February 2, 2017

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You have taken the “cloud first” decision. Now what?

Once you decide to maximize business value with a cloud first strategy, you must outline a roadmap geared for business outcomes, while bypassing typical organizational pitfalls. Your strategy will include the following key tenets:

  • Managing Services
  • Self Service and Catalog Driven
  • Technology as an Enabler
  • Managing Outcomes

It is essential to extend these tenets beyond technology for a successful business strategy – in this series, we take a closer look at each of them and discuss how they are connected. 

Managing Services

Let’s first define a service – it is any collection of components that deliver a business function.  It can be as simple as a payment submission service, or as complex as client onboarding, which involves multiple steps and disparate systems. 

Clearly specifying these services is a critical part of any cloud-first journey, as it determines how the organization is assessed.  It also helps identify the services that do not differentiate your business, and therefore should be treated as ‘commodity’ services – sourced from established SaaS vendors. Only the services that offer your organization a unique value-add and market advantage need to reside in a private cloud, bolstered by additional security measures.

All services include multiple components – network, servers, databases, middleware, applications and processes.  A business needs to be aware of the health/status of the service as a whole, and not the health of individual components.  Therefore it is critical to maintain processes that not only ensure service delivery, through end-to-end automation and orchestration tools, but also measure service health – spanning multiple suppliers and, potentially, multiple cloud brokers.

Service integration and management (SIAM) resolves this challenge with a service-based approach to environment operations. 

A cloud first strategy must go beyond technology – encompassing the people, processes and technologies associated with the environment, causing a cultural change across Retained IT Management. This includes Service Owners, VMO, SMO, and the entire Ecosystem, tied together by a strong governance framework. 

Each component is significant, and the organizational change required to successfully implement SIAM should not be underestimated.  A strong governance model is also crucial; IT Service Management processes must be consistent across vendors. While it is not always possible to instruct a vendor on the “how” of service delivery, they must be instructed on the “what”. Operational level agreements may also be required to assure uninterrupted service availability. 

All providers, whether internal IT departments or external suppliers, must work using a common set of processes.  They may use disparate tools, but they all must unify to form a single Service Management framework that provides consistent business visibility.

Implementing a fully integrated SIAM process can be a challenge – here are the key areas that boost your cloud first strategy and facilitate seamless enterprise consolidation:

SIAM Readiness Readiness of existing ITSM Process for SIAM Implementation. Working arrangement, hand-shake and Key Touch points within Key Partners, governance framework, supplier achievements and reward/penalty regime
Service Modelling/ Service Maps Understanding existing Service Modelling and Service Maps
CMDB Existence of unified Configuration Management Database
Multivendor Governance Model Understanding Governance Model  
SLA/OLA model Understanding of existing Service Levels and Operational Level Agreements and alignment between suppliers
Measurement & Reporting Framework Understanding existing measurement and reporting framework for Customer environment and Key Partners.
Service Desk Operating Model Understanding Service Desk Operating model (SD Type, structure, support type, Geography etc.)
Review Mechanism – Key Partners Performance Data Understand existing review mechanism for reviewing performance of Key Partners
Escalation Management Understanding existing Escalation Framework within Customer’s organization and Partner’s organization.
Dispute Management Understanding Dispute and Issue Management processes 
Key Partners Key Partners in Customer environment and role of each Partner.
Service Request Catalogue Existence of Service Request Catalogue Management
Existing SMO organization (Service Management Office), Process Roles Overview of SMO organization and role of SMO organization in Customer’s organization; Understanding existing SIAM roles in Customer’s and Key Partner’s organization
Existing Event monitoring setup Understand existing monitoring tool setup, integration capabilities along with Manager of Manager setup (if existing)

In my next blog, we look at how to create a Self Service and Catalog Driven environment that leverages these services.