Corporate IT departments and service providers like ContinuitySA alike can rely on ITIL to manage this complex new environment.
By Keolopile Kodisang, Cloud Engineer, ContinuitySA
Organisations are moving into the cloud for good reason—cost saving comes into it, but even more important is the flexibility and scalability needed to respond rapidly to a constantly shifting business environment. Today’s corporate IT estates now sprawl across a heterogeneous environment that encompasses in-house and third-party data centres, and public and private clouds.
Processes, functions, frameworks, models and ways of working which served IT well in the past are not necessarily capable of supporting this new wave of change. They need to be modified, updated and adapted to the new technologies and models which are driving the new digital agenda.
Key cloud-related challenges include governance, duplication, serviceability and availability of data.
That’s where ITIL comes in. Formerly an acronym for the IT Infrastructure Library, ITIL is a framework of best practices for delivering IT services.
Specifically, ITIL provides the framework for delivering IT services even across today’s evolving and complex hybrid cloud environments. The key here is to focus on the service and not just the underlying IT infrastructure. Ultimately, ITIL’s strong governance framework enables IT departments to act as strategic allies of the business, moving beyond their traditional focus of cost-cutting to become revenue-generating.
A key requirement is to manage the flow of data across complex cloud architectures. It’s important that organisations engage with cloud providers that can align with their governance frameworks, something that ITIL enables.
A component of cloud architecture is the way data flows in an organisation. Governance enforces the policies that organisations must comply with when using this data and therefore businesses need to look at providers that can accommodate a cloud environment that fits their individual requirements.
Thus, for example, parts of the business will want to use the cloud for different purposes—ERP as opposed to CRM, for example. ITIL and the overarching framework it provides allows the business to have its cake and eat it by enabling flexibility and responsiveness without sacrificing consistency and visibility.
By applying ITIL in their cloud environments, organisations can achieve the following important benefits:
Adaptive delivery, focusing delivering services related to a product rather than just the product itself. Retail companies, for example, have gained improved delivery responsiveness in the face of market demand fluctuations through the application of cloud capabilities
Operational excellence to optimise the production and delivery of services or products.
Product leadership by helping strategic business units improve products, innovate and rapidly commercialise new solutions. Cable companies, for instance, have gained improved product capabilities by redeploying cable content through commercial cloud solutions.
Customer intimacy by enabling long-term relationships with customers rather simply facilitating transactions.
ITIL is set to play a key role in helping IT handle the increased complexity and flexibility that comes with cloud enablement. ITIL provides the best-practice foundations on which to build and adapt the way they use the cloud; it will also ensure that IT fulfils its potential to become business’s strategic ally in a digital world.