IT management software becomes financially mature for 2010

Economic conditions force IT departments to evolve technology management practices.

IT management software changes to help high-tech leaders control costs and deliver optimized IT services.

IT departments dealt with a lack of funds and a shortage of personnel in 2009, and for the coming year, industry watchers say high-tech leaders will be forced to keep finances in mind as they work to streamline operations and meet customer demand in 2010.

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IT departments learned a difficult lesson in the early 2000s when over-staffed groups and inflated budgets were stripped down in response to the dot-com bust. Leaner IT teams took on the more recent recession by stalling spending and putting off projects. As the economy starts a slow recovery, industry watchers say IT departments won’t forget the financial lessons they learned. In fact, the recession could cause many IT groups to incorporate financial management practices into planning for future growth, industry analysts say.

“The economic downturn of the past year puts a different spin on the role of IT: It is not only a matter of providing the right services at the right quality level and the right price but also a matter of providing all of this with an ever-shrinking budget,” reads a December 2009 Forrester Research report titled “It’s time for IT management software 2.0.”

“Service value and cost management (doing more with less) suggest that, on top of what could be foreseen as a consequence of technology evolution, IT has or will become a fiscally responsible entity,” the report reads.

The IT management software will become segmented into three distinct groups of technologies, Forrester predicts. The myriad disciplines that fall under the umbrella of IT management software will transform to provide functions that fall under the following three groups: IT service support and resource management; IT service delivery and performance management; and IT service and process management.

Gartner analysts also noted that IT groups would adapt to track financial metrics alongside technical demands. The research firm dubbed the efforts under IT resource planning, which combines tenets of capacity planning and financial management with usage and service management. According to Gartner, IT resource planning will enable IT departments to understand how services are being consumed and ensure that IT can respond to demands and also stay within budget constraints.

“Capacity planning today is all about trying to ensure that you have enough capacity and memory cycles to meet workload demand. But virtualization causes new variables to be taken into consideration, and power consumption is just one among many,” says Cameron Haight, research vice president at Gartner. “For IT resource planning (ITRP) there are several more elements to consider and the process must become much more strategic within an enterprise.”

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