Implementing Cloud Service Management Capability

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In blog #3 I described the key process, organisation and tool capabilities required for Cloud Service Management.  In this blog I’ll focus on how to implement these capabilities.

At this stage the Service Management Target Operating Model has been defined and the next step is to implement the enabling capabilities in order to transition to the new model.

As you’d expect an implementation plan, illustrating the timescales, effort and costs to transition to the target operating model is required.  However, the future operating model will introduce a step change in how the Service Management and IT Operations are undertaken for cloud services and it’s unlikely that the organisation will sign-up to a wholesale big bang.  This is due to several reasons such as budget constraints, impact on existing ways of working, bandwidth and conflict with other strategic projects.  Therefore, the pending project’s scope and deployment approach needs to be jointly discussed to ensure all these influences are considered.  To facilitate this a strawman approach, necessary for discussion needs to be prepared in advance.

Drafting a quality strawman, to illustrate the implementation effort and potential approach, requires significant effort and thought.  Key decisions will be based on the strawman so it’s important to focus on detail and have validation by experts.  A work breakdown structure listing activities, resources, effort and corresponding assumptions will be the starting point.  The next step will be to consolidate these activities into what I call “capability packages.”  Each package consists of the process, organisation and tool development activities required to provide a specific service management function.  These work packages are then grouped into themed work streams.

A recent strawman I defined, consisted of three themed streams, (i) Core Cloud Service Management Capability, (ii) Orchestrated Provisioning Capability, and (iii) Service Delivery Capability.  The Orchestrated Provisioning stream comprised of three work packages; (i) Building the Provisioning capability, (ii) Integration the Provisioning with Change and Configuration Management, and (iii) Further integration with Self-Service, Metering and Charge Back.  These work packages were purposely ordered to deploy capability by maturity level, which would eventually provide a fully-fledged automated infrastructure provisioning service.

Of course, none of these activities can be carried out without a team of experts.  Setting aside the Sponsor and Project Management roles, there are broadly three areas of expertise specifically required for this project type.  The first is Service Management, with focus on (i) service management architecture and (ii) process and organisation design and development.  The second is Tooling which falls into two categories, (i) Service Management tooling such as workflow tools like ServiceNow and (ii) Systems Management tools that are closer to the tin such as those used to monitor, provision, and analyse capacity etc.  Finally, there is Platform Architecture expertise that will focus on principles, policies, patterns, images etc.

The source of the project management roles, service management consultants, tool specialists and architects will depend on the resourcing plan, which will be influenced by the organisation’s own level of expertise, resource bandwidth and budget.  This will dictate the mode of working; whether an externally party (i) does it for them, (ii) with them, or (iii) advises them.

The final key ingredient for the strawman requires (i) highlighting internal and external dependencies, (ii) identifying potential risks and mitigations, and (iii) explaining the implications of any guiding principles or architectural decisions.  Only experienced experts can help with these.

So, the strawman has been presented, the organisation has had a sharp intake of breadth, discussed it with internal stakeholders and cherry picked the functions from the cloud IaaS target operating model they want and in what order they want them.  Based on this a Terms of Reference is drafted and it’s now time to draft a comprehensive implementation plan.  Notice the order of these two items, this is important.  All that hard work required to produce the detail for the strawman has paid off, as it will be used for the ToR and implementation planning.

Just like building a house, there’s a substantial amount of work that needs to be done upfront before the first brick is laid.  It’s all about service management strategy, architecture and planning.  The IBM GTS Consultancy profession has world class Service Management Methodologies to help complete these tasks and the expertise to successfully implement cloud service management operations. For more information contact Dr Lloyd I Dale, Associate Partner IBM, via

Associate Partner, IBM Services

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