Mobile is another key market for successful IT start-ups, says Tech Columbus' Indest. If a start-up looking for funding approaches him without a mobile component that addresses the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other devices, he says, "it's just not a good prospect."
What are the good prospects? Computerworld has gathered snapshots of five start-ups that are bringing hassle-saving IT products and services to the enterprise. They run the gamut from mobile device management to database virtualization, but all are aimed at alleviating the myriad pain points, including purchasing and managing in-house infrastructure, that IT faces today. And even if you don't end up using these specific products, chances are you'll check out something similar within the next year or so.
Cloud-based IT resource tracking: Apptio
For the past few years, IT departments have been under pressure to move from being a cost center to being a service provider for the enterprise. This means tracking business units' usage of IT resources, including labor, hardware, software, power and cooling.
CIOs and other IT managers often develop bills of services using a combination of spreadsheets, business intelligence software, asset management systems and, in some cases, blind estimates, according to Apptio co-founder, president and CEO Sunny Gupta.
"IT executives are trying to manage IT without any real way to measure costs, quality of service and the actual value of IT products. They have management tools to measure individual aspects of IT -- such as the network, bandwidth and mobile devices -- but not as a holistic view," he says.
Apptio's SaaS Technology Business Management (TBM) Solution Suite promises to give IT teams and corporate executives a consolidated look at all IT investments and their associated costs, showing the financial impact of client, infrastructure and application services, says Gupta. Authorized users can input data, run reports, view data via customized dashboards, or dispatch alerts based on predefined thresholds, such as a business unit's storage usage.
IT also can create a "bill of IT" for each business unit to show its exact service consumption. Gupta says this is critical for forecasting, aligning budgets and developing an accurate chargeback program.
For instance, using the TBM, a company might realize that employees are using 10 applications that perform similar functions. By standardizing on one, it could gain significant cost efficiencies in terms of volume pricing and streamlined support. Also, the TBM offers what-if scenarios so organizations can weigh the pros and cons of granular business decisions, such as moving storage from the data center to the cloud or increasing the use of telepresence.
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