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Recession shifts IT service management into fast lane

Patrick Thibodeau | March 1, 2010
IT efficiency has become paramount to companies during recent lean times

Evelyn Hubbert, a senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc., said IT service management adoption has accelerated as IT operations move to meet or improve service level agreements. IT organizations "are being asked to do the impossible - be more efficient and effective with less money and add additional technologies (such as virtualization) to reduce cost even more," said Hubbert.

The service management programs can also help IT departments better show their worth to lines of businesses considering the use of software-as-a-Service and cloud computing products. Competition with cloud and SaaS technologies means that IT departments have to show, precisely, how the cost of their services compares with those external providers, said Hubbert.

Hubbert said IT organizations "need to establish some order." At this point, that order has become ITIL, which provides agreed upon, common sense processes that can manage incidents, problems and changes "in such a way to take the guess work out and to become a functioning group," she said.

The need for order has also prompted the adoption of service catalogs that provide the businesses with details on IT services, costs and associated service levels agreements.

ITIL can also help increase a company's IT automation capabilities. In the case of Harley-Davidson, the company has incorporated autonomic tools that can manage software problems without the need for human intervention, speeding problem resolution.

Improving uptime and reliability was the overarching goal in IT service management adoption at Sisters of Mercy Health Systems in St. Louis, which operates 26 acute care hospitals, two heart hospitals and other facilities, Michael Zucker, director of IT operations.

When Sister of Mercy's made the decision to move electronic health records, the business wanted to ensure that the systems and processes supporting those records were "highly available," said Zucker.

The health records went live in January, 2008.

"The way we facilitated high availability was through IT service management," he said.


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