It's not all about the cloud: Why hybrid ITSM is here to stay

By Kevin Smith, vice president and general manager, Cloud Business Unit, FrontRange, Network World |  Networking, ITSM

Say you have 100 users and you're going to spend $250,000 on a perpetual license for your ITSM solution. You will have an initial expense but you'll own that license forever. Now consider covering those users with a cloud-based ITSM solution instead. Maybe that costs you $100,000 in year one. But then you pay another $100,000 in year two and again in year three, and so on. Depending on the TCO model you use, you'll likely find somewhere in year three, around 30-32 months, the lines cross and the premise-based option becomes less expensive.

And that's not even taking into account others costs, as the Gartner report points out. "SaaS-based ITSM tools appear to provide cost savings. However, failure to account for the resources to implement, integrate, operate and maintain the tools will result in the inability to extract value and achieve the expected ROI," Gartner says. [also see: "SaaS heats up IT service management arena"]

The other big issue with some cloud ITSM solutions is they are largely inflexible -- pretty much a one-size-fits-all sort of proposition. The fact is you're using a standard application that you're sharing with lots of other customers, so you're limited in terms of the configuration changes you can make. That presents an element of risk because what you need today may be quite different from what you need tomorrow. If you acquire another company, get acquired or launch a new line of business, requirements can change dramatically.

Why hybrid will dominate

Still, a cloud model does make sense in some instances. For smaller companies with limited IT resources or a larger firm that has lots of branch offices with no IT staff on site, a cloud-based ITSM offering may be just the ticket.

But more common will be a scenario where a large company that needs an ITSM solution finds it has so many custom requirements that a premise-based solution is the only viable alternative. It's like an NBA player trying to buy a suit off the rack. He's not likely to meet with much success -- he needs custom tailoring.

That same company, however, may have some division or business unit located in a remote location where they don't have the skill set to deploy an ITSM solution on-premise. They need somebody else to do it for them.

Such a company needs a hybrid ITSM model. In the larger locations, where they do have sufficient server capacity and IT skills, the on-premise model works well and is cost-effective. But those remote locations are better served with a cloud model.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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