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MIS Managers Will Embrace Consumer IT

News Release

2008: MIS Managers Will Embrace Consumer IT in the Workplace and Virtualisation Will Reinvent Traditional IT Structure

Organisations will finally put their virtualisation solutions into production in 2008 and work hard to manage consumer technologies in the workplace.

Unisys predicts the two big challenges for IT managers in 2008 will be:
• Securely managing consumer technologies brought into the workplace
• Taking virtualisation out of the test environment into production for business critical applications

Every employee is a consumer
Organisations will face increasing pressure in 2008 to securely manage and support consumer technology brought into the workplace by employees. Those companies that proactively embrace Facebook, Skype, wireless networks and USB devices and find ways to manage access securely, will gain an edge in terms of employee satisfaction and increased productivity.

“Consumers love their technology and the freedom it affords them. As employees, we expect to apply the same approach to our working environment. The key to ensuring the secure protection of the corporate network is to understand the way that employees want to work, identify and embrace the best tools that will allow this, and incorporate them into the IT security policy,” said Brett Hodgson, managing director, Unisys New Zealand.

“Organisations whose employees can set their own working parameters, like when and where they work and what technology they use, are likely to be more engaged, satisfied and productive as they create a personalised work-life balance. This as an important differentiator for employers during the skills shortage,” said Mr Hodgson.

The traditional response to consumer technology at work – from accessing Hotmail on your work PC, to reading your email on your mobile phone – was to simply ban it. But it’s an unstoppable wave. Virtual teams will use tools such as Facebook and SharePoint to exchange ideas with colleagues in the same way they stay in touch with their friends. Employees expect the same freedom to be able to efficiently work outside the office using wireless networks and 3G mobile phones that they have in their home life.

Businesses have become more accepting. Unisys research estimates that 60 percent* of organisations allow technology to be used for personal and work use. However, the issue is how to manage the security risks this creates and the financial implications of providing end-user support to technology introduced into the workplace by employees.

Unisys recommends the following approach to securely manage consumer technology in the workplace:
• Increase the frequency of technology audits to understand exactly what applications are running within the organisation’s network
• Develop realistic IT policies that accommodate employees’ need to utilise all available technology
• Make provisions within the security strategy to ensure the support of consumer technology doesn’t leave the company’s network vulnerable to attack
• Educate employees about the responsible use of consumer technology in the workplace.

Virtualisation – the time to spring clean
Organisations that have implemented virtualisation technology in test and development environments for the last three years will finally ‘flick the switch’ to move their virtualised systems into production in 2008. The key to success will be effective planning – not just for implementing technology but of people, processes and governance. It is also essential to maintain a complete view of what software and hardware is actually in the data centre.

Virtualisation also offers MIS managers the freedom and opportunity to reinvent the way IT is structured to best support the evolving needs of their business and will act as a catalyst to implement major change in how assets are used and managed.

Most large organisations have not yet trusted their systems to a virtualised environment – nobody wants to be the first to do it. In 2008, however, the combined pressure to reduce the costs associated with server sprawl – which includes real estate, power consumption and software licensing – and the increased focus on environmentally sustainable IT strategies will converge. This will drive IT managers to push virtualisation and other Real Time Infrastructure strategies like provisioning into production.

Unisys predicts that successful virtualisation will require more than a simple technology change. Virtualisation provides the chance to redesign how IT supports its internal and external customers by streamlining all elements of an organisation’s technology landscape – servers, storage, desktops, applications and networks.

“To reap long-term sustainable benefits from a virtualisation strategy requires a holistic view of the best way to combine the technology itself with the people, processes and governance that will support it, using a shared services model. Rather than specific boxes and applications being owned by individual parts of the business, the focus will be on overall service delivery – regardless of what hardware, application or location is used,” Mr Hodgson said.

Tips for implementing a virtualised solution include:
• Catalogue all software and hardware assets in the data centre into a complete view and understand their current function
• Employ a business blueprinting methodology to create a comprehensive virtualisation strategy
• Map this strategy against mission critical technology functions to identify which assets to virtualise, consolidate or retire.

Organisations that seize this opportunity to spring-clean their IT systems to adopt a new approach and remove redundant technology will realise even bigger returns on investment, beyond the simple consolidation of IT resources. True virtualisation is a vital first step in redefining the IT function within an organisation to improve functionality, cost expenditure and environmental impact.


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