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SaaS ITIL Service Desk = Scalable Success
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SaaS ITIL Service Desk = Scalable Success
May 21, 2010
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SaaS ITIL Service Desk = Scalable Success
1. SaaS + ITIL + Service Desk = Scalable Success By: Vernon L. Palango, Principal ITSM Consultant, InteQ Corporation Abstract The paradigms surrounding the Service Desk, the technology that supports it and service desk management are changing due to the evolution of the technologies and practices surrounding them. The emergence of SaaS (software‐as‐a‐service) applications, in combination with the continuing maturation of ITIL with the V3 framework, and the need to keep IT costs low has resulted in the introduction of innovative solutions to the market. SaaS based Service Desks are uniquely positioned to provide Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), with the capabilities of advanced Service Desk Suites, on a monthly subscription basis. As a result, SMBs are able to implement these solutions without the high up‐front costs of the traditional approach. Expectant trends also provide strategic incentive for SMBs, as emerging technologies such as Web Services will allow SaaS based services to have all the integration capabilities of traditionally implemented Service Desks with significantly reduced operating costs. © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 1
The Evolution of the Service Desk The Service Desk, as we know it today, evolved from early ticketing and help desk systems employed in the 1980s built to provide simple tracking of issues. During this time, IT was primarily delivered from highly centralized, mini/mainframe computing environments where they benefited from a highly centralized infrastructure, with limited or no true networks available at the individual desktop level. As the IT industry matured, the trouble ticketing systems born throughout the 1980s evolved into true help desk systems. Into the 1990s, ticketing systems started to merge from segregated departmental systems to consolidated systems which were deployed across the IT environment. These systems were still used primarily by the IT Professional, and allowed end‐users only limited visibility into the support work performed on their behalf. The Help Desk continued to evolve with the introduction of the Service Desk, where many organizations are today. Service Desk software is focused on making the IT Service Desk organization a customer facing one, who delivers on a known set of IT Services which are managed as a portfolio. The natural progression and evolution of the “ticketing system” is now moving toward the Service Desk environment thus becoming the “ERP” system for IT. These systems encompass incident/problem tracking, as well as change, configuration and service level management. One of the key differentiators between the Help Desk paradigm, and more recently introduced systems is the ability for end‐users to interact with the system, allowing expanded visibility into the ongoing operations and services being provided directly to them by their IT department. “Developed in the late 1980s, the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has become the world‐wide de‐facto standard in Service Management”. 1 ITIL has evolved into a set of best practices from a project performed by the CCTA (Central Computer & Telephone Agency) to reduce its budget. These ‘best practices’ are being actively adopted by IT organizations across the globe. While very different from ITIL, an interim publication called GITIM (Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management) was developed by the CCTA as a direct predecessor to ITIL. Between 1991and 1993, ITIL “Version 1” emerged. This version documented 42 distinct tasks/process areas and compiled the implementation process pertaining to. While quickly gaining acceptance in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent in Europe, V1 suffered from a © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 2
mainframe bias and did not adequately capture the needs of emerging networks, and client/server technologies commonly utilized within United States corporations. In 2000, ITIL V2 was published as a consolidated version of the original 42 volumes. As a result, 10 core processes emerged and were documented in two of these new volumes (Service Delivery & Service Support). The new version of the ITIL best practices was widely accepted, and became the basis for the Microsoft Operating Framework (“MOF”). Version 2 also created a truly consolidated view that IT should be managed as a set of services, with a consistent set of support processes. In addition, between V1&2 another primary benefit of ITIL emerged; Creating the opportunity for a standard “language” within IT that clearly defined concepts such as incidents vs. problems. This enabled IT departments to become much more scientific in their operations, while still allowing for variation based on individual business needs. In 2005, ITIL became the foundation for the ISO‐20000 standard. At this time, companies started to work toward becoming ISO‐20000 certified, validating to regulatory agencies and stakeholders that they had good processes and controls in place. In the US, this has become a valuable tool for companies to assist in satisfying a wide variety of compliance standards including Sarbanes‐Oxley (“SOX”), and FDA:21CFR Part 11. In 2007 ITIL Version 3 was released, however, the basic processes remained the same (though several were split into multiple processes). The key differentiator was the fact that Version 3 views the processes in the context of the overall lifecycle of IT services, identifying the interrelationships, and operations of the processes over time. In addition, Version 3 further reduced the ITIL library from 8 volumes to five. In the early 1980s, most computing was delivered by highly‐centralized mini or mainframe systems housed in data centers. These systems were relatively easy to manage, as they were housed centrally. However, they were very expensive to operate and implement. As Personal Computers (“PCs”) were introduced to the desktop in the mid‐late 80s, client‐server computing was developed. This was intended to make computing more scalable and inexpensive by moving computing from “expensive” mainframe/mini resources to affordable PC systems. The vision, however, never was realized, as the management of these “fat client” implementations on individual desktops throughout the enterprise often became less cost effective in terms of manpower, and the escalation of capacity requirements at the desktop level. In the 1990s, the concept of “thin client” or client/server computing became the new standard. These thin clients did not require large software installations, or computing power at the desktop, and frequently used 3‐tier application architecture; Placing thin clients (GUI) at the © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 3
