ASL ITIL for Enhanced Application Management
By Pat Moore
The emergence of ASL (Application Services Library) has spawned a potential compliment to the ITIL framework, and is catching the attention of ITSM professionals. Touted as another “standard” public domain framework sponsored by The ASL Foundation, it provides a collection of best practices for managing application development and maintenance. But how does it fit into the “big picture” of ITIL?
Although ASL is based on the processes and service concepts of ITIL, the two frameworks differ in their approach to controlling and supporting the technical infrastructure. ASL stresses different functional competencies and introduces additional processes that support the AM framework, in addition to providing more detail surrounding the ongoing management and support of business systems and services.
In order to alleviate some confusion, service managers should first review the overlap between ASL and the ITIL Application Management component. While ITIL’s current Application Management publication provides a framework surrounding application development and service management, ASL adds more depth to the collaboration required between customers, systems and the service providers optimizing service provision. In effect, ASL more explicitly outlines the process interdependencies between the infrastructure, applications and the business.
However, specific to the application realm, ASL also adds some practical guidance for management of the lifecycle through its recognition of a paradigm shift in focus from application development to software maintenance. ASL sites the traditional focus on systems development efforts (e.g. SDLC) but acknowledges more recent attention to the management, maintenance and enhancement of information systems aligned with service and process perspectives. According to the ASL Foundation, “Current research has shown that on average, the majority of costs are incurred during the maintenance and enhancement stages.”
So, just how much has the focus shifted? From the ASL perspective, quite a bit: roughly 80% of AM efforts may lie in the maintenance of systems. This is powerful insight into where the majority of value added activities should fit relative to the overall application lifecycle. Moreover, exacerbated by the trend of outsourcing non-core competencies (e.g. internal application development), ASL looks more realistically at the activities that focus on optimizing service to the customer and in direct support of overall business objectives.
While ASL does not replace the ITIL Application Management framework, it compliments the service manager through its broader perspective into the dependencies associated with the functional and technical aspects of optimized service provision. That being said, the evolution of ITIL and ASL as a partnership should continue, but the framework documentation itself could more collaborative, reduce redundancy and more clearly articulate AM best practices to the ITIL community.
Bottom line: ASL takes a deep dive into the management of the application lifecycle and integration with the ICT infrastructure. By providing additional processes that support the AM framework and stressing the shift from development to management, maintenance and enhancement, ASL advances the application services framework with additional detail to better serve the business.
By Patrick Moore.
Patrick Moore is a independent consultant and technology writer residing in Los Angeles, CA USA. His site, (ProcessWorx ) provides tools and software solutions for IT Service Management based on the ITIL framework.