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Delivering more than IT service management

The article below was published in the June 2017 edition of TechPro.

Many IT operations have implemented frameworks and tools to deal with service management issues in recent years. Now there is an opportunity for them to go further than automating their processes to make themselves more efficient, says Bart van Muyen of Logicalis’ IT4IT practice.

IT4IT is a vendor-neutral reference architecture for managing the business of IT. Using this approach goes beyond IT service management (ITSM), to encompass solutions for developing new software, managing IT resources, and tracking costs against the portfolio of projects, says van Muyen.

Organisations can gain real value by layering the IT4IT model on top of the capabilities of an IT service management tool, such as ServiceNow, he adds. ITSM tools that are flexible and cloud-based can be put to use supporting helpdesks, supporting change management processes, organising a configuration management database, and managing service levels around the time needed to resolve incidents.

The rich feature set of ITSM tools enable the management of most tasks in the lifecycle of an IT service, says van Muyen. He suggests a typical scenario where a company has conducted market research which identifies the need for a new application or service to the business that will enable it to win more customers, for example.

Once the budget has been approved and the project is established, software is developed and tested, then brought into operations from where it is run and monitored.

Today, many organisations manage their IT service through multiple tools, or with spreadsheets. However, this restricts their ability to correlate information, which means they often miss the ability to gain more valuable information about their IT service portfolio, van Muyen argues. Having access to this data in one place, in a unified ITSM system, could reveal important insights such as the true cost of a service and whether it adds value.

“Just imagine the value:  if organisations can see that a project costs more than the value it generates, they can make decisions whether or not to invest more in that project. It also allows organisations to become more efficient and reduce risk,” says van Muyen.

Today’s ITSM tools can integrate with third-party tools for tasks such as application monitoring. While am application like ServiceNow” won’t be the total and only solution for handling every piece of information, it can be the backbone, and then you need to integrate other specialised products with it, which can be the glue that holds it all together,” says van Muyen.

An added benefit is that having all of the data in a single platform eliminates the need to copy manual data from different sources, which reduces errors and results in better quality data.

In Ireland, sectors such as financial services and insurance are focusing heavily on service management because their businesses are heavily integrated with IT. A unified ITSM approach is ideally suited to their need for fast deployment with a rapid transition from idea to application. It also applies in less developed industries that still struggle with the basics of IT service management, says Loman McCaffrey, sales manager at Logicalis.  Already widely deployed in enterprises, ServiceNow suits any organisation with an IT team larger than 15 people, he adds. 

The IT4IT Centre of Excellence can help organisations to move to a more mature IT service management model. The centre has 150 professionals specialised in IT service management, with more than 100 ITSM-certified team members.