desktop level, application Servers as the mid‐tier, which would need to scale as utilization increased, and large Database Servers as the central tier. This limited the requirements for “big‐ iron” servers to the Database Layer, and allowed the IT department to scale the application server environment as capacity increased. It also reduced (but did not eliminate) the need to maintain client software at the desktop. With the Internet as a prevalent and all encompassing medium for the delivery of information, the computing paradigm has shifted yet again. This has enabled companies to utilize centralized SaaS “Software as a Service” products to provide the same functionality of adopted service desk solutions, without having to support any data center infrastructure for the application. In this capacity, SaaS takes advantage of current web browser technology, web services, etc… to allow companies to provide customized applications via the Internet in place of standard software. This allows the IT Professional to take advantage of a well‐designed service desk solution without having to host and install the infrastructure to run the application. The Opportunity for the Small and Medium Business Modern Service Desk systems are enabling IT to be recognized as a critical part of the overall business. In larger companies, Service Desk software has allowed IT to run in a scientific manner, removing the day‐to‐day need of reliance on “heroes” and provide consistent service. Small and Medium Businesses (“SMBs”) have unfortunately had difficulty gaining the benefits of these new Service Desk systems due to their size and the role IT plays within the organization. Their environment is typically comprised of smaller budgets, staffs, and, in general, are more tactical organizations than those of their larger counter parts. As a result, SMBs face two major scenarios when looking to implement an advanced Service Desk software package: 1) Unavailability of Funds ‐ Many SMBs are simply unable to acquire or justify funding for more advanced service InfraDesk – OnDemand Service Desk desk software suites. As a result, during the adoption of InfraDesk is an on‐demand IT Service a service desk solution (prior to the availability of SaaS), Management application delivered as a many SMBs implemented the “help desk” model, or did service over the web based on InteQ’s nothing at all. unique ITIL process automation approach. The simple and robust enterprise service desk solution provides the foundation for IT 2) Failed Implementations – It is not uncommon for SMBs organizations Service Delivery and to attempt to implement advanced Service Desk suites Operations ultimately supporting overall Service Strategy. Through its Software as a and fail. These failures are driven primarily because the Service (SaaS) delivery model, InfraDesk leadership within that organization fails to recognize the eliminates the time and cost associated with the traditional acquisition and ongoing real costs (software/hardware maintenance, implementation of enterprise service desk people costs to fully support the Service Desk applications without sacrificing functionality infrastructure, etc…) of maintaining the Service Desk. or flexibility. © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 4
Table 1 A typical service desk implementation has a Traditional Service Desk Costs significant total cost of ownership. Table 1, $1,600,000 Cost Per Year which follows, assumes an implementation for Total Cost of Ownership $1,400,000 30 active users, or technicians, of the service $1,200,000 $1,000,000 desk (not end‐users of IT Services the Service $800,000 Desk supports): $600,000 $400,000 $200,000 $- Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 InfraDesk – OnDemand Service Desk The result is that a dividing line has emerged which differentiates the IT organization within the larger organization Why InfraDesk? and the SMB. SMBs are historically more reliant on their heroes, Secure Software‐as‐a‐Service (SaaS) platform and struggle with attempts to apply and become a scientifically SaaS delivery model means you won’t have to invest in the acquisition and support of the infrastructure managed organization. However, there is hope for these required to run this application. This ensures that you will always be on the most current release of the organizations, as ITIL and SaaS have evolved along with the application, with forward compatibility for any configurations, at no additional cost or risk. The Service Desk. solution is hosted and managed within InteQ’s secure data center accessible anytime, from anyplace via the web. SaaS provides the small and medium business with an Embedded ITIL based processes and modules unprecedented opportunity to avail themselves of tools and Provide the assurance that your support processes are based on industry proven best practices and software that previously were only available/attainable by large ensures a fast, efficient rollout that can be measured in days versus months significantly improving return companies, with commensurately large IT budgets. Because on value. SaaS software is licensed strictly on a per‐user basis, with Workflow automation limited, or non‐existent up‐front investment, it allows the IT InteQ’s unique data‐driven workflow and action based