VDI. It’s one of the second hottest topics this year. The problem is that everyone is talking about the back-end data center infrastructure (which is important don’t get me wrong) and not about how to be successful long-term to avoid some serious legacy IT solution messes by putting the necessary thought into how this looks from a consumable service perspective and being able to deliver on the business value promise that we keep hearing about.
As stated before, the main conversation is so focused on the “nuts and bolts” of making VDI work from an infrastructure level, that IT folks aren’t developing the necessary framework around ITSM (Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, and Service Operation) to be successful beyond getting the infrastructure in place. This will eventually end up in the typical IT Sisyphean struggle that IT always ends up dealing with. Most CIOs and IT executives today prefer the “what is” as opposed to the innovation path of “what could be”. Traditional IT executives are not willing to spend time in the “dragon gap”. They are under the illusion that the solution to a problem exists in the past, therefore all we have to do is reach back and grab a solution from the “solution shelf” as if we were buying a pair of pants from the read to wear rack. This does not work in this era of the consumerization of IT.
A lot of the contention that organizations are seeing with virtual desktops (in whatever flavor they use) can be mitigated by actually following some ITSM processes. With the right service strategy these points of contention can be better understood and handled along with possibly forming a new organization within IT to handle this technology (again covering whatever flavor of virtual desktops are used).
In my opinion, all Virtual desktop solutions should be gathered under one new organization within IT. At this point the organization needs to follow a very standard phased approach, starting with.
1. Service Strategy Phase: Whereby the new organization within IT determines the needs, priorities, demands and relative importance for a virtual desktop service. The organization then needs to identify the value being created through a virtual desktop service and the predicted financial resources required to design, deliver and support them.
2. Service Design Phase: Here is really where the rubber starts to meet the road. The architecture teams kick off the design for the infrastructure, the processes and the support mechanisms needed to meet the availability requirements of the customer. By engaging the necessary teams and individuals at this juncture of the Service Design, the “turf wars” can be minimized if not completely mitigated.
3. Service Transition Phase: With the right teams and individuals assembled and working together, they can then validate that the Service meets the functional and technical fitness criteria to justify release to the customer.
4. Service Operation Phase: Here is where the creation of the new organization within IT would/should be responsible for all current and future flavors of virtual desktops from server-based computing on down to the client-side hypervisor desktop virtualization that is coming. This new organization would be responsible for the monitoring of the ongoing availability being provided. During this phase they would also manage and resolve incidents that affect Service Availability.
5. Continual Service Improvement Phase: The new organization then ties directly into the team that manages and coordinates the collection of data, information and knowledge regarding the quality and performance of services supplied along with Service Management activities performed. Service Improvement Plans are developed and coordinated to improve any aspect involved in the management of virtual desktop services with the new support and operational team.
These steps would lead eventually to the re-architecture of the obsolete IT business model we have today and better enable IT to adapt to the change that the business needs.
The conversation needs to be elevated to beyond the device-centric and mobility conversation to the user persona virtualization and service oriented aspects. IT needs to stop prognosticating about the trends and start developing the next generation IT organization to keep up with those trends and stop being the “department of No”. This abstract is the beginning of a series of articles that will focus on putting the Service components around a VDI solution to ensure long-term success.