The Great IT Management ParadoxBy Michael Vizard | Posted 2007-06-14 Email Print
Opinion: There are far too many hidden and soft costs associated with IT management today that the term itself has become little more than just another oxymoron.Probably the single biggest challenge facing our industry today is that such a large percentage of customers' IT budgets is taken up by the shear act of maintaining the systems they already have. This situation usually results in scenarios where the amount of money the customer has on hand to acquire new products and technologies, which is the life-blood of the channel, is typically less than 10 percent of the total IT budget in any given year.
The reason this situation exists is largely the fault of a vendor community that for the past 20 years has spent a lot more time on new product features than manageability, which has created a pathetic situation where the single highest cost associated with information technology is labor.
Unfortunately, while things may improve somewhat as companies such as Symantec and IBM devote more of their resources to this problem, the reality is that things may get worse before they get better when you consider the following issues:
View this slide show on the 10 biggest oxymorons in IT management
And now compounding this problem is the fact that we have a general shortage of IT talent, so at a time when we need more bodies than ever to physically manage things, fewer are available. Solution providers that are increasingly moving to provide managed services are experiencing this first hand because now all the IT management costs are cutting into their bottom line. So paradoxically, the sad state of IT management affairs creates the demand for managed services on the one hand, while the sorry state of the IT management tools available significantly cuts into the profitability of managed services offerings.
Sadly, this is an issue that has been in the making for 20 years or more, so it won't go away over night. But if we want to really solve this problem sooner than later, then solution providers and their customers are going to have to band together to exert the political capital necessary to force vendors to pay a lot more attention to manageability. The fact of the matter is that there are far too many hidden and soft costs associated with IT management today that the term itself has become little more than just another oxymoron.