service system in order to be helped. However, these staff are often disappointed with the outcome of their experiences with IT when problems arise. Feelings of dissatisfaction around IT can spread rapidly, and left unchecked, this unfriendly face can lead to greater frustration and problems. Examples here include increased costs for resolving problems, extended cycle times, and irritation within IT itself. This can leave end users convinced that IT isn’t meeting their requirements. The issue for IT is that, as approaches that give u......

Oracle leads corporate Performance Management Suite race

Oracle announced last week that it is in the Leader’s Quadrant of Gartner’s 2011 report, “Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management Suites.” As a Leader, Oracle excels in the CPM suite market – delivering breadth and depth of suite functionality, supporting a wide CPM strategy with enterprise-wide implementations. Leaders communicate a successful business proposition and are able to deliver successfully around the world. “We believe that our placement in the Leaders Quadrant is testament to our depth of functionality, a wide-reaching partner network, strong customer base and integrated platform,” said Hari Sankar, vice president of Product Management, Oracle. Oracle’s Hyperion performance management applications cover planning, budgeting and forecasting, strategy management, fina......

Improving Firewall Change Management

Changes – whether to a firewall, a router, or an application – are the single biggest cause of network outages. If you’re a firewall administrator, you know the anxiety of change all too well. Making a configuration change is pretty easy. Making the right configuration change in a complex IT infrastructure requires investigation and planning. But firewall policies are too complicated, and there’s always too much to do – and you just got another access request. Of course, your change management process helps you track each access request. Change management processes and the systems that support them display deadlines, send emails, and gather approvals. With them, you can manage a change ticket from beginning to end. With them, that’s about all you can do. These processes don’t help you desi......

One Third Of UK Organisations Put Off Windows 7 Roll-Out, But Are They Wise To Wait?

Data from a recent survey has shown that 42% of UK businesses are planning to roll out Windows 7 in the next 18 months. However the survey, of 100 IT decision makers in City-based businesses of over 250 users, discovered that 24% are waiting until 2011 to roll out the new OS while only 18% are either in the process or plan to start the transition in 2010. With only 6% of the surveyed organisations already using Windows 7 and a further 8% not making the leap for 2 to 3 years, a stunning 24% are not thinking about rolling out Windows 7 at all. Finally, 20% are still unsure of whether to make the leap and when. According to Gartner, the process of a full-scale migration takes, on average, 12-18 months and with Microsoft stopping downgrade rights to XP on new Windows 7 machines in mid-2011, ar......