Putting IT Service Management in the Cloud

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Eight Insights on the True Value of SaaS

Cloud computing and SaaS bring so much more to the table than simple outsourcing.

One of the challenges that many IT organizations have today is that their approach to managing IT is a mess. This is nobody's fault especially; it just tends to happen over time.

In fact, a good indication that maybe your approach to managing IT is outdated or sub-optimal just might be the number of tools you're using to manage the environment. After all, the tools cost money and the people needed to master them are even more expensive.

There are two basic options to consolidating this problem: You can either consolidate your management tools on premise or you can think about migrating to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach. An example of the latter approach is a new IT Service Management Software as a Service Solution (ITSM SaaS) developed by Unisys.

According to Brad Arnold, global product manager for converged remote infrastructure management for Unisys, this approach is less radical than it seems because it can wrap around your existing systems management tools. That means companies can make a more evolutionary shift to the cloud to manage their internal IT environments, he said.

In addition, IT organizations will be in a better position to manage IT resources in the cloud and on premise using a SaaS application, and no one has to incur the expense of setting up the hardware to run systems management tools.

IT organizations have a lot of attachment to the tools they use. But the fact of the matter is that frameworks such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), along with fewer actual bodies to go around, are forcing IT organizations everywhere to rethink their approach to IT management. And once you start going down that path, you might as well put all options on the table.

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Nov 16, 2010 7:00 PM Charley Rich Charley Rich  says:

Nice article.  In response to putting all options on the table, it might be good to expand this to consider how you will monitor bespoke or custom applications in a cloud environment.  If you are planning on adopting a private cloud layer over your datacenters or moving your custom applications to a public cloud, the need for application performance management / business transaction management is still important. I suspect that many firms will take an evolutionary approach to this and gradually move their customer applications to a cloud.  But as many of these applications are SOA based, it isn't necessary that all of the distributed components of a composite application go to the cloud in one move - in fact it may not be possible as some of the components may be running on your trading partner's premises.  In that case the need for real-time visibility of transactions will be of paramount importance in attempting to ensure availability and performance - especially in a hybrid model where some of the components may be in the cloud and others not.  More things to consider as we move to the cloud...

Nov 17, 2010 3:38 PM Mark Barrett Mark Barrett  says:

Yes we think that it is always good news when it comes to managing an organisation proactively i.e. by outting more IT resources into the cloud, however, having read @charley comment our thoughts reverted to the monitoring aspect as well...

Feb 23, 2011 11:18 AM The ITSMguy@bmcsoftware The ITSMguy@bmcsoftware  says:

Excellent topic.

IT departments today are faced with the challenge of maintaining their current service desk solution and at the same time extending these capabilities to handle a more comprehensive set of IT Service Management (ITSM) requirements.   Meanwhile, business sponsors, customers and partners are demanding new services and supporting infrastructure, which may exist in the form of virtual or cloud environments. This presents additional challenges for managing the extended infrastructure as well as providing a proven 'best practice approach' to maintain a complete and thorough process and to mitigate the risk associated with embracing new service paradigms.

As IT decision makers discuss these issues, several key questions can emerge;

.     Does our current service desk or ITSM solution provide us with the flexibility to manage new systems, services and assets?

.     How do we extend our current best practices approach to encompass new areas such as cloud computing and new services delivered via SaaS (software-as-a-service)?

.     Will we be able to manage all these various systems and services from 'one pane of glass'?

When organizations move to embrace services and solutions delivered via SaaS, or cloud based infrastructures they normally encounter new management challenges for those specific services such as how do we measure the technical effectiveness of the new service, how do we report the cost advantages to the business, and how do we integrate those services with data, applications, infrastructure components that are still located on premise.

And when it comes to support, how do we integrate the new SaaS / cloud solutions into our core IT service management functions such as Incident & Problem Management, Change & Release Management, Asset, Configuration and Inventory Management?   Without this integration, many organizations are concerned that they may lose the holistic 'life-cycle' control they have established and revert back to fragmented management covering only part of the IT operation.

We recently produced an article with some of our thoughts and featuring some key research from Gartner.  We hope you will enjoy these.  You can get these here; http://bit.ly/gCuBkH

For more information on our ITSM solutions please visit us at www.bmc.com/itsm.  We look forward to talking to you soon.

The ITSMguy @BMC Software


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