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Service Catalogs Key as Cloud Challenges Rise

04/23/2014 by: The SunView Team

Cloud computing is altering the way organizations approach their IT service management strategies. In many cases, IT teams need to implement robust service catalog solutions to help them deal with the unique challenges created by cloud solutions. Efforts to adjust service management plans are critical in cloud plans because many organizations are facing business groups that have more control of their own technology plans, leaving IT trying to play catch-up and figure out the best way to gain control without disrupting end users.

According to a recent Information Week report, the threat of shadow IT departments emerging within companies and organizations is creating a situation in which IT as a Service (ITaaS) strategies are becoming much more important. Service catalog solutions are key in this area.

Understanding the Impact of Shadow IT
A shadow IT department develops when business units are given enough power to subscribe to cloud applications and services that they end up implementing a large group of solutions that have an adverse impact on the IT setup as a whole. This can prove to be incredibly dangerous because IT teams can be left with fiscal sheets that are completely unbalanced and create considerable data protection challenges as well. This is especially true as business users may not be aware of some of the security risks that are associated with apps and services that handle data in unique or consumer-focused ways. The report noted that shadow IT is becoming a major problem, and ITaaS strategies are designed to address the problem.

The news source explained that shadow IT is becoming more problematic because cloud services are becoming more sophisticated. In the past, cloud apps were generally so simple that companies could only use them in certain contexts. Now, as more cloud vendors offer robust applications, organizations are turning to the cloud for a diverse array of functions. This results in a situation where shadow IT can become much more powerful because business leaders are using a wider range of services.

The growing presence of shadow IT departments has been creating major problems for IT teams, but taking an ITaaS approach can help companies overcome these challenges.

Implementing ITaaS Strategies to Overcome Shadow IT
According to the report, ITaaS is not an acronym to be confused with typical cloud abbreviations, such as SaaS or IaaS. ITaaS is not about another way to access the cloud, but instead a methodology for focusing on service management adapting the entire IT landscape around the ways that cloud services impact day-to-day operations. At this point, IT teams may need to start looking at public cloud vendors as competitors. If the internal IT department can implement ITaaS strategies to accelerate applications and meet end user demands, then IT should be able to support business requirements in a way that prevents shadow IT setups from developing.

The report warned that as cloud services get better, business units could turn to more public vendors and work less with IT. The goal needs to be to use service catalog functionality and similar tools to create an ITaaS setup that gives end users freedom, but still ensures IT control.

Using a Service Catalog to Enhance ITaaS Functionality
The idea of turning the IT department into an internal service provider is not new. However, the process of accomplishing this end is extremely complicated. Implementing service catalog solutions can go a long way in this area because the catalog provides end users with a complete portfolio of both internal and public cloud applications that they can access. When coupled with the right automation tools, this service model offers consumer-like functionality in the workplace, giving business users the tools they need and avoiding the problem of shadow IT.