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Future-in-IT-Infrastructure-Management-and-Support
Uttam Kumar Choudhary
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
India is fast emerging as the hub of Professionals who manage infrastructure of giant powerhouses to medium sized companies across the globe. The primary contributors to this phenomenon are: increasing complexity in managing enterprise environments and the pressure to keep resources highly available, a tight leash on costs for maintaining the human resources, and availability of support services round the clock.

Broad Service Divisions
Among broad divisions related to IT Infrastructure Management, the first would be system integration, which includes packaged application implementation, custom application development and integration. The second is application outsourcing, which includes support and maintenance services. The third segment is that of IT consulting, which consists strategic consulting, business process consulting and change management.

For our Engineers
People who are looking to eke out a career in IT Infrastructure Management are already on their way to making it big. The areas that are already being seen as upcoming are:
* Centralized Management of resources with remote deployment
* Infrastructure & Information Security
* Messaging Solutions
* Storage Solutions
* Solutions for High Availability of Resources
* Virtualization to reduce costs
* Critical Applications & Alert Management

Opportunities
People already pursuing their careers in this area can expect to sprint all the way to the bank and beyond, since businesses have moved onto a critical stage and companies are more than willing to shell out grand sums to have their infrastructure efficiently managed. Today almost all processes in an organization run online using applications very critical to their businesses and they very well realize the consequences of downtime.

The biggest opportunity lies in software companies like Microsoft and Oracle coming out with new versions of their critical applications, equipped with enhanced productivity and support system abilities every 3 years. This brings more opportunities to the careers in IT infrastructure Management as the companies using these solutions look to migrate from old platform to the newest ones in every 3 to 5 years. Hence, need for engineers in this area will grow with years to come.

Challenges
Indian players have also realized that unlike the software services space, the IT infrastructure management space is tough to crack as most clients are reluctant to hand over control of their networks to outsiders. Also, unlike application development, infrastructure management is a critical issue where even minutes of downtime can cripple a client’s business. While Indian vendors would clearly prefer a 100 percent offshore model as margins are better, the road ahead is tough as this is a space that has been dominated by global giants, and Indian players do not have enough reference customers currently to make a larger impact.

The ideal route would be to start with an onsite model and then move the services offshore, as is done in the software services industry. IT infrastructure management services demand the right mix of onsite and offsite models. The nature of the services involved decides this. For instance, helpdesk management and network management works well with remote management mainly because of the customer’s confidence in the same. However, most large companies may not be comfortable outsourcing their network security management needs. There is a mindset change needed here and with time things are falling at right place.

The author is Technical Specialist at Genpact IT services. He can be reached at u_choudhary@hotmail.com
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