IT Governance

What ITSM Can Learn from DevOps (and Vice Versa)

In the world of business IT there are two major options in play: ITSM and DevOps. Justin Warren, a management and marketing consultant, expresses the strategy underlying ITSM and DevOps while explaining how the two can coincide and work as a team.

Define ITSM

Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) first sparked to life in 1972 through IBM research, leading to the 1980 publication of A Management System for the Information Business. Soon, a Government IT Infrastructure Management Method (GITTMM) was developed, which later was renamed to IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). After about 30 years of ITIL being utilized, there were still large-scale IT failures—the Queensland Health payroll debacle and Victoria’s failed CenlTex experiment, for instance. Networking consultant Greg Ferro expresses concern over ITIL:

“The fundamental ITIL premise is that technology work can be segmented like machines or work functions in a factory where each task can be assigned to a machine with fixed human resources applied to the task and funding applied to the machine. This simply doesn’t work when the factory machines and processes undergo transformational change every three to five years.”

He believes that ITIL has had its moment of glory and it’s time for something new. Here is where DevOps comes into play.

Define DevOps

If people are running from ITIL, usually the ending destination is DevOps, “an extension of the agile methodology” that contributes many characteristics ITIL and ITSM cannot. In 2009 DevOps launched, combining development and operations. Explanation of the DevOps method is tricky because it seems no one knows exactly what to call it, anywhere from “a global movement” to a “software development method.”

With ITIL, developers have sole responsibility for updates and changes, and operations are left in charge. Keeping the operations dominant causes mismatched incentives because the goal is to keep everything stable. But with DevOps, automation is the next goal, where developers own the application’s lifecycle. In a scenario of successful automation, one substantially good developer would get paid more to replace 15 inferior administrators.

Co-Existing Approaches

So the two choices are ITIL and DevOps, but what if the two approaches work together sharing ideas? ITIL can use DevOps for new ideas to upgrade the framework, potentially to an automating system, “just as DevOps people tend to recycle their configuration management software and trade Puppet recipes of the Internet.” Will they find other ways to work together in the future to contribute to better business outcomes?

Read the full article at:,what-it-service-management-can-learn-from-devops.aspx/0

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