Converged services will play an increasingly important role as IT priorities within UK organisations change, according to research published today by Six Degrees Group (6DG). Instead of focusing purely on cost savings, IT leaders are now aiming to minimise cloud complexity and fragmentation of IT systems to deliver greater business value.
The survey of over 500 senior IT professionals from mid-sized UK organisations was carried out on behalf of 6DG by analyst house, Freeform Dynamics. The top-line findings revealed that a mixture of three key factors are shifting in focus from cost to value; 57% of respondents are working to simplify IT infrastructure, 44% are reducing time spent on IT operations to free up internal resources, and 44% are better exploiting their suppliers in an effort to leverage external resources.
72% of respondents are already making extensive or significant use of hosted or managed services to help them achieve these goals. This is only set to grow with 74% predicting an increase in use of third party specialist providers.
However, this increased use of hosting and cloud services is creating a complex challenge for users. 35% report that they have contracts with more than five providers, and within this group 60% said they were suffering from cloud fragmentation and disjoints. This can include inconsistent security and access models, a problem for 38%, limited functional integration between services, a problem for 36%, as well as issues around end user support and service-level agreements.
In response to these challenges, the majority of respondents (65%) said that providers who aggregate multiple services into a single integrated solution have a key role to play.
The research also revealed that 84% were already using converged services; 34% to a significant level, with 50% indicating some use. These levels are expected to become 43% and 49% respectively within three years demonstrating that the delivery of converged services is growing in popularity.
Indeed, the results suggest that those organisations that are succeeding in delivering value ‘very effectively’ to the business (27% of the sample) are almost twice as likely to be making significant use of converged service offerings.
When selecting potential converged service providers, survey respondents prioritised the availability of experienced technical personnel, with 63% stating it was important and 31% stating it was desirable. They also looked for adequate service level commitments (52% and 38%), a willingness to understand their environment (50% and 41%) and the ability to support them with established processes (49% and 39%).
“This research underlines that the use of converged services goes hand-in-hand with a modern value-centric view of IT delivery,” explained Campbell Williams, Group Strategy and Marketing Director at 6DG. “We know that the provision of cloud computing is making a profound impact on the way mid-market businesses operate, but we can now also see those with a focus on delivering value recognise that integrating key cloud services is a vital part of a successful strategy.”
Tony Lock, Distinguished Analyst at Freeform Dynamics, commented, “It is not surprising to see that the use of hosted systems and cloud are now very much a mainstream reality. But many organisations that use a range of providers find it’s only a matter of time before problems emerge around managing service and supplier complexity. The use of converged services presents a clear opportunity to IT teams to simplify the operational management burden and allow them to focus more on delivering additional value to the business.”