Information technology (IT) is increasingly seen not just as a company cost center, but as a way to differentiate an organization through service. As the constantly changing technology environment places new demands on resources, IT departments have transitioned to more robust strategic activities, such as capacity management.
As one of the prescribed practices in IT service management (ITSM), IT capacity management is an accurate way to plan for the minimum IT needs that will fulfill business needs and service requirements.
IT Capacity Management’s Objective
The objective of capacity management is to confirm that an IT infrastructure provides the resources required to meet current and planned business needs. It provides expense justifications, while ensuring that IT resources are utilized, acquired and managed in the most cost-effective way.
Capacity management is proactive and ongoing, rather than reactive and static. It consists of three main factors:
- Analytics – to form the baseline for calculating capacity.
- Policies – to formulate requirements and rules that ensure business goals are achieved, while meeting any applicable regulatory compliance, disaster recovery and performance requirements.
- Planning – to ensure that IT’s impact on business operations is clear and that growth, the number of users, retirement of infrastructure components and other variables are included in forecasting models. For example, an organization may wish to analyze how an increasing number of users impact business processes and the applications that support them.
Why Capacity Management First?
The area of capacity management is a good candidate for initial ITIL implementation because many organizations are already familiar with or practicing capacity planning. In addition, it often provides quick results that can generate significant cost savings, perhaps even funding the remaining projects in a successful ITIL implementation. Speedy results can help build acceptance and momentum for the implementation project as well.
Capacity Management Sub-Processes
Capacity management consists of sub-processes, which encompass various activities, all of which involve close collaboration between IT and the organization. The sub-processes are:
- Business Capacity management - Ensures that future business IT requirements are considered, prioritized and implemented. Analysis of data on current use of resources and business projections is used to understand, forecast and model future needs
- Service Capacity management - This sub-process focuses on users’ activities and the IT services that support them. Service Capacity management is helpful to prevent investing in areas that are unnecessary, while giving more value to those that are actually needed
- Component Capacity management - Focuses on managing the IT infrastructure components that support a particular IT service. Constant monitoring, measuring and testing lead to continuous improvement and adequate allocation of resources, based on business needs
Benefits of Capacity Management
Capacity Management offers both short- and long-term benefits. Overall costs are typically lower, while service quality improves and becomes more consistent. Other benefits of Capacity Management include:
- Proven best practices can combine with powerful tools to achieve greater efficiency from existing IT resources.
- Eliminating redundancies helps save money and improve reporting.
- More accurate capacity and cost data from predictive modeling can enable better decision making, so money can be spent on the right things at the right time.
- Proactive processes can project future needs with enough time to prevent the shortfalls, slowdowns and service failures that can negatively impact customer satisfaction.
- Detailed modifications to applications and infrastructure can boost improvements.
Optimizing IT through Capacity Management
IT Capacity Management is a powerful business solution that can guide organizations through IT resource utilization, acquisition and expansion to help save money and improve customer satisfaction. It takes commitment and effort, but the results can be well worth the investment.