October 22, 2014  
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IT Trends and Strategies

The pace of change in information technology today is greater than ever. This research section includes analysis of current trends in IT from the perspective of financial and strategic management. Articles in this section include current trends in IT spending, outsourcing, management best practices, technology overviews, and practical advice for ensuring successful implementation.

Some of our most popular advisories on IT trends and strategies are shown below. 


Project Management Office Adoption Trends
It has become common for organizations to impose some degree of standardization on its project management processes in an effort to increase success rates. In this study, we examine the trend toward adoption of project management offices (PMOs), a best practice that has reached maturity and proved its worth. We present recent adoption trends, examine the influence of size and sector on adoption, and provide recommendations for how to measure the success of the PMO. (10 pp., 5 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Database Administration Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience
Outsourcing the database administration function usually is undertaken to reduce costs, achieve better cost predictability, and improve the level of IT functionality. To help IT executives understand their options, this study examines adoption trends in database administration outsourcing. We report on the percentage of organizations outsourcing database administration (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present success rates for the customer’s cost and service experience. Finally, we show how these trends differ by organization size and sector. (16 pp., 8 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Understanding Cloud ERP Buyers and Providers
Not all ERP systems that are labeled “cloud” are the same. At the same time, vendors need to realize that not all ERP buyers are the same. The study provides an overview of ERP cloud vendors and describes the two major categories of buyers in this market: first-time buyers looking for their first ERP systems and established companies replacing their legacy systems. We also segment cloud ERP providers into two categories: cloud-only ERP providers and traditional vendors that have added cloud or hosting as deployment options. We conclude with recommendations for buyers and providers who seek to serve these markets. Two appendices provide our analysis of key ERP vendors in each category.  (32 pp., 6 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Web/E-Commerce Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience
The outsourcing of web and e-commerce systems and operations is rising again, after a period of flat growth. On-line sales are growing, business is shifting to mobile platforms, and organizations are reluctant to invest in aging data center infrastructure. As such, they are turning to outsourcing partners that can provide the latest expertise and a flexible, scaled approach to Internet infrastructure and systems. To help IT executives better assess their options, this study reports the percentage of organizations outsourcing web/e-commerce operations (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change to the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present data on cost and service experience and on how these trends differ by organization size and sector. (12 pp., 8 fig.)
[Research Byte]

IT Project Portfolio Management Best Practice Adoption
IT organizations have dozens or even hundreds of ongoing projects at any given point in time with many more “bright ideas” waiting for a green light. Identifying the most important projects and keeping them moving smoothly toward completion requires IT project portfolio management. Our study shows that the majority of organizations have adopted PPM as a best practice. However, less than half of those organizations using PPM have fully implemented this discipline. In this study, we look at PPM adoption trends across time and industry. We also discuss best practices and software tools for managing project portfolios. (16 pp., 5 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Network Operations Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience
Network operations is a mature, but evolving outsourcing category. This study examines adoption trends in the outsourcing of network operations. We report on the percentage of organizations outsourcing network operations (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend and volatility). We also present the cost- and service-success ratings, which provide insight into the potential risks and rewards IT organizations take in turning to outside service providers. (15 pp., 14 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Application Maintenance Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience
Application maintenance and related functions such as application performance management and application lifecycle management consume a rising portion of the IT budget, and IT organizations need to examine their outsourcing strategies. In this study, we report on the percentage of organizations outsourcing application maintenance (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also assess the customer experience by showing how many IT organizations successfully lower costs or improve service by outsourcing application maintenance. (12 pp., 8 fig.)
[Research Byte]

