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Helping growing companies Helping growing companies Document Transcript

  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions To Work Smarter Sponsored by IBM Sanjeev Aggarwal, Partner Laurie McCabe, Partner February 20111 © SMB Group, Inc.
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work Smarter HELPING GROWING COMPANIES USE IT SOLUTIONS TO WORK SMARTEREXECUTIVE SUMMARYGrowing and midsize businesses want to take advantage of technology solutions thatcan help them streamline operations, cut costs and improve the bottom line. But, sinceIT resources and budgets are usually limited, businesses often struggle to implement,manage, upgrade and support the IT solutions they need.New technologies and delivery models, such as cloud computing, virtualization andappliances, can help remove cost and complexity from the IT equation for growingbusinesses with limited IT staff. IBM has developed the Solutions for Smart Businessplatform to take advantage of all of these technologies and the benefits they can supply.Using the Solutions for Smart Business platform, IBM packaged selected applicationsinto streamlined offerings that give growing companies the solutions they need, whileshielding them from many underlying operating system, middleware and applicationcomplexities. As a result, Solutions for Smart Business provide midsize businesses with:  A unified offering that knits together proven applications, a web interface, integration capabilities, the operating system, self-management autonomics, directory services, backup and other resources.  An easier on-ramp to more powerful and sophisticated solutions. Solutions for Smart Business are delivered as one package, with one part number, in a usage- based pricing model, available through a choice of deployment options.  Lower administrative and management costs and fewer headaches, and reduced likelihood of problems down the road because everything is pre-configured and pre-tested.  The benefits of local partner know-how and guidance, and IBM’s comprehensive, enterprise-class expertise, management and support capabilities.IBM’s strategy for Solutions for Smart Business is responsive to the requirements,constraints and budgets of growing businesses, and warrants a close look fromcompanies that need proven infrastructure and business solutions. 2 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work SmarterHELPING GROWING COMPANIES USE IT SOLUTIONS TO WORK SMARTERIf you’re like most business and IT decision makers, you want to work smarter, notharder. You want to take advantage of technology solutions that can help you streamlineoperations, cut costs and improve the bottom line. But in growing and midsizebusinesses, reality often gets in the way of reaching this goal. While requirements areoften quite complex, IT resources and budgets are usually limited. As a result, finding,buying, deploying and managing applications that best fit the business can be afrustrating exercise.But what if you could drastically reduce the cost and complexity of implementing andmanaging proven business and infrastructure solutions, and at the same time alsoincrease solution performance and reliability? What if you could have proactive remoteservices to perform management and updating chores before problems arose? What ifyou could have the choice of deploying these solutions through an on-premises softwareappliance, a virtual appliance or as a hosted service? Most important, what if you coulddevote more of your resources toward helping your company achieve strategic businessgoals, instead of on day-to-day IT block-and-tackle exercises?Over the past several years, IT vendors have been applying new technologies anddelivery models, such as cloud computing, virtualization and appliances, to help removecost and complexity from the IT equation with the goal of making more sophisticatedsolutions affordable and digestible for growing businesses with limited IT staffs. In thispaper, we look at how IBM is addressing these requirements with its new Solutions forSmart Business initiative.We start by assessing the challenges that have prevented many businesses from takingfull advantage of IT solutions. Then, we examine Solutions for Smart Business, andIBM’s plans to provide proven, capable IT solutions in a turnkey, affordable and low-maintenance manner. We discuss the kinds of solutions that IBM is bringing to the SmartBusiness platform today, and the types of solutions that it plans to deliver in the future.We wrap up with our perspective on this important area.SECTION 1: THE IT CHALLENGE FOR GROWING COMPANIES WITH LIMITED ITSTAFF AND BUDGETSSMB Group research findings consistently underscore the fact that growing and midsizecompanies are in a tough spot when it comes to applying IT solutions to help move theirbusinesses forward. 