In 2007, SunGard sees organizationsâsmall and largeâmoving towards alignment of business and IT goals in a search for new technologies and strategies that effectively address information availability through risk mitigation; trade partner resilience and availability; virtualized technologies; and planning for people availability.
âIn the coming year, we predict that companies will be making dramatic changes in their approach to information availability by investigating technologies that address their issues with data center complexity, scale and cost,â said Patrick Doherty, executive vice president, marketing at SunGard Availability Services. âAs well, they will be looking to service providers that can help increase their buying power to better address and help ensure that their applications and data are always available and end-users are always connected.â
SunGardâs predictions draw on the companyâs experience in operating more than three million square feet of hardened, enterprise-class IT facilities, as well as interactions with customers and strategic partners. The 2007 predictions are:
- Business recovery evolves to risk mitigation. The traditional approach to business recoveryâwhere companies looked at the impact to the organization should a facility or system be inaccessibleâis shifting to a focus on the impact to business operational risk. Increasingly, disaster planning will include risk assessments that look at the interrelated roles that people, process and technology play in critical business operations. This change is leading to the creation of business intelligence tools that present a common operating picture classified by risk, making information available to a broader group of executive decision makers. These business intelligence tools will integrate with notification and communication tools and geospatial mapping to facilitate fast action in response to changing conditions.
- Trading partner networks will drive demand for business system resilience and availability. Business efficiency levels continue to improve, as supply chains extend beyond the corporate borders and include multiple partners. With supply chains progressing beyond âorder entryâ to âcollaborative forecasting,â the dependence on automated systems becomes greater. Since 2001, corporate sales have grown significantly faster than inventory levels.* This operational efficiency fuels improved profits, but all are dependent on automated systems being available continuously. Planned downtime has no place in multi-vendor global supply chains. Corporate profitability and growth are already demanding advanced recovery architectures as the foundation to enable the âInternet economy.â
- Virtualization technologies continue to propel on-demand infrastructure services. Virtualization will continue to extend to server, storage, security and network domains driving new IT-specific services that are available in a shared environment. Approaches towards an always-available IT infrastructure should include virtual resources that transparently become available when core systems move into failure mode. Because of this, many companies will experience a pendulum swing from duplicating their infrastructure and systems for redundancy, to tapping into remote âsnapshotsâ that have fast activation times. As these technologies become more pervasive, companies will begin to realize that a complete business recovery solution must also be demonstrated and documented.
- Business continuity and incident management planning will provide more comprehensive planning for âpeople availability.â Mature programs have grown to mainly support planning and responses related to technology failures and process disruptions. Increasingly, companies are recognizing that the common element in all business processes is people. Plans must take a more sophisticated approach to mitigating the risk of staff absences bringing business to a halt. Pandemic research has shown that most companies are unprepared for staff outages. Weather emergencies have demonstrated that businesses are severely impacted from staff absences that can extend over several daysâeven if the technology is still available. Continuity of operations depends at least as much on planning for staff working in flexible, often remote environments, as it depends on resilient architecture.