06 - Operating Cloud Computing

Operating the business and day to day activities of your organization through the cloud is technically challenging. For an end user, the activities may be seamless, but a technical person has to deep dive into the computing model to make it working for the end users. There are many underlying concepts and technologies to be understood and implemented before adopting the cloud.

ITIL Framework

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Framework is a set of standards and practices devised to support the IT Service Management model. It provides the procedures, checklists, and tasks to align IT services to the needs of a business. The framework is customizable based on the business and can be used by the organizations to achieve quality services. Two IT giants using the ITIL framework are Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. Some other major users of the framework are NASA, HSBC Bank, and Disney.

The contents are organized into five volumes of books and these can be purchased by end users. These include the complete ITIL Service Lifecycle, which begins with the customer needs identification and IT requirements drivers to the monitoring and improvement of the service.

Some of the major benefits of adopting the ITIL framework are as follows:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Improved IT offerings and services
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved third party service delivery
  • Enhanced utilization of skills and experience
  • Greater customer satisfaction and advanced professional services

Additionally, there are trainings, certifications, user groups, and qualifications. These are developed in accordance with the guidance and help the organizations to achieve success and ensure that the employees also get the required ITIL knowledge, skills, and experience.

Though some say that ITIL processes and cloud operating contradict each other, in fact, ITIL processes benefit from the agility and speed of cloud computing. And in turn, cloud computing benefits from the management processes implemented using the ITIL framework.

Cloud Computing and Service Management

IT Service Management (ITSM) is said to be a superset of ITIL. It contains the service catalogs, configuration management databases, and ITIL. ITSM is the implementation and management of IT services. It is based on proven service management processes shares some ideas in common with Six Sigma, CMMI, and TQM. It concentrates primarily on providing a good framework to the IT staff and other business consumers of a business.

On a broader level, it shares some ideas with the Business Service Management and is sometimes considered as the operations architecture framework.

Since there are a lot of principles and proven practices behind ITSM, it pushes back Cloud Computing. Cloud computing is all about rapid changes and adaptability. The implementation of cloud brings about rapid changes in the environment and it helps businesses to quickly adapt to the change, thereby letting the business benefit from the change brought about. Cloud is dependent on the modern technology and infrastructure. It is disruptive and unpredictable. But when implement properly it brings about profit to business and helps achieve business goals effectively.

Change has not been easy with ITSM. It is a well-defined set which is not quickly adaptable to changes. ITSM plays a crucial role in the success of any management division and now it is undergoing changes to tackle modern challenges in the business managements. For this change to happen in ITSM, the boundaries of technology are being pushed. The reason for the change is that systems need to be intelligent enough to provide the required information to modern IT. Sometimes the focus is more on the customers of the business and the actual internal users of ITSM within the company are not focused upon. For this, a holistic approach must be provided by ITSM. The ITSM services can be in the cloud and requires cloud-aware monitoring systems for the smooth functioning.

Impact of Cloud Computing on Service Management Processes

As mentioned in the previous section, the advancement of cloud has a lot of impact on the ITSM processes. The future of ITSM processes depend on intelligent monitoring and real-time functioning. It must be adaptive enough to adjust to the rapidly changing conditions of the operating environment, based on the cloud model. ITSM must be intelligent enough to foresee issues and provide effective solutions and mitigate them without impacting the business.

Many studies suggest that cloud will soon take over ITSM. While some say that it will be a mixed world, where both cloud and ITSM would co-exist. Cloud will continue to facilitate the service and ITSM would continue to manage the service.

Both Cloud Computing and ITSM help businesses to reduce operational costs and improve the quality of service. Though many say that the two cannot co-exist and adopting cloud means the end of ITSM, there are discussions indicating otherwise. There can be a healthy co-existence provided there is some tweaking to the processes prevalent. These need to be tweaked to match the modern business environment and operations. It must be able to handle the quick changes and provide answers whenever required. Similarly, before adopting cloud, companies need to review the existing management process and ensure that it can be aligned with the requirements that will arise. Case studies must be prepared and business goals should be reviewed. These steps will ensure a healthy co-existence of ITSM and Cloud in an organization, which in turn, helps in the growth and stability of the business.

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