Webinar - Managing The Cloud In The Digital Era

Join Peter Hubbard a Principle ITSM Consultant at Pink Elephant and Mark O'Loughlin the Managing Director of the Cloud Credential Council as we explore how ITSM is affected by cloud computing.

Cloud computing brings many business benefits ranging from increased cost efficiencies, business agility, improved use of resources, reduction of operational issues and capital expense but it also brings many challenges to address. How can ITSM ensure that cloud services are managed and deliver real business benefit for their organisations?

Successful cloud adoption can enhance economic growth and have significant industry impact across the economy, but unsuccessful cloud adoption can open the organisation up to potential data breeches, cloud sprawl and loss of control.

In this webinar Peter and Mark discuss how to avoid the lack of control that blights many cloud adoptions in the digital era.


Watch this playback on-demand now.

GRAVITY - A cinematic experience in conquering the cloud (and lunch)

Just to let you  know of our next event from Auxilion which is focused on how Irish firms have used cloud services and digital transformation successfully.

I am holding a number of seats for my personal guests, if you missed the invite, just let me know. If you are tight on time, we welcome you and a few of your team to even just join us for lunch (on us!) anytime between 1.00 -2.00pm next Wednesday. I will be there on the day too, so if you can make it would be good to catch up.

You can register using the link below, or just let me know and I can have my colleagues get you all registered and setup.




Learn how your fellow industry professionals have digitally changed their organisations


Wednesday October 5th, from 1:00pm


Light House Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin City Centre


1:00 – 2:00pm

Lunch and Registration

2:00pm – 3:30pm

Customer Stories

3:30pm – 4:00pm

Networking & Breakout Technology Showcase Area

Passed ITIL Practitioner. Some Musings On The Experience

Just finished sitting the new ITIL Practitioner exam online with PeopleCert. And the scores are just in. A pass and a good pass at that. So just taking the time to post a few brief comments on my experience with this new certification from AXELOS.

My first exposure to the ITIL Practitioner course was an official reviewer of the publication and its associated toolkits. Initially I was impressed with the approach, the content and the way the authors (yes numerous authors here) joined up the material. Although at the early stages of development, these was feedback given on how to improve things (in my view).  Fast forward to 2016 and the polished up text was approved for publication, shortly followed by the official exam and certification.

Next up I took part in one of the Train the Trainer (TTT) sessions for ITIL Practitioner provided by ITpreneurs. Incidentally, ITpreneurs are one of the few official courseware providers, for the immediate time anyway – which ensures that quality content is provided to delegates attending the course. I can say first hand that the trainer material provided by ITpreneurs is of excellent quality, concise and very helpful to both trainers and delegates.

After that, I must admit, my focus was 100% put towards passing some recent exams for an MBA which I am in the middle of.  So self-study (trainer) time for ITIL Practitioner was limited.  

The ITIL Practitioner exam is open book. This is a welcome advancement as I am an advocate for open book exams under the right learning conditions. The sample exam is good. The syllabus is clear. The ITIL Practitioner Guidance book is easy to read, follow and use. All this helped towards my exam preparations.

In the interest of integrity I will not discuss the exam proper or its content. Only to say that a small number of the questions could have done with having some more specifics included to help identity the BEST answer. Or maybe it’s me? The other point I think I can make is that anyone with a reasonable background in organisational change or continual service improvement initiatives and ITIL would have a reasonably good chance in passing this exam.  There is ample time to complete the exam even though there is a lot of context to be read in the scenarios. The ITIL Practitioner Guidance was liberally used and references during the exam.

By the way I stuck to my first answer on ALL the questions, even though I had ear-marked five for a final review. Goes to show – go with your gut instinct. It can serve you well.

In closing I am excited to have passed the latest offering from AXELOS. I am very pleased with the ITIL Practitioner Guidance and having been part of its development as a reviewer. I wish it every success and hope people and organisations will benefit from having a standardised approach to making improvements continually. For me it is back to the MBA and six months of more study, assessment and exams (really) – but the optimist in me says that at the half way mark the glass seems half full!

Calling all Irish based IT Service Managers, IT managers and anyone else in the industry...

Calling all Irish based IT Service Managers, IT managers and anyone else in the industry...

Can you help with the following research project by answering a small survey?