3 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work SmarterTo achieve growth, these companies typically have acquired other companies,expanded into new geographies, broadened distribution channels, developed newbusiness models and/or launched new lines of business. At some point, the applicationsthat worked just fine when the company was smaller are no longer up to the challengesthat their now more complex operations require. To better manage growth, increaseprofitability and maintain a competitive edge, these companies need to streamlinebusiness and IT operations, reduce costs, improve customer service, increaseproductivity and find new ways to reach customers.Data from the SMB Group’s 2010 SMB Routes to Market Study indicate that morethan 60% of midsize businesses (100 to 1,000 employees) expect to increase their ITspending over the next year. Many plan to add or upgrade to more modern, capable ITinfrastructure and business solutions that can improve productivity and efficiency bothday-to-day and over the long term (Figure 1). Increasingly, these companies are lookingfor alternatives to increase the agility of their computing environment, and ways toaccess the best possible applications while keeping IT costs and staffing requirements incheck.Figure 1: U.S. Medium Businesses’ Purchase Plans for New and UpgradedTechnology Solutions in the Next 12 Months(100 to 1,000 employees)Source: SMB Group 2010 Small and Medium Business Routes to Market Study 4 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work SmarterHowever, most midsize businesses must accomplish this without the luxury of large ITstaffs and budgets. More often than not, IT is stretched thin just taking care of the day-to-day tasks necessary to keep systems up and running—and responding to fire drillswhen problems arise. This makes it challenging to sort through the ever-expanding arrayof solutions available, and to figure out what will truly provide business value. Manybusinesses struggle to get solutions implemented and upgraded, and get the insightsand value they need from these solutions (Figure 2). At the same time, they’re wrestlingwith how to integrate new social media solutions with existing online marketinginitiatives. Consequently, while the need and desire to use IT more strategically arestrong, many growing and midsize businesses simply lack the IT horsepower toaccomplish this goal.Figure 2: U.S. Medium Businesses’ Top Technology Challenges(100 to 1,000 employees)Source: SMB Group 2010 Small and Medium Business Routes to Market Study 5 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work SmarterSECTION 2: WHAT ARE SOLUTIONS FOR SMART BUSINESS?In response to this dilemma, IT vendors have tried slimming enterprise applicationsdown to make them more affordable and digestible. More recently, vendors haveintroduced infrastructure and business applications based on virtualization, cloudcomputing and software appliance technologies to create solutions that are easier todeploy and manage.IBM has developed the Solutions for Smart Business platform to take advantage of all ofthese technologies, and give growing businesses an easier on-ramp to more powerfuland sophisticated solutions. The Solutions for Smart Business platform knits togetherproven applications, a web interface, integration capabilities, the operating system, self-management autonomics, directory services, backup and other resources into a unifiedoffering (Figure 3). Instead of sourcing and integrating piece parts, customers get acomplete solution that’s easier to consume and manage, and can evolve as businessrequirements change.Figure 3: Solutions for Smart Business OverviewSource: IBM 6 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work SmarterWe see a few factors that combine to differentiate IBM’s approach in the market: 1. Pre-integrated, pre-configured applications that reduce deployment time and hassles. Solutions for Smart Business provides a platform that makes it easy for application developers to knit together all of the necessary software, middleware and applications into pre-integrated, pre-configured turnkey applications. All of the necessary components are wrapped up in one compact package so that the solution can be implemented with minimal time and IT expertise. 2. A choice of delivery options. IBM has architected the Solutions for Smart Business platform so that software developers and their customers have a choice of delivery models—as a virtual image that can be run on a dedicated “bare metal” server, provided as a hosted service, or packaged with required hardware to run as a server appliance. 3. Cutting-edge autonomic capabilities. These autonomic capabilities make the system “smarter”—enabling it to automatically perform functions such as backup, patches and upgrades, and remotely heal itself should a problem occur. This “self- management” makes ongoing application management simpler and more affordable, and helps reduce the risk of data loss. 4. Simplified ordering, pricing and fulfillment. Solutions for Smart Business effectively wrap all the software, operating system, middleware, tools and services necessary for a particular application into one package, with one part number. Regardless of the delivery option customers select, pricing is usage-based, which minimizes upfront capital expenditures and provides predictable annual costs. 