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Issue of December 2004 

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Adaptive Infrastructure Management

Managing infrastructure in the adaptive enterprise

Steve Bittinger

Adaptive enterprise is a buzz phrase that has been heard a lot recently. Therefore, it is natural that questions like 'What is adaptive enterprise or infrastructure management?' cropped up. Technology Senate 2004's track on adaptive infrastructure management witnessed talks on this fast developing discipline by eminent technologists.

Steve Bittinger, Research Director, Gartner Research, initiated the discussion with a primer on ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) and ITSM (IT Service Management). With organizations starting to look at IT teams as internal IT service providers, ITSM is a requisite. "ITSM is the collective behavior, competencies, process management behavior and technologies that drive an IT organization's ability to deliver desirable service levels," Bittinger explained.

Towards a frontier model

ITIL is a set of practices emerging as a worldwide standard for IT infrastructure management. These best practices focus on governance, common processes and architecture to manage IT complexity. According to Bittinger, today's IT organizations are focused on providing utility functions at the least cost. The road ahead for these organizations is to make the transformation from a utility to the enhancement and finally a frontier model. This calls for an increase in credibility levels in the business. Bittinger also illustrated how credibility levels can be scaled up using the Gartner model.

The next speaker was Amit Chatterjee, Country Manager, HP Software, HP India, who provided his views on an adaptive enterprise. Today's business environments call for enterprises that are dynamically adaptable to business changes. This cannot be achieved with IT solutions that have only an IT-centric view. Higher IT-value delivery necessitates the need for an adaptive enterprise where the dynamic link between IT and business is automated.

Building the adaptive enterprise

According to Chatterjee, evolution of management solutions is necessary to build an adaptive enterprise. ITSM and ITIL are the foundations of an adaptive enterprise. "It is necessary to start from infrastructure management and then move on to application management. The next step is to move up to look at IT as a service and manage it. The final step is the business management phase," said Chatterjee.

No discussion on enterprise technology is complete without discussing an actual implementation. This aspect was covered by the talk given on best practices in IT infrastructure management by Vijay Mahajan, Head, IT Infrastructure and FM, Mahindra & Mahindra. Mahajan highlighted the major challenges faced, their resolution, and the need for proactive management.

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