How To Develop ITSM Cloud Strategies – Part 2 (Part 1)
You Want What? When?
IT directors are justified in being skeptical of a typical business user’s ability to make appropriate technical choices. But, as scary as allowing business users to request technical services on their own might be, a scarier thought is the world of “shadow IT” that enterprising users have found outside the firewall that surrounds your secure and protected IT environment.
You have to know by now that turning the tide back on the consumerization of IT (bring-your-own-device) trend is not an option. A comprehensive service catalog can get you out ahead of your users in this regard. By providing the services users need in your service catalog, you can provide automation, workflow and orchestration and establish an approvals process that is consistent with your IT strategy. Orchestration could involve getting technologists involved as needed to make the right choices and ensure that their request fits your IT strategy. By giving users what they need in your managed IT environment, you keep them from going off and doing something risky with your data on the Internet.
You don’t have to be afraid of not knowing how to implement an ITSM strategy. There are many sources of proven best practices you can use to build one of your own. The two primary sources are Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) which focuses on aligning the needs of the business with IT services, and Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) which has been described as the ITIL of governance and cost management.
The most common place to start implementing an ITSM strategy is with the these three ITIL best practices:
- Incident Management, including help desk best practices to categorize issues and automate the workflow to resolve them.
- Problem Management, including processes for pattern analysis that will help you minimize the impact of problems.
- Change Management, to ensure that you have and can manage standards and procedures for making changes and supporting your end users.
These three best practices are a great place to start, but, a poor place to stop. Thinking you are done at this point would be similar to having the architectural blueprints and material to build a castle and then stopping after the foundation is completed. There are many layers of interdependent functions that need to be implemented to address the full scope of a comprehensive ITSM strategy.
I should add that the most common pitfall that organizations make is trying to design and implement their own unique ITSM processes. There are many established processes available that you can adapt to your specific requirements. It is not necessary to re-invent all those wheels.
Do I Know You?
Just as IT pros have misgivings about their business users’ ability to make appropriate technology choices, business users, in turn, are skeptical that IT is actually on their side. Many surveys have indicated that IT departments often simply do not know how to apply technical innovation to accomplish business objectives. It’s not in their traditional skill set. That’s going to have to change.
A key part of ITSM is enabling communication between IT and business, and IT needs to take the lead on this process. One way to do that is by training or hiring a business strategist – part technologist part business analyst – who possesses enough technical knowledge to work well with developers and bring business knowledge to IT projects. This is a new role for IT. It is not necessarily the CIO’s role to be the business analyst. It is the CIO’s role, however, to make sure that someone is working as a liaison between business and technology. As we move increasingly toward what’s being called a “service defined enterprise” (SDE), business leaders are going to participate increasingly in technology decisions. IT needs to anticipate business needs or risk getting run over or sidelined by the trend.
The Road Ahead
Many IT environments evolved over the years in response to the dictates of circumstance and short-term crises. Most IT organizations still spend more than 70 percent of the resources keeping the lights blinking and putting out fires. That’s not going to be good enough in the future. An effective ITSM strategy is the only way to know that the decisions you make this week aren’t going to lead to the next train wreck six months from now.
We are on the threshold of the day when the IT infrastructure can respond dynamically to change according to processes and parameters spelled out in advance in an effective ITSM strategy. As the pace of business and IT races faster and faster, the businesses that succeed are going to be those that use ITSM best practices to ensure that business and technology are pulling together in the same direction. Without an effective ITSM strategy in place, circumstance will continue to make your decisions for you.
By Mike Alley,
Mike Alley is the resident evangelist at Logicalis for ITSM solutions and has nearly 30 years of experience in the technology industry. Mike joined Logicalis in 2006 through the acquisition of Carotek, a top HP partner in the Southeast. Prior to Carotek, Mike worked as a consulting manager at HP. He began his career as a hardware design engineer and software developer at Martin Marietta Energy Systems.
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