By Gregory M. Link
As Dorothy said, “…I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” The same can be said of the changing landscape in IT departments within enterprises. IT-as-a-Service, or ITaaS, is where IT focuses on the outcomes the business needs, and functions much like a business itself, following the service provider model. IT Service Management (ITSM) tools and processes are put into place to deliver IT services with an emphasis on customer benefits. This is a prime example of the evolution taking place in corporate IT organizations around the world.
As organizations move toward an ITSM model to deliver ITaaS, they are transforming the way they work by extensively leveraging technologies such as infrastructure virtualization and the cloud, and working to break down many of the traditional IT silos of the past. Along the way, IT service management processes—such as change management—evolve as well.
Traditional models of change management called for a Request for Change (RFC) to initiate change in a given environment, each one being reviewed, evaluated, authorized and coordinated individually— typically with significant employee involvement. If an organization needed a new server for application development, they submitted an RFC and plodded through the one-size-fits-all process.
But the ITSM tactics and tools used in an ITaaS approach allow many of these types of needs to become software-defined and treated safely as service requests fulfilled via self-provisioning. Some rigor will need to take place via a standard RFC to ensure the desired controls are embedded, but this happens on the front end where policies and standards are built, to ensure safety with the new level of efficiency ITaaS brings. Once properly vetted, this type of service request becomes an orderable item in the service catalog, and fulfillment is delegated to the Request Fulfillment process.
Not only can authorized customers order servers, but they can specify the running parameters of the server for the virtual environment. Once the options are specified in the service request, it only takes the click of a mouse and the server is soon provisioned and ready for use. The era of waiting days or weeks for equipment to be ordered, configured and tested before going into service is over. Governance surrounding this new capability needs to be well thought through in consideration of security and costs.
Essentially, tactics traditionally used for business end-user requests only can be replicated inside IT, allowing IT teams like Application Development to leverage self-provisioning, thereby increasing the speed of delivering overall outcomes to the business.
Of course, new technology solutions won’t allow all changes to be delegated to self-provisioning, even when we end up in the Land of OZ. For example, if a physical server needs to be added to the environment, an RFC will still need to be generated and run through the traditional change management process.
The capabilities that enable an ITaaS approach will continue to evolve as organizations embrace this relatively new way of doing business. Using the key ITaaS-relevant technologies will allow IT to move their processes, like change management, into the future, as well as automating everything that can responsibly be automated and freeing our human resources to add the real value the business needs and expects—innovating and helping to improve the bottom line.
Gregory Link brings over 18 years of experience in IT Service Management. He has worked in both the Service Desk and ITIL implementation areas for large IT organizations. Gregory is currently a Transformation Consultant at VMware, Inc. and is a Certified Private Pilot with an Instrument rating.