The 5W’s of Remote Operations Management

5 05 2009

The 5W’s is an old formula that works for journalists, law enforcement and researchers in getting to the “full story”. This week I’m at Gartner’s outsourcing summit in Vegas talking with lots of people about Sun’s Remote Operations Management (ROM) service. And I’m finding the 5W’s works quite well for ROM as well, if I take them in my own order: Why? Who? Where? What? When?

Why is ROM a good option for IT right now? We all know the world today is always on, has an insatiable appetite for information, and expects service at it’s fingertips. And this means IT shops are under more pressure than ever – pressure to focus on strategic initiatives to grow business while shrinking IT costs at the same time. How do you free up IT for new projects when 70-80% of the IT budgets and the majority of IT staff are taking care of legacy infrastructure? Remote Operations Management for efficient processes and variable financing models.

Who should customers turn to for help? Certified ROM experts with expert tools. You want a vendor with years of experience, with technical and IT service management (e.g.; ITIL) certifications, with a knowledge base built from experience. You don’t want to be the first customer of an inexperienced remote management vendor.

Where does your remote operations vendor need to be? Everywhere – a ROM vendor needs to have global, local, and ubiquitous presence. So many businesses have global or multinational needs – your ROM vendor must have multiple Network Operation Centers (NOCs) in multiple locations – able to serve round the globe and round the clock. And service is a people business – you need local language support and local law compliance – so your ROM vendor must have a local presence as well. And transparency is a must – meaning you as a ROM customer must have ubiquitous access to see how your ROM vendor is doing – make sure you have portal access to see your environment from anywhere.

What should you turn over to a ROM vendor? Anyone in IT knows that the outsourcing model of the early 2000’s – where IT turned over the keys to the entire datacenter to outsourcing vendors – just didn’t work. It left IT with little control over their own destiny, with little ability to align with changing business needs. A much better strategy is selective sourcing“a strategy that treats IT as a portfolio of activities, some of which should be outsourced and others of which should be performed by internal staff. In other words, decide what’s critical to differentiate and manage it internally; decide what’s becoming commodity IT and look to selectively source it”.

When will a vendor help you with your selective sourcing? Certainly it needs to be on your terms – do you need interim management to help through a spike in your IT needs? Are you building a new application and want someone else to manage the infrastructure? Do you need someone to take over some of your legacy environment – to help increase availability and scale? A true selective sourcing vendor will take on any of these circumstances – dictated by your needs not by their demands.

Quite often the 5W’s are accompanied by 1H. Once you get the 5W’s out of the way in your analysis of remote operations management services, the How moves to front and center. So How? Just take a look at how Sun Remote Operations Management has answered these questions for other customers. And then let our ROM team lead the way.

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