IT Security Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience
The use of IT security outsourcing services has been rising steadily, if modestly. In this study, we present data on the five-year trend in IT security outsourcing. We determine how many organizations outsource IT security (frequency), how much of the workload is typically outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also measure the cost experience and service experience of companies that outsource this function, and determine how outsourcing activity and experience vary by organization size and sector. (16pp., 8 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Enterprise Architecture Adoption and Best Practices
April, 2014The term “enterprise architecture” has been around since at least 1982, but the practice today is not widely adopted. Only about half of all IT organizations are developing and maintaining an enterprise architecture. Interest, however, is high and the practice is growing. In this study, we will examine how many organizations have adopted enterprise architecture, how many adopters have fully embraced the practice, and how many organizations are likely to adopt the practice in the future. We conclude with an assessment of the various approaches to enterprise architecture and recommendations on best practices. (12pp., 4 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Bring-Your-Own-Device Best Practices
Like it or not, many IT organizations are having to confront the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend as an emerging practice and adopt policies and procedures to deal with the security, legal, and support issues surrounding it. To date, our research shows adoption of policies that enable employees to use their own smartphones, tablets, and even PCs is at an immature stage. In this study, we look at adoption trends for BYOD by organization size and sector. We also discuss the elements that every BYOD policy should contain and the steps IT organizations should take before enabling users to access corporate networks with their personal devices. (14 pp., 5 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Four Cloud ERP Providers on the Salesforce Platform
Customers of Salesforce.com that are looking for new ERP capabilities now have four cloud ERP systems to choose from on the Salesforce platform, Salesforce1. These are FinancialForce, Kenandy, Rootstock, and AscentERP. This report gives a brief description of the Salesforce1 development platform and why it is attractive to developers. We then describe each of these four ERP providers, along with their strengths and target customers. We conclude with recommendations for qualifying cloud ERP providers. (8 pages, 1 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Data Center Spending Benchmarks and the Case for Consolidation
Now that IT operational budgets are on the mend, IT organizations are once again assessing their data center strategies. In this study, we start with an assessment of data center spending and provide benchmarks that enable IT organizations to answer the question: Is our data center spending in line with our peers? Benchmarks include data center spending as a percentage of total IT spending and data center spending per physical server. We also provide benchmarks on virtualization rates and operating system mix. Finally, we demonstrate the potential cost-savings from consolidating data centers and servers to help IT executives make the case for data center consolidation. (26 pp., 16 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Data Center Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience
Data center outsourcing remained relatively stable over the course of the recession, but now appears to be rising. As business growth resumes, IT organizations face decisions as to how best to support that increased growth, including whether to upgrade infrastructure, turn to off-premises hosting service providers, or move some computing resources into the cloud. In this study, we examine data center outsourcing trends to provide IT executives with insight into how broadly and eagerly their peers are undertaking data center outsourcing as a strategy. We also examine the success rates organizations are having reducing cost and improving service through outsourcing this critical function. Finally, we show how these trends differ by organization size and sector. (18 pp., 8 figs.)
[Research Byte]

IT Asset Management Best Practices
For IT departments, the task of keeping track of all the hardware, configurations, software licenses, user permissions, and other information regarding IT assets is exceedingly complex. IT asset management systems can make the challenge less formidable. In this study, we look at the changing nature of the asset management field, at how far along organizations are in implementing asset management systems, and at some of the tools and options for improving asset management. We also assess asset management adoption by organization size and sector. (15 pp., 5 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Desktop Support Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience
Desktop support outsourcing has regained its popularity in the past two years as many IT organizations upgrade their help desk to handle more complex issues. This study examines adoption trends and customer experience with desktop support outsourcing. We report on the percentage of organizations that outsource (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present success rates for the customer's cost and service experience. Finally, we show how these trends differ by organization size and sector. (16pp,. 8 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Help Desk Outsourcing Trends and Customer Experience
The frequency of help desk outsourcing has leveled off after a sharp, post-recession rise. While recent trends may be prompting more organizations to consider this option, the customer experience remains decidedly mixed. This study examines adoption trends and customer experience with help desk outsourcing. We report on the percentage of organizations outsourcing help desk (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present success rates for the customer’s cost and service experience. Finally, we show how these trends differ by organization size and sector.(17 pp., 8 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Disaster Recovery Outsourcing Trends and Experience
Disaster recovery, the ability to restore operations quickly and effectively after a major business disruption, is a critical strategic consideration for organizations. To help IT executives assess their options, this study reports the percentage of organizations outsourcing the disaster recovery function (frequency), the scope of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present data on cost and service experiences, show how these trends differ by organization size, and identify the sectors most likely to outsource disaster recovery services. (15 pp., 8 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Microsoft Dynamics Stepping onto Large Enterprise Turf
Long known as business management software for small and midsized organizations, Microsoft Dynamics is increasingly being used in large and multinational enterprises. This report outlines four customer needs that are driving Microsoft Dynamics up-market and three ways in which Dynamics has become capable of serving these large organizations. Challenges facing Microsoft in gaining market share among larger companies are also discussed. We conclude with examples of customers that illustrate the move of Dynamics into the enterprise market and recommendations for large enterprise buyers who are considering Microsoft Dynamics. (12 pp., 1 fig.)
[Research Byte]

