By stepping back and observing the true nature of IT service delivery, ITSM professionals can create harmony out of chaos. Ben Cody of Serena Software explains how to orchestrate IT majesty.
The role of IT within businesses is two-fold: first is the dirty job of keeping IT systems running and operational. This is the traditional view of IT, which means providing a service desk or help desk function. The second role is more forward looking, and involves the role that IT plays in running successful business processes. Based on this latter approach, IT Service Management (ITSM) can play a far more expansive and strategic role in the business, based on streamlining those processes that support business operations.
For companies looking at making the most of their ITSM systems, it is imperative that they look for approaches that provide them with the flexibility to orchestrate processes outside of the traditional break-fix realm. Analysing the underlying process also provides the ability to automate the hand-offs between people, assets or applications. This delivers business results faster and makes IT more efficient.
Part of this analysis will also involve looking at the business units that are central to these operations, the kind of information that they have in place and the process that weaves through them. Far too often, the ITSM system that is in place is not equipped to handle requests for services that get delivered by a business function – for instance, the HR department. This leads to manual work between HR and IT around tasks and processes. Wherever there is manual work, there is also the opportunity for mistakes or delays.
As an example of this process-based approach, consider equipping a new employee with all the IT assets that they need. HR knows what applications the new employee needs to be provided with, but the actual process of provisioning these assets is typically handled by IT. This hand-over of responsibilities can be as advanced as automated requests being routed between HR and IT, or as simple as relying on phone calls and information passed on in an ‘as-and-when’ basis. Responsibility for providing a desktop or laptop may lie with different individuals or teams, requiring more handovers. There may also be physical building access requirements to consider as well.
If things go wrong, then you could be looking at a new employee without the right tools on hand for up to a few days while everything is sorted. Looking at this whole process, orchestration can bridge the gaps between each section and then speed up handovers, either through automating them or making it easier to approve tasks. Instead of requiring amounts of manual time and effort, the new starter should get their desktop or laptop with all their necessary assets automatically prepared for when they join with minimum support overhead for IT, HR and facilities.
Orchestration is more than the automation of IT. It involves understanding the business process and the links between individuals, applications or other IT assets such as data. By treating the process as a whole and managing at this level, the business can get a much better overview of where activities are, as well as streamlining processes to provide results faster.
From an ITSM perspective, orchestration can offer more value across support processes. Rather than having separate islands of technology in place for responding to calls or providing IT assets, these can be linked together for more efficiency.
This whole approach should also be independent of the IT systems underneath it. Rather than requiring wholesale moves to new ITSM suites or ripping out tools that are already delivering value back to the business, it means looking at the workflow that exists and integrating tools together where it is required. When service desk users are happy with the tools at their disposal, it makes more sense to look at fitting these into business processes rather than going through an expensive replacement project that will impact service level agreements.
For ITSM, orchestration is about delivering better results and more efficiency back to the organisation, as well as taking the risk out of IT in the longer term. By looking at the whole, rather than the parts, it is possible to deliver a greater total amount of value back to the organisation.
Learn more about ITSM orchestration at serena.com.