Saturday, March 12, 2011

Second itSMF knowledge session - ITIL and the Cloud

Following the success of the first itSMF knowledge session, we organized a second one in the third week of February. The topic for the day was the relevance of ITSM and ITIL to the emerging model of cloud computing.

Vartika, the facilitator for the day, presented a brief overview of the topic under discussion. The focus was mainly kept around the public cloud delivery model and how ITIL could help evaluate vendors and adopt the new technology. In the discussion that followed student members brain stormed on the idea of an IT service, how the cloud model was different from traditional outsourcing (or if it was at all) and how ITSM figured in the whole picture. There were some differing opinions too – Some students opined that the cloud model is not very different from any other vendor-client relationship and hence a strong vendor/supplier management process is all one needs to handle a public cloud vendor; There were others who saw differences between traditional outsourcing and the cloud due to the increased complexity and security risks, which necessitate some additional focus on other ITSM processes as well.

Overall, it was a productive discussion that brought out a lot of interesting ideas that we all carried home to mull over later!

Here are some additional sources for those who wish to learn more -
Gartner article
IBM Whitepaper
CA Whitepaper

Posted by Saiganesh Sairaman, MSIS, Class of 2012

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our first newsletter!

We brought out our first newsletter for this semester in the first week of February and here is a copy for you all to see!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The first tryst with itSMF comes to an end!

The initial tryst with itSMF leadership roles comes to a close for Membership Chair Niranjani, Committee Chair Krishna and I, the Communications Chair, as we move out of town to pursue long-term internships with a reputed firm. Being a part of itSMF has resulted in us being able to plumb significant depths in ITSM, depths we might not have thought possible otherwise. It has been a pleasure to be a part of itSMF IU S-LIG and we hope we will be able to invest time in this wonderful student group when we return once more, as graduate students, in fall 2011. The goal for now is to apply or at the very least, be able to successfully connect all the SM dots and apply our learnings during our respective internships.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being the Communications Chair of itSMF IU S-LIG. I hope this blog grows enough to function as a single source of reference for any subject/topic related to ITSM or itSMF. We hope this Spring semester doubles the number of itSMF IU members. Every student is sure to gain a great amount of knowledge by participating in this initiative!

Posted by Hamsa Mukund, MSIS, Class of 2012

Spotlight: In conversation with Krishna Srikumar, outgoing Committee Chair of itSMF IU S-LIG

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello , I am Krishna Srikumar. I am a first year student in the MSIS program at the Kelley School of Business. I came into this program with two years of work experience with a leading software solutions provider. My long term goal is to be an active propagator of the techno-biz alignment movement by gaining an in-depth purview of the IT value chain(from development till continuous monitoring).

What are your responsibilities as Committee Chair of itSMF?
My responsibilities include enhancing knowledge of fellow itSMF members in the field of SM through various events that stimulates SM oriented thinking.

What did you hope to gain out of itSMF when you joined the organization?
itSMF being a professional community, what I gained was immediate access to leading IT professionals from various industries spanning manufacturing to FMCG to global technology developers. This helped me gain more insights on the relevance of SM in these industries. I was also able to relate my learnings to various courses I took during my first semester at Kelley.

As an MSIS student at the Kelley School of Business, where would you say the link lies between ITSM and IS?
With CIO’s of the world changing their view of technology from CAPEX to OPEX , SM plays a key role in industries today. The link lies in reducing the OPEX of IT in business today and realizing greater value from existing IT investments.

Do you see yourself pursuing a career in ITSM? If so, which specific area is of interest to you?
With my passion for technology consulting, I think ITSM becomes an inevitable and vital part of the puzzle and I surely will touch upon the various aspects of ITSM within the domain of consulting.

Why do you think students should make the time to join this organization?
Three primary reasons:
1) Expanding your network to include seasoned IT professionals.
2) Becoming more seasoned technology consultants with the ingrained SM mindset.
3) Taking certifications that add great professional value.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

ITSM degrees, careers and how ITIL certification helps

The role of the IT professional evolves continually. Firms have ceased handling IT as a commodity and are now viewing it from a strategic perspective (Source). This calls for a change on the organizational level - change in the form of increased transparency, better communication and increased alignment of IT with the business. IT has changed from a set of disparate entities to the common link that brings different aspects and units of the business together. In such an environment, technical skills alone will not suffice. Firms are on the lookout for managers with significant technical expertise, and preferably with a relevant educational background.

With more and more firms shifting from a traditional technology-based approach to a customer-oriented ITSM approach, a plethora of career opportunities now exist in the field of IT Service Management. One such role is that of the ITSM consultant, who typically reports to senior-level management staff at a firm. The ITSM consultant manages the set-up of new SM processes, their design, definition and documentation, establishment of related performance indicators and metrics, execution of SM improvement projects, improvement plans based on gap-analyses, training, change management and quality management. The ITSM consultant's responsibilities move across the spectrum of IT to encompass a wide variety of tasks. The individual needs to have sufficient technological expertise and education. Hands-on experience in a service environment, in particular, is of the essence.

