DCIM: what are the complementarities with ITSM practice? (Part 7)
By Laurent Duenas, January, 29th 2014
The previous part addressed the last topics of this long article about contribution and complementarity natures of DCIM with ITSM, and reciprocally, such as Service Catalog and cost optimisation. This last part provides a conclusion that will highlight the necesssity and the benefits to make DCIM work in tandem with ITSM culture.
Evolution of Data Centers is definitively part of IT Service Strategy
Data Centers are in permanent change. Their managers build actual strategies to respond to business expectations in terms of capacity adaptation and technology update. They also integrate quality and cost optimization, as required by company targets and the market evolution.
One of the dangers of Data Center Strategic plan is to be defined on its own way, within its specific scope of work, due to the specialization of its designers. What they think being the « right solution » to carry out, could be not from a Service Management perspective. If strategies for Data Centers reveal some failure in their prediction of capacity, in their design for availability, in their process implantation to keep agility, and their unilateral cost rationalization approach, no business alignment will be achieved, and no assurance of “right solution” can be given to customers.
For instance, approaches employed to design availability and agility solutions and processes in a Data Center are often based on a “one solution fits all”. We can see in technology choices and service catalog only one proposition based on « what supports more can support less » which leads to single technology offer, single operating mode, single maintenance mode, etc. This results in a roughly adapted solution for most IT Services, but not as good as expected for high-requirements Services, and at the opposite, may be oversized and expensive for low-requirements ones. This is very far from the Service Level Packages and Service Catalog approach as recommended by ITSM state-of-the-art. Of course, it sounds logical that technology, management tooling, and supplier services, should be standardized (and rationalized) for efficiency reasons. But the “unique-perspective” resulting from this approach, - as the black-Ford-T-car in its time – creates a big gap with business expectations and may impact the company capacity to grow where business required adaptation. A customer-oriented approach giving space to diverse offering really supporting business outcomes (for diverse business lines) while industrializing the delivery to keep costs controlled, would definitively be a better approach.
The main role of ITSM is to convey this culture of alignment of means (and behavior) to the “promise” made to customers (we commonly write into SLAs). The management processes and tools found into the ITSM ecosystem (such as ITIL V3® framework) are keener to identify concrete means for alignment that just technical approaches do. IT internal views are more likely to be inspired by technical expertise, as it happens with Data Centers, even if their guys are convinced they are doing their best.
ITSM aims at building an immense Supply Chain with clear processes, practices, and meaningful repositories, which help to increase IT stakeholders’ level of mastery of the whole IT Service lifecycle. ,This Supply Chain is compound of in several ones which ones has its own specialization in one stage of the Lifecycle. DCIM tools is part of this specialization providing a strong expertise and industrialization level in the operation level of IT Service delivery.
DCIM contributes actively to the maturity of ITSM practice
The IT department is a big factory aiming at producing IT Services. The Data Center is a specific factory inside the big one. Its industrial practices – providing they are aligned on SLA agreements towards customers – make the global industrialization of the IT department and its related maturity in Service Management progress.
A lot of know-how, or code-of-practices applied in Data Centers, could belong to ITSM best practices. Up to now, no framework dedicated to Data Centers really exists in order to formalize Data Center best-practices as an equivalent to what ITIL is for ITSM practices. Without any doubt, the existence of a such framework would help and make a bounce to professionalization of Service Management at Data Center level. When this happens, it would be mandatory to make it perfectly aligned to the known ITSM frameworks (ITIL V3®, MOF®, others), or to international standards (such as ISO 20000).
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