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Novell and Ubusha announce collaboration on worldwide services management framework

Novell has announced what is probably its most exciting news to date, namely the appointment of local-pioneer Ubusha Technologies to handle the development of its long-awaited services management framework. The news has worldwide significance, since the services management framework will span the entire spectrum of Novell solutions and ultimately form the basis for all of Novell's customer engagements world-wide when completed.

Before the services management framework becomes a world-wide standard however, the services management framework is being piloted in South Africa to assist partners in the assessment, recommendation, implementation and management of solutions designed to meet customers' requirements from both an IT and a business perspective.

“The management framework's roots are heavily entrenched in the ITIL and Cobit standards, so that they conform to much of the management practises and corporate governance ideals customers are striving to implement in their IT environments,” says Marius Agenbag, CEO of Ubusha Technologies.

“Our pet name for the framework is 'applied ITIL', since the five main areas of the ITIL standard describe how the IT environment is to be operated, but don't give any form of specific information on this management process,” Agenbag says. “The services management framework we are developing currently, not only conforms to the general requirements of ITIL, but gives customers best practises for the operation of their environment and specific strategies on how to keep things on track and in-production going forward.”

What differentiates the Novell/Ubusha approach from other service management frameworks in use today is the fact that it aligns IT management strategies to the core business objectives of the customer.

“This is the reason partners using this strategy as a first point of contact, meet with the customer's business heads and ascertain what those business units' strategic objectives are and what their specific targets are for the coming year. These business strategies are then matched closely to the IT strategy developed, so that any new solutions implemented and any gaps identified (and later bridged) translate to 100% business value for the customer,” Agenbag explains.

“Another way of looking at it is a complete paradigm shift in how vendors engage with their customers. Currently, vendors sell customers a solution to an IT problem. By meeting with the strategic heads from a business perspective first, the solution implemented not only fixes IT issues, but assists the specific business units in meeting their objectives,” Agenbag continues.

“South Africa is the best test bed for the management framework we could have possibly hoped for,” Agenbag says. “South African businesses are already seen as the leading adopters of ITIL and Cobit, a factor which also makes the country a leader in governance.”

Why is the development of this framework such big news however? “We're seeing broader IT governance becoming a massive focus area in South Africa, since there's a ton of investment flowing into the country and investors want to be assured that their money is being used correctly and spent in the right areas,” explains Stafford Masie, country manager for Novell South Africa.

“We have made Linux one of the main focus areas for the framework, since it is an integral part of Novell's strategy and we have a massive opportunity through the framework to give customers the assurance that Linux and Open Source Software works, is based on industry standards and is not simply coming down the road, but is already in the market and achieving success,” Masie continues.

Masie says that locally the market is ready to embrace this framework. “We are already using it to engage with customers, since many have already implemented ITIL and Cobit in their own organisations. Novell South Africa will be the starting point, with Novell EMEA adopting the framework in the coming months and Novell World-wide adopting the framework once it has proven itself in the EMEA region.

“The framework will form the chosen-way forward for all of Novell's solutions sets. This one factor will enable us to start doing business with the 'big five' consulting firms, since their business models are based on ITIL and Cobit standards,” Masie concludes.

Press Contacts: Trish Barwick; Marketing & Channel Manager; Novell SA; +2711 322-8300; tbarwick@novell.com Craig Rodney; Emerging Media Communications; +2711 83 357 3439; craig@emergingmedia.co.za

Author: Trish Barwick, Novell SA

(2004-11-20)