Monday, September 4, 2017

ATMs Are IT Too!


That world of homogenous IT technology managed entirely by the internal IT organization has long disappeared.  Operations today require efficient and global management of technologically heterogeneous environments. The challenges and mistakes organizations make when tackling this important task include:
  • Operational disconnects caused by ineffective internal communications;
  • Resource contention when multiple, independently developed project plans compete;
  • Incompatible technical documentation; and
  • Inconsistent communications with vendors.
A case in point is the finance industry which has endured some rather unique pains in this area, especially when it comes to ATM Fleet Management. According to Diebold Nixdorf, a world leader in connected commerce, this problem has been caused by three major trends that have changed the nature of ATM network management.
The first, and broadest driver of these changes has been the rapid adoption of newer and more sophisticated technology. Some reports cite that in 2014, up to 95% of the world’s ATMs were running Windows XP. That year, the entire industry was basically forced to transition to Windows 7 and this was when some banks were still using OS/2!
“These more sophisticated systems, requiring updates, patches, and support in real-time, along with software and hardware that can operate nimbly in an agnostic ecosystem. And as more and more transactions are migrated to self-service terminals, the devices must advance in complexity, too.”
Security challenges, the second key trend, are also morphing daily as threats become more and more diverse. Specific problems include physical security of the cash inside the terminal, malware threats to software and the use of data skimming devices. As banks expand their self-service networks, competition around their ability to deliver greater functionality and more complex transactions within an even tighter personally identifiable information regulatory environment is daunting.
The final trend is around management and overhead. As the traditional focus of IT support groups has changed from PCs, firewalls, routers towards the administration of an extensive network of remote self-service terminals, the scope of the required core competencies has changed tremendously. These teams must now deal with multi-vendor hardware, software, security, and services. To deal with these tectonic shifts, financial institutions are now looking to partner with technology services companies.
In this strategy shift, they are looking for a provider that brings broad multi-vendor management skills and analytics-based, proactive technical support. Additional criteria for selecting a multi-vendor management partner include:
  • Global presence with the ability to provide on-site engineering support to any ATM site;
  • Demonstrated continuity of support as exhibited by an ability to dispatch the same customer engineers on most occasions;
  • Customer engineers with proven and demonstrable experience with the same type of installation and configuration;
  • Support organizations with the breadth and depth of resources necessary to deliver high-quality support with minimal service disruption; and
  • A global logistics infrastructure capable of providing the timely delivery of parts from any vendor, if required.
IBM has proven to be a major player in this space. Their ATM and branch services support provides a predictive maintenance solution that uses advanced analytics to identify potential concerns. They then work with financial organization’s IT teams to schedule proactive support services. This proactive approach ensures proper intervention before customer service is disrupted. As a proven, global provider of multi-vendor service support, IBM can be your single agnostic vendor supporting your multi-vendor ATM environment. If your team is in need of a multi-vendor support partner, consider IBM.

This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit Point B and Beyond.



Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Digital Transformation Asset Management



Today’s businesses run in the virtual world. From virtual machines to chatbots to Bitcoin, physical has become last century’s modus operandi.  Dealing with this type of change in business even has its own buzzword – Digital Transformation.  From an information technology operations point of view, this has been manifested by organizations increasingly placing applications, virtual servers, storage platforms, networks, managed services and other assets in multiple cloud environments.  Managing these virtual assets can be much more challenging than it was with traditional physical assets in your data center.  Cost management and control are also vastly different than the physical asset equivalent.  Challenges abound around tracking and evaluating cloud investments, managing their costs and increasing their efficiency.  Managers need to track cloud spending and usage, compare costs with budgets and obtain actionable insights that help set appropriate governance policies.

The cloud computing operational expenditure (OPEX) model demands a holistic management approach capable of monitoring and taking action across a heterogeneous environment.  This situation is bound to contain cloud services from multiple vendors and managed service providers.  Enterprises also need to manage services from a consumption point of view. This viewpoint looks at the service from the particular application down to the specific IT service resources involved, such as storage or a database. Key goals enterprises need to strive for to be successful in this new model include:


  • Obtaining ongoing visibility into true-life cloud inventory;
  • Viewing current and projected costs versus industry benchmarks;
  • Establishing and enforcing governance control points using financial and technical policies;
  • Receiving and proactively responding to cloud cost and operational variances and deviations;
  • Gaining operational advantages through advanced analytics and cognitive computing capabilities;
  • Simulating changes to inventory, spend goals and operational priorities before committing;
  • Managing policies through asset tagging across providers and provider services; and
  • Identifying and notifying senior managers about waste and opportunities for cost savings.
Accomplishing these goals across a hybrid IT environment will also require timely, accurate and consistent information delivery to the organizations, CIO, CFO, IT Financial Controller and IT Infrastructure and Operations Managers.  Ideally, this information would be delivered via a “single pane of glass” dashboard.

One path towards gaining these capabilities would be through the use of a cloud services brokerage
platform like IBM® Cloud Brokerage Managed Services – Cost and Asset Management. This “plug and play” service can assist in the management of spending and assets across hybrid clouds by visualizing data that provides focus on asset performance.  Through the use of predictive analytics, it can also provide insight-based recommendations that help in the prioritization of changes according to their expected level of impact.  Analytics enables an ability to recalibrate cost by comparing planned versus actual operational expenditures.  The built-in cloud service provider catalog, pricing, and matching engines can also help organizations find alternative providers more easily.  Using IBM Watson® cognitive capabilities, IBM Cloud Brokerage Managed Services – Cost and Asset Management will also highlight cloud best practices and expected results based on IBM’s rich knowledge base of cross-industry cloud transition experience.

Operating a business from a virtual IT platform is different.  That is why advanced cost and asset management skills, capabilities and tools are needed.  According to Gartner, more than US$1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud during the next five years. This makes cloud computing one of the most disruptive forces of IT spending since the early days of the digital age.  You and your organization can be ready for these tectonic changes by implementing the straightforward five-step process supported by IBM Cloud Service Brokerage capabilities:


  1. Establish governance thresholds and policies for services;
  2. Connect the advanced management platform across all cloud service accounts;
  3. Track the costs of the services, including recurring and usage-based costs;
  4. Enforce compliance on the costs and asset usage using the purpose-built cost analytics engines; and
  5. Simulate and optimize the control and compliance actions and better control your costs.



This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit IT Biz Advisor
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Game of Clouds 2017

The AWS Marketplace is growing at breakneck speed, with 40% more listings than last year! This and more insights were revealed when CloudEndure used their custom tool to quickly scan the over 6,000 products available on AWS Marketplace. The top offerings are highlighted in the image below but additional detail is available on their blog


"So whether you are a Stark, a Targaryen, or even a Lannister, the Game of Clouds map will help you attain the crown of AWS cloud computing perfection."




( This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.)




Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2017)