Current Trends in IT Chargeback Practices
IT executives today are being challenged to become more cost transparent and show their value to the business. Adopting a robust chargeback strategy can be an important step in that direction. This study provides data on the frequency and level of IT chargeback practices among IT organizations. We look at the four-year trend in the percentage of organizations charging back IT expenses and the average percentage of IT budget being charged back. We also assess the influence of organization size and sector on chargeback practices. Our analysis includes a discussion of methods, purpose, and best practices for implementing chargeback systems. (15 pp., 7 figs.)
[Research Bytes]

Comparative Analysis of IT Spending by Energy Utilities
Gas and electric utilities make considerable investments in information technology. In this study, we take a special look at IT spending and staffing in the utility sector by comparing key, high-level metrics against a broad sample of organizations. For the comparative analysis, we use three measures of IT intensity: IT spending as a percentage of revenue, IT spending per user, and application spending per user. To determine where spending differs, we break down IT spending into five functional areas: IT management, applications, data center, network, and end-user support. We also examine IT staff headcount by those same functional areas. (14 pp., 6 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Database Administration (Remote DBA) Outsourcing Trends
Database administration outsourcing is an often-overlooked strategy for controlling costs related to the maintenance and support of databases. This study examines adoption trends in database administration outsourcing. We report on the percentage of organizations outsourcing database administration (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present success rates for the customer's cost and service experience. Finally, we show how these trends differ by organization size and sector, and examine the role that offshore service providers play in the outsourcing of database administration. (21 pp., 14 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Comparative Analysis of IT Spending in the Life Sciences
As with many high-tech enterprises, life science companies make considerable investments in information technology. In this study, we look at IT spending and staffing in the life science sector by comparing key, high-level metrics against a broad sample of organizations. For the comparative analysis, we use three measures of IT intensity: IT spending a percentage of revenue, IT spending per user, and application spending per user. To determine where spending differs, we break down IT spending into five functional areas: IT management, applications, data center, network, and end-user support. We also examine IT staff headcount by those same functional areas. We conclude with our assessment of where life science organizations should focus their efforts to improve IT performance. (13 pp., 6 figs.)
[Research Byte]

User Satisfaction Surveying Adoption and Best Practices
A primary goal of IT organizations is to satisfy the needs of its business users for information systems. How can the CIO know whether users are satisfied with IT services? This study examines the extent to which IT organizations have deployed user satisfaction surveys and measures the level of organizational engagement in the practice. We look at the percentage of organizations that are partially and fully engaged with the practice. We also look at how adoption of this IT management best practice differs by organization size. Finally, we determine which industry sectors are most likely to be engaged in this best practice. (11 pp.,5 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Data Center Outsourcing Trends and Experience
As economic growth resumes and data center technology continues to advance, IT executives face a critical decision as to whether upgrade data center infrastructure or outsource this function, or both. In this study, we examine data center outsourcing trends to provide IT executives with insight into how broadly and eagerly their peers are undertaking data center outsourcing as a strategy. We also examine the success rates organizations have when it comes to reducing cost or improving service. Finally, we report on the extent to which IT organizations are relying on offshore service providers to meet their strategic objectives. (21 pp., 14 figs.)
[Research Byte]

IT Help Desk Management Series
In this special publication, we bundle six of our most popular reports that deal with various aspects of help desk (service desk) management. Reports include analysis of the best metrics for measuring help desk efficiency, help desk staffing ratios, help desk outsourcing trends, investment trends for service desk software and self-support tools, and help desk salary benchmarks. The price of this special bundle is discounted 50% from the cost of these six reports if purchased separately. (85 pp., 43 figs.) (85 pp., 43 figs.)
[Full Report Description]

