Should ITIL Advocates Be Worried About The Cloud?

In a blog post early last year entitled “ITIL vs The Cloud: Pick one,” Bob Lewis suggested that moving IT infrastructure to the cloud was unprofessional. His article provoked a lot of contrary arguments, but it nevertheless raised a number of questions and the comments that it provoked address some of them. He argued, for example, that ITIL-approved Change Management can’t happen when “IT has no say in whether an upgrade takes place or not.” That control is important, he added, even if you aren’t an ITIL advocate.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library doesn’t set rules—it recommends best practices. Still, for those companies that adhere to these practices, Lewis suggested that going to the Cloud will present challenges. Specifically, he sees issues with Change, Performance, Availability and Problem Management.

Problem Management in particular could present a special challenge, he said. “Unless you can get your entire technology portfolio from a single source you’re going to integrate business solutions from multiple vendors, just as you do now. That means when something goes wrong you’ll deal with multivendor finger-pointing, just like now.” As for Performance and Availability management, Lewis lamented the lack of reliable tools to monitor SaaS applications and alert IT when they aren’t available.

So should ITIL adherents be worried about the cloud? The respondents to the article thought not. Comparing ITIL to the Cloud is like “comparing apples and car parts,” said one. “The Cloud,” said another, “represents almost everything the business has traditionally expected of an IT organization – freedom of choice, low cost, reliable, secure delivery options. All IT organizations likely have some form of cloud computing in place and most will remain hybrid for some time to come.”

What do you think?

FrontRange will be at the Pink Elephant IT Service Management Leadership Forum in Scottsdale on August 16-17 and we’ll participate in the panel: “Should ITSM Tools Be Located On Premise Or In The Cloud As SaaS?” Out of this session we aim to provide insight into these challenges as well as hear recommendations for how you can complement your existing IT infrastructure without compromising your core IT objectives.