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Reassembling the Post-outsourcing IT Puzzle Pieces

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The outsourcing trend of the past two decades has forever transformed the IT functions at most multi-billion dol-
lar companies. Today, executives are fine tuning the mix—a little vendor consolidation here, bringing back a few
key call center functions, changing out a vendor there—but nobody expects any of these giant organizations to
reassemble large internal teams of IT employees.

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Reassembling the Post-outsourcing IT Puzzle Pieces

  1. 1. An OcuCue™ white paper. Reassembling the Post-outsourcing IT Puzzle Pieces (a/k/a A Single Pane of Glass for All) Stuart Woodward | Manager scwoodward@OcuCue.com 1/6 © OcuCue, All Rights Reserved | Published September 16, 2009
  2. 2. REASSEMBLING THE POST-OUTSOURCING IT PUZZLE PIECES An OcuCue™ white paper. The outsourcing trend of the past two decades has forever transformed the IT functions at most multi-billion dol- lar companies. Today, executives are fine tuning the mix—a little vendor consolidation here, bringing back a few key call center functions, changing out a vendor there—but nobody expects any of these giant organizations to reassemble large internal teams of IT employees. Outsourcing is here to stay. Early on it appeared that a few large players might be able to capture entire IT departments under a single con- tract. However, as the outsourcing revolution has played out it is more common that a handful of large players have carved up the IT infrastructure at most customers based on their key areas of expertise. True, some of these giant providers live in tiered subcontractor relationships. But increasingly the world’s largest organizations rely on A picture is worth a thousand words. more than a few key vendors to deliver their IT infrastructure. Pictures that update themselves are The business leaders of these global behemoth customers face three converging conditions as they survey their respective operations: worth even more. 1. The outsourcing vendors they have chosen and come to rely upon may be as big or even bigger than they are, e.g., Accenture, AT&T, IBM, Orange. 2. While the company’s IT executive may be a single point of contact internally, he or she no longer is directly connected to the people doing the work. And in most instances, the workers do not work for or report to a single entity. 3. Senior IT executives as well as the executive leaders of the organization are thirsty for better IT information to run the business. As the internet cloud has expanded to incorporate more economic interactions, the critical role of IT in every aspect of the organization means that each department inside needs better information. 2/6 © OcuCue, All Rights Reserved | Published September 16, 2009
  3. 3. REASSEMBLING THE POST-OUTSOURCING IT PUZZLE PIECES An OcuCue™ white paper. So this convergence of (1) big, (2) fragmented points of contact, and (3) lack of timely and comprehensive in- formation hampers the competitiveness of most global organizations. It sounds silly or even childish, but a lot of finger pointing goes on among these giant IT outsourcing vendors that is not productive or responsive to the questions coming from their global customers. Data Is Not the Issue All of these organizations already have come through the data revolution. They collect, categorize, “warehouse”, analyze and serve up massive amounts of data. To help, in recent years the large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) providers, such as Oracle and SAP, have pulled the data together under one roof. Unfortunately, the three forces discussed above are pulling in the opposite direction. The visual sense has the highest But let’s be clear that the data do exist in various systems and the customer is paying the bill for each compo- bandwidth of the human senses. nent, probably across a suite of vendors. Greater than 100MB/second. Data Analytics An additional comment about those ERP global solutions is in order. As Oracle, SAP and others came to market – Georgia Tech there was a trend in data analytics that served up the dashboard concept as a holy grail. At the time it was a hot trend and widely adopted. In essence, the dashboard amalgamated (averaged) the data into a few key factors and drove the user to click down through multiple layers of detail if he or she was thirsty for more. The dashboard served up fresh data (good) that was comprehensive in computation (good) but not individually comprehensible or intuitively presented (not so good). Rest assured that the detail was available, but in a silo ar- rangement that allowed the user progressively to learn more — one click at a time. These ERP systems with the clickable silos also established the expectation that every top-level view had to be connected in detail to all of the levels of data supporting that view. This recalls the adage that “The devil is in the details.” And finding the details takes extra effort. 3/6 © OcuCue, All Rights Reserved | Published September 16, 2009