architecture significantly streamlines and Professional to gain the advantages of tools usually available to automates your business processes enabling your large corporations, at a price point suitable to smaller support staff to focus on the customer. organizations. Integrated Configuration Management Database (CMDB) Provides a common repository for IT configuration There are four key reasons that SaaS based service desks have items (CI), their attributes and relationships to enable you to more effectively manage changes, and more become a viable and practical solution for IT Professionals in efficiently resolve issues, within the IT environment. SMB environments: Open architecture for Integration Easily extend your existing business and IT systems and processes, through a variety of integration • Capital Investment – SMBs have very different IT Capital options, to further drive operational efficiencies and service levels. positions than larger businesses. Because SaaS based Service desks have much lower initial investment (and Flexible Configuration Powerful administration modules which allow you to sometimes non‐existent) requirements, SMBs are able create and modify workflows to support your unique business requirements without compromising the to consider these systems for internal use, where underlying application foundation and its ITIL‐based previously, the cost of entry was not proportionate to best practices allocated budgets. • Maintenance – SMBs have the challenge of maintaining staff to support a system which does not have direct impact on the core business of the corporation. As a result, advanced Service Desk software is difficult to justify, as they require both internal staff © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 5
to maintain, and expensive maintenance contracts for the hardware/software. SaaS based service desks eliminate these costs and replace them with a much simpler, (typically user based) monthly cost in addition to providing opportunities for less ongoing maintenance and more time devoted to problem resolution and identification. • Software Upgrade – the integration of a SaaS platform completely eliminates the need to manage upgrades to the service desk software. Software upgrades are a major expense in the service desk space, and it is not an uncommon situation where the cost of upgrade is less than a complete re‐implementation of the service desk in a traditional implementation. Since this is included in the monthly price of the SaaS Service Desk, this issue is entirely eliminated by adopting a SaaS Service Desk. • Web Interfaces‐ Traditional service desk products InfraDesk – OnDemand Service Desk frequently charge extra for their web‐interface Key Features components, especially end‐user self‐service. In the SaaS model, this is frequently included. In addition, Record because the SaaS model is relatively new, key A customized, Web self‐service interface for end‐ users enabling them to enter requests, easily find features such as e‐mail interaction, and automated solutions and research request status. ticket closure is included as a standard feature in Bi‐directional Email for recording and tracking many SaaS Service Desks. requests Route At the same time, ITIL V3 has provided much more detailed Dynamic and flexible business rules to route incoming requests to the right group or person for maximum guidance on the operation and management of the Service efficiency and quicker resolution Desk. It provides details in how the ROI for implementing Resolve any of the service operations processes be gained and Ensure consistency and accuracy by using Action based workflows include2: As an action‐based system it guides the user through the necessary steps that must be taken in order to resolve the request based on business requirements. • Reduced software license costs through the better Report management of licenses and deployed copies. Make business decisions, measure trends and • Reduced support costs due to fewer incidents and manage services using Dashboards and Reporting Allows reporting on time spent which helps in long problems and reduced resolution times. term IT resource planning • Reduced headcount through workforce Search rationalization, supporting roles and accountability Global Search function provides information to not only resolve issues or conflicts but also leverage structures. FAQs, How‐to procedures, run books, etc. • Less ‘lost business’ due to poor IT service quality. Administration • Better utilization of existing infrastructure Built‐In Application Administration Tool for managing data and workflows (no development skills necessary) equipment and deferral of further expenditure due to better capacity management. Pricing and availability • Better‐aligned processes, leading to less duplication InfraDesk is available on a user based subscription pricing model of activities and better usage of existing resources. However, by utilizing the traditional approach to Service © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 6
Desk tools, it is very difficult to find enough return in these areas within the SMB. This is primarily due to two factors: 1) The initial capital outlay to acquire, install, and license service desk software creates a barrier to entry for enterprise class service desk software. The SaaS model eliminates this barrier, as it is based on a monthly subscription cost per user, and has little or no up‐front cost for providing the service desk. 2) The ongoing maintenance (dedicated staffing, servers, software/hardware maintenance, etc…) are a significant investment in a traditional software installation scenario. SaaS Service Desk providers take on all the ongoing maintenance costs, and embed them in the monthly subscription. This eliminates the need for the SMB IT department to maintain infrastructure and/or staff to support Service Desk software. It is obvious that the cost of ownership and implementation is the primary detriment for the SMB to apply an advanced Service Desk software environment (in a traditional sense). However, SaaS offers new solutions that are Table 2 & 3 now justifiable for the SMB. Annual Costs Traditional