I was just reading this article by James Urquhart, VP of Product Strategy at enStratus, "Why it’s so hard to talk about cloud"
Some good points were made between James and Andi Mann, VP of Strategic Solutions at CA. However, the real gem in this post, as with most posts, were in the comments. IT at this critical point needs clarity in terms, not confusion. Unfortunately product companies are perpetuating the confusion. Why? Because they are struggling to hang their hat on a differentiation that they can sell.
IT must not embrace these selling points into their value proposition. It's a value trap. I'm not saying that as a buyer you should not see value in CLOUD/SaaS/Private, whatever.... You should consider all the key elements of their services and support. However, do not bring this as a value proposition to management.... THEY DON'T CARE
Services deliver an outcome. Applications and infrastructure facilitate that outcome. I think "Service Management" IT people work too hard to shy away from appropriate and fitting terms like applications, infrastructure and systems to use the term service in immature and confusing way. I.E. Email as a Service. Email is a system that is part of the employee communication services, like Phone systems, and mail systems, and IM systems, that facilitate the outcome of people sharing information with each other. If the employee communications team was in place instead of the email team, the intranet team, the phone team, the IM team, the portal team, etc.. someone would have realized "Oh our outcome is not very good". (It also would have marketing and HR staff as part of the team)
STOP THE MADNESS, this is not that hard. In order for a Service to exist you must have a clear and present service consumer and a definitive service provider, that delivers an outcome to that consumer. With out either of these it is a system, and that's is OK, systems are good. They help us manage smaller components in a meaningful and easy to call out way. You should also have a Service Owner (the person paying for it, not ITIL's IT self commissioned guardian.) You also have Service Enablers. Key sourcing relationships (internal and external) that are required to help facilitate that outcome.
So like I've said many times on the ITSMWP podcast, unless you are an IT business, you really don't need IT Services. You are making more work for yourself, frustrating your culture and breeding confusion.
But if we don't have Services, how can we manage ourselves? You have Services, business Services. Manage yourself based on the outcomes of those Services.
If the Outcome is bad - your services stink.
If the Outcome is good - your services will do... for now.
If the Outcome is great - some lied about the metrics... J/K (sort of)
So if an application, or an infrastructure, or a system is in the cloud, does management really care? Of course they don't. They just want the systems in place to ensure speed, security and availability of the overall service they are receiving. If a cloud provider can be a better Service enabler than internal IT, than an Outcome oriented culture will leverage it.