Aislinn Collins is currently completing her 3rd year of a BSc. in IT Management in the Institute of Technology Tallaght.  

In order to complete her 3rd Year project she is undertaking research on the impact of the adoption of Cloud Computing on Information Technology Service Management within Irish organizations.  

The focus will be on large organizations but she is happy to receive completed questionnaires from micro, small and medium-sized organizations in order to compare experiences across different sectors.  

Research questions to be answered include whether there is a need for formal ITSM practices such as ITIL or COBIT to be adapted or augmented in light of the new service and deployment models associated with cloud computing.

Please take the short questionnaire https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NZ7H7FF

Thank you for your help with this research project.

Passed The New RESILIA Foundation Course

I am delighted to have just passed the new RESILIA Foundation exam.

As this is a brand new course and certification released by AXELOS, I thought it would be a good idea to provide some details of my experience and the materials I used to prepare for and take the exam.

As part of the current international Train The Trainer (TTT) programme for RESILIA I was provided with comprehensive courseware provided by ITpreneurs. ITpreneurs is one of the four official global RESILIA courseware providers licensed by AXELOS.

I was provided with a copy of the trainer slides which are externally interactive and a digitally protected softcopy version of the student handbook, which includes comprehensive notes and guidance on both cyber resilience and areas which are likely to be examined.

The course book contains one full sample exam and a second sample exam is available for download from the RESILIA website (login may be required). This provides delegates with a total of one-hundred sample questions to use to prepare for the exam proper. The exam consists of fifty questions with a pass score of 65%.

First off I scanned the course book and slides. As the RESILIA foundation course is based at Blooms Level 2, key definitions are certainly examined. Also examined are key and pivotal points and areas regarding cyber resilience. As a trainer it was easy enough for me to spot the key tenants of the course and using the syllabus I got a clear view of what areas are examined. Then I took a day out oy my schedule to read, take notes, prepare, do the sample papers, review and repeat the process again.

Beware though, this approach is not for everyone, and as I learnt later on during the exam proper, once you rule out the question distractors you are generally left with at least two plausible answers.

As part of the TTT, I was provided with an exam voucher to take the exam online. As I am registered through PeopleCert, I took the online exam with them. The process was seamless and best of all, with online proctoring, I did the exam in the comfort my own home office.

Overall the courseware is good, the book is concise and the two sample exams help prepare for the exam proper. Beware though, the exam is not to be taken lightly.

For those trainers out there who want to upskill and deliver RESILIA courses, I understand there is still an opportunity to register for the RESILIA Train The Trainer for free up until the end of August 2015, at least through ITpreneurs.

The next step is to tackle the forthcoming RESILIA Practitioner exam in order to quality as an official trainer for the RESILIA Portfolio.

Report highlights service and support issues when adopting cloud computing

My latest article on cloud computing is available at the below links and is also reproduced here




Businesses adopting cloud computing services need ask a range of questions about support, backup and security to ensure that they receive adequate levels of service from their provider, according to a new report.

“Cloud computing and cloud based services are growing exponentially, yet many are unaware of the questions they need to ask to ensure quality of service,” said Mark O’Loughlin, head of cloud advisory and consulting at Auxilion and author of the report.

The IT service management and cloud computing report highlights key issues that need to be discussed with the provider before implementing cloud services, including the legal jurisdiction the data stored in and the level of service and back up provided.

 “For example, customers may assume that their applications and services are fully resilient and backed-up, only to find out during a service outage that they have inadequate arrangements in place,” O’Loughlin said.

“The legal jurisdiction of where the data is stored also poses serious legal and compliance issues such as who has access to the data from a legal perspective and what data protection laws apply.”

The report advisers that cloud computing and cloud based services customers should expect, and demand, at least the same levels of service as those provided by traditional IT service providers and internal IT organisations.

And it recommends implementing ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) principles to support the adoption and use of cloud computing and cloud based services. 

“Applied properly, cloud computing has huge cost and productivity benefits,” said O’Loughlin. “For example, businesses no longer need to procure, operate and maintain full and complete back-end IT infrastructure and applications. In addition, smart phone and tablet devices have enabled new mobile business models which did not exist ten years ago, via cloud enabled applications and improvements in data communications and broadband access and speeds. 

