While IT evolved through cycles of improved capabilities, complexities and business dependency, IT Service providers started realizing and embracing the concept of IT Service Management.

 The approach of extending IT Services (in terms of facilitated business outcomes) to the business/customer, and relieving them from the complexities of the technology and operations behind it, has definitely put IT in a right track of Business-IT alignment and Integration. Various frameworks and standards like ITIL®, ISO/IEC 20000, COBIT etc has played a very crucial role in bringing the Service perspective into IT.

IT was “Infrastructure” management or “Application management” or “Operations” management. The concept of IT Service Management has shifted the mainstream focus from those underlying responsibilities and components to ‘Services’ (facilitating of business outcomes). The approach enabled the business and Customers to focus on “What” they receive in terms of outcomes from IT; rather than on “How” they were delivered.

Then the Cloud burst happened. I mean then the concept of ‘Cloud’ evolved!

The IT industry – probably deprived of using favourite technology discussions by all these “Service” talks in mainstream – grabbed it by both
hands; some even behaving as if this is one of the biggest invention after fire! Debates are all around – will frameworks like ‘ITIL’ survive such a cloud burst?

Many didn’t realize – or tend to ignore the fact that all these mainstream focus on Cloud in business circles is moving the whole Business-IT relationship a step back – to the era of “Infrastructure” management.

Cloud in ITSM
Change in ITSM with Cloud

Let us not forget the expected output of IT to business is still in the same lines as the “pre-cloud times” (!) – A facility to send emails, a business application functionality, a workflow capability, an automated information processing and so on. The “What” remains the same. Of course, the “How” is changed by Cloud – for the better, in terms of efficiency, scalability and cost-effectiveness; or at least supposed to be so.

On a lighter note, we can say – ‘CLOUD are not really beneficial to mankind and the world – but the RAIN is’!

 Having said this – the concept of Cloud is a significant development in IT. It can bring in huge advantages that can get converted into business value of IT. The complexities and challenges associated with Cloud need to be assessed and addressed. The benefits of this new way of managing IT need to be highlighted.

All these are essential; but not at the cost of shifting focus from the all-important business outcomes of IT. Hence the whole Cloud adoption will gain huge benefits by adopting ITSM best practices and standards into the complexities and capabilities of Cloud, rather than resisting or writing them off.

The post I wrote about Events and Incidents is one of the most accessed on my blog these days! It seems to show the kind of interest/confusion/lack of clarity that exists among those terminologies.

There is an interesting (but to me looks another never ending) debate going regarding Application vs Service on the ITSkeptic site.  One interesting comment made by Rob England reads like this:

"service" is used in utterly different contexts to mean utterly different things. Should I be concerned that tennis uses it for something different as well?

I really liked that not just because I really laughed reading that; but have been the point I used to always ponder with English words and their dual (and multiple) meanings.

The point is English has different usage/meaning for many words in different contexts. And many frameworks like ITIL coins even different meanings for them 😦 I pointed to this in my above mentioned post in Event vs Incident. The actual meaning/usage in ITIL is different from a common man’s usage of those words – And that can only add to the whole confusion.

So Events and Incidents means some thing in real life – and some thing different in ITIL. Even at the risk of repeating, I really wonder how many global organizations used the word ‘Incident’ for Service interruptions before ITIL came in. Then there are others:

  • Incident and Problem ( People who knows ITIL will be confused in a different way that people who are new to it, on these words)
  • Availability (of the Service/infra/system) vs  Availability of resources/capabilities (which is in fact, Capacity in ITSM/ITIL)
  • Service!

There are many examples which can create confusions for a non-IT person:

  • ‘Application’ – in IT : vs  ‘Application’ in general (Job application etc),
  • ‘Delivery’ (Just imagine an Software engineer telling her Mother-in-law that ‘I have a delivery’ today!)
  • ‘Window’ (try clicking on the Window!)
  • ‘Code’ (for a common man, it looks like some secret key!)
  • Switch (Why does a simple switch cost so much?
  • Web (A tweet from @fakeitil summarized this : which says that ‘web is down since we lost some spiders !’)

We can just go on and on… Any body want to add any interesting ones?

I am not sure who should have addressed these ? IT, ITIL ( and other frameworks) or the English (er.. I mean the language!).

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