Small Business

It Management in the Clouds With Saas

Posted on: April 3, 2010

Undoubtedly, IT Management is changing. Not so long ago, an IT manager’s success was tied to the number of workstations or servers he was managing in his company’s datacenter. They would brag about the size of their network to their peers, on job interviews, and they would use the large and growing number of computers as an excuse for more human resources and an increasing budget. Network management power was equivalent to professional respect. I swear that I’ve heard this line countless times: “You want me to manage what? I am already managing 87 servers 458 pc’s, storage backup and firewalls, in our network! I’ll need three more technicians and another twelve PCs to fulfill your request professionally. Oh – and I can’t guarantee you’ll be satisfied with the results.”

But those were the old days, when the idea of ROI (return on investment) seemed to skip over the IT department budget requirements. Looking back, less than a decade later, such an attitude looks distant and ridiculous. Today, good IT management is judged on its ability to achieve results with as little as possible. With economic and competitive pressures mounting, IT management needs to run efficiently. Even terms such as collocation and web hosting from the ASP era seems to be absolute. Today, the weight has shifted and IT managers boast about the number of applications and services being served to their firm and how they have minimized expenditures.

This IT Management evolution was all made possible due the maturity of SAAS, (Software as a Service), going main stream. Over the last years we have experienced an escalation of applications migrating from the desktop to the Internet. Apparently, the physical conditions of both the Internet and network infrastructure have matured enough and made the economic option of SAAS the obvious solution.

First of all, it’s always about the numbers. Now, organizations can question whether it is sensible to purchase, configure, host, maintain, air condition, and backup. Suddenly, worrying about application software and hardware is optional. Alternatively, for a fraction of the cost, a company can “rent” applications remotely using a PC browser or a cellular browser and they can do this anywhere and any time, 24×7.

An additional key factor elevating SAAS solutions beyond the ASP approach is the advancements in available infrastructure. Grid-like cloud computing is virtually infinite. Now, solution providers can readily follow pioneers such as SalesForce or even Google and “SaaS” their offering. More computing power is available to your company at a moments notice when business prospers and grows. This makes expenses linear and profits more predictable. SaaS has redefined scalability. Therefore, in most SaaS scenarios, pricing to the end consumers makes more sense because it is tied directly to consumption meters such as usage volume and allocated resources per client. In parallel, bandwidth has become cheaper and wider for companies and their roaming employees.

Thirdly, economic mood swings and a competitive business environment have made ROI the new king of the block. The macro-economic implications of this trend can be even far greater than what appears on the surface. As the growth of SaaS is taking off, is it possible that we will see the thin client vision making a comeback? Even desktops can get skinnier if processing is done in the SaaS’s clouds. This could result in a slowdown in the race for processing power and might even challenge Moor’s laws economically.

One of the most interesting up and coming companies positioned to successfully leverage the SaaS computing trends is SAManage, a startup company in the IT Asset Management space. SAManage uses the cloud computing environment to deliver on-demand, SaaS-based, IT Asset Management and inventory tracking to companies around the world. In a recent conversation with the SAManage CEO, Doron Gordon, I asked him about his strategy, given the changing landscape of the traditional IT environment and the new challenges facing IT managers. “It seems, on one hand that IT managers lives are getting easier, but unfortunately that’s a false assumption. Yes, it’s true there will be less hardware to manage, but managing SaaS contracts, licenses and SLA’s smartly and efficiently, while controlling the financial and legal aspects and enforcing usage policy, are the new challenges that the IT manager will be facing.” Doron continues, “With ROI being the holy grail of IT management today, SAManage’s focus is on providing the manager the tools to achieve that.”

Clearly, the new IT Manager needs to make ROI calculations continuously. And guess what — they don’t teach you that in engineering schools! Looking through the clouds, it seems that companies hiring CTOs will be looking for applicants with CFO experience.

Written by Dror Gliksman, online tech and marketing specialist at webwhile inc.

SAManage is a leading global provider of on-demand IT management solutions which empower organizations to simplify the management of IT assets, gain better control, reduce IT costs, eliminate risks, and improve service levels.

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