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Ovum previews major IT Services issues for 2009 with 'The Ovum Eight'

New BPO models, cloud computing, quality assurance, and vendor management will top IT services agendas in 2009

(PresseBox) (London, Boston, ) The impact of the slowing economy on BPO business models, the convergence of IT and telecom services, and the continued importance of quality and security are among the top issues IT service providers will face in 2009, says a new report from Ovum, one of the market's leading global IT advisory and consulting firms. Ovum's global IT services team have collaborated on a soon to be released report, The Ovum Eight, to identify eight of the top IT Services issues that will impact IT vendors, their partners and end-users.

"In this challenging economy, IT services providers will need to navigate a host of new and continuing challenges as they attempt to maintain and grow their business," said Eamonn Kennedy, Practice Leader of Ovum's IT Services team. "The Ovum Eight highlights some of the key issues we're talking with clients about every day. Providers must get ahead of these trends as they work to capture new customers and keep the ones they have."

The report examines eight topics authored by individual members of the IT Services team, and provides details of how Ovum will cover these topics next year. The research themes covered in The Ovum Eight include:

Competing for the Cloud: Cloud Computing can encompass and potentially disrupt "traditional" models of infrastructure and applications outsourcing, third-party managed services and SaaS-powered services. Cloud Computing is quickly becoming one of the most competitive markets in all of IT as services firms attempt to leverage these technologies and others to deliver new value-added services to the market. Customers, meanwhile, have seen and heard plenty of marketing messages around Cloud Computing, but are now searching for answers as to what IT and business benefits could ensue.

Quality Assurance & Information Security: The worsening economic environment is driving demand for improved value from applications, applications-led outsourcing and other IT services. In practical terms, this means demonstrable and sustainable cost effectiveness and reduced time-to-market. Pressure is therefore growing on developers and outsourcing service providers to raise the twin bars of quality assurance, namely 1) ensuring products and services are fit for purpose and 2) being right first time.

High-Pressure IT: All IT services vendors will argue that their IT delivery is done under high pressure, although for many this is more hyperbole than truth. Ovum believes High Pressure IT is about delivering IT services on the biggest stage, under the highest level of scrutiny, and with no room for mistakes. We explore the opportunities for IT services providers in High Pressure IT - those targeting the global market for major media, sporting and cultural events.

Retained organizations: Outsourcing decisions driven by short-term requirements to save costs are potentially the most difficult kinds of contract for retained organizations to derive business benefit from. Negotiated in haste and not necessarily with a medium- or long-term strategic intent, such contracts will require significant skill on the part of retained organizations in order to make them work effectively for the client organization while also delivering the savings they have really been put in place to achieve.

Fixing BPO: In 2009 white-collar business process outsourcing (BPO) will overshadow the importance of IT in the outsourcing market. Consolidation among IT services and BPO companies will bring the two industries ever closer. IT vendors that do not have a considered stake in the BPO market, either directly or indirectly, will miss out on a sea change in the way that IT and IT services are delivered to client organizations.

Waste not, want not: The efficient use of people and resources should be a core discipline for all CIOs, IT managers and IT services providers. It means a focus on disciplines such as ITIL and a drive to improve infrastructure maturity - to standardize, consolidate and rationalize IT infrastructure and processes. Now there are new demands for IT to improve its efficiency - around energy, the environment and IT's consumption of resources.

Enterprise 2.0: Essentially, Enterprise 2.0 is about enabling stakeholders to affect services and offerings and achieve more meaningful business-driven interactions between people and systems through community collaboration, sharing and "debating" of ideas, concepts, services and products. This all sounds great from a philosophical perspective, but how is it going to deliver business benefits to the adopters of such technologies?

Economic Flux: Even in the darkest reaches of a recession, clients will continue to expect quality services delivered at appropriate pricing levels with continual improvements to both. It is vital that vendors retain a sense of perspective: the recession will end; demand for IT services will recover. We do not for one moment suggest that economic conditions will turn around in a few months and we can go back to business as usual. The market will continue to evolve and vendors' strategies must evolve with it.

The trends identified in The Ovum Eight are only some of the issues that the IT Services team will tackle in 2009. Ovum's IT Services team is comprised of world-leading analysts across the globe who work in collaboration with Orbys, Ovum's leading sourcing advisory business. By working together, these two groups give Ovum a unique basis for acting as a key advisor at the critical juncture between vendors and buyers.

About Ovum

Ovum's primary activity is providing value-added advisory services and consulting to retained and project clients. The company acts as a well-respected and trusted source of industry data, knowledge and expertise on the commercial impact of technology, regulatory and market changes. Ovum engages in continuous research and industry analysis to determine market dynamics in its specialist sectors.

Ovum has developed long-standing relationships with many of its corporate clients, which include major international blue-chip companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, BT, Cable & Wireless, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Telekom, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Telstra and Vodafone.

Ovum is part of the Datamonitor Group.

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