5. Sold and supported by IBM’s local business partners, backed by IBM. Solutions for Smart Business are sold via IBM Business Partners. Local Business Partners can provide growing businesses with personal attention and expertise, and go the last mile to help them select and optimize business and IT solutions. Meanwhile, IBM backs up its Business Partners and customers with its 24/7 industrial strength expertise and support. 7 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work SmarterSECTION 3: WHAT MAKES SOLUTIONS FOR SMART BUSINESS SMART?IBM’s Solutions for Smart Business is a flexible, standards-based platform that has all ofthe tools, components and services needed to wrap applications into streamlined,turnkey solutions. This provides growing companies the solutions they need, whileshielding them from underlying operating system, middleware and applicationcomplexities (Figure 4).Figure 4: What Makes Solutions for Smart Business Smart?Source: IBMBecause the architecture is portable across different delivery options, developers canoffer customers a choice of how they want to consume the solution:  As a complete software package. IBM offers the choice of a single server package and a virtual software image. 8 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work Smarter  As a software package combined with the appropriate server configuration to run the solution. IBM and its partners specify small, medium, large and extra- large configurations for each application, and distributors package it based on these instructions.  As a cloud solution, hosted by an IBM Business Partner.This choice is important because cloud computing isn’t always the right choice for allcustomers or for all applications. Customers may consider an on-premises deploymentmore suitable in some situations. Having a choice also gives customers the flexibility tochange to another delivery model if economic and/or workload requirements change.Across delivery models, Solutions for Smart Business provide consistent capabilities andself-management features, while protecting customers from many underlyingcomplexities. Some of the key benefits include:  Fast sourcing, setup and configuration time. Customers order one part number and get everything necessary to run and manage the solution, delivered in one fell swoop. The automated, wizard-driven installation process can cut deployment times significantly.  Decreased support requirements and costs. Autonomic management and self- healing capabilities are built into the solution. Once the solution is deployed, it just runs—doing its job without a lot of care and feeding from specialized IT staff. Partners can remotely host, manage, update and support the solution as required by the customer.  Greater solution consistency, reliability and stability. Pre-configured, pre- integrated and pre-tested solutions ensure that each implementation is done correctly, every time. This also decreases the likelihood of encountering problems down the road due to configuration errors.  Predictable costs. Solutions for Smart Business are sold via a Fixed Term License (FTL), in which customers license software products on an annual basis, eliminating the need for upfront capital expenditures and making budgeting more predictable. Customers can choose automatic renewal options to continuously renew at the anniversary date, unless the customer chooses to cancel the subscription. 9 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011 IIBIB
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work Smarter IBM Virtual Desktop for Smart Business with VERDE from Virtual BridgesThe cost of managing desktops can be as much as 10 times the cost of acquiring them—leading to strongcustomer interest in desktop virtualization. But the cost and complexity associated with deploying first-generation virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)—including expensive shared storage, high-speedinterconnects and additional servers—have put them out of reach for many companies.IBM’s Virtual Desktop for Smart Business (VDSB) is a next-generation virtual desktop offering that removesthese barriers to give growing companies the desktop flexibility they need, simply and cost-effectively.VDSB is an offering that allows customers to procure the IBM Smart Business infrastructure coupled withVirtual Bridges’ VERDE virtualization product. Currently offered at $150 per user per year, VDSB provisionsvirtual Windows or a choice of Linux desktops, and is accessible from most desktop and mobile devices. Thesolution also