Cloud Adoption Requires Changes in IT – Including Your ITIL Processes

By definition, cloud provisioning is an on-demand, self-service, elastic, and measured (pay as you go) service. Cloud is much more flexible than traditional IT. This means that if you want the benefits of cloud — cost reductions, increased speed to market, and innovation — you must change your IT timescales and processes dramatically.

Cloud changes the nature of the work IT Operations (Ops) does. Non-cloud Ops focuses mostly on managing components, and most organizations struggle just to manage components and systems. Cloud IT Ops must manage services.

Organizations using ITIL have an awareness of services. However, non-cloud ITIL aligns with a slower pace and volume. It’s optimized for managing components and systems. ITIL for cloud requires service reliability vs. component availability —that’s a major shift for IT and ITIL processes.

For example, in cloud, Development (Dev) teams may want to release software daily or hourly. The traditional seven to ten days to approve a change request is simply too times too slow. Change Management must change. IT governance, compliance, and audit must adjust to the new change management processes. Access Management has to change to accommodate shifting roles and responsibilities.

Dev quality assurance teams want to provision and configure platforms themselves in minutes several times a day. The common “sixteen to eighteen weeks” for new platforms simply isn’t an option. Provisioning, request fulfillment, and traditional Ops must change. In some cases traditional roles go away or transition to Dev.

With cloud, external providers do most of the work. Service Level and Supplier Management transform from “nice to have” to “absolutely must have.” Capacity Management takes on an entirely new meaning too — shifting from component (long lead time) to service (near real-time.) In addition, with cloud, removing excess capacity is a critical success factor. Traditional IT has little or no skill in making sure excess capacity goes away quickly. Event Management and monitoring becomes critical. Incident and Problem Management shift from leading investigations and troubleshooting to gathering information and communicating status.

In short, the setup of the ITIL processes and tools used in non-cloud IT don’t match the pace and flexibility required for using cloud effectively. It’s exactly the speed and nature of cloud that delivers its benefits and cost savings. Your ITIL processes have to change to be sure your firm gets those cost savings.

The velocity mismatches between Dev and Ops require changes to the structure of ITIL processes. Since you can’t change one IT process without affecting others, adopting ITIL for the cloud affects the entire organization.

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