ITIL Implications In a Cloud World

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As documented in my previous posts – IT Service Management as-a-Service and ITSM and Cloud, an IT faceoff – the development of a consistent view of service management in a Cloud environment using the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework itself can be utilized. However, this application will develop gaps that must be documented and resolved in order to provide seamless true IT Service Management delivery.

In this post I will review how these frameworks can be adjusted and applied to the Service Operations and Service Improvement phases of ITIL.

Service Operations

When operationalized, the customer is now engaged in the services as defined and published. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) should be monitored and tracked to ensure agreed to levels are in place and the services are performing per the business requirements. Incident management, problem management, event management and request management are essential components that must be implemented in this phase. Changes, additions or deletions of services or parts of services being delivered can be addressed in this phase as well.

When the IT department implements the catalog and applies the same catalog to new services provided in the cloud, have they thought through and defined how incidents will be tracked and reported? Where are the integration points between cloud hosts and providers and the IT department? What elements are reported and which ones are addressed without notification or reporting as a part of the service provided? Where is the master service manager and where does this responsibility lie?

If these components have not been addressed there will be an ITSM catastrophic breakdown.

Service Improvements

The new values provided are used to design improvements to the services, add new services then engage those new series as in the previous phases. Services in cloud are rapidly changing. Price points, specialized infrastructure, delivery, applications are all changing at a rapid rate. An IT organization can fit these changes into ITIL but again, this is not as simple as version control or traditional capacity management. These traditional roles are “baked in” to the services provided and often reside with the service provider themselves. Service improvement in cloud computing must include product road maps of vendors and providers then recalibrating road maps based on these changes.

This perhaps is the most volatile area and seasoned cloud professional services should be considered.

When cloud services are deployed in the ITIL framework essential and proven tools are available to the IT professional. Develop a strategic vision, put that vision into a design, migrate those services under a set of defined processes, efficiently operate and manage those services and finally, continuously improve those services are all useful and applicable to cloud computing – with many caveats. ITIL and cloud are not a 1:1 direct fit. While ITIL can be a valuable benefit to any IT organization, those that simply try the one-size-fits-all approach when layering in cloud computing will be left disconnected. 

- Phil Thames, Sr. Director of Service Operations Center

Post Date: 4/16/2015

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