Where am I going with this? Well…I am starting to see the first lead indicators of a changing trend in the use of the ITIL® framework. And I’ll tell you why: in the ’80s and ’90s ITIL® came up from a mainframe / Datacenter centric IT delivery model and it worked really well. This type of IT infrastructure really thrived on the structure and disciplines offered by the ITIL® framework. As such, the ITIL® framework became very popular and offered lots of value to many IT organisations worldwide. It created improvements in service stability, customer satisfaction, efficiencies and as a result better value for money.
But then came the Client/Server delivery model and ITIL® moved out of the datacenter into the generic IT realm; broadening its reach into network support and application management and maintenance. IT became more visible to the average business employee through the desktop interface. The desktop was a separate ‘organism’ and so much more than the terminals we had before. There where so many more things that could go wrong; connections could break, mechanical things could stop working and software was added that made the entire system quite vulnerable to issues, problems and downright failure.
To this date I feel that many IT Professionals are still unclear on how exactly ITIL® can help them in their daily tasks of maintaining a piece of equipment, infrastructure or software application. We all know that ITIL® is good for us – that we can only benefit from structures and discipline – but when you ask the average technical IT professional they can’t tell you exactly how ITIL® will help them with their part of the job. And that’s where theory and real life differ: the books say that ITIL® touches all areas of the IT organisation, and I personally believe that this is true, but in real life there are many areas where technical expertise and ad-hoc problem solving is needed on a day-to-day basis.
And then came cloud computing…
More and more organisations are using cloud based solutions for their IT Service delivery. Storage is in the cloud, Processing capability in the cloud and through server and desktop virtualization we have basically come full circle to a scenario where IT Service delivery is handled by specialist groups and companies that manage a large Datacenter. All IT Services are consumed via thin client or Zero client appliances which look remarkably like a mobile version of the ‘old’ mainframe terminals…
Am I saying that ITIL® is no longer needed?
ITIL® is needed – probably more so than ever, and that is what I mean by the Tsunami in the title of this article. But ITIL® will retract into the dungeons of IT Service Delivery where the structure and disciplines are needed to consistently manage multi tenanted servers where the customer dependency is 1 to many. ITIL® is needed more than ever because one simple mistake or oversight will have massive implications for multiple services delivered to multiple clients and their end users. The interdependence between services becomes more important and as a result of this the need for ITIL® processes. Maybe Cloud Computing will be the saving grace for the ITIL® framework because it is clear again what the value add is of the framework and the guidance; it becomes a logical part of managing the services and because clients expect ‘always on’ IT Services the business case for ITIL® Service Management is simple. Let the experts deal with the technology while the business enjoys the experience. The tsunami happens in the datacenter and the IT groups, while the consumers of IT Services enjoy a relaxing day at the beach… an experience that matches exactly the description in the brochure based on which they purchased the service in the first place.