If using VDI technology to deploy Desktop Services is a great idea (according to the alleged market size, and vendor/consumer bustle in that market place, it seems to be so) then how do you do it? Well, according to ITIL, you start with a Service Strategy.
I’m no ITIL kung fu master, and this is by choice because I consider ITIL a minor tool that, at best, needs to be used in conjunction with other tools to do the job and it’s not the be-all or end-all. ITIL’s better than nothing, but it’s not everything. And I have a hunch that ITIL pushers are like other religious groups: generally benign, often nice, thoughtful people, but very sensitive if you dare to criticize their church (itSMF), books or practices.
How does ITIL (seek to) help in developing a Desktop Services Strategy?
- Understanding of the market opportunity. There are some drivers that are making VDI technology important to look into and possibly include in the IT strategy. Customers are asking for it, competitors are benefiting from it, vendors are offering deals to do it, etc. VDI technology doesn’t provide a good enough business case on its own :-)
- Understanding the impact on your organization. We understand that changing the way we deliver desktops is going to impact our current approach to delivering physical desktops, so we know it will impact our operational model in some way.
- Become a high performing, business-aligned IT service provider. Is this an opportunity to align IT with the business in a better way, perhaps using a service portfolio to enable our desktop customers to manage their own desktop service?
ITIL wants you to achieve all of the above so why not buy yourself a copy of Service Strategy, put on your VDI goggles and have a read. That’s what I did and here’s what I think an ITIL based approach to desktop service strategy actually is. Your mileage may vary!
- For Desktop Services to be successful, even before we define what it is we need to understand the value that our customers need and want. We do this with a marketing mindset where we ask ourselves questions from our customers’ point of view:
- What is our business?
- Who is our customer?
- What does the customer value?
- Who depends on our desktop services?
- How do they use our desktop services?
- Why are they valuable to them?
- We need to define our value in terms of it’s utility (the things that we do) and warranty (how well/bad we do them). Think of us promising the best desktop experience ever (utility) but the customer being skeptical and so we need to provide a warranty around that service. The better we are at utility and warranty, then the better the desktop service is for our customers.
- We need to assure the value of our desktop service by defining availability, capacity, continuity and security.
- We need to define our desktop services in the terms of its management, organization, processes, knowledge, people, information, applications, infrastructure and finance. Notice how techie stuff is only two of these nine terms.
- We need to understand what we want our desktop service provider to be: an internal, shared or external service provider. All have different business models, and we may need to change our present mode of operation to change to a different service provider model: for example, we might currently outsource our desktops but we need to offer a Shared Service (Type 2) along side this External Service (Type 3).
- We need to define our desktop services with a value network diagram. This will not only help us understand what we are trying to do but we will embellish our business model by finding opportunities to marshal external talent, reduce costs, be distinctive, add complementary services (Type2+3), and collaborate.
- If we want to be a high performance desktop service provider we must strive for market focus and position, develop distinctive capabilities, and construct a performance anatomy.
- As we develop our desktop services we need to learn industry strategy patterns and develop our own. Iteration and collaboration on our strategy to refine and not be afraid to be different nor change course.
- To define our desktop services strategy we need to take our thinking and research and define the market through having a clear vision, understanding of our customers, understanding of the opportunities, and our competition for desktop services.
- We need to get into the detail and start to develop our strategic assets. This is a long section but in a nutshell it’s thinking and acting strategically, for the long haul, and not choosing tactical solutions. Using a closed-loop system is a way to iterate through your actions (not words/whiteboards) and constantly improve your strategy and ultimately your desktop services.
- Check ourselves by opening our work to a strategic assessment. Is our goal the same, or different now? Does our strategy lead to our goal? Are we ready for execution? Do a SWOT Analysis.
- Lastly, there are Desktop Services-specific practices you need to work on, and these are developing the financial model, including a good business case, defining a service portfolio, and trying to understand and model demand which is not _just_ desktops deployed, but across all the desktop services such as the help desk.
These twelve points are just a high level view of my interpretation of what ITIL suggests is required to develop a (desktop) service strategy.
It doesn’t tell you how to do any of this, but it does give you some quotes from famous thinkers and pretty pictures of models (not the human kind, unfortunately, which would massively improve the readability…).