vs. SaaS Service Desk The SaaS service desk offers a significant cost $900,000 $800,000 Traditional advantage to the more traditional Service desk SaaS $700,000 offering. Much of that cost is in the first year of $600,000 $500,000 ownership. In that first year, using traditional $400,000 $300,000 service desk software, the implementation costs $200,000 can be as much as 500‐800% of the SaaS $100,000 $- implementation. This difference is primarily Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 driven by the need of the traditional solution to establish a dedicated infrastructure (hardware, Total Cost of Ownership software, network, etc…), as well as employ a $1,600,000 $1,400,000 Traditional much larger project team to implement. SaaS $1,200,000 $1,000,000 Ongoing costs are significantly less as well. Due $800,000 $600,000 to the fact that the implementation of SaaS is $400,000 unburdened by the same level of support staff, $200,000 $- and a lack of hardware/software maintenance Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 costs, it provides mirroring functionality at a much lower cost. © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 7
So why are large enterprises not implementing SaaS Service Desk solutions? 1. First, some are implementing SaaS service desks. The justification for the SaaS service desk is just as valid for the large enterprise as the SMB. The difference is that SaaS presents the SMB with a cost of ownership that is supportable in their business model and reasonable to justify, where one did not exist previously. 2. Large Enterprises may require a level of software customization that is unnecessary for the SMB. SaaS does limit customization, however, SaaS does not necessarily limit configurability. (see Misperception #x below) Remembering that the SMB is working in a smaller staff & budgetary environment, the reduced software customization issues are not a factor in that space and other differentiators take precedence such as functionality and ROI. In summary • The evolution of ITIL, SaaS, and the Service desk has created a new breed of solutions for the IT Professional: the SaaS service desk. • The SaaS Service Desk solution is ideally suited to the SMB, providing functionality previously limited to larger enterprises previously. The Future of SaaS, Service Desk, & ITIL SMBs will continue to gain from SaaS oriented approaches, due to the fact that the clear direction of the technologies and processes surrounding the Service Desk will continue to evolve. Those evolutions will continue to allow the SMB to have the capabilities of a Large Enterprise without the high entry and maintenance costs. Service desks will continue to evolve to IT ERP systems, and become IT CRM systems. We may anticipate with the increasing movement toward outsourcing/out‐tasking of services, the ability to leverage web‐based SaaS model service desks to act as a central coordination point for all the contributors to the IT Value Chain will be widely accepted and demanded. © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 8
SaaS will continue to evolve with the emergence of new enabling technologies. Web 2.0 will provide the ability to provide an elevated level of contextual relationships across the Internet. It is conceivable, that with Web 2.0, knowledge about the ability to resolve various IT problems will be contextually available within a SaaS service desk, directly from shared links through the internet. In addition, as the ability to provide integration through Web Services develops, the ability to integrate a SaaS service desk to other services like event management systems, and to various configuration management source information, will allow a SaaS service to have all the integration capabilities of a traditional service desk system. As ITIL continues to mature, it will be an enabler to a consistent and standard IT process that can be deployed across any enterprise. The IT Service Management Forum and the OGC (UK – Office of Government Commerce) has announced its intentions to publish further publications that describe the best practices for ITIL implementation within business and technology segments. It also promises to further define the interfaces and practices associated with utilization of other related best practices (i.e. – COBIT) within the ITIL Context. It is important here to note that the implementation of ISO‐20000 (the ISO standard associated with ITIL), will be elevated within small and medium sized organizations. With the prevalence of security and compliance regulations being enacted by governments worldwide, ISO‐20000 could become a minimum standard for conducting certain types of e‐commerce in the future. The SaaS service desk that takes into consideration the requirements will be vital to SMBs seeking to gain compliance, without the high cost of internally supported service desk systems. Conclusion The evolution of SaaS, ITIL, and Service Desk Software has produced a capability for Small and Medium Businesses to approach a level of IT sophistication previously unavailable primarily due to budget constraints and implementation challenges. ITIL promises the ability for IT to utilize a consistent set of languages and practices across the industry while SaaS provides the ability for companies to gain the capabilities of advanced software tools, without the need to build and support the technical infrastructure to support it. Finally, these in combination will allow executives within smaller organizations to leverage IT in ways that were previously available only to large companies to elevate IT within their organization and provide streamlined, cost justified support capabilities. The SaaS based service desk will allow the SMB to implement ITIL processes, become ISO‐20000 compliant, and gain a scientific approach to managing IT in the future. 1 Service Delivery, p. 1, London: Office of Government Commerce, 2001 2 Service Operation, p. 171, London: Office of Government Commerce, 2007 © 2008 All Rights Reserved. InteQ Corporation, 100, Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01730 | www.inteqnet.com 9
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