Expert Speak

Only Cloud Can Deliver ITSM Nirvana


By Anindo Sengupta, Chief Delivery Officer, Minjar

The emergence of Cloud technologies has been a paradigm shift that is disrupting how Information Technology is used in business and impacts IT operations on a day to day basis. Cloud adoption brings in agility and responsiveness as an inherent expectation from any IT service delivered. However, historically businesses have seen IT to be inflexible and not aligned to the speed required by business.

At the core has been the debate around the benefits or challenges of ITSM-based operations that a significant number of Enterprise IT teams have adopted over the years.

However, in this post I offer a completely contrarian view on the relationship between Cloud and ITSM. If we were to abstract the technology behind Cloud and question as a consumer, what does Cloud really mean to them? The answer can be summarized into 4E’s:

Ease of Use
Everything as a Service

Given this context, let’s now take a relook at the definitions of Service and Service Management:

A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.

Service management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.

If Cloud is all about delivering exceptional service and ITIL is all about good practices to manage service lifecycles, why is there an assumed lack of compatibility between the two?

The answer is simple: ITIL’s philosophy has NOT been adopted fully till date. ITIL has been successful only in the IT operations realm and even today has not found proponents in the application realm of IT.

This limited adoption doesn’t mean that ITIL doesn’t include these components in its framework.

Also the philosophy articulated in ITIL V3 is of a complete service lifecycle approach. Enterprise implementations have stayed focused on Service Transition and Service Operations in the IT Infrastructure Operations domain and not yet espoused the spirit behind Service Strategy and Design components of ITSM.

Also to make adoption successful, too much rigidity has been brought in some aspects; which was not really envisioned. I quote Sharon Taylor, Chief Architect, ITIL Service Management Practices
““…The philosophy of ITIL is: good practice structures with room for self-optimization…
…Instead of rigid frameworks, preventing graceful adaptation under changing conditions, there remains room for self-optimization.””

Given this history and current state of affairs in Enterprise IT, I am convinced that Only Cloud Can Deliver ITSM Nirvana. The reasons for the same are:

Cloud removes the focus and need from IT Infrastructure to the “Workload” on the Cloud and the “Service” it delivers.

Cloud takes time away from worrying about IT infrastructure operations which are delivered as a service and that time can then be dedicated to service strategy and design.

Cloud forces focus and attention on overall application stack and eliminates a fragmented – Application/ Infrastructure/ Data based division of IT

Cloud hence truly allows focus on business services and need to define business service utility and warranty as envisioned in ITSM.

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