Is your head or technology in the clouds and are you soaring to new peaks of value delivery to the business? Or has the business simply stopped talking to you and they are off on their own implementing “shadow IT”?
One of the primary discussion points at a recent conference I attended was the move to the sourcing of applications and operations from the cloud, whether from within IT or directly consumed by the business. The CIO of a large financial organization told me he recently hired a number of programmers who were developing applications directly on to a cloud platform.
When I asked why, he cited agility, innovation, time-to-market and new market opportunities. This organization is representative of why others are embracing and leveraging the cloud, not just to reduce real costs but to minimize opportunity costs required by traditional development methodologies in getting to market.
A colleague from a Fortune 100 company told me his company is embarking on a cloud journey for reasons of agility, scalability and rapid innovation. The business has embraced the development of new applications leveraging a platform-as-a-service capability. The initial intent was to rapidly execute on business demand and transition the change to the computing environment. Initial thinking was that this would simplify all aspects of the computing environment, only to realize that the organization faced a different set of challenges as the market was moving to mobility and the traditional manner of doing business with traditional branches was declining.
I have been told repeatedly that cloud computing no longer requires service management, yet the role of IT is to ensure that the delivery of service exceeds customers’ expectations and is priced appropriately, whether the solution is on-premise, in the cloud or a hybrid.
To truly delight customers, we have to understand where cloud computing impacts the service desk and transition our customer management process accordingly.
For example, employees at the financial organization mentioned above were expected to call different service desks based on the type of service they had an issue with. Often, wrong service desks were called where employees knew nothing about the application, leading to confusion and frustration. Good practice tells us that there should be a single point of contact, regardless of the service under question or from where or by whom it is provided.
Organizations implementing effective cloud computing have done so in a manner that allows the user to consume the service seamlessly. For instance, if you initially deliver HR services internally and decide to move to a cloud provider, the users of the service should see no difference before and after the service delivery transition. As there is no impact on the service consumer, IT takes care of all the details in the background. There are no training requirements or impact on the user, which is exactly the way it should be. The same is true if the user calls the service desk for support. The service desk takes the call, logs the details and then works with the provider to ensure seamless support and focusing on service resumption.
The focus of the service desk MUST transition from support the proactive position of potentially constructing the services, but certainly of knowing how services are constructed to who is involved in the supply chain, the underpinning contracts, the escalation processes and the business priorities.
Effectively implementing cloud computing requires effective and efficient service operations. The following checklist should be considered as a starting point.
- Establish a single point of contact for the consumers of the cloud computing services.
- Ensure relationships and responsibilities between the service desk and cloud support organizations and partners documented, contracted, and understood.
- Implement tools with roles defined for the management of incidents, problems, changes and most importantly escalation.
- Identify, establish, contract and measure lifecycle ownership costs and delivery.
- Establish processes to allocate the responsibility for the escalation and resolution of major service outages, including the formation of a joint workforce if required.
- Document and automate standard request fulfillments processes, including responsibilities and accountabilities.
- Implement automated authentication processes with automated addition and, most importantly, removal of users.
- Undertake security penetration testing on a regular basis.
- Implement automated management processes to recognize, register, and initiate appropriate actions when required.
- Establish effective supplier management, including regular reviews.
As mentioned earlier, cloud computing is here to stay. And it will allow you the opportunity to transition your service desk from simply answering the calls to adding real value to the health and value of the organization.
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