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RIMS – Remote Infrastructure Management Services

Saturday, December 29th, 2012
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Many used to wonder years ago, when visiting banks, how bank officials had only a monitor and keyboard in front of them but no CPU. They did not know that all the data comes from servers stored in a special server room with necessary cooling arrangements.The bigger the organization, the bigger the server room becomes, and it is called the data center. Engineers man it to keep it running efficiently, but now even this infrastructure can be managed by people stationed half way across the globe. Service providers render network services, help¬ing with desk support, server maintenance and desktop management, network moni¬toring, database administration and mail server maintenance, to name but a few of the infrastructure management services that can be performed from a network op¬erations center, or NOC, located anywhere on the map.

Nowadays infrastructure is usually man¬aged remotely, and such work is often out¬sourced where engineers do not sit in a data center of any organization to keep the infrastructure up and running. They gen¬erally work from a different building, city or from their homes if need be. Hence the same work done offshore should not pose a problem for anyone.

Remote Infrastructure Management Ser¬vices, or RIMS, allows for outsourcing IT Operations by leveraging a cloud infrastruc¬ture. The two models in which RIMS is deliv¬ered are AsaService offering and enterprise services. The open technology and business environment enabled by cloud computing have optimized RIMS delivery, which nowa¬days has come to be known as Infrastruc¬ture Management Services, or IMS.

Advantages such as low operational costs and enhanced operational systems have re¬sulted in a RIMS worldwide market size of about US$95 to $108 billion, with continu¬ing annual growth envisaged at 20 to 30 percent. The entire RIMS global market is forecast to be worth US$355 billion by 2016. Emerging markets will count for about 31 percent of the worldwide market, encom¬passing AsiaPacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe regions. Recent growth has been due to improve¬ment in offshore delivery capabilities of global IT service providers, data center transformation, and utilitybased cloud computing, along with initiatives taken to cut costs in infrastructure management.

A competitive IT business environment and the economic downturn have forced or¬ganizations to cut expenditures by avoiding purchase and maintenance of infrastruc¬ture resources internally and employing ad-ditional staff. Additionally, the fast evolving IT environment has become too complex making sure that there is an uninterrupted flow of real time information.

RIMS providers leverage Information Technology Infrastructure Library, or ITIL, frameworks for service delivery and ser¬vice support to deal with customer require¬ments. A unified solution with monitoring and management services is delivered using processes like ITIL for managing services and Cobit for governance. Service providers manage IT operations for several custom¬ers at less cost, as delivery cost is divided among several customers and amortized over a period of a decade or more. RIMS has proved beneficial to IT service providers as well. They are able to earn ex¬tra revenue by running their Network Op¬eration Centers during the night time when they are otherwise idle after a day’s work, leveraging time differences and delivering infrastructure management for customers half way across the globe.

RIMS is delivered via Remote Infrastruc¬ture Management Outsourcing (RIMO) and traditional Infrastructure Outsourcing (IO) models. The RIMO model is popular, which has resulted in rapid growth of the RIMS market. The pay perusage model for short term assignments serves the needs of most organizations.

Traditional IT service providers like IBM are feeling the heat from offshore provid¬ers. When legacy service providers like IBM are involved, the infrastructure outsourcing deal will result in the taking over of data centers, machines and even people. But off¬shore providers do not disturb the custom¬ers, only delivering required services.

RIMS Offshoring RIMS delivery will be a major source of revenue for service providers as offshore application development markets mature. Legacy U.S. and European RIMS providers also prefer offshore delivery to widen their profit margins. Previously the reliability of offshore telecom services was prohibitive for critical work, but rapid development in power and telecom sectors in most coun¬tries has helped the industry.

In spite of numerous advantages for providers and customers, RIMS may not be suitable for every type of organization. Or¬ganizations have to consider the risks and additional management overhead that they will have to pay when ‘offshoring’ proj¬ects. Application development work also increases when off shoring realtime opera-tional support, as training and governance become critical. Irrespective of cost savings, RIMS may not benefit some IT companies owing to compliance and political issues. Company heads have to analyze cost sav¬ings, optimization, transformation and ef¬ficiency factors before implementing RIMS in their organizations, advise experts.

Global RIMS Scenario

The penetration of infrastructure man¬agement services in the Asia Pacific region is not very high compared to other regions of the world. However, owing to the eco¬nomic downturn in Europe and the Ameri¬cas many companies are looking at the emerging Asia Pacific region as a lucrative market to grow their RIMS business.

Unlike with Western customers, RIMS providers have to introduce immediate changes for Asia Pacific customers. This is made possible by system integration busi¬ness. In this region RIMS is offered in a cocustomers and optimizes the mix of cost saving and control for the customer.

Offshoring infrastructure maintenance for Asia Pacific companies is not typical, as they prefer services to be delivered from local delivery centers. Customers will out¬source RIMS to vendors but prefer them to be done locally rather than remotely.

Indian companies like HCL Technologies offer managed services via delivery centers in Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia to serve companies of this region in finan¬cial services, healthcare and pharmaceuti¬cals, media, publishing and entertainment industries.

In February 2012, India’s National Asso¬ciation of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) published a report (compiled by McKinsey) which clearly stated that it was possible to offshore three quarters of all infrastructure management roles. This will help realize a US$26 billion to $28 billion revenue opportunity by 2013. Indian com¬panies can look forward to garnering 50 percent share of this revenue.

Some Indian providers are also offer¬ing infrastructure optimization consulting services, according to Gartner research analysts. They are striving to catch a wider market by offering insights into customer business and pricing models. This is way above what their western competitors will provide. Also Indian RIMS providers custom¬ize pricing elements in innovative ways for customers. The large margins that they are able to realize enable them to add unique services to their packages. Indian RIMS providers may be eyeing the assetheavy market spaces, moving from their previous assetl ight offerings. This has made the market more dynamic owing to Indian providers’ ability to deliver all ser¬vices optimally. Another lucrative market is the Mid¬dle East real estate market. With more and more IMS providers migrating from network centric operations to customer centric business, real estate players in the Middle East have opted for customized op¬erating models in outsourced managed ser¬vices. This helps them optimize endtoend customer experience with cost reductions and greater efficiency.

Future of RIMS RIMS has been an answer to companies bogged down with increased expenditures. Globalization of IT services serves as the best answer to address economic issues which were absent some years back. The availability of highly qualified support from people across the world at less than half the cost will surely act as an impetus to more work moving offshore.Business organizations are more willing to move to the cloud. Cloud computing ser¬vices, whether delivered locally or from the other side of the globe constitute remote services.Managing servers in the cloud with cus¬tomized services help customers maintain high uptime. Dayt oday IT operations and new implementations can be done with ease. ITIL based personalized cloud man¬aged services are flexible and match cus¬tomer’s internal services. The elimination of expenditures on servers and other hard¬ware and software licenses is a prime advan¬tage for RIMS customers.

 

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