The ERP for IT

During an analyst briefing I had some days ago with a leading vendor in the BSM space around the role Identity Management plays for BSM (which is quite important, given the fact that all leading BSM vendors are IAM vendors and that IAM plays a significant role within ITILv3) we came to the conclusion that there is no ERP for IT. There are specific ERP solutions for Finance, Customer Relationship Management, Product Lifecycle Management, and so on. But there is nothing for IT. That automatically led to the question whether BSM might fill this gap.

The discussion also was sort of a reminder to another talk I had some months ago with the CIO of one of the German DAX companies. His vision is about an IT with clear knowledge on its costs thus being able to predict the TCO (and not only development costs or an initial investment into infrastructure) of new "Business Services" IT delivers. These services might be applications or infrastructure services. He'd like to be able to predict the cost per user, the cost per use of a specific service or whatever you want. This ability would be the basis for a factual discussion about IT services and a granular accounting and might even lead to an IT department which is sort of a business centre (like an Outsourcer) and not only a cost centre.

Both discussions are around the way IT acts, about the role of Business Service Management and, in fact, about ERP for IT. The BSM approach which is required for that type of solution will go well beyond todays infrastructure focus. BSM itself is much broader than the IT infrastructure service focus of ITIL. But for that approach it will have to include much more functionality around application and service (in the sense of web services) management, something which isn't covered that much by most BSM vendors today.

I personally believe that sort of an ERP for IT will be very interesting, proofing the fact that IT is today an important enabler for business and not just a technology department which burns money. The question is whether it will really be some of the large BSM vendors who deliver that new type of application or whether the ERP vendors will be the ones. I'll wait and see.

You might ask yourself what this has to do with IAM (Identity and Access Management), my core topic. Well, first of all IAM is not my only topic. BSM is one which becomes more and more important for KCP due to the relationship to IAM - and one I'm doing research for quite a long time now. Besides this, there is another ERP for IT thing I'm currently thinking about. May be I'd better call it EIP for "Enterprise Information Planning" but it's about enterprise control of information, the next real big step in IAM. I'll cover this in one of my next blogs.

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