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Managing the “Service Chunk” – going beyond IT processes to speed up provisioning

When organisations reach a certain maturity and their IT processes are efficient and repeatable, the next level of service evolution is to automate these processes effectively. This will drive down costs, provide staff with more time for other activities and increase the return on investment. Process automation primarily involves automating the Request Fulfilment lifecycle. To do this, we’ve introduced a concept we’ve termed "Service Chunks”. The principle is to first divide the configuration management database (CMDB) into these “Service Chunks”, such as Server Chunks (VMs), Storage Chunks (fixed disk allocation) or Desktop Chunks (application provisioning). These are then reflected in the Service Catalogue as an available component, each with a fixed specification and cost. The available assets – our 'Service Chunks' - can then be requested via a porta......service-chunks
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Saving money is the best incentive for green IT

A couple of years ago ‘green IT’ was a hot topic, particularly in the public sector. These days it seems to have fallen off the corporate agenda as budgets are cut and the number of IT staff reduced. However, there’s no need to compromise green principles just because budgets are tight – they can help an IT infrastructure change pay for itself, which is bound to go down well with your finance director! For example, when we developed a private cloud solution with the London Borough of Hillingdon, the entire server virtualisation project for three years’ growth was funded from a single year’s server replacement budget.  The project also reduced power consumption by over 80%, enabling Hillingdon to save more than £93,000 on its annual energy bill. We b......Green IT Savings
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GCloud: public sector organisations still don’t understand the benefits

Earlier this month a further 368 suppliers were added to the CloudStore with the announcement of the third version of the GCloud framework. The Government has also introduced a ‘Cloud First’ policy to drive wider adoption of cloud computing. When procuring new or existing services, central government departments are mandated to consider and fully evaluate potential cloud solutions before considering any other options, and the approach is also ‘strongly recommended’ to the wider public sector. Departments are, however, free to choose an alternative to the cloud if they can demonstrate that it offers better value for money. So what can those of us who have been GCloud suppliers since the first version say about how well it has performed so far? Certainly it has generated more interes......GCloud logo150px
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The Fordway view on Microsoft Windows Server 2012: “The IT equivalent of multi-tooled Swiss Army Knife" Part 1: Why not use Windows Server 2012 as a SAN?

Windows Server is known for its ability to reliably deliver core client services in much the same way that a consumer trusts that a Swiss Army knife will come with a good blade. But take an in-depth look at Windows Server 2012 and you’ll find a whole host of innovative and versatile tools hidden inside that offer up a software replacement to traditional IT infrastructure. The Fordway view is that Windows Server 2012 is, in effect, the IT equivalent of multi-tooled Swiss Army Knife. In the first of a multi-post blog, we highlight the Hyper-V High-Availability features of Windows Server 2012 and ask “Why not use it as a SAN?” Storage-related performance and high-availability features have traditionally required dedicated SAN systems. Storage protocols such as Fibre Channel (FC), FC over Ethernet (FCoE), iSCSI, and related infrastructure have become the stand......windows-server-2012_150w
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Common sense prevails with Windows XP migrations

As Windows XP enters its final year with Microsoft support, the predicted rush to migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8 hasn’t materialised. We’ve found that companies are simply refusing to be driven by the 8 April 2014 cut-off date - particularly when they have so many other business priorities. They’re well aware of the situation and are either planning their migration or have already begun it but will complete the project to their own deadline, not Microsoft’s. IT directors know that Windows XP is stable, and the majority of security holes in it have been fixed over the years, meaning that the risk of staying on it isn’t that great. They’re confident that they can look after themselves after Microsoft ends its support. This doesn’t mean that peo......XP_EOL
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Why are many companies reluctant to embrace IT innovation?

In a recent article Harvard Business School professor Kristina Steffenson  examined IT’s potential to transform business and asked why so many companies get it wrong, creating a huge gap between the most IT-savvy firms and the IT laggards. She pointed out that organisations must be willing to engage in radical change in order to achieve the benefits from IT, bringing together processes, people, organisational structures and supply chain partners. Unfortunately, today’s challenging economic climate is making change more difficult. In medium sized businesses strategic thinkers have been driven out by continued restructuring. Change programmes tend to be imposed, for example due to changing legislation, rather than be driven by a strategic vision. Many IT directors are keen to adopt ways of working, such as cloud, but want......innovate
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Why benchmarking matters

According to Gartner Group, average-performing organisations spend up to 41% more on IT than their more successful peers. IT budgets are typically around 4% of revenue, so this suggests that up to 1.6% of revenue could be saved by benchmarking against the best performing organisations – enough to make even the most cynical finance director smile! However, before you start planning new projects with the money you’re about to save,  remember benchmarking isn’t just about being the cheapest. It’s vital to compare the level of service provided.  If you find that you’re  the cheapest, you need to ask: ”what am I missing?” In our experience, a significant portion of that 1.6% cost saving is likely to be found by reviewing your IT infrastructure.  Our benchmarking studies found that optimi......benchmarking
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Procurement teams need to wake up and smell the coffee

When 2e2 called in the administrators last week, it wasn’t a great surprise to many of us in the industry. We’ve watched the company grow exponentially through acquisition for a number of years and wondered how the margins available in the channel could possibly finance repayments on the financing that must have been needed. More worrying is the fact that a number of large public sector organisations seem to have been completely unprepared for the company’s demise, including those which outsourced their ICT functions to 2e2 accompanied by the transfer of employees. Clearly they need a rapid solution to ensure they continue with business as usual, and we hope the administrators are able to provide one. However, this highlights a disturbing problem. All organisations, particularly those in th......2e2
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