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There are no absolutes in IT—even with Cloud

ScottKnox ‎12-02-2013 09:59 AM - edited ‎10-04-2015 08:40 PM

Greetings everyone,


Take a look below for one man’s perspective on the implications of cloud computing on IT Service Management Software. Cloud is a vital part of IT and you need to be prepared to utilize it throughout your organization I hope that my extensive IT and Service Manager experience give me the appropriate credentials to provide you with some interesting things to consider.


One question first though. And yes it’s about a movie.   What 2007 movie featured an old cop and a young hacker working together to take down a master cyber-terrorist? Want a hint? The cop was married to the actress who played GI Jane and the hacker was played by Justin Long (known to many as “Mac” from the long-running Apple commercials) who dates Amanda Seyfried of “Les Miserables”. This movie is a bit obscure since it was not as popular as its predecessors.  The movie I am referring to is “Live Free or Die Hard”.


If you have seen the film, you know that Bruce Willis played John Maclean who had to save the US from a catastrophic meltdown. In this case his old school guts, guns, and blood weren’t enough. He needed the assistance of the young hacker   Matt Farrell played by Long.


Old school, new school, fish school


So now you’re asking what this movie has to do with IT, software or Service Management.  The point is that just like it took old and new methods to thwart the bad guys in Die Hard, mature and stable solutions as well as young and innovative new strategies are required by IT to meet the broad range of issues today. IT is definitely NOT one size fits all. Or stated another way, there are no absolutes in IT (though there are Absolutes on the vodka shelf).


Working for 35 years in IT and for 15 years with ServiceCenter and Service Manager, I have talked to hundreds of IT professionals, including most of you.  One thing I have come to realize is that just when I think I have found an absolute truth in IT I find someone with a diametrically opposed position.  


Don’t believe me? Consider IT cost containment.  This is definitely a key driver for every IT and controlling cost is an absolute, right?


 What I have found though is something different. Sure, most IT organizations are very cost conscious. But I can point to a dozen different organizations where cost is a trivial consideration if it is even considered at all.  Take for example the large petrochemical company I spoke with.  When I asked the Director of IT if they considered chargeback important, he simply laughed.  He informed me that IT costs were so trivial when compared with corporate revenue and profit that he had never been asked to provide IT cost information for the company’s annual budget planning exercises.  They were however told to deliver the optimum (or is it optimal?) services for their business.


So what about the cloud story?  That is an absolute for IT right?  Everyone knows that IT needs to be on the Cloud bandwagon??? Keep reading for a slightly different point of view.  My hope is to provide clarity to the cloud story for IT management in the world where “there are no absolutes in IT”.


We all know that Cloud is the hot market trend today.  We are seeing an increase in revenue and license sales of those software providers that offer hosted solutions—further supporting the trend. As a customer you may have quite rightly determined that there are very valuable benefits to utilizing hosted cloud solutions.  These include:

  • Conversion of the IT software funding model from CAPEX to OPEX  
  • Reduced cost of entry to new software solutions
  • Elimination of infrastructure and administrative costs
  • Improved upgradability and maintainability of IT software
  • Enhanced IT functionality for lines of business application

Based on these values, we at HP are committed to provide you hosted and on-premise versions of our software so that you can take advantage of these benefits where they are appropriate. 


Take IT Service Management for example. Most of competitors offer a SaaS-hosted ITSM solution.   We delivered HP Service Anywhere for those of you that can benefit from hosted solution.  Service Anywhere is a great solution for many of you. 

However, I am equally convinced that this paradigm is not appropriate for all IT organizations.  I believe that there is and will continue to be place for on-premise IT software deployments.  Further, it appears that I am not alone. 


Let’s look at the money.  (No, I will not ask you what movie had people shouting “show me the money” although it is making me twitch not to.)  According to analyst reports, the current on-premise ITSM market is $2.1 B whereas the hosted SaaS market is $0.42.  To be fair though the SaaS market is growing at 23 percent compared to 3.1 percent for on-premise.


Further, the IT software analyst community is now projecting that 40 to 60 percent of  IT software deployments will be self-hosted, on-premise delivery.  One analyst report recently indicated that as many as 30 percent of cloud-hosted IT software deployments will return to an on-premise deployment by 2015.


For those of you that are wondering what could possibly cause an IT organization to run software like  HP Service Manager on-premise rather than in a SaaS delivery consider the following feedback from my customer contacts: 

  • Real or perceived security concerns may lead to an untenable risk profile 
  • Regulatory considerations may prevent company data residing outside the corporate firewalls
  • Long-term software usage costs may erode the initial hosting savings
  • Large data or high transaction rates for monitoring and/or  discovery may not be tenable off-premise 

The point then is that one delivery option is not better than another but rather that IT in the 21st century will need both

delivery vehicles.  To restate my initial premise, there are no absolutes in IT


So what does that mean for you as IT professionals trying to figure out how to invest your professional and political capital for IT software?  Below are several first blush thoughts for consideration.

  • Carefully assess your needs and make choices based on analysis rather than on the latest hype cycle.  Consider all the factors for the planned duration of your software.  Think about factors such as cost, performance and data needs, corporate and government mandates, planned life time for your solution, etc. 
  • Collaborate with your colleagues both inside and outside your corporate environments. As I called out in a parallel blog, consider other customers as your allies.
  • Reach out to the analyst communities that diligently study the trends in the market. Look carefully at their findings as they have often identified secondary considerations we may not.
  • Consider the roadmaps and recommendations of your software suppliers. We are always ready to present our strategies and considerations.  Perhaps there are upcoming features that will help your decision making. 

If you are interested in how you can navigate the “New Style of IT” feel free to view a guide here. This is your home for insightful videos, reports and infographics to give you additional insights.


So my friends, I will close this blog for now. Given the importance of this topic I will be continuing this thread in the near future. My hope is to engage with other HP experts, analysts, and others in our industry to provide you with more tactical considerations to aid in determining the right software delivery options.   


Hopefully you found this blog valuable.  Please provide your feedback and comments both positive and negative.  We as a group are the voice of IT and if we owe it to IT managers everywhere to provide the information needed to make wise choices  


With much respect

Scott Knox

Sr Product Manager -- Service Management Center

About the Author


I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the product since 1996. I love SM, our ecosystem, and our customers and I am committed to do my best to keep you appraised of what is going on. I will even try to keep you entertained as I do so. Oh and BTW... I not only express my creativity in writing but I am a fairly accomplished oil painter.

Michael Pott (michael_pott)
on ‎12-04-2013 05:12 AM

Hi Scott, this was an interesting reading for me. I remember similar discussion since the beginning of Cloud and SaaS. And I have to agree -  there are no absolutes in IT. Maybe it is - like in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - more important to find the right question. Dependent on what an IT organization's strategies and goals are, the answer can be - no, not 42 - but SaaS or no SaaS. 

Have a nice day,


PS: Nothing is absolute, even this comment isn't ;-)

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