“However, when adopting cloud computing and cloud based services, businesses should not forget the basic principles of IT service management.”

Mark O'Loughlin, head of cloud advisory and consulting, Auxilion. 1

ITIL and the Cloud

There is no doubt that a current shortfall of a defined global best-practice for cloud computing is creating challenges. However previous investments in IT management structures and best practices such as ITIL® can be capitalized on and provide a solid foundation for managing cloud based services and hybrid IT environments.

Click here to read my latest blog for Auxilion, and watch the interview on how ITIL best practices can be utilised in cloud computing.

Cloud Showcase Event

See what an ISO20000 certified & ITIL aligned IT operation looks like in the cloud.

Auxilion provides 24x7 IT Support Services to some of the largest Irish and international organisations around the globe – entirely from the cloud.

Join us on Friday June 26th at our Service Operations Centre in Park West where Cloud Service Management experts Karl Howley and Mark O’Loughlin will host a special workshop on getting best practice IT operations and support into the cloud

For more details http://www.auxilion.com/abovethecloud

Great News. Professional Cloud Service Manager

Great to see @PinkElephantUK delivered another Professional Cloud Service Manager #PCSM  course.

Excellent feedback was received from the delegates and Pink retain their 100% exam success rate with this course.

This is great news for me personally as both the author and creator of the course and as the trainer who delivered this course for Pink Elephant UK.

More news on this great achievement to follow.

If you would like details about the Professional Cloud Service Manager course, please let me know.

Additional details can be found here.

The IT profession and the cloud. Are technical competencies on their way out?

I was interviewed recently by AXELOS (owners of ITIL) regarding the disruptive nature of cloud computing and its effect on traditional IT jobs. A transcript of that interview is included below with a link to the complete interview.


Cloud computing is a disruptive innovation for business and IT, changing how technology services are provided for both consumers and service providers.

In practice, cloud computing promises to deliver various IT and compute services quicker, faster and cheaper - without the need for ownership of the whole IT infrastructure. Even typical IT service providers may no longer own certain parts of their IT infrastructure. They may choose to outsource that to a cloud provider in order to capitalize on the economies of scale and lower costs.

But what are the competencies needed to manage this shift in the IT landscape?

Organizations are slowly becoming aware of the need to upskill both their technical and business knowledge in order to 1) understand the shift cloud computing introduces 2) understand how to capitalize on the benefits that cloud adoption brings and 3) understand how to manage procure, integrate and manage cloud computing and cloud based services.

Even if the organization outsources various elements of its IT to a cloud provider it is true to say that, in this hybrid IT cloud model, training and education will be needed for practitioners to understand, work with and benefit from cloud computing.

Staff within technology and outsourced IT providers will absolutely need to be upskilled and certified to handle the requirements of designing, transitioning and managing cloud computing and cloud based services in hybrid IT environments.

Want to know more? Read the complete article here: www.axelos.com/news/it-profession-and-the-cloud

Congratulations - Winners

Congratulations to the following people who recently won free e-Book vouchers after attending my session on Service Management for Cloud Computing.

A big thank you to to Ivo van Haren for providing the e-Book vouchers.

Vouchers can be used to obtain a free e-Book from here: www.vanharen.net

The winners are:

Gediz Curgul
Savita Robert
Barry O'Sullivan
Daytinn Kros
Stig Bjørling Ellingsen

Well done all, and thank you for attending.


Q&A with Mark O’Loughlin discussing Cloud Computing for ITSM

 The following is Q&A with Mark O’Loughlin discussing Cloud Computing for ITSM. This interview was held in advance of the itSMF Estonia conference.

On December 2nd, itSMF Estoniais hosting their 9th annual full-English conference, presenting a wide range of topics around ITSM, including DevOps and Cloud. Delegates will be able to enjoy a truly international selection of speakers, including Kevin Behr (co-author of The Phoenix Project) and Adrian Cockcroft (previously Cloud Architect at Netflix).

Attendance fees range from €50 to €100, which is more than a bargain, and to top that, Van Haren Publishing will be giving a free e-book to every delegate.

Leading up to this event, Mark O’Loughlin, as recognised industry leader in the field of service management and cloud computing, shares his view on Cloud Computing. He explains how Cloud Computing is changing IT Service Management, with a Q&A of his presentation at the itSMF UK Conference this November.


