Tag Archives: ITSM

We’re going to the Cloud. Do I Still Need ITSM?

Greg LinkBy Greg Link

As of this writing, Boeing Aircraft Company is demonstrating its 787 Dreamliner at the Paris Air show. After a normal takeoff roll, the aircraft jumps off the runway into what appears to be a near vertical climb to the clouds! That is impressive. Recently a different form of cloud; cloud computing – has appeared on the horizon and appears to be here to stay. Forrester expects cloud computing will increase from approximately $41 billion this year, and rise to more than $240 billion in 2020. A 600% increase in 5-years is impressive indeed. Traditional IT shops have embraced IT Service Management (ITSM) frameworks, such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®), to help them respond to dynamic business requirements. But is this framework still needed as more and more companies turn to the cloud?

What is the purpose of ITSM?

ITSM and ITIL are often used interchangeably. They are synonymous because ITIL has become the de facto or gold standard for the design, delivery and operation of quality IT services that meet the needs of customers and users. Its approach focuses on 3 major areas:

  • Using a process approach to
  • Deliver IT services rather than IT systems or applications, while
  • Stressing continual service improvement.

With the success of ITSM initiatives all across the globe there is little reason to abandon these critical practices simply due to a shift in the way storage and computing are being performed. The cloud is merely providing companies with powerful utility to meet business requirements and demand.

5 reasons why ITSM is still needed in the cloud

Your transformation to the cloud can take several paths. You can go the route of the Private Cloud where you have total control over the infrastructure and applications that will be used to do business. Another option is the Public Cloud where you contract with a provider that will host storage and computing resources. The final option is the Hybrid Cloud – combination of the two – that allows companies to meet seasonal or growing demand. Any path chosen will still require the basics covered in ITIL.

1) Service Strategy

Service strategy helps in understanding the market and customer needs to create a vision of the services needed to meet business objectives. In this phase we look at things like Financial Management. The cloud is best served when costs and fees are known and predictable. This segment also looks at Demand Management. This discipline proactively manages the dynamics of how the service will be governed from a resource perspective. Both of these are critical to success in the cloud.

5) Service Design

Service Design is the practice of taking a holistic approach to end-to-end service design while considering such things as people, process, technology and vendor relationships. Processes within this phase that are critical with the cloud are:

  • Service Level Management – setting and keeping service targets
  • Supplier Management – this is essential if you are considering going into the Public Cloud as the vendor you choose will be responsible for the delivery of your services.
  • Service Continuity Management – what is the backup plan and if needed, the recovery plan to resume business services should there be a disruption?
  • Capacity and Availability Management – will resources be available and in quantities needed to meet the business requirements in a cost effective manner?

3) Service Transition

Service Transition assists in getting a service into production with processes such as:

  • Transition Planning and Support – planning and coordination of resources in ensure your IT service is market ready.
  • Evaluation – does the service perform and do what it is supposed to do (warranty and utility)?
  • Knowledge Management – make sure that people have the information they need, in whatever capacity, to support the service.
  • Change Management – Private cloud users will follow existing process, however a well coordinated change management process will be needed for Public and Hybrid cloud users. Your vendor’s changes may affect your application in unwanted ways. Additionally, if the cloud is to be used for provisioning servers and environments, the Change Management should be optimized for agility and repeatability.

4) Service Operation

Service Operation manages how a company balances areas in consistency and responsiveness. Processes important when considering deployment to a cloud environment are:

  • Incident Management – where do cloud users turn to when things don’t go as they should and how is that managed?
  • Access Management – the method by which only authorized users are allowed access to use the application and other resources used in the delivery of services.

5) Continual Service Improvement 

  • Now that you’ve deployed to the cloud, how are customers reacting to your service? Is the service meeting their needs? Is it fast enough clear enough, secure enough…?

IT Service Management principles will help guide you into a successful cloud experience with ease and confidence.  Luckily, you’re not alone.  VMware professional services are not only experts in cloud innovation, we have ITIL Experts on staff who can help you ensure ITSM best practices are applied throughout your operating model.

Greg Link is a Transformation Consultant based in Las Vegas, NV

How Does Change Management Change with ITaaS?

LinkGregBy 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.