Research Manager, Software and Hardware Support Services, IDC
The previous discussion highlighted the key potential benefits of purchasing support directly from the original hardware or software vendor to help resolve IT problems quickly – i.e. break/fix, or what IDC calls “reactive support.” While the need for reactive support will continue to be important in support, recent IDC research shows that most IT organizations are finding that reactive support alone is not enough to manage their complex technology landscapes. More and more, CIOs and IT managers need support providers who can help prevent IT problems from damaging critical business systems. Whether it’s reducing true system down situations, or avoiding performance degradations that slow users to a crawl, IT organizations need the assurance that business leaders can do their jobs 24/7/365.
To accomplish this, IT organizations are expanding their use of advanced predictive and preventive support capabilities across their environments. These capabilities are typically a complex mix of tools, utilities, online websites and IT process improvements that can immediately and dramatically reduce system down issues and performance issues across the IT landscape. In addition, advanced preventive and predictive support is expanding quickly with recent advancements in artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and machine learning. IDC expects that advancements like expanded self-healing and automated problem diagnosis and resolution will become table-stakes for support in the next 5 to 7 years.
As more business leaders demand top performance from their IT organizations, often through extreme service level agreements, adopting preventive and predictive support technology is vital. These advanced tools are a key first step to reducing risk and improving resiliency across the IT landscape. However, for most hardware and software deployments, preventive and predictive support is best performed via deep integration with the underlying technologies. Bolt-on tools and piecemeal utilities alone are not as effective as functionality integrated into the hardware and software itself. By purchasing support directly from the original vendors, IT organizations will have access to advanced preventive and predictive support technologies and capabilities – and can take advantage of the many potential benefits they can provide.
When considering support providers for preventive and predictive support, IDC recommends making sure their support capabilities include the following:
Ongoing access to the latest updates and patches for software and firmware, a critical component to reducing risk and maintaining the overall health and security of IT systems
Advanced tools for preventive support measures that are integrated directly into the hardware and software, with protected IP that can solve problems before they affect critical technology
Pairing predictive and preventive support with remote services delivery when problems do occur, which can help ensure faster identification and resolution
Ongoing updates to these predictive and preventive support tools, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve problem identification and resolutionIDC also recommends looking for support from vendors with a demonstrated history of significant ongoing investment in support technologies and capabilities over time, introducing new deliverables on a regular basis. As technology landscapes continue to change very rapidly, having the assurance of the latest innovations in support functionality is an important part of a secure risk-avoidance strategy.
Elaina Stergiades is the Research Manager for IDC's Software Support Services program. In this position, she provides insight and analysis of industry trends and market strategies for software vendors supporting applications, development environment and systems software. Elaina is also responsible for research, writing and program development of the software support services market.
Prior to joining IDC, Elaina spent 10 years in the software and web design industries. As a quality assurance engineer at Parametric Technology and Weather Services International (WSI), she led testing efforts for new applications and worked closely with customers to design and implement new functionality. Elaina also worked in product marketing at WSI, directing an initiative to launch a new weather crawl system. More recently, she was a project manager at Catalyst online. At Catalyst, Elaina was responsible for managing client search marketing campaigns targeting increased website traffic, revenue and top search engine rankings.
Elaina has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Babson College.