Q. Can you give a quick recap of the intro to your session at the itSMF UK Conference?

A. Cloud computing is changing how IT is provided, moving many elements of ownership and control away from in-house and individual IT providers. Therefore this shift in the industry brings about changes which organisations need to be aware of in order to address them.

I provided an overview of the effect of cloud computing on existing IT management practices, including IT service management (ITSM) and ITIL best practices


Q. Why is cloud computing important?

A. Cloud computing is a disruptive innovation in business and IT models. It is disruptive because it is changing how IT products and services are being provided for both the consumer and the service provider. Cloud computing is moving organizations away from the traditional software licensing models and premises-based data centre hosting to ‘pay-as-you-go’ or utility based pricing.

Over time, as the adoption of cloud computing increases, organizations will see a reduction in the IT infrastructure which they would have previously bought, operated and maintained.

Cloud computing does not fit every scenario, but where it does, the promise is one of scalability, lower cost, flexibility and reliability. Please note, it is incumbent on any organisation moving services to the cloud to check how these promises will be delivered.


Q. What does this mean to IT service management and service providers?

A. Cloud service providers are no different to traditional IT service providers in relation to their need to provide quality, cost-effective, secure and available IT services. When you move your services ‘to the cloud’, certain elements of how an organisation traditionally managed IT services will have to change. The difficulty is the lack of knowledge beforehand of what organisations need to change and how to make those changes.

In my presentation I provided a number of considerations and scenarios where organisations will have to adapt and change their processes and working method after outsourcing to a cloud provider, be it a full or partial outsource engagement.


Q. Does this mean organisations have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, regarding how they run and manage their IT services?

A. Absolutely not. IT organizations using ITIL and other frameworks and standards, will be required to adapt certain elements of their operations to cater for the disruptive nature and benefits of cloud computing.

For those organizations using ITIL best practice and other frameworks and standards the message is clear: there is no need to undo the current IT organization and how it operates. The important thing is to identify the areas that need to be updated, changed or modified. This way organisations can profit from the added value that cloud computing can bring to the organization as well as to the customers and consumers.

These concepts and ideas are further explored in the recently released white paper by AXELOS.

Download a free copy here.


About Mark O’Loughlin:

Mark O’Loughlin is the founder, Managing Director and Principal Consultant of Red Circle Strategies. At Auxilion, Mark is Service Architect and principal consultant.

He is the former director of itSMF Ireland and one of the first people to be globally awarded with the ITIL® Master accreditation.

At the Cloud Credential Council, Mark is as director actively involved in creating and promoting best-practice for cloud computing and service management. He is also the Lead Author and Architect of the Professional Cloud Service Management course and certificate for the Cloud Credential Council. For further details click here.



Speaking at itSMF UK conference and exhibition 2014

ITSM14, the annual conference and exhibition of itSMF UK, returns to the Novotel London West in Hammersmith on 10th and 11th November 2014.

This year I will be speaking on the topic of "Cloud Service Management - A New Beginning. What You Need to Know".

This session continues on from my presentation at last year’s event. Details of my 2013 presentation can be downloaded from here

What you will learn:

Whether we like it or not, cloud computing is both disruptive and here to stay for a long time. The disruptive nature of cloud introduces the idea of Hybrid IT where the design, development and management of cloud services and traditional ITSM services converge. The question so how do you adapt today, what you need tomorrow to manage IT and cloud based services?

The overarching tenant of this presentation is to inform attendees how to utilise their existing investment in ITIL processes, functions, structures and training while taking advantage of cloud computing and cloud based services.

The presentation will provide relevant examples to the attendees on issues, pitfalls, and easy wins when adapting to deliver and support cloud based services. The message is clear. Do not throw out your ITIL / ITSM setup. I plan to explain how to do this with practical examples.

I will be speaking on Monday 10th November between 15:20-16:20. The agenda can be found here.




All attendees to my session will have the opportunity to win a number of free vouchers for an e-book courtesy of Van Haren publishing.

