Application Services Library

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ASL is a methodology used in the IT industry.

The Application Services Library (ASL) is a public domain standard, which describes a standard for processes within Application Management (the discipline of producing and maintaining information systems and applications). The term "library" is used because the ASL standard is based on the descriptions of best practices from the industry.

This standard was developed in the late nineties in the Netherlands, originally as the proprietary R2C model, which evolved into ASL in 2000. In 2001 it was donated by the IT Service Provider PinkRoccade to the ASL Foundation, now the ASL BiSL Foundation.

ASL is closely related to ITIL, BiSL and CMM. It is described in several books and articles (most of them only available in Dutch), as well as on the official website of the ASL BiSL Foundation.

The standard was developed because of the inability to structure the way of working within the Application Management departments by only using the ITIL framework, an older library embraced by the IT infrastructure departments for structuring their way of working. At the time of development, ITIL was very useful for infrastructure management but lacked specific guidance for application design, development, maintenance and support. Newer ITIL versions, particularly V3, have increasingly addressed the Application Development and Application Management domains. A reference to a white paper comparing ITIL V3 and ASL is included.

ASL was defined in order to fill this gap for Application Management. A similar development has led to the definition of the BiSL-standard for Information Management / Functional Management.

Purpose[edit]

The ASL is intended to support Application Management by providing tools. Two main categories of aids are defined:

  • Descriptions of the processes for Application Management. Plus the use of best-practises
  • Standard terminology, avoiding the pitfall of talking about different topics while using the same words.

The goal of ASL is to assist in the professionalisation of Application Management.

Structure of ASL[edit]

ASL-model-apllicationserviceslibrary.jpg

ASL contains six clusters of processes, three on the operational level, one on the tactical level and two on the strategic level.

Operational level[edit]

Service organisation

There are five processes within the cluster Service Organisation. The processes in the Service Organisation cluster support the daily use of the information systems. The processes in this cluster are:

These processes have as well been defined in the ITIL framework. The processes are similar, but are viewed from another point of view, therefore the activities in each of these processes may differ from the activities in an ITIL-environment.

Development and Maintenance

Within this cluster the majority of the work of Application Development is done. A major part of the work of Application Management deals with designing, programming and testing applications and information systems. Processes are

These processes are not described at all in the ITIL V1 framework, but do have their counterparts in BiSL, the model for Information management / Functional Management.

Connecting processes

The connecting processes aim at the synchronisation of the activities between Service Organisation/operations (using the applications) and development and maintenance (changing the applications). The two processes included are:

Tactical level[edit]

Management processes

The processes in this cluster are used in the management of the activities within the clusters on the operational level. The processes are located on the tactical level, are used for steering the operational processes. The processes included are:

Strategic level[edit]

Application Cycle Management

Applications live for longer than expected. Systems, functionality, concepts and structure of information systems remain stable over many years. This knowledge is rarely used. It is important that, while maintaining and enhancing systems, there is a clear view needed what the demands are in the future, and based on that, what and how the future of these applications should look like. This view, the application management strategies, is created within the cluster application cycle management. The processes in this cluster are:

Organisation Cycle Management

Also the future of the Application Management organisation, with aspects as skills and capabilities, markets and customers, is very important. Creating the organisation management strategies for this is the aim of Organization Cycle Management. Processes in this cluster include:

  • account definition
  • market definition
  • skills definition
  • technology definition
  • service delivery definition

Information[edit]

For more information, many articles, best practises and information are available at the website of the ASL BiSL Foundation.

References[edit]