Supporting Your Cloud Efforts with ITIL

Most IT organizations use ITIL service management to improve their service delivery. Yet these organizations often face significant challenges with cloud computing. Cloud is a service consumption model. To succeed with cloud you need service management. This post shows how to make sure your ITIL processes are set up to aid your cloud efforts, and not hold them back.

  • Question your perceptions of ITIL, and be sure you use ITIL for its intended purpose. ITIL is a reference that describes generic service management best practices. Examine your existing ITIL implementation. With cloud, external providers do most of the work. Cloud ops teams must shift to managing services and service providers, but your teams may not be at the required level of ability. Examples of new skills include:
    • 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, 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 since the cloud service masks the underlying IT infrastructure. User transactions (synthetic or live) become the basis of monitoring.
    • Incident and Problem Management shift from leading investigations and troubleshooting to gathering information and communicating status.
    • Strategy changes from “build or buy” to “rent”, and the service portfolio requires careful attention to maximize benefits.
    • Understand that in cloud, development (dev) teams may want to release software daily or hourly. The traditional weekly or monthly change planning meeting is too slow. Existing Change and Release Management (ITIL) processes must change. IT governance, compliance, and audit must adjust to the new change management processes – this includes IT Compliance, Security, and General Computing Controls as well. Access Management has to change to accommodate shifting roles and responsibilities.
    • Familiarize yourself with the other related framework types successful ITIL implementations require such as Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI), Control Objectives for IT and Related Technologies (COBiT), SERVQUAL, Six Sigma, and project management methodologies like those from the Project Management Institute (PMI.) All require tuning to align with cloud.
    • Assess your organizational maturity and staff capability regularly. Standardized and consistent process execution is essential to realizing ITIL benefits. Manage staff resources to ensure learning and knowledge transfer. Dev quality assurance teams want to provision and configure platforms themselves in minutes and 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.
    • Launch your cloud ITIL initiative now by forming a committee chartered with documenting services in business context and terms. Next, evaluate business needs or market initiatives with customers to understand how IT service improvement can augment desired business outcomes from cloud. Develop ITIL process improvement proposals justified on expected business value from cloud computing.

Related Courses
Cloud Essentials
ITIL® Foundation

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