From ACs to PCs

Enterprise management software used to conjure up images of lengthy, complex implementations plagued by endless issues over integration. It was only a few years ago that research Gartner Group was reporting a massive 70% failure rate of enterprise managemenet projects. But all that is changing.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  October 28, 2001

Growing regional market|~||~||~|Enterprise management software used to conjure up images of lengthy, complex implementations plagued by endless issues over integration. It was only a few years ago that research Gartner Group was reporting a massive 70% failure rate of enterprise managemenet projects. But all that is changing.

Enterprise management solutions have become more modular and manageable promising faster implementation times, and greater return on investment (ROI). As the solutions have matured, so has the market, with the Middle East awakening to the benefits of enterprise management.

“Two years ago it was difficult because companies didn’t recognise costs, but now it is becoming more and more the norm. IT applications [uptime is] becoming critical to the business,” explains Tim Peck, general manager, BMC Software, Middle East.

Going hand-in-hand with this recognition of IT application uptime has been a greater understanding of the value of efficient management and the influence it can have on the bottom line.

“In the last two years they have started recognising management needs,” says Anas Jwaied, regional sales manager, software sales organisation, HP, MENA region. “Management solutions have moved from an accessory — something that is nice but I can do without — to a crucial element in the business.”

According to Jwaied, HP’s management solution, OpenView, has witnessed dramatic growth in the last two and half years, registering a whopping and consecutive 200% increase per year.

The growth of e-business in the region, combined with a greater emphasis on customer service, has been pushing businesses to get a greater grip on all aspects of their enterprise from networks, applications, lighting and AC systems, through to the implementation of helpdesks to deal quickly and effectively with customer queries.

With the advent of e-commerce, there is a realisation that systems have to be available 24x7. Businesses have to be able to recognise any potential problems before they occur, and management software will help achieve this.

“Companies have started to broaden their business around the Internet, even if its just a web site or trading or getting leads over the Web, now they have to have 24x7 availability,” says Peck.

Even, the more basic IT requirements, such as e-mail, are expected to be available around the clock and this has caused businesses to evaluate the impact of IT in terms of the internal and external business operations.

“With the e-business revolution… the uptime of your IT resources has a direct — and huge — impact on the business that you are doing, because you have partners and customers outside the company that are accessing your systems,” explains Abdul Karim Riyaz, marketing manager, Computer Associates, Middle East (CA-ME).

||**||Aligning IT and Business|~||~||~|Although enterprise management vendors, such as CA, BMC and HP, have been witnessing significant interest from the region, they have also been encountering management and IT conflicts within the region’s companies. This has resulted in vendors adopting a dual approach to deployment strategies.

“Aligning business with IT is really the challenge of enterprise management solutions,” comments HP’s Jwaied.

IT managers are all too aware of the benefits that enterprise management solutions can bring to an enterprise, but convincing the senior managemnt of these benefits has not always proved such an easy task. All too often “we’re really in danger of alienating some of the key decision makers that are not that technical,” explains Mike Hynes, regional sales manager for disaster recovery company, Veritas.

When it comes to enterprise management solutions the key is to address the management issues first, and make them realise the benefits or costs to their organisations.

“There’s a need to get business heads together and start talking about the real costs of downtime. For example, what impact does it have on your business if customers can’t access your web site for an hour. Those are the things that business decision makers need to know, not necessarily how that web site works,” explains Hynes.

For Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), communication between the IT and operations departments and senior management was one of the stumbling blocks in the initial phase of its implementation of BMC Software’s Patrol solution.

Training was the main bone of contention between the departments. “The difficulty was actually getting approval from management that we should be investing more and more on training,” says Mustafa Ali, head of systems support, operations department, IT, Q-Tel.

Aside from getting the initial approval for training, the management also struggled to understand the continual need for training as additional products or solutions were implemented.

“What happens as soon as we [the IT department] get a new product we say: to run it we have to do the training. Always the argument [from senior management] is that we have already done a training course on BMC, so they haven’t really comprehended how much the product can do for us.”

According to Meta Group’s Enrico Camerinelli, misunderstandings between IT and business departments are not uncommon and the best way to solve them is often to bring in an outside intermediary.

“What IT managers and other business managers need to do, and what advisory companies like Meta Group have to do, is help prove the value of the solution. This is part of transforming a technical need, that comes out of the IT department from an IT investment, into something that can be understood by business people,” says the group’s senior research analyst for electronic strategies service, Europe.

Q-Tel also opted to address their teething problems with the help of Gartner Group following the completion of its first phase of its enterprise management solution.

“They actually came in for about five months and studied where Q-Tel was going wrong. Out of that came a very large report with the areas that should be reinforced and those were training, and enterprise management,” says Ali.

||**||Building blocks|~||~||~|Convincing management of the importance of enterprise management solutions is also aided by quick wins and ROI, and this has led many of the main players in the market to provide modular solutions, or as HP’s Jwaied describes them “building blocks.”