The voucher entitles the lucky winner(s) to download a free e-book from the extensive Van Haren Library.


itSMF UK Conference 2013 – ITSM13

It’s Getting Cloudy in IT Service Management

"I had the pleasure of chairing a session Mark ran at the itSMF UK conference.  Over the years I have seen many presentations purporting to demystify cloud operations, but Mark's was the first to really deliver.  His explanations were clear, his examples were credible and his suggestions both practical and pragmatic.  He easily engaged the audience and although representing a company selling cloud solutions, he never came across as selling anything other than his obvious passion for the subject"

Martin Neville

Head of Service Management Integration

Jaguar Land Rover


itSMF Canada - Conference 2013

There were no clouds to be seen in Toronto on May 6th when Mark presented.

In the sphere of ITSM – Cloud best practices are still emerging.   Mark provided just the right amount of balanced insight and relevance into how Cloud is changing the role of IT in the delivery of services, and how it affects our relationship with our suppliers and the business. 

Judging by the terrific audience engagement during the Q & A period, Mark clearly hit a few key Cloudy points of interest – the importance of understanding up front the value of Cloud for the business; the costs associated with increased business demand over time; the new challenges of end to end SLAs and Change Management in a Cloud model; and the changing roles within IT – less control and more focus on being a strategic ‘broker’ between the business and external service providers. 

Mark’s presentation re-enforced to me that while Cloud introduces new challenges in the delivery of IT Services, the ITSM V3 framework becomes even more relevant in executing great service delivery.  A great presentation Mark!

Consultant, Intact Financial Corporation

Free white paper - IT service management and the cloud


Download a free copy of the AXELOS white paper on IT Service Management and Cloud Computing. This white paper was comissioned by AXELOS and written by Mark O'Loughlin of Red Circle Strategies.

What challenges and opportunities does cloud computing present for IT service management? White Paper Cover Page

Cloud computing presents both challenges and opportunities to IT organizations, businesses, customers and consumers. A current shortfall in best practice for the design, development, operation, management and improvement of cloud-based services may be seen as challenge for some within the industry. This is especially true for hybrid IT environments.

However, previous investments in IT management structures and best practices such as ITIL® can be capitalized on and provide a solid foundation for managing cloud based services and hybrid IT environments.

Do you want to find out the answers to these questions?

  • Why is cloud computing important?
  • What questions should be asked of a cloud service provider?
  • How can ITIL be adapted for cloud computing?

Answers to these questions are available in the new whitepaper published by AXELOS, the owners of ITIL.

Click in the link below to download this whitepaper for free.





Axelos release best practice white paper for cloud computing

Axelos has released their first best-practice white paper for cloud computing.

It's full title is "Best practice in the cloud: an introduction. Using ITIL to seize the opportunities of the cloud – and rise to its challenges."

I reviewed the white paper on behalf of the Cloud Credential Council: http://www.cloudcredential.org/

The white paper is now available from their website HERE


It's getting cloudy - Bright Talk webinar now available

There is no doubt that cloud computing is rapidly advancing in the marketplace.

New cloud based applications and services are coming to market quicker than ever, boasting of reduced cost of acquisition and operation. For some cloud services the pay as you use model is seen as very attractive for many organisations.

Cloud computing, in its current form, is still relatively new. Best practice frameworks, including ITIL ®, and standards need to catch up and provide guidance on how best to use, deliver and consume cloud based services.


My recent Bright Talk webinar is available on demand here; https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/534/107661


Log in required to download the slides.

It certainly was cloudy at ITSM 13

The weather that is. A big thank you to all those who attended my session “It’s Getting Cloudy in IT Service Management” at ITSM 13 last Tuesday. It was standing room only for any late arrivals.

The session was well received and public consensus confirms that there is much needed guidance required to help organizations manage cloud service son top of their traditional IT services. More exciting news on this topic to follow shortly.

As a thank you to all who attended, there were vouchers for a free available on the afternoon courtesy of Van Haren Publishing.

Feedback from the session.

"I had the pleasure of chairing a session Mark ran at the itSMF UK conference.  Over the years I have seen many presentations purporting to demystify cloud operations, but Mark's was the first to really deliver.  

His explanations were clear, his examples were credible and his suggestions both practical and pragmatic.  He easily engaged the audience and although representing a company selling cloud solutions, he never came across as selling anything other than his obvious passion for the subject"

Martin Neville

Head of Service Management Integration

Jaguar Land Rover