IT services at the push of a button—simple to consume but hard to deliver?

The full version of this article was co-developed with CA communications

In modern companies, IT and business processes are practically inseparable. A business transaction such as a an online banking transaction or making a mobile phone call are business services provided almost entirely through IT services. But also insurance companies, hospitals and government organizations have completely automated certain business processes, with increasingly serious consequences for IT.

As a result companies have a continuing obligation to ensure that IT expenditures and risk, don’t make their business services prohibitively expensive or unreliable. Service management, which has been promoted in the IT industry since the 1980s—primarily through the standards of ITIL, offers a possible way out. Unfortunately, the various tools developed by the IT industry to implement ITIL standards for service management are insufficient. Today’s companies have no use for tools that support individual ITIL disciplines such as service support or service level management. Instead they need an integrated approach to service management that manages business services, keeps track of the cost of these services and provides complete, uniform support.
This includes automating and warranting supply from the “IT factory” as well as advanced support functions such as support automation for a seamless user experience, knowledge management for easy access to know answers and corrective actions and a service desk for uniform collecting and reporting of information. Other key components are portfolio view of the offered services, a catalog to give users easy access to the available services, integrated IT asset management, IT governance, and complete change and release management.

Integration is key
Ideally the heart of such a suite is a Configuration Management Database (CMDB), which serves as a central repository for all IT assets, users, roles, rights and authorizations. For the most part, the CMDB is the main source of information for populating the service catalog to describe the available services in detail, explain what constitute these services from the functional perspective. It can also indicate who can access them and how much they cost.

Automation is growing in importanceThe automation of service operation and support requires that the service management suite can manage and control the corresponding functions in the IT factory, and that it do so by closely working with modern data center automation tools and with traditional system and network management systems.

Today’s requirements ask for a suite concept similar to the idea of Office and ERP suites, simplifying the expansion of functionalities as well as the implementation of the best practices and allows for continually improving processes. All this becomes possible when solutions suites allow for uniform usage, simplified licensing and take a departure from the typical heterogenous patchwork solutions of the past.

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