Cloud Computing and the Rise of Cross-Domain Service Management
January 10, 2011

Dennis Drogseth

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Call it the “tail wagging the dog” but as I already indicated in my previous blog, cloud computing seems to be surprisingly good for service management -- both in terms of technology adoption and in terms of political and process-related transformation. This includes technologies like CMDB/CMS, IT Process Automation, User Experience Management and SLM, as well as integrated service desk and chargeback accounting – among other “bellwether technologies” – or technologies that reflect more advanced organizational and process readiness.

Oh, and I’m not just making this up because it sounds good.

EMA just collected data from some EMA research we called “operationalizing cloud” to target senior IT management (we had more than 50% director-and-above respondents) and how they are seeking to assimilate cloud. There is a lot to say about this research, which I’ll be writing up in a report for the early February timeframe at, but for this blog I’d like to highlight what for me was the spine of the data – the rise of the cross-domain service management organization.

Here are some things we found:

Out of 155 global respondents, about 60% had organizations they felt mapped to the category “cross-domain service management.” Now, you and I know that in every IT organization, the actual names tend to have their own cast. Some are called “service delivery,” some closely allied to “architectural and infrastructure services,” and some even evolve out of “change and configuration” initiatives often centered in the CMDB/CMS. But, a rose by any other name ...

This organization has grown fairly steadily over the last three or so years across companies worldwide – with about 31% beginning in the last year, 36% beginning the year before that, and another 31% going back to three and then more than three years.

This is an executive-driven organization with 55% enjoying C-level oversight.

It’s favored in large companies, but not limited to large companies.

Having a strong cross-domain service organization, is not only a sign of maturity – it’s a sign of likely success:
IT organizations with cross-domain service management organizations in place were 1.5 times more likely to show budget increases in 2010 than those without!

IT shops with x-domain service management were more than 1.5 times likely to have external SLAs in place with service providers, and internal OLAs or SLAs in place with their constituencies.

IT shops with x-domain service management were consistently more advanced in deploying those bellwether technologies – like CMDB/CMS, application dependency and User Experience Management.

IT shops with x-domain were categorically more progressed and effective in their adoption of cloud services -- a topic I’ll examine in more detail in the February EMA report.

The net here is that establishing an executive-sponsored cross-domain services organization is not only a mark of maturity, it’s a mark of efficiency and relevance, as well. I learned from consulting engagements that the first place to start with any technology adoption is with politics and communication. This was, for instance, far more telling than whether or not an organization claimed they were ITIL trained or not—although the two are complementary and go hand in hand in many cases.

I plan to devote my next blog to some do’s and don’ts for establishing and growing a cross-domain services team. How can you take the lead in moving forward even if you’re not the CIO? And what are a few pitfalls to watch out for. And what types of initiatives favor successful cross-domain in their early phases.

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Dennis Drogseth's EMA Blog

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
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