How can cloud and SaaS assist ITSM implementation (part 2)
- One-off or ad-hoc vs Repeatable and Accountable action: Since ITSM focuses on Process rather than Technology, the formulation of repeatable action plans for any given circumstance and the accountability that must come with it is very important. If the “mission” of each corporate department comes down to “service the customer”, then methodologies must provide for pre-designed or pre-configured procedures for any given circumstance. SaaS and the cloud can assist in the effort by providing an integrated working environment for all users, sharing of information to everyone that needs to have it and access 24/7 so that problems are tackled without time or geographical constraints. Also, assuming that SaaS is not heavily customized (a logical assumption is most cases) then procedures are well-defined and as strict as they should be, as opposed to customized software with lots of ad-hoc back-doors and probable security problems. Finally, it is not a scarce case where in-house custom-made software fails to perform adequately in the area of user accountability and error logging, while most high-end SaaS products can be expected to embed such features.
- Informal vs formal processes, best practices: In the same spirit as above, the ITSM-focused organization must have already built formal process for each case (many of them are using ISO or other standards) and try to apply best practices for each business process. In some cases, consultants have been employed to design such processes. The task can become quite difficult when the underlying software does not help. We are not strangers to the fact that many times custom software has hard-coded processes that specific users or officers have designed in the past, with little or no ability to upgrade and/or redesign. In the opposite side, we can expect a SaaS product to incorporate best practices, worked out by studying a number of different applications/business types, often designed by a team of subject matter experts. After all, SaaS vendors try to avoid by all means hard-coding less-than-perfect processes and workflows as this would mean that their product would fit a less-than-adequate number of customers. And when time comes for changes and adjustments we would expect that the extensive parametrization of a SaaS product would make things much easier; probably solving a number of problems with no coding or “change requests”.
- Focus on Operations metrics vs focus on Service Delivery: Traditional IT departments focus on managing the technology components that work inside or for the organization. When this is translated into metrics, they tend to use technology metrics such as server uptime, database maintenance windows etc. When the entire IT function shifts to ITSM, then the questions become different: Do we provide good service to internal and external customers? Are business processes adequately served/supported by the technology components? SaaS is in the same page here, since its mission is not only to “mechanize” existing business processes (or replace an old legacy system) but also assist the organization to quickly adapt its software to new business needs while avoiding investing to software customization (which is the long run will result to low ROI and high investment figures).