With implementations of complete management solutions taking up to two or three years to complete, most companies are opting for phased approaches. “Many enterprises start off at the point which is the most painful for them,” comments CA’s Riyaz. “In some cases that could be ensuring performance monitoring and availability, and in some cases it could be asset management and helpdesk management.”

For Al Jubail Petrochemical (KEMYA) the ‘pain’ they needed to solve in the first phase of their deployment of CA’s Unicenter solution was a helpdesk to address the needs of their end users. “We started with the helpdesk as this was our main requirement because we were [undergoing] a major expansion, and we needed to be able to cope with the daily end user problem-solving and trouble shooting,” explains Mansour Al Natter, systems manager for KEMYA.

Q-Tel placed event management as its top priority and short-term aim for the initial phase of its implementation of BMC’s Patrol. Monitoring and identifying potential backup of data and server downtime was also a key objective, and according to Ali, this has proved a success.

“I think the big factor is to do it [implementation of enterprise management solutions] in manageable chunks. These are our success factors, lets get this sorted and working and identify what the business wants to achieve, and move on to the next,” comments Peck. “But you have to have the overall plan in place as well.”

The modular approach enables enterprises to make quick returns, solve their most immediate problems and gain a greater knowledge of their enterprise. Ultimately, however, the vendors are keen to stress the big picture and the benefits of a total management solution. The ‘total solution’ is exactly the market that IBM Tivoli is aiming for, with what the vendor’s presales manager, James Buckett, describes as its “big bang” strategy.

For Tivoli, targeting the complete solution doesn’t necessarily negate implementing solutions in phases or chasing quick wins, but it is a case of ‘all or nothing’ when it comes to choosing Tivoli.

“There are only X number of companies that can afford this, and its usually your financial institutions, government institutions,” says Buckett, Tivoli’s presales manager for SWG & CEMA. “We have six accounts picked out that we are going to go after, and bluntly put those are actually the only accounts that we are interested in from a total solution view.”

When it comes down to the total solution a key factor is integration and openness of solutions. Enabling users to monitor applications or networks from an easy, single platform is essential to both vendors and customers alike.

“If a job starts on a mainframe and finishes on an NT workstation or Windows 2000 system, the person who is managing and controlling that one console [should be able] to restart the job at any point in time, over the network, [and] not have to worry about what system he is running on,” says BMC’s Peck.

For Q-Tel, the openness and flexibility of BMC’s Patrol solution was also a key factor in their choice, as with most cleint’s Q-Tel has its own customised or personalised requirements and applications.

Likewise for KEMYA: “We chose CA because its product gives a fully integrated enterprise management system. It’s easy-to-use and [provides] one single software to manage the entire network,” explains Al Nattar.

||**||Business benefits|~||~||~|With companies investing significant money and time when it comes to total enterprise management, the vendors are keen to provide greater and faster return on investment (ROI).

However the vendors are also keen to prove the benefits to companies can stretch beyond just a quick turnaround on investment.

“The software is basically shortening the time between discovering a problem and fixing it, and that in itself saves money,” comments BMC Software’s Peck.

Detecting and solving problems before they have a chance to impact your business is perhaps the primary objective of enterprise management solutions, and also one of the reasons why it is more difficult to persuade management of the necessity of enterprise management solutions.

Companies have adopted a reactive approach in their business strategies, there has to be a problem before they begin investing in a solution.

For Q-Tel the benefits have been clear: “Every time we have had a problem, which in the past would have been a disaster situation and brought down the server, we bring this information to the management, and say BMC has done this, and we managed to avoid a disaster,” Ali adds.

Under enterprise management, companies are forced to look beyond simply revenues, and manage more closely the cost factors and risk issues across the enterprise.

“It’s software that helps you manage your IT environment, its not software that helps contribute to your bottom line, it doesn’t help you generate any revenue, but it helps you get a grip on your IT infrastructure, so we can try and drive expenses down,” explains Tivoli’s Buckett.

Ultimately, with the business managing its environment more effectively the customer also benefits, according to Q-Tel’s head of systems support.

“They [customers] are beginning to feel [the rewards]. One of the benefits to our customers is to be able to keep the systems up and running 24 hours a day.”

Research group IDC is predicting that the enterprise system management software market will nearly double from $13.8 billion in 2000 to $24.9 billion in 2005, spurred on by e-business and the continued movement towards the Web. And while larger enterprises have already implemented, or begun implementation, of enterprise management solutions, the small-to-medium enterprises remains untouched — therefore the boom times could just be beginning.

||**||MobiNiL reaps the benefits of an OpenView|~||~||~|Undertaking the implementation of an enterprise management solution is a costly process in terms of time, labour and money, but as it nears the end of its second phase of deployment, Egypt’s MobiNiL is reaping the rewards of HP’s OpenView solution.

The GSM operator began the implemention of HP’s management solution two years ago, using HP’s ‘building block’ approach.

“The first phase included basic functions to manage the IT infrastructure,” says Hesham Rashed, IT services manager, MobiNiL. “We implemented Network Node Manager to manage all the network equipment, and ManageX to monitor the NT servers. [We also rolled out] Desktop Admin to manage users’ desktops and to provide software and hardware updates and inventories.”