  4. 4. REASSEMBLING THE POST-OUTSOURCING IT PUZZLE PIECES An OcuCue™ white paper. At OcuCue, we have updated this adage to get to the heart of the issue: The devil is in the details… …so is most of the value. If you see the truth in our literary extension, then more of this good detail needs to be moved up and included in the top line view. The Visual Analytics Revolution So, how can senior executives access and use a more detailed view? Recent advancements in visual analytics The devil is in the details... reveals how. Three factors have converged to offer relief. The first reality is biological, the second techno- logical and the last behavioral. ...so is most of the value. 1. Recent research documents that of all the human senses, sight has the greatest processing bandwidth. The human eye, ocular nerve and brain can visually process 100 megabits of information every second. 2. The CGI revolution that began with dramatic special effects in very expensive movies has trickled down to make detailed visual icons much easier and more economical to assemble on the fly. 3. Pictures, or icons, can contain a significant amount of information that fosters a more detailed understanding of current conditions. (“A picture is worth a thousand words.”) When properly constructed the visual elements can be intuitive to understand (no training) and communicate across cultures (red is “bad” and green is “good”). So now it is time to return to the IT department. If the IT functions have been outsourced to several large, some- what uncooperative (especially with one another) vendors, how can we put these puzzle pieces back together to have a unified view? (Known in the IT space as “a single pane of glass.”) 4/6 © OcuCue, All Rights Reserved | Published September 16, 2009
  5. 5. REASSEMBLING THE POST-OUTSOURCING IT PUZZLE PIECES An OcuCue™ white paper. Icons constructed along visual analytics principles are a good starting point. The company executives—IT lead- ership as well as the general management team—are thirsty for coordinated data and now that is possible. When designed properly with visual limitations in mind, humans can process and comprehend incredible volumes of information. If we keep the symbols easy to understand and arranged in certain defined ways, the icons are intuitive to understand. This means that non-technical types can now understand and comprehend the results of technical conditions. And it is possible to convey more detail in the shared icons. Visual icons can put an end to finger pointing among an organization’s outsourcing vendors. Everyone can see and understand what the issues are, where they are, and what part of the process is not working. At that point, all of the energy can go into the proper team addressing the targeted issue. Finally, you can get detailed visual At this point we should address the data issue. Where does the data to construct the icons come from? cues that reflect current conditions in Traditional models would suggest a huge data integration effort among the outsourcers to create a single view. Think of this approach as trying to coordinate the various systems at the top of the flowchart with new code and a custom format. massive amounts of data. Issues of proprietary information, confidentiality, cooperation and sheer integration make this approach a long and difficult task among vendors. The new Visual Cue Technology approach pulls limited amounts of data from each of the vendors and their variety of databases. Remember, we are trying to gain a more detailed insight, paint a better picture. We are not trying to assemble a clickable silo of uber data. We need just enough data to convey current conditions (every 30 seconds) but not enough to solve the entire problem. One way to think about this data is to imagine simply polling a small amount of data out of the bottom on each vendor’s database (at the bottom of the flowchart). These data are copies of existing system data (still very fresh), but as copies they do not interfere with process- ing streams, data retention policies, and are small quantities. These select data from each source are run through algorithms customized for each application, fed to the icon generator and then are available for viewing by the users on the Visual Cue portal. 5/6 © OcuCue, All Rights Reserved | Published September 16, 2009
  6. 6. REASSEMBLING THE POST-OUTSOURCING IT PUZZLE PIECES An OcuCue™ white paper. By using a portal approach, the organization can authorize many different people to see the icons. They can be viewed in the NOC, by each outsourcing vendor, by operations people in the company’s regional offices (the view restricted to each region’s icons), by executives, and others who need this up-to-the-minute, detailed, intui- tive view to perform their jobs. Reassembling the Puzzle Pieces Today, large organizations have outsourced many of their IT functions. In the process, they have given up the unified view they once had. Using icons from Visual Cue Technologies is a way to restore a unified view and improve the effectiveness of the view presented, to be understood by IT professionals as well as less-technically inclined personnel—the senior leaders of the organization as well as those employees on the front lines interfac- ing with customers. To learn more about Visual Cue Technologies’ solutions for the IP networking arena, visit www.ocucue.com or call (888) 9-OcuCue. OcuCue Technologies 1165 19th Street Vero Beach, FL 32960 (888) 9-OcuCue | (772) 410-2100 6/6 © OcuCue, All Rights Reserved | Published September 16, 2009

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