IT Services and Systems Management

A look at the practicalities in medium sized businesses

First published: November 2010

By Andrew Buss

KEY FINDINGS

The passive evolution of systems and tools has led to fragmented IT management
For many companies, IT has grown haphazardly, accumulating a patchwork of applications, infrastructure and tools. The end result is that it takes a lot of time, money and resource to manage, and change is difficult to implement. Many IT departments could realise significant improvements and become more aligned to the business by judiciously investing in modern IT management tools and implementing a more structured and integrated approach to IT systems management.

Implementing process is resource intensive with a lot of manual integration
Many IT departments have achieved good alignment with the business and have implemented highly integrated IT systems management. However, this comes at a significant cost in resources, particularly as companies increase in size. The number of IT management staff increases dramatically as processes are tightened, requiring increased collaboration between staff. This leaves the door open for efficiency improvements by increasing the level of automation.

Integrated tools are rated highly as they allow service quality to be managed
In many cases, IT systems management remains disjointed with many problems due to a lack of integration between IT systems and associated management tools. Traditionally, product enhancement has been to continually add new features, but this approach is not the preferred way for IT systems management. Instead, improving the interoperability and openness of tools through increasing the integration and ability to interact effectively is the way to go. Doing so has a big impact on the ability to control the quality of IT service delivery to the business.

Best practice frameworks should be used to the extent they can solve real issues
ITIL® and other best practice frameworks are very broad. For many, investing in full adoption of the framework will be a step too far. Instead, using it as a loose guide and implementing what makes business sense can kick start the implementation of policy and process without becoming a burden on the business.

More controlled IT organisations prefer to focus on a single IT management suite
Until recently, IT systems management ‘suites’ were in fact cobbled-together sets of distinct applications brought together by acquisition. Times have changed and we have seen more tightlyintegrated single suite solutions. Controlled environments tend to use a main suite and augment it with best of breed tools to match their process needs. Such organisations see investment in IT management tools not as a one-off, but rather as an ongoing, rolling investment programme.


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