Printer Expense Benchmarks and Best Practices
Due to the ongoing changes in printer technology, print management, and the ways in which employees use printers, IT managers need to assess whether their organizations are managing printing resources in the most efficient manner. This study establishes three benchmarks that enable organizations to assess their print strategies. The benchmarks include printers per user, printer expenses as a percentage of the IT budget, and printer expenses per user. We also examine the four-year trend in printer spending, and variances in printer usage and spending by industry sector. We conclude with recommendations for optimizing print costs. (14 pp., 8 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Data Center Hardware Spending and Operating System Trends
IT organizations are spending less on servers, storage, and PCs as a percentage of IT operational budget each year due to declining hardware costs, outsourcing, and better utilization of assets through virtualization and other strategies. In this study, we examine the one-year and five-year trends in spending on servers and storage. We also look at the spending trends for data center software and PC hardware. Finally, we examine operating system trends in the data center, comparing how the mix of various server operating systems is changing over time. We conclude with our recommendations on managing spending on hardware infrastructure. (12 pp., 5 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Use of IT Security Outsourcing Low but Rising as Threats Grow
Outsourcing at least a portion of IT security operations makes increasing sense in today's online business environment. In this study, we examine data on the percentage of organizations outsourcing security for the composite sample, by organization size, and by sector. We also look at the level of satisfaction with IT security service providers, the amount of security work outsourced by organizations, and the trend in terms of the percentage of organizations changing their level of security outsourcing. Our analysis also discusses the types of outsourcing services, changes in the industry, and the cost and benefits of security outsourcing. We conclude with reasons security outsourcing should continue to grow and mature. (13 pp., 8 figs.)
[Research Byte]

IT Strategic Planning More Important Now than Ever
In the current climate of economic recession, it may be tempting for IT managers to cut funding for strategic planning and devote the savings to more immediate operational needs. Such a view is shortsighted, however. During times of economic uncertainty, strategic planning becomes even more of a necessity. In this study, we describe the fundamental components of an IT strategic plan. We assess current adoption trends for multiyear IT strategic planning for the composite sample, by organization size, and by industry sector. We conclude by making the case for why IT organizations should continue to engage in strategic planning as priorities shift from growth to restraining costs. (10 pp., 3 figs.)
[Research Byte]

ITIL Implementation Trending Up, But Adoption May Slow
In theory, imposing disciplines on IT processes should improve productivity and make IT more responsive to the business. Many organizations are turning to ITIL to accomplish this goal. This study begins with a brief explanation of ITIL’s history and current framework for IT service management. We next summarize ITIL adoption trends in the U.S.and Canada, examining levels of adoption by organization size and sector. The study concludes with best practice recommendations for a phased, incremental approach to ITIL implementation. (7 pp., 5 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Application Portfolio Management: Adoption Low Despite Value
Although the benefits of application portfolio management (APM) are strong, adoption has been slow to date. For IT managers considering APM, this report presents six critical steps on the road to APM implementation. We also examine current adoption trends by organization size and selected industry sectors, discuss the key benefits of APM, and conclude with a discussion of the obstacles and issues that IT managers need to consider when incorporating APM into their IT governance processes. (10 pp., 4 figs.)
[Research Byte]

Server Acquisition Trends Show Success of Data Center Optimization
Proliferation of low-end servers is a common problem in data centers today, resulting in low overall utilization of server hardware, higher-than-needed support costs and excess energy consumption. In response, data cemter managers have been using server virtualization and consolidation to restrain the growth of all classes of servers and to reduce overall spending on server hardware and software. This study examines server count trends by organization size. It also explores how the typical data center's workload is distributed among various operating systems. Finally, it looks at spending on server hardware and software over the past three years as a percentage of the IT budget. (8 pp., 8 figs)
[Executive Summary]

Data Center Automation: Adoption Trends
Data center automation is a high-priority investment for IT organizations today. In this study, we assess the overall adoption trend for data center automation (DCA) projects, the percentage of companies that have deployed the technology, and the current level of investment activity. The study also investigates how organizational size affects adoption trends and investment activity. A final look at how investment activity differs by industry sector completes the statistical picture. We conclude with recommendations for measuring return on investment and scoping data center automation projects, as well as considerations for selecting solutions. (4 pp., 6 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Laptop Growth and Impact on Technical Support Staffing Requirements
In many organizations, laptops are becoming a larger percentage of the PC inventory. From the perspective of IT organizations, laptops can ease the burden of relocations, changes, and upgrades. But there are also costs: Laptops cost more than comparably equipped desktops, introduce new security threats, suffer damage more frequently, and are more costly to repair than desktops. This study examines current trends in desktop and laptop PC acquisition, and how the changing mix of laptops to desktops is influencing IT staffing requirements. (5 pp., 9 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Top IT Investment Areas for 2008
According to our study of over 200 IT managers, about 30% of IT spending this year will go towards new initiatives (as opposed to ongoing, "keeping the lights on" spending). But where are those new-initiative dollars going? In this study, we examine where IT organizations are most frequently spending their new-initiative dollars to gain efficiencies, improve service levels, and support business objectives. (5 pp., 8 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

