Breaking Down PSA for the New IT Era

Jeff Meier, CIO, Fujitsu Network Communications [TYO:6702]

A sea change is underway in the IT landscape as a whole—be it productivity applications, communication, mobility, or the practice of data migration to off-premise environments. Particularly, in the last five years, “Digital Transformation” has become the catchphrase driving enterprise decision-making. For instance, enterprise applications such as ERP and BPM were procured and deployed on-premises traditionally. What once fit the demand, no longer does—today everything has ascended to the cloud. With the emergence of a horde of peripheral applications today, organizational infrastructure is rapidly taking shape in the cloud, taking advantage of continuously evolving data sharing needs.

Another example is the emergence of smartphones and mobile devices into the enterprise context that has significantly enhanced productivity generating explosive growth in industrial and professional automation. Fujitsu, on its part, deploys a number of corporate programs such as BYOD strategy, virtual client services, managed mobile services, and more where entire turn-key solutions are provided to our employees.

When it comes to business operations, Fujitsu has gone through a major transformation through business applications such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software where our project engineers collaborate and coordinate with several external development communities around the world. Significant efforts have gone into enabling our engineers to access development platforms from long distances and share that with different units on cloud environments with enhanced Extranet security. We are channelizing our focus on bringing together engineering development groups to work on an application or product on a cloud platform that will have development engineers sitting in Richardson, Texas or Japan all the way down to India.

  ​Multiple PSA providers may promote integration but, pay attention to the key PSA platform owners to evangelize unification   

What Does a Successful PSA Initiative Take?

For quite some time now, digital disruption has been descending upon enterprises pushing them to think about growth in new ways and across multiple dimensions. However, larger corporations find it difficult to introduce a change in their processes, owing to the time-consumption that may temporarily hinder the business. In addition to that, issues may arise in the form of integration incompatibility, due to inexperienced players in the market, taking a toll on the ROI of PSA initiatives. Also, one needs to be aware of risks such as IT security risks, regulatory compliance risks, and many others that may occur while working with third-party vendors.

Further, there is a growing concern regarding the usage of open source platforms that lay red carpet to an army of cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity is huge; in that, a great deal of support is also required from the business management side. For example, the Senior VPs of engineering teams must be kept in the loop of development environments, in order to enable the IT group to work and develop in a safe and secure environment.

Tackling challenges can be a tedious job for businesses, but not if the business requirement and strategic goals are aligned tactically. I suggest there should be subject matter experts who can work together and encourage the development of automated platform. Businesses can benefit from leveraging their specific skill-sets and sharing knowledge with the other functional groups of the company as well as with people benefiting with the new solution environment. Also, those experts would be responsible for the availability of sufficient funding and other resources while working closely with the third party IT vendors.

Role of CIO in a Complex PSA Environment

A better level of communication is what it takes for a CIO to address the challenges of the present IT era—breaking it down to a more understandable vocabulary for the business community that is going to utilize professional services. The job goes beyond hiring tech people that work on-premise in a closed environment; it also includes identifying potential cloud partners who provide platforms that align with the business’ specific requirements and staying sharp in establishing agreements with partners. In a nutshell, the team led by a CIO should be an enabler of new technologies and not just a developer or some support team.

Integration Vs Unification

To sum it up, PSA software is used to standardize business processes and provide reports, insights, and control for resources and projects. With integration, one can experience more flexibility and address many issues that occur in and around the applications. For example, one can be nimble in moving or replacing a certain application with another application in the cloud or anywhere; however, unification is a much longer exercise. Multiple PSA providers may promote integration but, pay attention to the key PSA platform owners to evangelize unification—the way their suite-oriented toolsets are designed to deliver a unified user experience.

Pacing forth toward more agile and secure application deployments, many organizations are retiring their services from data centers and moving toward big cloud players. It will allow them to host engineering development environments while focusing more on actual usage and integration of business or engineering applications. In a professional service environment, application integration is a key enabler of a business performance.

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