Self service IT: A vision of self Service IT applied to a company


A vision of a company, where self Service IT is implemented, would look like the following: the IT department is reducing the time they invest in operational tasks such as maintaining their Servers and applying patches. Core tasks of the IT department would shift towards providing more and more Services for their End-users. End-users of different departments within an Enterprise could use these services out-of-the box. This means that they don’t need to call someone in the IT department to create new instances or applications. If the marketing department needs a new website for a product launch, they go to their self-Service platform (which is ideally integrated in the internal portal) and launch the new website. The website is automatically configured and the corporate identity is applied. These services are basically available within minutes. The IT department now works on providing more templates and more applications that are available for the user out-of-the box. This reduces the time-to-market and improves the possibilities in the IT department. In many companies today, this process is done the following way today: if the marketing department needs a new website for a product launch, they talk to the IT department. The IT department now prepares an instance – either virtual or dedicated. The level of automation can vary, but often it is not that automated. The process to create a new marketing website might take some days or even weeks. IT departments are overloaded with tasks that are actually repeatable and can be automated. Automating these processes can significantly improve the IT power of an enterprise, which could lead to an uptake in competition (Stelzer & Heinrich, 2011).

Cloud Computing is a strong driver for self Service IT. If we look at popular platforms such as Amazon Web Services[1], platforms are basically easy to use. To get started with Amazon Web Services, there is nothing more needed than a valid credit card. To register, it takes some mere 10 minutes and you are ready to go. However, corporate environments don’t use these services we call public Cloud  (Meir-Huber, 2011) nowadays in most cases. Large enterprises want to have their IT often with a familiar outsourcing provider or even insourced. This is what we call private Cloud. If we talk about private Cloud, we also need a high level of self Service and all aspects of the Cloud basically apply to private Cloud as well. Right now, we have some mature platforms for private Cloud Computing. Popular companies such as VMware or Microsoft provide some of them; others are Open Source Platforms like OpenStack or Eucalyptus. These platforms basically provide Infrastructure as a Service Tools. If other platforms such as Platform as a Service or even Software as a Service are needed, this is not that mature as we see it with Infrastructure as a Service nowadays. Additional work is required to achieve that.

(Miller & Cardoso , 2012) describes self Service IT as “Internet-Based Self-Services” and outlines the importance of self Services:

“Many worldwide economies have moved away from manufacturing and became service-oriented. As a consequence, research on Internet-based Self-Services (ISS) will foster the uptake of service exports and trading since they can replace many face-to-face interactions and make service transactions more accurate, convenient and faster.” –(Miller & Cardoso , 2012)

By this,  (Miller & Cardoso , 2012) states that self Services will allow companies to replace face-to-face interactions for processes by automated processes. This will improove the company processes to be more accureate, more convenient and faster. (Miller & Cardoso , 2012) also describes that there is a research gap so far in self Services, since this type of services have to be developed by someone – and this costs time and money. They suggest the use of different tools to create self Services out of models.

self services are everywhere - even in IT
self services are everywhere – even in IT

 


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Published by

Mario Meir-Huber

I work as Big Data Architect for Microsoft. With this role, I support my customers in applying Big Data technologies - mainly Hadoop/Spark - for their use-cases. I also teach this topic at various universities and frequently speak at various Conferences. In 2010 I wrote a book about Cloud Computing, which is often used at German & Austrian Universities. In my home country (Austria) I am part of several organisations on Big Data.

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