Retriever Consulting Blog

The Role of IT Service Management in the Cloud

Christian Carlson - Friday, October 19, 2012



The move to cloud based services and the potential for multiple cloud service providers opens up an opportunity for organizations to be more diligent in applying IT Service Management practices and principles across the service lifecycle. Areas that are often underdeveloped, such as financial management, service portfolio management, and supplier management, can be more completely defined by the organization and managed with greater vigor. 

Governance takes on a much greater role, as cloud computing exposes a direct linkage between the IT investment and the business value provided and the associated risk. These require a different approach to service level management and risk management. Service level management can be more direcly tied to the actual service an end-user receives and must be part of the input to the financial management process.

Organizations will play multiple roles in the cloud service lifecycle and must prepare their IT Service Management personnel, processes, and tools to support the varied roles. Consuming a SaaS offering does not relieve an organization of the responsibilities for ITSM. NIST has defined 5 actors in cloud computing: consumer, provider, broker, auditor, and carrier. Agencies should be prepared to support the IT Service Lifecycle for each of these roles as they relate to their cloud strategy. There will be an opportunity for agencies to specialize in certain roles, say as an auditor of a SaaS offering under the oversight of the agency (e.g. OMB as an auditor of salesforce.com).

IT Service management professionals will be impacted as well by the usage of cloud computing. Program and project management become even more important as you move more critical services to this model. Financial management is an area where more resources will likely be needed. Part of the promise of cloud computing is the reduction in physical resources managed and the ability to reallocate personnel from basic systems management in service operation to more value added work in service design.

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