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Optimizing ITSM And Data Center Implementations, Simultaneously

By Marlin Ness and Hugh Lang A quick survey of most major IT organizations will tell you that they are experiencing IT operational issues, less than half will achieve end-to-end IT service management over the next year and most do not have defined IT processes beyond high level tasks or working instructions.
Feb 14, 2005

ITSM Watch Staff

By Marlin Ness and Hugh Lang

Many organizations are floundering when it comes to resolving their IT issues as they grapple with fundamental business requirements like providing outstanding service quality, speedy time to market for their products, and lowering total cost of ownership. Other organizations are resolving these issues by starting their implementation of IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Service Management (SM) processes.

Although these early adaptations have met with varying results, the time required to institutionalize best practice ITSM processes into an organization can often take more than 30 months and still not guarantee success.

What has become obvious over the last few years is that the implementation of a new data center can provide significant return on investment and unparalleled opportunities to dramatically cut ITIL service support and service delivery implementation times.

Well-developed, pragmatic, and executable processes and operational procedures directly influence the effectiveness and efficiency of IT operations and staff leading directly to outstanding service quality. This article will discuss considerations for implementing ITIL service support and service delivery processes during a data center implementation.

The focus is on the most favorable time to engage the ITIL processes to gain the most benefit. This first article will provide background information and introduce the technical lifecycle. Follow on articles will focus on each of the sequential steps of the technical lifecycle and relationships with ITSM processes.

As a word of warning for those not familiar with ITIL:

  • The ITIL framework does not specify how to deliver or execute. The technical lifecycle puts a framework around the implementation of ITIL and helps ensure a proper development/engineering process is used.
  • ITIL is a de facto framework and may not be appropriate to introduce all at once. The methodology discussed here provides a chronological timeframe for implementing key processes at the appropriate time.
  • Partial ITIL implementations often take 12-30 months. Implementing ITSM during the data center build allows the full set of ITSM processes to be implemented in the same time frame as the data center implementation.
  • ITIL implementations need support from management to change culture. This methodology allows ITSM processes to be integrated into operations with very high probability of complete success with less "culture" change support required.
  • It is often beneficial to assess the current state of ITIL through a maturity assessment.
  • It often takes time for IT engineering, development, and operations staff to adopt customer focused end-to-end services. This article will move this quickly along.
  • Organizations that lack the requisite skills for managing an effort of this magnitude should get qualified support from those who can demonstrate practical experience with executable, effective and efficient recommendations and implementations.
Systems Lifecycle
See the diagram below for a systems lifecycle view that starts with the business strategy and ultimately includes end-of-life for systems/products. Our focus is mainly on data center relocations or consolidations for large enterprises, but the approach applies equally to service providers, collocation hosting centers, and carrier hotels.

The IT strategy and architecture development steps of the systems lifecycle are not in scope for this article. The project management methodology is a requirement and assumed to be functional within the organization and is used to manage the data center project and the ITIL implementation.

The Technical Lifecycle
The technical lifecycle includes the major sub-process activities required to get a project product or system from conception to end-of-life. The ultimate goal of the technical lifecycle is achieving customer satisfaction. It includes both application and IT engineering components, products, and services.

The technical lifecycle process falls under the control of the project management process during project execution. One of the most accepted and respected best practices is ISO/IEC/BS 15288:2002(E), Systems engineering-System lifecycle processes and is a best practice process that is applicable to any level in the hierarchy of a system's structure. It is applicable to hardware, software, processes, procedures, and facilities.

The technical lifecycle is applicable to projects involving:

  • Networking
  • Security
  • Servers, storage, and operating systems
  • Applications, middleware, management components
  • Databases
  • PBXs, telephony, wireless, and pagers
  • Facilities
The ITIL process can be applied in all phases of the technical lifecycle and the earlier the ITIL adaptation in a technical lifecycle, the more significant the results will be. Delays in process execution beyond the technical lifecycle phases described will cause dramatic loss of efficiency and effectiveness, while early execution can save costs and improve service quality.

Benefits Realization
Many benefits are realized by implementing ITSM processes, which will allow the organization to:

  • Dramatically increase service quality
  • Significantly reduce time to market
  • Reduce total cost of ownership
  • Align service levels with strategic business objectives
  • Streamline best practices across the organization
  • Implement a complete and flexible service management solution that can grow with the organization and the customers'needs
  • Consolidate all service support and delivery processes
  • Provide consistent support to the customer
  • Increase first-call resolution and decrease escalation rates
  • Measure and benchmark performance
  • Implement a complete and flexible service management solution that can grow with the organization and the customers' needs
Future articles will start with the first step of the lifecycle and show the relationships between ITSM processes and the technical lifecycle process with appropriate ITSM process considerations and details for each step of the lifecycle.

Marlin Ness is the Enterprise Management Practice Director for Greenwich Technology Partners. He has over 24 years of practical IT architecture, engineering, and operations experience.

Hugh Lang is a London based Managing Consultant with Greenwich Technology Partners with over 20 years of hands-on experience.