Doug Schmitt serves as Vice President and General Manager of Dell’s Global Support & Deployment line of business. In this role, he leads an organization of over 40,000 direct and indirect team members delivering customer support, field deployment, operations and engineering readiness & capabilities in over 100 countries.
Slow, inefficient and error-prone are often the words that businesses use to describe IT. That isn’t surprising considering that recent studies have found that just 29 percent of business users consider IT to be distributed, agile and flexible1; 75 percent of downtime is caused by human error2; and an overwhelming amount of IT budgets (72 percent) goes toward ongoing maintenance instead of innovation to drive positive business impact3.
CIOs face a wide range of issues in trying to support their environments, including; meeting demands for mobility (with Corporate-Owned, Choose-Your-Own, and Bring-Your-Own Device [BYOD] management strategies to consider), implementing new trends, managing individually supported products; keeping compatibility lined up among connected components (like ensuring firmware levels are compatible when doing updates), support agreements expiring at different intervals, knowing the right number to call for support of different types and different versions of equipment, and running on a mixture of legacy equipment and software. They do not typically have the budget, time, or expertise to solve all the issues that might arise in their environment.
The bad news – IT environments are only going to get more complex. And, with all of the IT variation, it gets even worse as data growth continues to increase (25 percent by 2015) and mobile devices continue to multiply.
The good news – converged solutions can help CIOs rapidly deliver IT services, maximize data center efficiency, and strengthen IT service quality. In fact, Gartner estimates, “By 2015, one-third of all servers will ship as managed resources integrated in a converged infrastructure.”4
Let’s dive into the basics of converged solutions–from ‘why’ to planning to support services.
Planning for Transformation
You should keep in mind the following principals as you transform your IT environment.
- Open and Standard: Make sure you have an open and standard architecture that is flexible enough to handle both current and future demands.
- Intuitive: Look for reference architectures and pre-integrated systems that will help you deploy and manage solutions faster and more efficiently, so that IT can focus on more strategic projects.
- Automation: Automation is key to shifting from “keeping the lights on” to innovation. Without it, IT wastes valuable time focusing on repetitive and time consuming tasks. Look for a management approach that offers automation without compromising on quality and flexibility.
- End-to-End: Look for end-to-end solutions and services paired with enterprise-class support that is not only easy to buy, deploy, and manage but that ensures the highest quality customer experience. Make sure that the vendor you choose is a trusted business partner that can not only help you implement, manage and monitor the technology but that can identify areas of opportunity.
So, you have your converged solution – but how are you going to support it? Much like planning ahead for problems when buying insurance for a new house, you need to plan for the future needs of your converged solution and your business. Converged infrastructure requires a new level of enterprise-class support and expertise.
You should look for a seamless and comprehensive support solution that incorporates the four principles listed above. IDC recommends that businesses consider vendors with state-of-the-art offerings, deep domain expertise and the tools and automation to help address day-to-day operational issues.
1InformationWeek, Oct. 2012
2Advisory Board Q&A, Jun. 2011
3Forrester Research, Apr. 2013
4Is the Concept of the ‘Server’ Obsolete, or in Need of Redefining? 29 March 2012
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