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IT Service Management: The Supporting Bridge for Hybrid IT Infrastructure

For many organizations, the circumstances of 2020 led to a review of on-premises infrastructure and opportunities to take a leap to the cloud. These decisions are not one-size-fits-all, and there are slew of challenges to keep in mind. Tackling those migration challenges has led organizations to hybrid IT—an environment of technology infrastructure that lives partially on-premises and partially in the cloud. Hybrid IT is an effective option as many organizations are in periods of heightened transition in business technology, but it often results in complexity that IT must manage in order to drive maximum business value.
I had the pleasure of speaking at the ITSM2020 virtual conference about the growing challenges of hybrid IT environments and how IT service management (ITSM) can fill critical gaps in hybrid IT management. With the right ITSM strategy, IT teams can help ensure maximum business value as infrastructure evolves.

Challenges of hybrid IT environments

If you were to look at the list of most common challenges in IT, how many of them are related to complex hybrid IT environments? Users are much more reliant on technology and applications as environments grow. Transitions to multiple datacenters in the cloud and on-premises introduce new questions about security and risk, forcing IT leaders to consider new protocols. They also must consider the impact of outages and business continuity as they introduce new technology and updates.
The pandemic accelerated digital transformation and IT pros’ ongoing efforts to upskill in critical competencies, but we also saw IT shift their focus towards service. As service providers, IT also has the hurdle of consistently meeting user expectations, which vary and evolve as users grow more sophisticated in their needs and experiences.
To address those expectations, IT needs a bridge between traditional IT operations and the end users who depend on business technology.

Adopting an employee-centric mindset

Hybrid IT consists of all the complex infrastructure in your environment. Hybrid IT management is typically thought of from an operations standpoint. How is it functioning? What are the relationships between tools and different pieces of infrastructure?
That IT operations piece is a crucial focus point of hybrid IT management, but we also need to keep in mind that all of the employees in the organization depend on this technology to do their jobs. It’s not just about how the technology is functioning from an operational perspective, but it’s also about the usability of the technology for the employee.
For example, many organizations have adopted cloud-based telecommunications platforms or CRM platforms (either as a result of increased remote work, or for general scaling purposes). The operational side of the house is responsible for ensuring those systems are online, connected, and performing from a technical perspective. But just because those tools are performing doesn’t mean end users know how to use them or know how to share data with the other tools they depend on.
We need to connect the operational side and the end users that drive business value from our constantly evolving hybrid IT environments, and that’s where ITSM enters the equation.

Where to focus your ITSM efforts across your hybrid IT journey

The service desk can unify internal service providers as they convert that complex IT infrastructure into value for the organization. With opportunities to enable integration and drive efficiencies, ITSM solutions and strategies help maximize your hybrid environment, future vision, and current processes. While ITSM solutions and practices can help you cast a wide net to achieve your hybrid IT goals, let’s consolidate our focus into three pillars.
  1. Consolidating visibility and streamlining workflows
Instead of keeping track of assets, historical events, alerts, and more in separate areas, there’s an opportunity to consolidate and have a single view of your full technology environment. ITSM can even simplify complex processes and workflows, break down silos between teams, and create a unified approach to collecting data.
  1. Maximizing service delivery
ITSM allows IT pros to elevate all of the services they provide. Reviewing the current user experience and service levels can help create more positive, meaningful engagement with users. For example, asking for feedback in customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys can give IT pros a look through the lenses of those they provide for.
  1. Automating and integrating
As technology grows overtime, you can automate the discovery of environments and their dependencies. This helps you understand what’s being managed in your IT environment, what needs the most support, and upstream and downstream asset impacts. With this visibility, you can see which business applications are most critical, how they’re accessed, and how they can all be connected. These pillars together round out the unified visibility I mentioned above. Performance can be examined in one place helping to better troubleshoot, discover opportunities for automation, and identify where future data-driven plans can be implemented. Ultimately, it’s about how your ITSM strategies and platforms can help you simplify the complexity of your hybrid IT environments. By reviewing your current infrastructure, configurations, and solutions, you can understand where silos exist, how to better meet the needs of employees, and uncover opportunities to drive efficiencies.
Liz Beavers
Like many IT professionals, Liz’s entry into the tech industry was unconventional. With plans to pursue a career in public relations, Liz’s career quickly took…
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