Other lucrative careers for business technologists in ITSM include the roles of Support Analyst or Specialist and Service Desk Manager. The Specialist acts as a Subject Matter Expert who possesses in-depth knowledge of a specific SM sub-domain, while the Analyst serves as a point of contact for service desk customers. The Analyst addresses issues and handles requests. The Manager handles the operations of the Service Desk and oversees the activities of the Support Analysts and other Service Desk personnel.

With such promising roles coming into existence, ITIL certification becomes a necessity as opposed to an option. ITIL helps professionals to develop their IT implementation and management skills in an organizational set-up. The certification results in additional validation of one's knowledge and experience by a reputed group resulting in increased credibility. This in itself serves as a powerful psychological driver that motivates and boosts the confidence of the average professional to a significant extent. It also results in a greater sense of personal brand value, accelarated career growth, and most importantly - skills to exceed expectations in the professional environment, translating to increased workplace productivity. itSMF and ITIL also provide that much-needed platform to build a network and enable one to be better connected with colleagues and industry peers. It helps address customer needs and also aids professionals in understanding which specific area their interest and expertise lies in.

The education industry in recent times has made the distinction between IT and ITSM, resulting in a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees in ITSM springing into existence. Along with technical subjects and programming languages, students study topics unique to ITSM like incident management, problem management, change management, release management etc.

References and sources for additional reading:
Source 1
Source 2
Source 3

Prepared and posted by Hamsa Mukund, MSIS, Class of 2012

On defining Service Level Agreements for Service Oriented Architectures

A service level agreement in simple terms is a contract between two parties for the delivery of a given service with a certain standard and within a specified time period. In order to effectively manage IT services and ensure continuous support to critical business functions, it is extremely important to define clear SLAs. A good SLA covers metrics and key performance indicators such as availability and performance. It includes specifications for mean and maximum time to respond/repair, problem escalation guarantees, etc. Typically these are negotiated and agreed upon by both the provider and the consumer and tracked through predefined metrics. The loose coupling structure of a service oriented architecture brings in some additional challenges in managing individual components as services themselves.

One of the primary challenges is the sheer complexity in mapping all the technical requirements and capabilities of a service (in the context of SOA) to a meaningful service contract in business terms. Very much related is the problem of measurement. While it may be straightforward to track performance at system end points, the service levels in an SOA need to be tracked in the intermediaries as well in order to check them for conformance. While this can be achieved at the code level for services developed and consumed internally, external services will require monitoring tools or agents to track metrics such as processing time, messages per hour, rejected transaction count, etc.

While these challenges are still obvious and are handled gracefully in most scenarios, A typical example of a unique problem in an SOA system is - Even if individual services ensure to stand by their agreements, it may not however guarantee that the system as a whole does, as there may be environment specific factors that come into picture in real time systems which may have been missed while capturing the SLAs of individual services (Source). This again calls for additional monitoring to ensure end to end visibility of SOA transactions. Another interesting scenario is presented by the author of this blog, who gives a very simple example to explain how many service providers place requirements on the consumers to be able to deliver the promised SLA, but do not state it in the agreement.

As observed in this blog, a contract-centric approach to building services can help bridge the gaps between requirements modeling, design and development and this gives us some food for thought on how standardization of some these approaches across vendors can help us achieve maximum value out of an SOA!

Prepared by Saiganesh Sairaman, MSIS, Class of 2011

Spotlight: In conversation with Joe Castor, President of itSMF IU S-LIG 2010-11

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a first-year masters student studying Information Systems at the Kelley School of Business. Three words that describe me: energetic, positive, and dedicated. I enjoy reading, travelling, golfing, and playing the piano. My three passions: helping others, learning technology, and individual development.

What are your responsibilities as President of itSMF?
My responsibility as President of itSMF is mainly to drive results for itSMF at IU and ensure that each member learns in-depth aspects of Service Management.

What did you hope to gain out of itSMF when you joined the organization?
Upon joining itSMF, I hoped to gain in-depth insight into Service Management from leading professionals that volunteer to be a part of itSMF USA.

As an MSIS student at the Kelley School of Business, where would you say the link lies between ITSM and IS?
The link between Service Management and Information Systems lies within IT Operations. After application development, applications need to be continuously maintained and supported to ensure optimal delivery of applications to the business. Within IT Operations, ITSM looks to enhance the ways applications are managed in order to deliver optimal services to the business.

Do you see yourself pursuing a career in ITSM? If so, which specific area is of interest to you?
I plan on pursuing an IS management & technology consulting career that could potentially involve ITSM.

How has your experience with itSMF been so far? What have you learned from your association with this group?
I have learned a great deal from the service professionals and students alike. My highlight as of this moment is from a new pilot program we hope to roll out during this next semester. The program is called itSMF Knowledge Sessions and it is a way for students to learn and discuss specific topics around service management.

Why do you think students should make the time to join this organization?
If students would like to gain in-depth knowledge around technology, I would recommend looking into service management. Service management touches all parts of an organization and itSMF provides knowledge, experiences, and certification preparation to students.

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