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Business Management

John Martin (Australia) - Internal Service Catalogues - The Critical First Step to Driving IT Culture Change

NetApp has a broad range of technology to help our customers optimize their IT infrastructure, however in a number of cases people find themselves unable to take full advantage of all of these features. I often hear "that technology is amazing, and I'm sure it has great benefit, but I can't do this in my organisation because of the practices and organisational structures that we have evolved around our existing IT silos". This always makes me grit my teeth a little, because these silos are resistant to change, and are focused on optimising just their parts of the infrastructure separately from the other silos. While they are worthwhile albeit narrow goals, these practices prevents IT from focussing on end to end infrastructure and service optimisation which would in turn allow them to survive in a business environment that is increasingly moving its infrastructure to more agile cloud based service providers.

The vision of implementing IT as a service, where your customers accesses IT from self-service portals, which can be provisioned quickly, safely, efficiently and automatically is, for an IT practitioner, both beautiful and compelling. However the reality is that even for companies who have undertaken this journey, getting there is often a multi-year, multi-phase project, and like any journey of a thousand miles, it begins with a single step.

The experience NetApp has had in helping our customers like SunCorp, make this transition successfully has shown us that that the first indispensable step in moving beyond siloed infrastructure optimisation towards end to end infrastructure and service optimisation is to create an actionable, and automatable internal IT service catalogue.

In a traditional ITSM/ITIL model, the service catalogue is the focal point for interaction between IT and the business. It defines a set of discrete IT offerings that the business can request in order to service its own customers. These items include the kind of applications, the availability, performance, and resilience that the business or the end user requires, how to get access to it and how much it costs. A good public example of this can be found here.

However when you are looking at providing Infrastructure or platforms as a service (IaaS/PaaS), your consumer isn't the business. The primary consumers of these services will probably be internal IT staff. This might include members of the IT infrastructure team teams who need a complete set of resources such as virtual machines and network links to test new management software, or more critically, they may be business solution architects and application developers.

Read more in the upcoming blog: Need for Speed vs. Actionable Service Catalogue.To be published: 25 of October

ByJohn Martin, Principle Technologist for Australia/New Zealand, NetApp

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