Geoff Rees talks to Business Computing World on the big question hanging over the head of most CTOs, CIOs and IT managers – whether they should move their business processes into the cloud.
The big question hanging over the head of most CTOs, CIOs and IT managers is whether they should move their business processes into the cloud. The cloud has transformed into an ecosystem of applications and services that potentially could address any business technology requirement. ITSM (IT Service Management) is no different.
Whether a customer service operation serves internal or external customers, the right ITSM solution can help take an organisation’s performance to the next level.
The move to a SaaS (Software as a Service) model enables on-demand access to industry-leading solutions with minimal customer involvement in terms of day to day management. As the demand for cloud-based solutions increases, business-class solutions can be delivered with unrivalled levels of system availability and resilience.
Those adopting the cloud model will benefit from real-time backup, resulting in less data loss, and maximum business uptime―essential for gaining competitive advantage.
The benefits of a SaaS model are now widely recognised. Scalability, rapid implementation, security and accessibility are all drivers for adoption, but so is the reassurance of knowing organisations are using the best software solutions out there, being managed by the experts.
A cloud-based ITSM solution designed specifically to enable service teams to manage queries effectively, without compromise, provides one common platform which everyone, including third parties, can easily access and update, resulting in a uniform team approach and vastly improving organisational efficiency.
A cloud-based ITSM solution can also match the way companies deliver services to the business. IT organisations are always searching for ways to serve their business in more effective and efficient ways. Sometimes this means ‘doing more with less’, sometimes this means delivering innovation, and sometimes it can mean offering a faster route to market.
Moving services to the cloud can realise some generally accepted benefits―for example, a reduction in CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) requirements, increased levels of service, support, system availability and resilience, flexibility in licencing requirements and infrastructure resources.
Last but not least, many organisations are only interested in the outcomes of investing in software solutions, not the ownership thereof―after all, you can’t sell off a perpetual licence for an ‘on-premise’ solution after its usefulness has diminished.
And just because the ITSM solution is hosted in the cloud doesn’t mean that companies can’t customise reports and dashboards to get the visibility they need across their service delivery processes. The right ITSM solution will offer a choice of reporting and dashboard options with its cloud solution, some proprietary and some based on platforms like SQL Reporting Services, QlikView and Crystal Reports.
However, with a least 50 vendors in the ITSM space, there is a wide spread of capabilities and price range, with many of the ‘lighter’ products offering minimal reporting capabilities. For organisations that handle particularly sensitive data, it’s also imperative to choose a cloud solution that provides each user with their own unique instance in the cloud so that data security can be assured and insecurities around multi-tenancy are removed.
Many ITSM solutions are not particularly effective, efficient or cost-effective compared with new and emerging SaaS offerings. Putting ITSM into the cloud can make measurable savings in licence costs and improve service levels.
Other benefits that cannot be quantified but deliver savings include the easy extraction of management information and more flexibility to IT staff. Unlike systems which rely on software sitting on every desktop, cloud-based ITSM solutions allow remote access and don’t rely on desk-bound IT support.
Many organisations are already utilising cloud software solutions for scenarios like HR, CRM, Payroll and document collaboration. Rest assured, many are now exploring the cloud as an option as their ITSM legacy applications come up for upgrade or review.