IT Spending For New Initiatives: Key Measure of Efficiency, Competitiveness
Tracking the ratio of ongoing IT support costs to new-initiative spending can be critical for maintaining a proper level of investment in IT infrastructure. In this study, we look at the percentage of the IT budget currently allocated to new initiatives, establish a benchmark for an appropriate ratio of spending on new initiatives versus ongoing support, assess current practices on tracking new-initiative spending, and discuss advantages for establishing systems to track this important ratio. The study is based on interviews with IT executives and a survey conducted in October and November 2007 on IT budgeting. The study analyzes responses from 112 IT executives representing companies with annual sales between $30 million and $100 billion. (3 pp., 4 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Recharging the IT Budget Chargeback Debate
The heated debate over chargeback practices has become muffled over the last few years as IT spending recovered from the downturn in the early part of the decade. But when pressure mounts on CIOs once again to more firmly restrain IT budgets, arguments over who should own the costs--the business units or the central IT organization--is likely to re-emerge. This article assesses the current state of IT budget chargeback practices, based on a special survey conducted by Computer Economics of IT managers. It outlines which IT budget line items are typically charged back to business units and how much of the IT budget is usually recovered in such fashion. We conclude with recommendations for IT managers considering cost allocation strategies for the future. (4 pp., 3 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Data Migration Requires Process, Tools, and Expertise
While many aspects of data migration are technical in nature, managing the conversion of data from one form to another should not be left to technicians. Without proper oversight, failures in data migration can cause project cost and schedule overruns, as well as quality problems with far-reaching effects. In this report, we provide an overview of the data migration process and the related issues that managers need to address. We also examine some of open source tools that can help to automate the task. Finally, we conclude with our recommendations for ensuring a smooth data migration process. (4 pp., 3 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Holding IT Accountable for Energy Costs
Rising energy costs are creating new pressures on IT managers to lower the amount of energy consumed by data centers. Yet, surprisingly, nearly half of IT organizations are not held accountable for energy costs in their IT budgets. This article analyzes current practices in IT budgeting for power and cooling costs, looks at two key concepts for assessing the return on investment from more energy-efficient data center technologies, and suggests ways in which IT mangers could actually benefit from having utilities charged to the IT budget. (4 pp., 4 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Features Will Push Windows Server 2008 Adoption
The rollout of Windows Server 2008 offers IT managers an array of new capabilities and the potential to reduce administrative burden and enhance security. This article explains the new features of Server 2008 that we predict will drive its adoption, the five flavors of the OS, and the data center roles that each of them play. We conclude with our projections for Windows Server 2008 adoption levels through 2011. (4 pp., 5 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Federated Approach to Configuration Management Database Yields Quickest Benefits
Choosing and implementing a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is often one of the earliest projects in an ITIL program. However, many implementations fail, because they are not clear on the needed functionality or they try to do too much before delivering business value. This report identifies the major types of CMDB applications and analyzes why a federated approach to CMDB is recommended. It also suggests an implementation approach for delivering maximum value. Finally, we provide recommendations concerning the staffing levels required for ongoing support of CMDB data management. (3 pp., 1 fig.)

The Shifting Mix of Data Center Costs
Understanding trends in data center costs is key to managing data center spending. For example, IT executives know that hardware costs are declining. But by how much? And what about other costs, such as software, personnel, and facilities? Is the long-term trend up or down? This article examines the major categories of data center cost for Unix and Windows servers on a per-unit basis for the years 2002 through 2006. It also analyzes how these costs have been changing and makes recommendations based on these trends. (3 pp., 4 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Windows and Linux Data Centers Lag Behind Unix in Realizing Economies of Scale
In this article, we examine total data center spending per server OS instance across data centers of varying sizes. We break down these metrics for Windows, Linux, and Unix systems. Interestingly, Unix data centers experience significantly better economies of scale than Windows or Linux shops. We report the metrics and examine the reasons for the greater efficiencies in large Unix shops compared to other operating systems. (3 pp., 1 fig.)
[Executive Summary]

