Some of us are struggling with IT Service Management – making it our burning issue. Far too often when applications fail we don’t have the information we need to solve the problem quickly. Or maybe we just need information about those applications so we can programmatically take some other action, information that is unfortunately not often available to us. Where that information is available, it is often presented to us (people) in a delayed fashion – having traversed the process of being picked up on an agent-based poll cycle and then forwarded to the right parties (hopefully).
With IT Foundation Management things are quite a bit different. Applications can be monitored in real-time to detect threats and build a continuously improving proactive Service Management practice. When the unexpected happens, the information IT Foundation Management collects is often the difference between solving the issue in minutes versus researching the issue for hours before a repair can be attempted. IT Foundation Management even provides real-time line-of-sight over tracking and error activity from applications with the ability to detect threats and manage SLAs down to each individual transaction.
Our EFT system is very complex. We have dozens of interfaces. And in all that complexity, IT Foundation Management helps us know when and where there is a problem so we can jump right on it.”Application Programming Consultant, Major US Bank
The opportunity basically comes down to this: applications are already generating a lot of information that could be used to proactively manage SLAs, create new business services, and address service disruptions before they really disrupt much of anything. The challenges are: a) getting that information b) getting it in a timely (real-time) manner c) having the tools to act on it once we have it and d) doing so without chewing up valuable processing capability in the operations environment.
That, by the way, is the value proposition of IT Foundation Management for IT Services. IT Foundation Management gives us access to most (if not all) of the information applications are already generating, it does so in true real-time (milliseconds), it provides the mechanism to programmatically identify conditions we care about, and it does so without installing anything on the servers where the applications run. This capability is also geographically agnostic (the EFT example involves applications owned by different organizations that can span country and continent lines) so it can easily span value chains.
From IT Service Management to new, high-value business services, IT Foundation Management provides capabilities that bring many new opportunities to reduce costs and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
For IT, the number one business need consistently boils down to doing more with less.
You can describe that however you like, but in my way of thinking it nets out something like this…
‘Do’ in my mind means:
- Provide more services for the business (new services, service changes, service enhancements, new functions)
- Handle more service requests (faster)
- Address issues rapidly and effective
- Deploy strategy faster
‘Less’ to me translates to:
- Fewer people (no new hires, limited new hires, staff reallocation)
- Smaller budget
Now, many IT strategies are focusing on reducing the number of tools they use. At first blush that is good, because it is likely to reduce software maintenance and support costs. But by itself this strategy is fundamentally flawed. The reason is because the ‘do more with less’ mandate requires better IT operations. It is a productivity and efficiency issue, not a maintenance and support issue.
IT Foundation Management can help. IT Foundation Management dramatically simplifies and optimizes the daily work of admins and engineers, often increasing the admin to device management ratio by factor of 2x to 5x. In the words of one of our customers:
ConsoleWorks [TDi Technologies IT Foundation Management Solution] helped us move from an admin to device ratio of 1:25 to a ratio of 1:200 in our Solaris server farm. It paid for itself in the first 6 months of operation.Director, Business Services
IT Foundation Management directly supports critical activities like Break/Fix, configuration, and patching. With IT Foundation Management these activities are dramatically simplified – reducing cost and eliminating many of the sources of human error while automating many of the repetitive tasks people must perform. This keeps their focus and attention on the things only people can do.
That is a major productivity and efficiently improvement. Translated to the doing more with less mandate it means that work that must be done is getting done much faster and there is a lot more time (with existing staff) to take on other important activities. IT Foundation Management provides a powerful way to leverage our existing IT staff to meet more challenges of the business than ever before. That is, indeed, doing more with less…
Heavy investments have been made to solve service issues, but while the problem is supposedly ‘solved’ – disruptions still occur! Although this is an unpleasant fact, it is a fact. I run across situations all the time where root causes are never actually found (and fixed), where human error results in critical applications degrading or failing altogether, and where undocumented changes in the IT Foundation result in hours, even days, of frantic activity attempting to find that elusive needle in the haystack, where lack of transparency often leaves us not even knowing which haystack to hunt in.
IT Foundation Management is an important aid in these situations. It can help dramatically reduce human error, eliminate hunting for ‘needles’ (or haystacks), and provide the critical information needed to identify the real root causes of issues so they are fixed once, and fixed right. In one of our customer’s words:
“ConsoleWorks [TDi Technologies IT Foundation Management Solution] empowers us to proactively manage changes that can disrupt our critical business services. In most cases we can resolve issues before they impact services. In the rare case where service is impacted, we have exactly the information we need to quickly and effectively solve the problem.”Global Tools Manager, Large US Telco
Finding the root cause of issues requires information – information that is comprehensive, organized, meaningful, and descriptive. The raw source of this data in the IT Foundation (log files, syslog, snmp, console messages) is only partially accessible to us in most cases, usually requires multiple tools/techniques for us to access, contains a lot of noise (content that is not meaningful), and often requires additional research to determine the meaning of the data. IT Foundation Management captures this data from all sources, organizes and filters it for meaningful information, and presents it with descriptive intelligence. That solves the root cause issue.
Human error is primarily caused by complicated processes, excessive manual activity, and lack of transparency. IT Foundation Management eliminates many sources of human error by simplifying processes, eliminating a lot of manual (repetitive) activity, and capturing all changes to the IT Infrastructure – providing a definitive record of what has changed with the ability to proactively detect service threats and stop them before harm is done. That solves the human error and transparency issues.
This fills in a major gap in the IT Service Management (ITSM) practice, as well as the Business Service Management (BSM) strategy. It’s been missing from most of our strategies in the past, but continued service issues are fueling the need to take aggressive steps. For our customers, those aggressive steps are being taken with IT Foundation Management.