It seems like every year in IT there is some hot topic. It gets hyped to a point that the hype takes on a life of its own. It is TRANSFORMATIONAL, PARADIGM SHIFT, It becomes the savior of all IT struggles and issues. It will save the world. But as we have seen recently, it is very hard to live up to the hype frenzy. Cloud-based ITSM is something a lot of vendors are pushing right now. So let’s take a look at the myth versus reality.
Looking at Gartner’s Hype Cycle for 2012, it looks like Cloud Computing in general is over the hump. Now the private cloud, after a few permutations along the way, has become an active area. Maybe more specifically it has expanded to engulf not only those banks of modems but also the servers, infrastructure, applications and in some cases the human resources. It has expanded right up to the browser door of the end-user. Through this one door, the user can make use of not only the company’s information but also transparently access information from multiple sources (vendors, customers, partners) that they need to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Unlike the cloud of the past, the cloud of today is many things to many people. It seems every day there is another service identified for the cloud based on a service-oriented architecture. The idea that we can utilize services as we need them and expand and contract requirements as well as costs are the main reasons the cloud has such an appeal to the IT industry.
Whenever a new subject is hyped, people start creating scenarios as to what the advantage is for the subject. There is no one size fits all and there is no one advantage. Each business has their own requirements and vision as to what is important. SMB – Low upfront cost, fewer human and technical resources, basically they look at it as the latest in outsourcing. Enterprises on the other hand might look at lower upfront cost, pay-to-play services, virtualization capabilities reducing infrastructure, web services vs. custom api’s for integration. Again, no one size fits all especially when it comes to IT Service Management.
Cloud based versus application based – an example – tweet is sent, read, retweeted, automatically posted to Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, integrated into a blog, it feeds more data back to the poster, copied to an IM chat. That one tweet interacts with numerous systems and then becomes part of the cloud consciousness. So it shouldn’t be a giant leap to believe that ITSM will see massive growth in the cloud. It may be in private clouds but then, through secure connections, it connects, as needed, to other services and resources to create a completely federated system. Once the system is in the cloud, ITSM becomes part of the growing composition of knowledge. The knowledge and information becomes available to other trusted connections without building large, disconnected systems.
Before there was SaaS we had ASP hosted services. These terms still exist, but have all been replaced by SaaS, predominantly due to the success of products like Salesforce.com. Indeed, most Sales Force Automation (SFA) tools are now offered this way, and tend to work very well. However it is important to understand that SaaS is not a good fit for every organization. The problem is not necessarily with the technology itself. Everything can be done over public and private clouds quite easily using secure channels and web services. The problem is the security, performance and scalability.