The State of IT Outsourcing and Guidelines for Success
This article investigates the prevalence of IT outsourcing for nine IT functions, the percentage of organizations reporting a change this year in their levels of outsourcing for each IT function, and the relative priority that these firms give to outsourcing versus "back-sourcing" (bringing outsourced functions back in-house). We also explore the concept of "partial outsourcing," where some work is outsourced while the rest is retained in-house, using application development and help desk outsourcing as examples. We conclude by proposing important principles for organizations to consider when outsourcing IT functions. (4 pp., 4 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Seamless Networks for Healthcare Information Are On the Horizon
Despite its size and importance, the healthcare industry lags behind many other sectors in deploying industry-wide IT standards. One reason is the lack of seamless interoperability within the medical provider's IT infrastructure, as well as with other hospitals and clinics. However, this situation is changing, as industry standards are beginning to make interoperability a reality in healthcare. (5 pp., 1 fig.)
[Executive Summary]

Long-Term Trends in IT Budget Line Item Ratios
This article analyzes changes in IT spending on a line-item basis, based on 10 years of data from our IT spending and staffing surveys. Using the ratio of each budget line item to the total IT budget, changes in corporate spending are analyzed for the following categories of IT spending: personnel, training, recruiting, data center hardware (servers and storage), software, desktop and end-user hardware, network infrastructure, outside services, facilities, overhead and supplies, security, and business continuity. By understanding long-term shifts in spending trends, the future direction for spending in each category can be better understood. (14 pp., 12 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Comparing Linux and Windows as Server Operating Systems
Both Microsoft Windows and Linux are increasing their market share as server operating systems. But what are their relative advantages? To find out, Computer Economics conducted a survey of system administrators and IT managers that have experience with both operating systems. The results are mixed, with Linux being preferred for its security, reliability, flexibility, scalability, and total cost of ownership and Windows taking the lead for ease of installation/administration and availability of support professionals. (11 pp., 10 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

New Regulations on Disposal of Computer Equipment
In the past five years, important new regulations concerning disposal of electronic equipment (e-waste) have been implemented all over the world. This article outlines the pertinent laws and guidelines regarding the manufacture and disposal of computer equipment and provides guidelines for selecting a qualified e-cycler as a strategy to ensure compliance. (5 pp., 1 fig.)
[Executive Summary]

Leveraging ITIL to Better Manage Outsourcing Relationships
ITIL is not only an effective tool for managing internal IT processes. It can also serve as a framework for managing the relationship with an outsourcing service provider. This article shows specifically how ITIL Incident Management and Problem Management can be used to optimize an outsourcing relationship, such as help desk outsourcing, to properly define roles and responsibilities and continually reduce the overall level of incidents and improve service levels. (6 pp., 2 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

The Key Advantage of Open Source
An informal survey of visitors to the Computer Economics website indicates that, in using open source software, "reduced dependence on software vendors" is more important to buyers than low cost. An earlier version of this report first appeared as a free Research Byte on our website. Shortly after publication, the Research Byte was linked by Slashdot, and Computer Economics was deluged by over 50,000 hits in one day. This report includes material originally presented in the earlier Research Byte, along with additional insights gained from the resulting feedback.
[Executive Summary]

The Case for Mainframe Migration and Consolidation
Mainframe computers still occupy a major position in the hardware inventory of many data centers, especially in certain industries such as banking, finance, and insurance, and among larger companies. According to statistics collected in our annual IT spending survey, the economic performance of mainframes is not as good as that of other hardware platforms, especially in data centers where mainframe computers are used in a mix with other classes of servers. For organizations with such a heterogeneous server mix, these findings may be used to justify migration of mainframe applications to other server platforms or, at a minimum, undertake a mainframe server consolidation strategy. (8 pp., 7 figs.)
[Executive Summary]

Beyond Customer Mandates: RFID Promises Operational Benefits
Many companies start implementation of RFID because major customers such as Wal-Mart force them to. However, RFID has much to offer in its own right in terms of better management control in a variety of applications.  This report analyzes the factors that IT groups should consider in planning for RFID along with economic insights into the value of the technology. Specific software and IT systems are discussed, including the crucial issues of standardization and security.


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