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HP Software's community for IT leaders // March 2013

Visibility in an era of SaaS and cloud IT

Users will often hold you responsible for IT services even when they come from outside your IT department. You need to see beyond your data center.

You may be well on your way to becoming a hybrid service provider within the organization. You’ve probably even taken steps toward vetting third-party services, streamlining processes, and building service catalogues for your business users. You’re getting SaaS sprawl under control, users are getting what they need, and everybody’s happy—until one of those services stops working.
Even when the services you provide are hosted by third parties, your users see all the IT services as your IT services, which means any IT problem is your problem. Your service desk needs to be convenient, and customer-oriented—and able to provide results, even when the source of an issue is off-premise. That requires visibility into all services.

Visibility across the ecosystem

Why you need it: It’s easier to address things that go wrong in your in-house infrastructure. But now that your enterprise is relying on services such as Salesforce, HP Cloud Services, and Amazon EC2, in addition to what you already provide in-house, you need awareness of incidents and outages in the broader cloud-services ecosystem. You need the visibility to pinpoint and solve problems, but you also need to be aware of any downtime or SLA breaches in the service delivery value chain. With good visibility across the ecosystem, your IT team is better prepared to act and preempt bigger issues before the problem hits hard. Added dividend: you’re perceived as a business partner and not just as an IT provider. 

How you can get started: Identify all of the services that your central teams and line of business teams use. Establish a triage for proactive and reactive responses for each of these services. Prioritize the services that require your attention when they’re affected by a problem, and keep in mind that priority doesn’t necessarily mean the software failure that gets the help desk phone ringing the most, like email or IM. The priorities should be the services that affect information security, data integrity, and user experience. Then prioritize against any revenue you lose and expenses you incur—in terms of people, process, and technology used—to fix something when any service goes down.

Visibility into spending

Why you need it: When multiple LOBs procure SaaS or cloud services on their own, it can result in a lot of redundancy throughout the enterprise. That redundancy is usually more expensive than the savings expected from going to SaaS or cloud services in the first place. 
How you can get started:
Survey your lines of business; have them report which services they subscribe to, so you can centrally track spending on SaaS and cloud. Give LOBs transparency into, and accountability for, services they use. Review the SLAs and consolidate services to get what you need at the best price.
Consider appointing an IT champion from each LOB to interface regularly with IT, reporting on usage, features desired, seats used, satisfaction, and future requirements. It should be someone close to the functional area who understands the business and relates well with IT.

Visibility into data

Why you need it: Good operational visibility includes knowing how and where your data is stored, managed, and accessed. IT must be aware of the safety and integrity of data to keep the enterprise compliant with its own policies and applicable government regulations and industry standards.
How you can get started: Get a better understanding of your providers’ terms of service.  Ensure you know how each SaaS vendor handles data. 

  • Where is the data physically located?
  • Is it stored in a dedicated or shared environment?
  • Who has access to it?
  • What happens to your data when you leave a service?
  • What happens to your data if the service goes out of business or is sold to another company?
  • Can you audit the vendor for data security?

See into the future and better manage your operations

The service desk of tomorrow will have to answer for a mix of in-house and third-party cloud-based services. But to your users, it’s all IT—your IT. With better visibility, you can give them access to SaaS and cloud services they’ll use and appreciate. You’ll also strengthen your partnership with the business through a socially collaborative service desk that lets you address internal or external IT problems with little downtime. That’s the kind of compelling service the business needs from you to stay competitive.
For more on getting the visibility you need for internal and externally provided services, visit, and then check out the power of HP’s BSM solution.


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