supports integrated VDI for offline use, and provides unified management and reporting.Because it’s built on IBM’s Solutions for Smart Business platform, VDSB can be deployed quickly—typicallyin less than a day—and takes advantage of the platform’s self-management and automated backup andrecovery capabilities.SECTION 4: THE SOLUTIONS FOR SMART BUSINESS PORTFOLIOFormally launched in 2011, the Solutions for Smart Business portfolio initially rolls outwith a core group of infrastructure offerings, including:  Application Manager for Smart Business. Many growing businesses find it difficult to manage and monitor an evolving combination of older, legacy applications and newer solutions effectively and efficiently. Application Manager for Smart Business provides comprehensive monitoring, alerting and reporting on IT infrastructure performance and availability across network devices, servers, middleware and application components to improve the quality of service delivery. The solution delivers both real-time and historical views of IT operations to help IT to improve service quality.  Service Manager for Smart Business. As businesses grow and become more dependent on IT, they need to automate management and response for IT service requests, incidents and planned changes. Service Manager for Smart Business gives companies a single point of contact to automate these processes, including a pre-defined set of best practice features to help companies streamline service and support operations, improve operational efficiencies and resolve problems more quickly. 10 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work Smarter  Virtual Desktop for Smart Business. This next-generation desktop virtualization offering helps customers manage their desktops more easily and cost-effectively, and is discussed in more detail in Section 3.Initially, Solutions for Smart Business are available as single server software packages,as virtual software images, and as combined software and hardware solutions.Customers can also choose to have Solutions for Smart Business hosted by IBMpartners.Figure 5: Midsize Businesses’ Most Critical IT Focus Areas for 2011Source: IBM Mid-Market IT Trends StudyAcross the board, the goals of Solutions for Smart Business remain the same—to takecomplexity out of the application deployment and management process, and helpcustomers control costs.SUMMARY AND SMB GROUP PERSPECTIVE 11 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work SmarterGrowing businesses have a lot on their plates. In most cases, IT budgets and resourceshaven’t kept pace with expansion and complexity, and these businesses are hard-pressed to keep up with the demand for the more sophisticated solutions that theyrequire.Solutions for Smart Business offer a streamlined and flexible approach that removesmany of the sourcing, resource and complexity issues from the equation, enablingcustomers to get more business value from their IT dollars. By pre-configuring all of thesolution and self-management components in a single, ready-to-run package on top of aportable architecture, businesses gain some significant advantages, including:  Dramatic decrease in the amount of time required to get the application up, running and productive  Lower administrative and management costs, and fewer headaches  Reduced likelihood of problems down the road  Choice and flexibility as to how the application is deployedCustomers also benefit from local partner know-how and guidance, coupled with IBM’scomprehensive, enterprise-class expertise, management and support capabilities.IBM’s strategy for Solutions for Smart Business is responsive to the requirements,constraints and budgets of growing businesses. The debut applications in the Solutionsfor Smart Business lineup hit the mark when it comes to simplifying one of the areas thatgrowing businesses deem as a top priority—infrastructure management—and warrant aclose look from growing companies that need proven solutions in these areas. Goingforward, IBM’s plans to expand the Solutions for Smart Business portfolio should helpmidsize businesses gain similar benefits in other critical infrastructure and businessapplication areas.To learn more, visit: http://www.ibm.com/smartbusiness. 12 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011
  • Helping Growing Companies Use IT Solutions to Work SmarterSMB GROUP, INC.The SMB Group focuses exclusively on researching and analyzing the highlyfragmented “SMB market”—which is comprised of many smaller, more discrete markets.Within the SMB market, SMB Group areas of focus include: Emerging Technologies,Cloud Computing, Managed Services, Business and Marketing Applications,Collaboration and Social Media Solutions, IT Infrastructure Management and Servicesand Green IT. Read our 2011 Top Ten SMB Predictions for our views on game-changers in these and other areas of the SMB market. BAL03003-USEN-01 13 © SMB Group, Inc. February 2011