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Enterprise IT infrastructure management: Characteristics and challenges

An organisation’s IT infrastructure can be deployed in the cloud (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) or locally (On-Premise). It can be managed by an outsourced team or in-house IT specialists. In any case, any IT solution should help the company grow and generate revenue. If it is not, IT management is worth adjusting. Today we will tell you how to do this and which model is better.

A few decades ago, IT departments were solely responsible for the technological reliability of processes in companies and companies. IT departments were treated as ancillary. No one thought about the impact of their work on the business.
Often the infrastructure was formed spontaneously – in response to business calls. IT services had a complex and illogical structure both on the technical and process side. Two main problems arose from this:
  • Accountability: it was difficult to calculate maintenance costs, produce financial reports, keep statistics and make forecasts;
  • Financial return: It was difficult to track whether investments in IT were having an impact on the business itself.
Over time, it has become clear that all processes need to be transparent for IT departments to help the business. This requires effective information infrastructure management – with clear goals, objectives, roles and responsibilities.
Fortunately, some companies have still managed to use effective strategies. Their valuable experience needed to be understood, systematised, and then disseminated to the masses. The first attempt to organise successful experiences was ITIL.

What is ITIL

ITIL or IT Infrastructure Library is a collection of internationally best practices and models of IT infrastructure management. The description of procedures in ITIL takes precedence over theory: the definition is led through the lifecycle of a service, and critical implementation success factors are given.
The document was developed by CCTA, the central computer and telecommunications agency (now the UK Government Commerce Authority), on behalf of the UK government. The first version of the document went to print in 1992. The library has since been expanded with new cases, with reprints in 2000, 2007 and 2011. The library continues to develop actively at the present time. In 2019, the fourth (ITIL v. 4) and currently the latest version of the best practices collection was released.
ITIL brings together approaches from different areas of IT. A company planning to build a management system can apply several approaches from other models at once or choose only one method. It is not uncommon for companies to implement the system in stages, adapting it to their specifics.
ITIL identifies several areas that are worth paying attention to first:
  • finance (analyse business processes),
  • service level (maintain quality levels),
  • capacity (keep balance),
  • incidents (have a strategy for dealing with failures and accidents),
  • continuity (have backups),
  • changes (implement only those changes that ensure development),
  • configurations (keep up to date, adjust variably),
  • releases (to be updated regularly).
More than 10,000 companies worldwide use the library to build their operations. Based on the experience described in ITIL, many modern intelligent IT management systems have emerged. One such system is ITSM.

What is ITSM

ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) is an IT service management system covering business needs. The system’s ideology is the optimal combination of processes, people and technology.
ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) is an IT service management system covering business needs. The system’s ideology is the optimal combination of processes, people and technology.


How to set up IT management in a company according to ITSM

To implement ITSM in your organisation, there are several steps to follow.

Step 1: Do a system audit

Before making any changes to the system, you need to carefully analyse its state and everything that happens on that system. This is where an audit helps. The purpose of an audit study is to take an inventory, find problem areas and bottlenecks, and determine the performance of each element. In addition, it is crucial to find out whether the current system and its design meet the organisation’s needs. Based on the audit results, a report should be made on the status of all areas, and conclusions should be drawn.

Step 2: Create a plan

Once you understand the state of the organisation’s IT structures, you can move on to defining objectives and a development strategy. A management vision should be developed, and transparent process requirements should be drawn up. The idea must consider the interests of the technology side, the person who will maintain it and the business. The result will be a detailed plan from which the resource investment in infrastructure can be estimated and the profit it will generate can be calculated. It is one of the most complex steps, but without it, it will not be possible to set new management standards.

Step 3: Implement Service Desk

At this stage, it is worth taking care of the users’ interests. Do not put them on the back burner when upgrading the system. In some cases, it is necessary to set up a Service Desk to handle requests from external customers. This service will allow for a precise regulation of support processes, automatic handling of incoming enquiries and evaluation of end-user satisfaction.

Step 4: Choose monitoring tools

Regular monitoring helps to monitor the system’s performance and keep track of even small changes. In some cases, timely monitoring helps to identify and prevent failures. The central monitoring tools are inventories (hardware and software inventory), checking equipment compliance with regulations, and documentation analysis. One or all of these tools can be used at once. Reports should be drawn up based on the results of the inspection. Based on these, decisions will be made to upgrade the system.

Step 5: Maintain IT infrastructure management

Once your management system is up and running, you need to maintain it: monitor the planning, deployment, and delivery of IT services. This keeps you up to date and can respond to problems in the system on time.
The feasibility of establishing an IT infrastructure management system is unquestionable. Transparent models allow for a better understanding and control of processes and, therefore, a more effective impact on profits. Even if your company is not ready for a complete transition to ITSM right now, you can take the first few steps. This will set the vector for gradual, step-by-step development.