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The 16th participant is ITQSM

ITQSM - Information Technology Quality Service Management, is focused on the practical application of specific areas of IT best practice management. A key area of our undertaking is described in ITIL terms as configuration management. At a high level, it is the practice of mapping services to dispersed infrastructure to measure end-to-end cost, availability, risk exposure, service availability and general governance factors. Also on offer is the delivery of IT Training courses covering these management aspects as well a substantial offering of courses dealing with Open Source Software in the enterprise environment.

Started by Brendan Martin, in early 2008, it is the culmination of several years of work under the Open Source Banner of hosts several open-source VM guests running a variety of asset and configuration management tools as well as providing downloads references to VM guests covering other areas of IT management.

Let us explore a bit further on different facets of Brendan’s venture ITQSM:

How long it took before it was up and running?
A. It taken about 3 years to get to this stage, although there was never exactly where things were going to end up. The concept of ITQSM has grown from collective years of experience in the IT Consultancy market and the understanding developed over the past few years with Mainly servicing government departments in Canberra as well as engagements in the banking, telco and other corporate sectors, the need was recognised to provide both software and services within this market segment without requiring a client to undertake lengthy engagements with the larger global vendors.

Q. What stage of your start-up is, stealth mode, beta mode or fully functional?
A. Would have to rate operations at Stealth Mode at this stage, however, we will be actively marketing the offerings as of 1st March 08. ITQSM has partnered with a UK-based organisation Square Mile Systems to bring this overall offering to the Asia Pacific market. This strategic partnership draws upon an offering of commercially scalable software, extensive training course material, as well resources with many years of experience in delivering consultancy services in this segment.

Q. What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
A. The main objective is to promote practical IT best practice management concepts across various scales of organisations.

Q. What services it provides for consumer or customers?
A. ITQSM has 3 key areas of service.
  • Firstly conducting direct consulting with organisations to assist them with resolving problems with the management of their infrastructure. This can range from license management strategies to mapping of services against infrastructure components or setup of network scanning tools.
  • Secondly, We offer several ranges of software solutions both commercial and open source.
  • Thirdly, we deliver a variety of training courses to introduce some of these concepts. Courses include service mapping, data centre management, open source software in the enterprise, starting an enterprise open source program of works, advanced application debugging for Microsoft environments, etc.
Q. What is unique about your venture?
A. ITQSM has identified a large gap in the market in terms of offering organisations the opportunity to target specific problem areas or to train their own staff on how best to approach a range of IT management issues without having to procure software tools. Software for this segment is not unique, however, this market is dominated by large global software companies such as HP, BMC, & Altiris. Much of the software in the marketplace provides a proprietary view of an organisation’s IT environment. ITQSM’s software offerings will integrate with many of the leading packages in the market.

Q. What market segment verticals you are targeting?
A. The target market for ITQSM in the commercial software space is the Financial Enterprise sector where a strong risk management approach must be applied to the change and the provision of IT services, but the full range of services suits organisations of all sizes in all market segments who are striving towards maturing their IT management practices. The territory extends to the greater Asia Pacific region.

Q. What type of customers you are targeting?
A. ITQSM is targeting organisations that are striving towards maturing their IT management practices.

Q. What age group of people will benefit most?
A. ITQSM is targeting a commercial market segment rather than a demographic age group.

Q. How many users are using your services?
A. A variety of organisations in Europe and the United States are utilising the commercial software offerings and Squaremile Systems UK is very active in providing specialised training for the European market. Currently, ITQSM is yet to commence commercial operations. (expected March 2008).

Q. What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
A. The marketing approach is to follow the model of Square Mile Systems UK, in so far that we will be hosting a series of seminars in the major cities in the region. Planned to commence 2nd quarter 2008 and will start with Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. Invitations will be via our mailing list. Also networking through industry-recognised “service management” channels. Marketing for such a focused offering is proving challenging.

Q. How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
A. ITQSM does not have anything in place at this stage other than web stats and email forms to register interest from its website.

Q. What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is there any new model, which is being tried?
A. ITQSM will operate under a standard revenue model.

Q. Which are the main competitors or major players in this market segment?
A. Large global software companies such as HP, BMC, & Altiris, specialize in service desk offerings or network-based asset management.

Q. What are the main technologies used behind this start-up?
A. Software utilized in the solutions ranges from a Microsoft operating system and MS SQL server to open source monitoring systems, asset management systems, content management systems, Open DB’s and open source operating systems.

Q. What has been the easiest to use, out of the box and most helpful technology?
A. Vmware and various Linux LAMP builds (Linux, Apache, Mysql, PHP, Perl)

Q. Are you using a lot of open-source tool sets for this?
A. A substantial amount of Open-source software is utilized where required or applicable

Q. What is your operating environment (operating system) and what type of database you are using?
A. MS Windows 2003 Server SQL 2005, Ubuntu Server and Mysql

Q. How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up. Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
A. This is a very specialized area of IT management. I get to catch up personally about every 6 months with someone whom I regard as working in a similar space. I chat at least weekly in what is a global community of subject matter experts.

Q. How much money is needed upfront to start a venture?
A. ITQSM has grown from a model where no capital input was raised; however, the accrued cost of the subject matter expertise and research time devoted over the past few years is substantial, to say the least. Financial input is dependent upon many factors. ITQSM is a little too specialized to leverage many of these aspects.

Q. What are the main barriers in general for people start their venture in Australia
A. Some of the primary barriers that will be faced by people wanting to start up a new venture is that there are only limited paths regardless of the offering of the startup. That is, one needs to either provide funding or the expertise themselves long before anyone else is interested in providing operating capital, if at all. Be prepared to work long hard hours for many years. What happens in this area will dictate how much money you will require to get your venture off the ground.

Q. What are your thoughts on the future trends of your service and the market segment you are in?
A. Interest in the market segment is definitely growing and that is evident from feedback gained from, and what is happening in the European market. The Asia Pacific market is gaining momentum in terms of striving for mature service management processes.

Q. Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
A. One piece of advice is to ensure you are following something you believe will truly benefit others, don’t just do it because you think you can make money out of it. There will be times when your resolve will be tested. Don’t be afraid to ditch an idea or an approach.

Thanks, Brendan for sharing your thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you in future on the progress of ITQSM. All the best for ITQSM and the competition in this carnival.


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