Infrastructure management is new focus
Enterprises have always focussed on RDBMS, NOS, and Web/Proxy/Mail
servers. But now other areas like infrastructure management are getting more
attention. by Brian Pereira
Enterprise Packaged Software (EPS) is the foundation for various IT systems
within the enterprise. It forms the foundation for enterprise wide applications;
both are crucial for enabling business processes.
For instance, connectivity is now essential for communications, online transactions
and data exchange. But without a Network Operating System, RDBMS and Mail server,
these functions would not be possible. In fact, these are the three key areas
in packaged software for those who invested in EPS.
To align IT more closely with business processes, enterprises are consolidating
infrastructure and going in for centralization. Standardization of IT infrastructure
becomes crucial in this scenario. IT standardization is one of the top three
priorities for 41 percent of the respondents. Enterprises also want to keep
their infrastructure updatedin fact upgrades and replacement of existing
IT infrastructure is a priority for 37 percent of the respondents.
The compelling need for IT standardization and upgrades has made Enterprise
Package Software (EPS) a key focus area; the past investment in EPS is proof
of this. Among the companies who invested in packaged software, on average,
almost a third (29 percent) of the IT budget was spent on EPS. In the next one
year these enterprises are likely to allocate a quarter of the IT budget (25
percent) for EPS.
Overall, in the past, 74 percent of the respondents invested in EPS and most
of the companies investing in package software were from the Auto/Auto components
and Chemical/Pharma verticals.
In 2003-2004, exactly half the respondents invested in Enterprise packaged software.
And in the next one year (2004-2005), 46 percent plan to do so.
Investment in key areas to halve
Within EPS, the three main areas of investment are Network Operating System
(NOS), RDBMS, and Web/proxy/mail server; this trend is consistent across all
industry verticals. In comparison with investments made during 2003-2004, spending
will be halved for the three major segments in the next one year.
Networking and communications is taken for granted in medium
and large enterprises, and even small businesses have LANs. Therefore most of
organizations already have a sizable installed base of NOS, RDBMS and Web/proxy/mail
server. The investment in the EWA space is primarily driven by enterprises which
are buying additional licenses or upgrading existing application platforms.
At present, 71 percent of the respondents have invested in NOS and 30 percent
plan to do so in the next one year.
RDBMS is regarded as the pedestal for hosting and supporting enterprise-wide
business applications like ERP, SCM and CRM. With consolidation, standardization,
and centralization of IT systems, the demand for centralized and scalable RDBMS
is on the rise. The other drivers for RDBMS are data warehousing, data mining
and business intelligence.
At present 72 percent of the respondents have invested in RDBMS and 36 percent
plan to do so in the next one year.
While RDBMS is a key investment area for all the industry verticals, many companies
in the Auto/Auto components, Govt./PSU and Manufacturing/Engineering plan to
invest in RDBMS.
With increased dependence on the Internet for commerce and communications, Web/Proxy/Mail
servers already have a firm grounding in the enterprise. In the next one year
about 34 percent plan to invest on Web/Proxy/Mail server.
Infrastructure management scale-up
Traditionally NOS, RDBMS and Web/Proxy/mail server have been the key areas for
investment within packaged software. However, two areas which have always been
of low priority are Infrastructure/ Network management tools and Testing and
Enterprise networks are getting more complex with the deployment of multi-vendor
solutions on different platforms across several locations. This makes such networks
complex to manage. In such a scenario Infrastructure management tools simplify
the task of managing diverse, spread-out infrastructure.
As networking in enterprises proliferates the investments in Infrastructure/network
management tools will also go up. At present only 44 percent companies have
invested in some kind of Infrastructure management tools and about 31 percent
of the respondents plan to invest in this area.
There is also the smaller niche of Testing and Troubleshooting applicationssolutions
that let network administrators deal with problems like failed links, network
bottlenecks, bandwidth glitches, buggy software, and crashing servers. Specialized
testing and troubleshooting tools can identify these technical glitches, monitor
application & network performance.
The Testing and Troubleshooting applications space seems to be cannibalized
by Infrastructure management applications, since these management suites are
tuned to perform multiple tasks that a multitude of smaller applications can
perform, and that too as efficiently. Only 25 percent have invested in Testing
and Troubleshooting Applications, and just 18 percent plan to do so in the next
The hype around Knowledge Management (KM), seems to be just that. KM as a concept
came into existence in the mid-90s but doesn't seem to have taken shape in the
Indian enterprise. Currently, only 18 percent of companies have adopted KM initiatives
and only 17 percent plan to invest in this area in the future.
While most Indian companies have stayed away from KM solutions; they will clearly
have to be a focus area in the future.
- 50 percent of the respondents have invested in Enterprise packaged
software last year and 46 percent plan to do so in 2004-05.
- Among the companies who invested in packaged software, on average
29 percent of the IT budget was spent on software.
- Among the companies that plan to invest in packaged software in FY
2004-05, about 25 percent of their IT budget has been allotted to this
- In packaged software, the three main areas for investment have been
NOS, RDBMS, and Web/proxy/mail serverand this trend is seen across
all industry verticals.
- Planned investment in the three key areas is halved this year as
compared to the past year.
- With enterprise networks becoming more complex, implementation of
Infrastructure/Network Management Tools is slowly gaining significance.
This year 31 percent of the respondents plan to invest in Infrastructure/Network
- Knowledge Management (KM) hasn't grown beyond the hype cycle, currently
only 18 percent companies have KM in place and 2004-05 doesn't look
- Organizations that have complex, heterogeneous IT infrastructure
should invest in Infrastructure/ Network management tools. These tools
make infrastructure management simple, centralized and cost-effective.
- For many organizations it makes more sense to deploy Infrastructure
Management (IM) applications than specialized Testing and troubleshooting
tools, except in certain areas (like Telecom, Datacenters, ISPs, etc)
where these tools are a necessity.
- Knowledge Management is one area that needs immediate attention in
the Indian enterprise. Companies need to seriously consider Knowledge
Management initiatives in order to capture and retain existing knowledge
within an organization.
mobile, with over 1.2 million customers rightly believes that its customers
are the company's largest non-replicable asset. It uses Business Intelligence
(BI) tools to help deliver focussed services and generate better value from
its existing subscriber base. BI helps the company identify new business
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segments, create retention strategies, and empower its business users with
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"We've come to a crossroad where the only long-term key business differentiator
from other mobile telecom operators is customer service," explained
Deepak Varma, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, BPL. "Since
the customer is our most valuable asset, it makes perfect sense to understand
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The BI in BPL mobile
The company uses BI tools from SAS to help perform customer asset management.
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The BI tools provide information about subscriber calling behavior, usage
pattern, payment patterns, and history of his/her getting in touch with
the company. This behavior pattern is matched with other subscribers to
identify potential voluntary or involuntary turnover (churn).