May/Jun 2003 by Sheila Mangione
Is the Downturn in
It's hard to find something positive about the past few years of economic uncertainty. Businesses have slashed budgets, halted unfinished projects and gone through wave after wave of layoffs. These cutbacks have occurred not only in the information technology (IT) department, but also enterprise wide. IT professionals who have managed to hang onto their jobs now face the seemingly impossible task of supporting extremely complex IT environments while responding to ever-increasing demands to support new users, new systems and escalating mobility—all in the face of shrinking budgets.
But take heart. Many organizations are finding a silver lining to this seemingly dark cloud. According to a recent study, the economic downturn has reduced the fevered pitch of implementing new applications and systems, giving IT some breathing room to sort out their systems and projects. These organizations are looking beyond the short term in an effort to transform their business and IT processes in ways that eliminate inefficiencies and drive down IT spending.
By taking this same approach, you can meet the demand for cost cutting. At the same time, you can reduce the complexity of your IT environment and position your organization to quickly seize the opportunities presented by an economic turnaround.
A good place to begin is your IT resource management infrastructure. Streamlining and automating IT resource management can deliver substantial return on investment (ROI) because it positively impacts both factors of the ROI equation: cost and revenue. It helps reduce IT management costs, both short- and longterm, by boosting the productivity of the IT staff in managing the infrastructure. At the same time, it helps increase revenue by enabling IT to deliver higher-quality service to users and more closely align IT investments with business goals and objectives. This ultimately translates into improved customer service, which boosts customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. The result: higher revenue.
The Novell Resource Management solution provides precisely what you need to consolidate IT resource management and maximize efficiency. It enables you to create a vision and blueprint—from both a business and technical perspective—for evolving your current enterprise to an efficient IT resource management model. It delivers consolidated management of diverse IT resources, powered by directory-based identities and policies to automate processes, control costs and optimize the value of your IT resources. (See Figure 2.) It brings your current IT environment under control and makes it possible to incorporate new IT services that address changing business requirements. Best of all, the Novell solution delivers these advantages while reducing overall resource management costs.
bring your current IT environment under control
IT complexity has driven the cost of maintaining in-place IT infrastructures to un-sustainable levels. In many organizations, ongoing IT costs soak up 50 percent or more of the total IT budget. This creates two problems. First, high ongoing costs eat into profits. Second, they leave little money in the IT budget for deploying, extending and managing new IT resources that will be essential for future success. The Novell Resource Management solution handles both problems by reducing IT complexity. Consequently, you can cut ongoing costs and achieve a better balance between IT maintenance expenses and investments that support evolving needs.
The solution offers rapid analysis and development of an action plan. The plan identifies management challenges and prioritizes enhancements based on business ROI and industry best practices for automating processes. The plan specifies the best implementation approach, breaking the overall task into discrete projects that offer immediate ROI while building a consolidated management infrastructure.
The Novell solution includes automated tools that streamline key resource management processes across diverse systems and platforms, so you can manage the IT environment more efficiently despite its complexity. Resource integrity management tools, for example, keep systems secure and up to date by automating the rollout and maintenance of a standard operating environment, including the latest patches and updates across all desktops, laptops, handhelds and servers. This minimizes management variables and costs and mitigates the risk of security breaches and virus attacks. Remote management, auto-healing and automatic resource provisioning capabilities boost the productivity of your IT staff and speed up service delivery to new and reassigned employees, quickly bringing them up to full productivity.
 Gartner Inc., Patch Management: The Vendor Landscape, March 2003.
Automated tools have a dramatic impact on ongoing costs. According to Gartner, Inc.1, imaging and migration tools and technologies can reduce new hardware deployment costs by US$127,500 for a typical 2,500-user enterprise. Gartner also states that manual patch management has no chance of being effective.2 You simply have to automate this process to keep systems up to date without burdening administrators and driving up costs.
Customers using the Novell Resource Management solution are reporting substantial gains. According to John Grabowski, IT manager at Canon Business Solutions Southeast, the solution is enabling the IT team to do more with less. "Our savings in manpower can be reinvested in new equipment. We also aren't preoccupied with as many day-today issues therefore allowing us to concentrate on our plans for the future. The company expects to decrease the number of machines needing work each week by 80 percent; gain 30 to 40 percent in overall administrative efficiency; and realize a 200 percent ROI in the first year."
extend IT services to meet changing business requirements
In addition to helping you cut ongoing costs, the Novell Resource Management solution enables you to more efficiently deploy and manage new IT services. Increased mobility is just one example of an area where you can boost productivity, reduce business process costs and improve customer service.
The Novell solution simplifies the rollout and management of mobility projects by automating the delivery of a consistent work experience regardless of the user's location or device type. It standardizes "personal" mobile device setup, reducing the number of help desk calls related to user error and ensuring security with password enforcement and even auto-lockout and self-destruct capabilities. It also dynamically manages mobile resource delivery across diverse mobile and stationary devices and varying methods of connection.
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Because you can manage multiple devices and multiple access profiles for each user almost as easily as managing the traditional one device/one connection per user, you can roll out mobile services without driving up management costs. Effective mobility management offers the additional advantage of freeing up IT staff time to focus on fine-tuning overall delivery strategies, implementing best practices and identifying which services will deliver the most value based on their contribution to the business.
S. H. Leggitt, a privately held manufacturer of components for the LP gas, plumbing, RV and outdoor cooking markets, is taking advantage of this mobile support to push business-critical resources to each handheld user from a centralized location, which connects the workforce to the applications and tools they need anytime, anywhere. "Thanks to [the Novell Resource Management solution], we estimate a time savings of approximately 20 hours a week," noted Dondi Williams, director of management information systems. "This translates into 20 additional hours for our IT staff to focus on higher priorities and tasks at hand, significantly increasing productivity and allowing IT efforts to be proactive, rather than reactive."
transform to a consolidated management environment
The Novell Resource Management solution changes the entire approach to IT resource management. It creates a new environment that features detailed usage tracking, self-service provisioning and automated service approval flow. These tools help you understand how resources are being used and how the cost of each resource stacks up against its contribution to the bottom line. Moreover, they set the stage for future success.
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Hall Kinion, a leading custom staffing firm specializing in technology, chose the Novell solution for precisely this reason. "Our challenge was to find a technically superior solution with a single foundation to solve multiple business problems today and in the future," said Erik Fleck, Hall Kinion's general IT manager. "Novell is the only vendor that meets this challenge."
Rich, policy-based management permits you to push down and automate decision making for allocation of application licenses and of resources such as bandwidth and storage. As a result, you can ensure that crucial systems always have top priority—without intervention by IT administrators. (See Figure 1.)
Moreover, the Novell solution provides a foundation for extending service delivery and further reducing IT complexity and costs. The solution is built on Novell eDirectory, the industry's leading directory service. You can leverage the directory to implement solutions for secure identity management, application development and integration, messaging and collaboration, and storage area networks—giving you even more value from your investment in the Novell Resource Management solution.
The Novell Resource Management solution delivers cost savings and improves service quality by helping you understand and determine the best practices for your IT processes and by providing tools that streamline and automate these processes across diverse systems and organizations. It accelerates the implementation of a consolidated management infrastructure that reduces IT complexity and operating costs.
With the Novell Resource Management solution, you'll realize substantial short-term ROI while building long-term value that results from a dynamic, easy-to-manage IT infrastructure. This new infrastructure will help you navigate today's troubled economic waters while positioning you to take full advantage of the new opportunities that will present themselves when the economy rebounds.
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