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IT Service Management moves to the cloud

John Moore | Feb. 6, 2013
As organizations become decreasingly skeptical about the cloud, they are increasingly willing to outsource ITSM to a SaaS provider. Doing so lowers costs, improves flexibility and easily accommodates ITIL framework principles.

Fugro considered a few cloud vendors and opted for SAManage's cloud-based offering. Carlo says SAManage provided the right fit of process and functionality but did not restrict the IT team to very specific processes that it wasn't yet ready to adopt. The SaaS solution has been in production for about a year, he says.

In purchasing ServiceNow, meanwhile, Equinix abandoned a Remedy implementation and shut down legacy tools including Altiris, Bugzilla, and Documentum eRoom. The ServiceNow cloud solution has been operating for about a year and a half.

Over that span, greater consistency across operations has proven a key benefit. Another plus: a higher rate of service-level agreement (SLA) compliance. Greg Ogle, senior director of IT infrastructure operations and engineering at Equinix, says SLA compliance rates were about 70 percent within months of the early 2011 implementation. By the end of 2011, the IT team hit 90 percent SLA compliance.

Ogle says the 20 point gain came from greater efficiency; IT wasn't compelled to add headcount. In 2012, IT surpassed 90 percent compliance with the same staffing levels.

Internal customer satisfaction rates also saw a 20 percent uptick, according to Equinix CIO Lille. "People are pretty satisfied with the service they are getting-and they weren't for the longest time," he explains.

Equinix has been able to handle tasks such as account creation and access provisioning more rapidly using ServiceNow automation, Lille notes. "We calculated [that] it saved about 30 minutes of pure IT time per request," Lille says, adding that the IT organization receives several hundred requests in a given year.

Lille estimated ServiceNow's IT time savings at half a man-year. That savings grows to 2,000 hours, nearly one man-year, if Equinix's use of Ping Identity's cloud-based, single sign-on offering is taken into account, he says.

Cloud ITSM Fear Factor Fading Away

Despite the potential benefits, some enterprises may still balk at cloud ITSM. The chief reasons stem from security concerns and the desire to have a locally controlled solution, according to industry executives.

"It's fear of the unknown and loss of control. We still have some people rooted in having to see it, feel it, touch it: 'It has to be mine to be beneficial to my organization,'" Geisler says, adding that the mindset is going away, as more people become comfortable with cloud applications.

In that vein, Gordon notes that customers' experience with Google Apps has encouraged them to adopt service management SaaS. He said SAManage is tightly integrated into Google Apps, which makes rollout easier. The linkup also lets users access a self-service portal from their Google accounts. The portal lets them submit new service requests or check on existing requests, Gordon says.


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