ITIL v3 and IT Service Management Automation

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Interesting how two voices converged to the very same topic of automating Service Management almost simultaneously (automation not as an end by itself but as a away of improving productivity thus focusing on variable issues).

Automation should be a natural consequence of the coesive and much more integrated ITIL we new have with the version 3 five core books.

Rodrigo Flores tackles Request Fulfilment automation opportunities in this post and Hank Marquis looks into a wider scope (relevant for ITIL v2 too) with this article.

 [Rodrigo posted the rest of his notes regarding Request Fulfilment automation here.]


5 Responses to “ITIL v3 and IT Service Management Automation”

  1. buzina Says:

    Automation is a highly important topic, but I doubt that anybody can look at the ITIL v3 books and say “This can be automated”?

    I do think integrating the tools to start automation (e.g. web based service request triggers a change process, triggers an automated sw distribution) is the way to go (I implemented such a solution for a customer) but for many operations getting the process itself right is a more urgent and more basic requirement.

    As the itskeptic blogged and agree very strongly, ITIL v2 teaches us to walk, v3 how to run, but many companies are still lying down.

  2. rumagoso Says:

    Without automation either ITIL v2 or ITIL v3 efforts will fail (unless it’s an IT shop with one or two people and some dozen events a day).

    You see more models or sequences of steps in ITIL v3 that can be automated (pick Incident, Problem or Event Management models for instance), take CSI advice for establishing a Measuring Framework.

    You’re right, getting the process right is more important. Well, getting people right is even more important.

    I don’t agree with the walk(v2)-run(v3) myth.

    Is there any good reason to ignore good and more consistent advice form ITIL v3 in current implementation efforts? What I believe is that it takes effort for consulting companies to make the shift for ITIL v3 (after all they’re used to making money from ITIL v2 know-how they’ve accumulated). And so they don’t RUN for ITIL v3. They want to walk a bit more, milking the ITIL v2 cow.

    For instance, you can get Service Operation and apply right way its guidance to Incident (and Request), Problem, Event and Access Management. It’s an evolution; apart from the clarification regarding the previous reactive Problem Management activities (Problem Control and Error Control are gone for and now we have one model for handling Problems), a better treatment of Requests and some minor terminology changes an organisation doesn’t have to rework everything at all.

    The same thing happens with most of ITIL v2 Service Delivery processes clearly better treated and more consistently with Service Design. Service Transition its packed with good advice around Change (again with minor terminology changes), Configuration (much better now with the DIKW Model supported by CMDB -> CMS -> SKMS) and Release Management.

    The “run” part for ITIL v3 is mostly with Service Strategy. You don’t have to jump to that as a first. It’s true that a Service Lifecycle implies more maturity and breath of implementation for the underlying processes but who said we have to do it before having the processes in place?

    As for CSI, it was about time for the crucial subject of measuring for continual improvement. It may be complemented with Six Sigma for instance.

    Simply put, we’ll be hearing voices against ITIL v3 as long as people don’t understand it good enough in order to make a living with it. Soon, maybe in less than an year we’ll have passed the initial fear and rejection against something new as ITIL v3 and the same voices will quietly change.

    Your thoughts on this? I do like this topic since it’s a good idea to help organisations now regarding what to do in their Service Management roadmaps.

  3. buzina Says:

    Yes, getting the people right is exactly the most important part and I think that is where v3 is having difficulties and where the walk / run comparison comes in.

    Let’s take change / release management as an example. In my consulting job I implemented some change management processes for several customers and in order to get them to grasp the benefits and to accept the (percieved) drawbacks we started with a small implementation, basically guarding the way to the production environment. We did not include financial approval, we did not take away project responsibilities, we just made sure that people were aware of the risks they were taking and comminicated well.

    V3 now states that change management comes in to place as early as the move from strategy to design phase. I personally think it is a good way to have a proper process in place for these transitions, but at the moment I can not explain the added value of this to most of my customers. Their reply is, this is where we approve of projects or where management decides on the portfolio. So this is not “process”.

    So the biggest challenge will be getting management to embrace a more process orientated approach also for their own way of doing things. And that is, where v3 does not help. It is way to large and not tagetted at upper management in style, presentation and message.

    I do believe the improvements in the “walk” part to be very valid, but not very deep. As an example take the Request Fulfilment (it should be called Request Management!). v3 makes it look like a very straight forward and easy thing to implement, which it is not! I have set up processes (then called demand, we will have to change names) between IT supplier and client and they had multiple channel definitions for different types of requests, different approaches in getting approval and a lot of regulations to be controlled from the governance in place. v3 makes it look like a simple 4-step process.

    As a conclusion, I am telling customers to go for a healthy v2.5 at the moment. And which part is the .5 depends strongly on their current situation. If they are still “crawling”, yes we will start with the “walking”. But in ITIL, walking is hard if you do not know what running will be like…

    P.S.: Yes we will be hearing voices against v3 (I hope for a long time), because then it will still be a good topic to discuss, service management will still have a solid “foundation”. I just hope that the combination of scope change, commercialization, change of control and issues with the training will not remove ITIL as a player in the market.

  4. buzina Says:

    Hmm, forgot about the basic topic here: automation.

    And yes, I fully agree with you, that the way to go should be
    people -> process -> data -> automation and without automation the efforts on all others will never reach their goals.

  5. rumagoso Says:

    Great reply 🙂

    The people issue is also on how to communicate with them and get them involved. There’s more information now on that Change/Release Management issue of pushing back to management with ITIL v3 (check Service Transition’s Knowledge Management process and the chapters 5 e 6, respectively: Service Transition Common Activities and the Organizing for Service Transition). There’s a need to bring this ITIL v3 knowledge to everyone now.

    About Request Fulfilment… Now that’s an opportunity for automation in order to cope with the complexity and limitations you’ve stated. Most of the main Service Desk solutions in the market allow for at least a simple worklow with approvals and notifications. Here we’re entering in a realm where it starts to become quite close to BPM (Business Process Management). BPM tools may be more appropriate for capturing and supporting those processes. So I believe we’ll see in the near future a merge of products from Service Management and BPM coming to the market (there is more open source offer from the Service Management side though). That’s a topic I’m currently interested in since back where I work we’ve been doing consulting and implementations on both sides of the fences (Service Management and BPM) and it’s time for customers to benefit from closer integration between them.

    More on BPM:
    One way of representing Business Processes we’ve been using:

    BTW, right now there’s a itSMF e-symposium going on… automation. For Americas you may still watch/listen to it. Later they’ll archive the presentations PDFs.

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