Applying the Controls of ITSM with the Flexibility of DevOps

As an IT leader, you want to speed up your service delivery whilst ensuring process compliance, right? Well, have you thought about using ITSM and DevOps together?

Many people think that ITSM and DevOps are incompatible: Traditional ITIL processes and DevOps practices are incompatible. Meeting the DevOps goals of shorter development and release cycles does not work with ITIL Change & Release Management.” We disagree. We believe the two actually work well together, playing to the strengths of your different tools and processes – and meaning better business.

In fact, using ITSM and DevOps together can enable your business to respond faster to market and customer needs, by accelerating controlled IT service delivery. Unifii has been demonstrating this, partnering with businesses of all sizes, across industry sectors, to implement ServiceNow using agile DevOps techniques.

By applying the controls of ITSM with the flexibility of DevOps, your business can tune up its processes and add automation as well as orchestration to become more streamlined, more unified and more efficient. What’s more, this approach can also help ensure you have compliant, audit-friendly processes, so if an auditor knocks on the door and asks for specific evidence, you’re fully documented.


Why DevOps?

DevOps is not a new concept: development and operations have been around for a long time. But it’s one of the latest and most talked about labels for the process of uniting Dev and Ops teams, with best working practices and a broad range of tools, to accelerate and scale software development.

Some of the current focus around DevOps centres on smaller teams or clusters, carrying increasing workloads, who are looking to automate more of the process – and accomplish more – in a quick and scalable way. To do this, they’re harnessing the range of popular open-source and fremium-style tools, which enable them to quickly build their own ecosystems.

It also means they don’t need to face lots of centralised control functions or cross team/department standards. A major problem is that solutions owned by individual teams or small clusters, with no standards, are harder to unify into a coherent strategic operating model.

We find this with a lot of our clients, a prime example being in the investment banking industry. Teams who deal with Commodities may work in one way, and the ones who deal with FX another. But they have to come back together to standardise to a change tool that has a strict way of doing things, and this throws up compatibility issues and complications.

Using ITSM and DevOps together streamlines your software development lifecycle, making your tools and processes unified, helping to solve your standards incompatibility issues.

Using ITSM and DevOps together

So how do you successfully use DevOps alongside ITSM? It’s worth noting that whilst facilitating different business needs, there is natural compatibility between the two approaches.

The core components of ITSM are Plan (Service Strategy) and Build (Service Design) – which are Dev activities; and Release (Service Transition) and Support (Service Operation) – which are Ops. Furthermore, both approaches support Continuous Improvement processes.

Taking ITIL as the most common ITSM framework (though there are others such as COBIT and ISO20000 which can still work alongside DevOps), ITIL processes chime with a number of processes that DevOps teams touch on. Things like Demand, Release, Change, Incident, Problem and Request Management.

Consequently, it’s important to get your process design and alignment right. You need to agree what can be shared between DevOps tools and ITSM tools, to minimise the need for double keying or rework, and ensure they fit the right risk profile.

Among the advantages of using ITSM with DevOps are a higher level of process automation, and the ability to utilise your whole range of existing tools. For example, as part of a change process you can have different tools for your log, validate, approve, implement, and review stages, with DevOps pulling the right information together in the change ticket. Bringing DevOps into the mix also gives operations teams better visibility of the environment, and integrated tools to reduce time between incident detection and resolution.


Unifii and ServiceNow

Unifii is a team of enterprise service management and automation professionals. We’re aligning DevOps with service management using our ITSM platform of choice, ServiceNow, which has the automation capabilities to make the Integration between DevOps and ITSM a reality.

ServiceNow is a platform that’s massively growing in popularity, becoming one of the leading ITSM solutions, particularly for Discovery and Orchestration.

ServiceNow can act as a key coordination system and integration layer between the different systems involved in the DevOps lifecycle. It offers a range of applications that can help ensure a smooth and effective integration between your ITSM and DevOps processes: such as Change, Release, Project and Test Management; SDLC; and IT Orchestration.

The aim is to provide more visibility and auditability for the business by linking processes and tools together sensibly. The result, is improved alignment of your technology and business goals to improve your bottom-line.


Looking to streamline your software development lifecycle?

If you have questions about integrating DevOps and ITSM, or need support, whether you are an ITIL or non-ITIL house, feel free to talk to us. We can help you get the best from your tools and processes, and help you achieve a good balance between speed of delivery for the business, and process compliance.

Myles MolloyApplying the Controls of ITSM with the Flexibility of DevOps