Security and other factors will dominate outsourcing decisions in 2009

The end-user, the economy, security requirements and the environment will be among the leading factors influencing enterprise clients’ technology outsourcing decisions in 2009, according to Larry Guevel, vice president of strategic business planning for Unisys Global Outsourcing and Infrastructure Services.

Unisys predicts the following developments in the coming year:

1. The difficult global economic climate will force enterprises to re-examine business processes and efficiencies, sparking interest in next-generation IT management models.

Guevel asserts that continuing economic challenges in 2009 will accelerate a trend toward making IT costs operational expenses rather than capital expenditures – buying services rather than assets. As a result, enterprises will look to take advantage of emerging trends in how outsourcing providers manage and deploy IT infrastructure where the provider owns the infrastructure.

For example, the advent of virtualization technology enables outsourcing providers to deploy cost-efficient “real-time” infrastructures that can respond dynamically to changes in the business environment. Advances in virtualization and real-time infrastructure will enable these providers to offer highly efficient shared IT services via web- and cloud-based computing platforms. Such shared services, Guevel says, can be particularly attractive to clients facing aggressive budget cuts.

This shift to “platform as a service” will lead to evolution in the way clients can engage outsourcing services – for example, increasing the use of self-service subscription and support models, in which users enroll for IT service requests or remediation requests over the Web.

2. The end-user will become a key driver in how enterprises use outsourcing.

IT decisions used to start and end with the CIO. Now, end users – especially revenue-generating sales and customer service employees working directly in the field – will have more of a say in determining where and how IT investments are made, Guevel predicts.

The technology that employees use in the workplace is, more and more, the same as the technology they use at home. As end users make increasing use of consumer technology devices, such as smart phones, they introduce into the workplace a wider variety of IT components that their company and its outsourcing partners must manage and maintain. They want the same levels of convenience and transparency to which they have become accustomed in domestic IT use.

This “consumerization of IT” forces the organization and its outsourcing partners to be more creative in the way they provide management and support. They must implement service models that rely more on a personalized catalogue approach, in which individual end-users select the services their roles demand, rather than have them imposed by the IT organization, as in the corporate IT-services model that formerly prevailed.

3. Broader connectivity options will drive the emergence of new managed security solutions.

A mobile workforce increasingly using consumerized technology to access sensitive business information stored on remote devices raises a considerable security challenge. Companies that enable users to have an expanding number of connectivity options must ensure that they are providing equally sophisticated security solutions to safeguard their critical information.

In 2009, Guevel predicts enterprises will increasingly turn to service providers that can help them secure this new decentralized environment and business information while reducing their cost of operations. Such next-generation security services could include “microperimeterization,” an emerging technology that provides security in a distributed environment. Formerly, an IT organization would create one unchanging security perimeter, creating silos of secure but unshareable information. Now, new solutions enable perimeters to be secured at the micro level, enabling different levels of access at finite points on the network.

4. Sustainable technology will continue to gain momentum in outsourcing engagements as the business justification for it becomes more demonstrable.

In 2009, service providers will increasingly adopt sustainable “green” IT in their outsourcing solutions both in the data center and in distributed workplace environments.

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