For MobiNiL, the short-term aim was to get a better grip on its own IT environment and enhance its management capabilities. With this solution in place, the company has turned its attention to other issues, including Internet services and its service desk.

“Currently we are at the end of phase two, and almost 85% of the planned activities have been fulfilled in a two month timeframe,” explains Rashed. “The second has incorporated web services, IT operations, OpenView reporting services, service desk implementation and IT administration.”

Key to ensuring that the company has stayed on target and within reach of its long term goal has been careful planning and allocation of skills.

“For any enterprise to [get best from] OpenView, they have to give time to planning in order to choose the right modules that suit their business needs, assign the right skills, and dedicate enough time,” advises Rashed.

Careful planning and modular implementations have also enabled MobiNiL to speed up its deployment of solutions as well reap an increased return on investment (ROI).

Once the GSM operator has assumed complete control of its own environment it is looking to extend the benefits out to its customers. With Service Level Management in place, the GSM operator will offer enhanced customer services through increased uptime.

“By maintaining control of our environment we can increase the uptime of all services, which directly affect our customers,” explains the IT services manager. “The management of IT services to our network and operations is critical to the smooth running of MobiNiL’s business and our future growth.”

As with any large scale IT deployment, MobiNiL has encountered teething problems, but according to the company these problems were largely encountered and solved during the initial phase of implementation.

Problems of integration have also been avoided with the choice of OpenView, says Rashed.

As HP’s Anas Jwaied, regional sales manager, software sales organisation, Middle East & North Africa, explains, “OpenView is an open platform software, more than half our solutions run on non-HP platforms. OpenView can run on HP-Unix, Sun’s Solaris and Windows, with all the same functionality.”

This openness has enabled MobiNiL to integrate platforms including IBM servers and storage solutions with backup applications from the likes of Veritas during the current deployment.

With the final phase of the OpenView project due for completion in April next year, Rashed has no qualms about recommending enterprise management solutions. Not only will they “optimise your management of the IT infrastructure and systems,” but they will also “align it with your strategic business goals.”

Rashed concludes that “the cost is too high as a project, but is actually too cheap if you have an uninterrupted service.”

||**||Qatar Telecom patrols event management|~||~||~| Event management was the initial aim for Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel) when it began its implementation of BMC Software’s Patrol solution last year. According to Mustafa Ali, head of systems support, operations department, IT at Q-Tel, the telco was ‘fighting fires’ when it came to identifying and managing problems, with internal efficiencies as well as customer service suffering as a result.

“Before [implementation of BMC Patrol] problems were reported by customers that would say ‘I can’t log onto the system’, and we would investigate and find that the server had crashed,” explains Ali. “Now we can monitor the systems, and find out before the event even takes place — we have become more proactive.”

Although it has only completed the initial phase of deployment, Q-Tel is already reaping cost, labour and time benefits from the event management solution. The telco is able to take preventative measures to address any potential problems. It has also been able to gain a greater picture of just how well its machines are configured.

“When I arrived there was no performance tool. Now that we have introduced all these tools we are getting a picture of exactly how well or how badly the machines are configured, and how well they are maintained by the systems and database administrators,” explains Ali.

With the implementation of an event management solution taking only three months at the end of last year, Q-Tel is looking to begin deployment of the final two phases of the enterprise management solution, which it expects to complete by the end of next year.

With the next stages of the project Q-Tel is looking to address everything from Internet event management, storage management, performance management and service level agreements. Q-Tel has also opted for HP’s OpenView solution to address its networking management requirements.

“We are looking at performance management on two levels, one on the database level and the other at the system level. We have been looking at various tools and this is another project we’d like to do with BMC for next year,” says Ali. “For phase three we’re looking at service level agreements (SLAs) and a helpdesk. The reason we’re delaying that part of it is because there is a separate project going on, which is reviewing the helpdesk system.”

However, Q-Tel’s deployment of an enterprise management solution hasn’t all been plain sailing. The telco has had to overcome a variety of problems, including management and training issues, as well as integration hurdles.

“The teething problems that we had were not with the products so much, partly it was due to the level of training. One of the problems in the Middle East is actually providing good quality training, [and] it’s finding time to send your people and also getting approval from management,” comments Ali.

With management and training issues gradually being overcome at Q-Tel, the openness of BMC’s solution has helped them to conquer integration issues, and this was one of the key factors in Q-Tel’s decision to opt for BMC Software.

Q-Tel’s plans to deploy the next stage of its enterprise management solution have been delayed by a World Trade Organisation initiative, which has temporarily sidelined the BMC project. But the success of the initial phase of the project has convinced Q-Tel of the importance of the long-term management solution. According to Ali, implementing the solution is not as costly as one would imagine.

“We were given about two and half million Qatari riyals, and that was for the enterprise management solution, and the internet security, but we have only spent a fraction of that — it is not as an expensive a concept as everybody makes out,” he concludes.
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