Cloud computing and ITSM

Cloud Computing is the buzzword in the IT industry today. Everyone, whether it is a service provider or a customer organization, are looking forward to embracing it for benefit. But the question that bothers the service providers or customer organization is how their ITIL processes and ITSM tools would be impacted?
What is ITSM?
ITSM, IT service management is the process of aligning enterprise IT services with business and primary focus on the delivery of best service to end user. ITIL is the most recognized framework for ITSM that helps service providers with best practice guidance designing, developing, managing and improving an IT service.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is defined as a new way of using IT technologies and delivering computing resources. It is an Internet-based computing where different services are delivered to an organization's computers and devices through the Internet.
Cloud computing has started to obtain mass appeal in corporate data centers and  is moving organizations away from standard package licensing models. Small businesses can access resources and expand or shrink services as business needs change. It allows SMBs to add or remove service and typically only pay for what they use.
Cloud Computing and ITSM
Cloud computing changes the way IT services are provided and the way IT service providers manage their services. With thorough planning and preparation, IT service providers can leverage the potential of Cloud computing to deliver robust offers. With cloud computing services can be provided with greater economies of scale, quicker, faster and cheaper and without the need for a service provider to own the entire IT infrastructure.
Organizations that wants to move their services to the cloud need to think about how secure their data and services would be. Thus, they need to ensure that their overall corporate and IT security governance framework is not compromised upon while moving their IT services to a cloud environment. While adopting cloud computing the services should be defined, designed, transitioned, monitored and improved based on cloud computing.
Challenges and Opportunities Cloud computing present for ITSM 
Cloud computing presents both challenges and opportunities to IT organizations and service providers. The biggest challenge some of the industries could face is the shortfall in best practice for the design, development, transition, operation, management and improvement of cloud-based services. Opportunities include an enhanced way of providing IT and business services without the ownership and cost of setting-up, managing and maintaining infrastructure and technology.  This allows IT organization to be less focused on lower-level IT activities and more focused on designing, delivering, transitioning, managing and improving services which utilize cloud computing and deliver benefits to their customers and consumers.
For the best utilization of cloud computing, IT organizations are required to adopt cloud computing practices, processes and procedures that can yield significant savings and benefits to organizations under right circumstances.
For organizations using ITIL best practice and other frameworks and standards can use the ITIL and existing frameworks as before. But they should  identify the areas that need to be updated, changed or modified to cater for the changes required by cloud computing to realize the value that cloud computing can bring to the organization.
ITIL and cloud appear to stay and will continue to be an integral part of IT Service Delivery for years to come.

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Amanda Paul