How to develop ITSM strategy that extends all the way to the cloud and drives business objectives as well as technology advances.
This is the first of a two part series on developing effective ITSM Cloud Strategies.
If you are like most IT organizations, you probably already have some kind of IT service management (ITSM) in place. You may have a ticketing system for incident management, maybe even the beginnings of a configuration management data base (CMDB). Your CIO might also have some cost management functions—it could be as simple as a spreadsheet he or she keeps up to date.
The good news is: you are not at square one. These are all valid pieces of ITSM. Too often, however, they are very disparate, depend on different toolsets that are not integrated, and, as a result, one hand is never really sure what the other is doing.
Basically, you’ve got the dots but not the big picture. If you want to be able to proceed along the IT transformation journey to cloud computing, you need to begin to connect the dots in some systematic way.
A Clear Vision
The first step in development of ITSM is a clear vision of where you want to go. ITSM can be your reliable GPS, but first you have to upload the data it needs to map your directions. A comprehensive ITSM strategy, as a result, needs to address:
1. IT operations and efficiencies that enable you to get the most from your current technology
2. Management functions that drive value with the organization; i.e., cost, finance and asset management.
3. Business enablement that aligns IT technology with business requirements and objectives.
I hasten to add: You don’t have to implement a comprehensive strategy all at once. In fact, defining a strategy allows you to address short-term pain points with the confidence that you are proceeding in the right long-term direction.
Once you have established a broad ITSM strategy, you need to select a toolset that offers the capabilities you will need to execute your strategy over time. Fortunately, there are many toolsets to choose from today that are comprehensive and fully integrated. Suffice to say: the days when adapting an ITSM tool meant fitting your business into the tool maker’s framework are at least a generation behind us. Toolsets have become so adaptable that they are being used in business units outside of IT as well. We recently helped a manufacturing client use ServiceNow to implement a supply chain operations application. They use it to manage their products and issues with their products the same way they would IT assets.
What Have you Done For Me Lately
A foundational component of an effective ITSM strategy is a service catalog which defines the IT services in enough detail to outline the technology and processes that are required to provide them. This, admittedly, is not a small task. In some organizations the service catalog can include upwards of 100 distinct IT services.
Describing all the services IT provides in a service catalog makes it possible to align IT services directly with the business services they support and has the additional advantage of helping IT show executive management all the valuable services IT provides the rest of the organization.
Development of a CMDB is also foundational. A CMDB allows the identification, management and tracking of the technology on which business services are built. A CMDB also allows you to determine what each service is costing you and identify the services — like service desk, select managed services, and cloud computing — that could be more efficiently handled by a qualified third party. Implementing an effective ITSM strategy, as a result, is both a requirement and an enabler of out-tasking and cloud computing. All the information a service provider needs to set up automation and orchestration parameters for a cloud solution is available in your service catalog and CMDB.
The service catalog is the primary interface between IT and business and allows business users to request specific services, everything from a new laptop, to servers and storage and a range of applications and services. Fully enabling this self-service capability is a major milestone on the IT transformation journey… Continued Part 2
My column next month will discuss how implementing ITSM empowers a closer alignment of business and technology throughout your organization.
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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