Skills deficit a challenge for IP networks


24 Apr 2007

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LAS VEGAS: IT teams lack the resources and skills to effectively manage IP networks, according to new research from Computer Associates (CA).

In a survey of 473 European and Middle Eastern decision makers, it was felt the benefits of a converged single network were being lost because organisations did not have the tools to run them properly, CA said at its annual conference in Las Vegas.

CA used the data to promote its Enterprise IT Management (EITM) software, launched 18 months ago, as a tool for transforming IT management and better serving the business need.

“It’s about moving the IT function from backroom support to becoming an engine for competitive advantage,” said Al Nugent, chief technology officer, speaking at CA World.

Issues around IP are topical at a time when most large organisations are now running converged infrastructure. The research shows that the advantages of running a single protocol are undermined as problems with key network technologies, such as MPLS and voice over IP, are hard to identify and fix.

This has driven 88pc of the companies to use third-party providers to deliver IP as a managed service.

“It’s possible for voice and data network performance information to be delivered to a central management console, giving IT operations personnel as single point of view into the health of their entire infrastructure,” said Duncan Fisken, CA’s vice-president of solutions management.

This is the next phase of CA’s development of EITM, the development of a Unified Service Model (USM) that is maintained through automated mapping of services and infrastructure components. It provides a 360-degree view of the assets, people and processes that make up an organisation.

USM is a major step in the simplification of the IT function, according to CA, and fundamental for helping the IT department make informed decisions about resources allocation, business risk and budget allocation.

This is significant at a time when most IT budgets are spent on keeping the lights on rather than investing in new products that would give the business competitive advantage. CA said its roles is to remove complexity, enabling the business to extract more benefits from a more closely aligned IT function.

In the current climate the real challenge for IT departments is to improve service while reducing costs, a paradox that CA has set out to solve with its enterprise tools.

“In the past 18 months we have come up with a set of solutions that span the problem domains and pull them together, leveraging the technology to reduce costs and optimise processes,” said Nugent. “We have created an integrated solution around the USM.”

Andrew Dutton, senior vice-president of international sales, summed up the CA mission: “We unify and simplify the complexity of the IT management space, something that’s simple to describe but complex to execute. We free up IT budgets for the business to pursue competitive advantage.”

By Ian Campbell

Pictured – Al Nugent, chief technology officer, CA