Outsourcing and the virtualisation boom

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The NOA predicted that 2009 will be the year that virtualisation bursts into the outsourcing industry.

Top business/technology insight company, Gartner, has added further confirmation that this will be the year that virtualisation booms as its recent research predicts that virtualisation will grow by 55 percent over 2009. Europe is leading the way in adopting virtualised technologies with Gartner figures showing that the UK, Germany and France represent 89 percent of the total EMEA virtualisation revenue.

So, what doe these figures mean for the outsourcing industry? Have the major suppliers kept a finger on the pulse and adapted they in which they work?

Virtualisation could actually act as a catalyst for new outsourcing contracts. If a company operates on a virtualised platform then their IT admin can easily be outsourced. Simply backup the virtual servers, and pass them onto a competent service provider.

This will have vendors rubbing their hands together and we may see a decrease in initial setup costs, if virtualised platforms are so easy to move about why should there be a hefty setup price tag?

This doesn’t just fall into the realms of ITO. BPO providers will also be able to work off a virtualised system much easier than on a proprietary client server based network.

For example, payroll providers could just upload their tailored application onto the virtual server and then start working away, the data should be already there so transition times are heavily reduced.

Suppliers are more than aware of the benefits that virtualisation provides to their industry. As a result we will see many suppliers offer virtualised platforms to new clients as standard.

The likes of HCL, Infosys and Wipro are already incorporating virtual technology into their new and existing outsourcing contracts, it is a certainty that all suppliers will follow suit, we may even find small virtual specialist service providers taking on bigger contracts and standing toe-to-toe with the big players.

This all sounds fantastic and I am sure that there are end users very keen on switching to virtual technology. However, there are key issues that users must take into account when considering going virtual.

Outsourcing is never a simple matter. End users still need to follow best practice and develop thorough contracts and schedules and within these, outline SLAs, roles and responsibilities, transition plans and disaster recovery.

Security issues also need to be addressed. Internal IT security protocol has to be replicated or even stepped up when choosing a supplier. There is continuous and growing concern about data security, especially in this modern age of social networking and cloud computing.

Organisations using a supplier to provide their virtual platform must realise that the vendor will probably have access to all their data as possibly other clients might have too. Is this right?

End users must ensure that the supplier they choose has rigorous data control procedures in place. Setting strict SLAs and outlining exactly what security measures are expected of the supplier, will go a long way to preventing a serious data breach.

The growth in virtualisation is inevitable. The outsourcing industry is certainly ready and probably eagerly anticipating this growth. However, with these virtual platforms comes added responsibility.

Suppliers will have even more access to client’s core systems, it is therefore imperative that a thorough procurement process is undertaken and that the right supplier is found for the virtual job.