Feeds

Automated out of existence?

Service management and the human factor

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Workshop If your job involves managing IT, IT services or business services it’s probably not escaped your attention that for better or worse, your job entails working with other people. Whether strong demarcations between “IT” and “The Business” exist, or whether your firm takes a more ‘progressive’ approach, there are numerous constituencies, each of which operates separately from the rest.

Without getting into tribal structures, hunter gatherers or the rather clever approach they have to organisational structure at companies like Gore, the fact is that such structures inevitably have an impact on how services are delivered, monitored, measured and managed. Despite the best efforts of the IT industry to automate the pants off computing, it’s all still pretty people intensive. For all the talk of ‘automation’ and ‘lights out’ data centres or server rooms – and there are rational arguments for and against – we’re still working in ways that require high levels of human interaction.

We have application guys, database guys, server guys, network guys, desktop guys, security guys (and gals) and so on. Each is working in their own area, solving their own problems with their own tools. This is partly down to the development of IT and its management. Both have added layers on layers over time, each adding new capability and complexity. Management tools have proliferated; and although ‘management suites’ exist, we find that IT organisations using them are no better off in terms of the burdens they find themselves under than those that follow a multi-product or vendor approach to IT management.

So how does this impact service management? The result of the mish-mash of human interactions and information technology is a fragmented view of the world and quite a lot of inefficiency, something readily acknowledged by the readers of The Register. However, the current state of play demands that we need these multiple and different sets of skilled people to keep everything working properly. And, given we find it unlikely that most organisations will seek to implement fully automated computer facilities any time soon, this model looks set to continue for the immediate future.

The much talked-about skills shortage in IT may have something to say about that. Hardware becomes obsolete but code persists. IT organisations may be delivering services which rely on software (COBOL springs to mind) they may not have the skills to fix. Is retirement of people a bigger risk than retirement of technology, or just another reason why the industry’s ‘automate everything’ message makes sense?

In the real world, too much pressure from all sides – economy, IT budgets, business demands, skills - could mean no movement whatsoever. Service management works today in spite of or because of the people bridging gaps where the technology doesn’t.

If the future holds more of the same, then building a better understanding of our own organisations and infrastructure will help. This means getting over that separate entity thing and working out how to deliver services to the business without everyone doing their bit in isolation. But given how quickly the outside world is forcing our businesses to evolve, are we going to get the opportunity to join things together or will we need ever more people to manage ever more stuff? If you have any thoughts on this ever so slightly broad topic, we’d love to hear them, as always.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.