Emtec Insights

ITSM, Do the Right Thing, Do it Right

 You may recall from Part 1 of this 4 Part Blog Series my firm belief about "Doing the Right Thing with ITSM." If you have not had a chance to read it, please do so. Throughout this Blog, I will repeat a firm belief I have, namely that ITSM implementation projects will not be successful if they are not considered as Business Projects from Day 1.

 ITSM Systems (IT Service Management Systems) are often described as the ERP Systems for IT. They manage the Enterprise Resources classified as IT Systems (Servers, Storage, Networks, Security Components, End User End Points, Applications and Data), and render these resources back to the Business. These are consumed by the Business Units and their End Users as Business Services (eg. Mail and Messaging with Presence, Back-up/Restore and/or Data Archiving).

Every Element in the IT Estate whether in the End User Enterprise Compute class and the Element Managers, will talk in a bi-directional way to the ITSM platform, using common or proprietary protocols. It is critical to have a good and correct understanding of how physical and more and more virtual elements are connected to support applications that generate and manipulate corporate data that ultimately enable business processes to run seamlessly as the core of the Business Activities. We need to know what it takes, now and tomorrow, to have IT run the companies business processes, without interruption, at an affordable and predictable cost, and react quickly in case of degradations or outages or better yet, perform pro-active maintenance and support activities to prevent any disruptions.

So is ITSM a true business issue?

ITSM Systems typically offers 5 sets of features and functions based on BMC Lifecycle approach:

• Request and Support
• Configure and Provision
• Monitor and Operate
• Plan and Govern
• Integrate and Orchestrate

Across the lifecycle of the IT estate and how it needs to be set-up, monitored, managed while including changes and enhancements to support the business processes and render the business services and when required, ITSM Systems will ensure the availability, correct and affordable capacity (scale up or down, scale in or out) with the expected performance, offering a single point of Contact and Accountability.

A Few Such Examples:

• Through a Service Desk with multiple channels (telephone, email, chat and Self Service)
• Allow for automation to cut out time, human errors and cost
• Offers a Business Service Catalogue, through which the End Users can consume the IT services

All with the appropriate management approval processes, at a predictable cost and within acceptable Service Level Objectives.

Obviously, ITSM Systems are one of many business systems, and for ITSM systems to work correctly, there will be a need to integrate them with other systems; IT, HR and/or Financial Systems (after the construction of a data hierarchy or architecture model (cfr. The Open Group Architectural Framework or TOGAF).

Next to the fact that ITSM Projects are Business Projects, another firm belief of mine is that there is only one version of the truth.

In order for ITSM systems to run a Service Request called “Employee On and Off-Boarding”, there will be a need to access data in Active Directory, in HR applications, and set-up/change access right in all kinds of systems.

This needs to be done based on one reference of data.

The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) needs to be the reference, whether it is based on a Federated Data Model or not. If the ITSM System will manage the Financial Scope of IT Estate, we need decide up-front if the vendor data sits in the ITSM System, i.e. CMDB, or if it will be consulted in the Appropriate Vendor Management/Procurement Systems, and then determine if there is a need to be integrated into the ITSM Solution. Any solution is good, but there needs to be one version of the truth, accessible only by those that are authorized to do so, and practically governed by a federated identity and access management system.

I have touched the first area of overlap, between ITSM and ERP systems. Any organization that is large enough to require an ITSM and/or an ERP solution (one could argue any organization, regardless of its size) should have a clear view of its infrastructure, application and data architecture, as suggested by TOGAF.

Building the Business Architecture, (describes how business processes are enabled/supported by the Infrastructure and Application elements) is a less trivial exercise. But once again, understanding the critical links between the business and its processes and the ever changing Infra and Apps layers seems an obvious requirement, yet so hard to achieve in reality. ITSM solutions will be able to manage the lifecycle of the IT resources but also produce notifications after real-time Business Impact Analysis is performed by these Solutions as IT Elements or Element Managers communicate on the health of these critical resources, which are not just physical and dedicated but more and more virtual and shared.

According to Wikipedia, the coming together of tribal knowledge, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business management software, usually a suite of integrated applications, that a company can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities, including:

• Product planning, cost and development
• Manufacturing or service delivery
• Marketing and sales
• Inventory management
• Shipping and payment

ERP provides an integrated view of core business processes, often in real-time, using common databases maintained by a database management system. ERP systems track business resources: cash, raw materials, production capacity, and the status of business commitments:

• Orders
• Purchase Orders
• Payroll

Applications that make up the system share data across various departments (manufacturing, purchasing, sales, accounting, etc.) that ultimately provides the data. ERP facilitates information flow between all business functions, and manages connections to outside stakeholders.

Where ERP tracks business resources, ITSM will take care of the IT resources.

These IT resources are the critical enablers for the business resources and consequent processes to be applied and running appropriately. The value of the ITSM system will be to provision the right amount of computing and storage cycles (IT resources) so the applications can render business processes, monitor the availability of those resources, and schedule pro-active activities to keep them available and performing, or execute reactive activities to bring them back to a desired state.

With the multi-language multi-channel Service Desk, the ITSM solution will offers one point of contact for all internal and potentially external users (contractors, partners, suppliers) of the ERP system. Granting them access after the required approvals have been obtained, execute potential password resets and offer first level help to the different ERP Users. Of course the ITSM system will also monitor and manage the resources that host ERP Applications and its associated databases.

Take Purchasing for example; business activities are conducted in the ERP world, a simple business-to-business data connection ensuring the appropriate Configuration Items (CIs) that are created or deleted as driven by the activities in the ERP system, and that the correct status of the CIs are maintained at all times, as incidents are raised, requests submitted and changes released the environment.

The second area of overlap is between ITSM and CRM Solutions. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can help reduce costs and increase profitability by organizing and automating business processes that nurture customer satisfaction and loyalty in the sales, marketing and customer service fields.

CRM solutions deliver Return on Investment (ROI) through marketing automation, customer service, and sales force automation. Clearly the target of service delivery and support for CRM functions lay outside of the organization. Essentially, the target of service delivery for ITSM functions is situated inside of the organization.

And yes, Customer Relationship Management activities will include pre- and post-support that can be organized in a Service Desk operation. And yes, consider the customer contacts as the CI’s of the CRM that need to be organized and maintained in a database that is easily accessed and exploited.

Emtec has been successful in designing and implementing SalesForce in the Higher Education space. The adoption and use of social media have made SalesForce an effective platform to prospect and campaign for new students for the colleges. Using media like FaceBook and Twitter to position the value of a college has definitely struck home to the generation that was raised with a tablet and/or smartphone and communicates continuously through these social media.

As discussed with peers at Emtec’s subsidiary Wave6, there are often IT related activities that need to be scheduled after a platform like Salesforce has turned a potential student into a future student. Creating user accounts, issuing procurement requests for laptops and/or tablets and the active monitoring and management of the new “End User” and his/her devices are all events that happen in the ITSM solution. All based on a simple connection that passes the information about the new student and his/her requirements to the ITSM world.

Enterprise will differentiate from the competition by making scheduled and effective use of the very powerful solutions that the IT industry has built and can manage for these enterprises.

Just as long as the right tool or application is used for the right requirement fulfillment, or as long as the enterprises continue to do the “Right Thing”.

Check out Part 3; "Doing it Right"...

Written by Emtec Blog Team

The Emtec blog team is proud to bring you the latest IT insights and best practices for the enterprise to optimize and empower IT, Finance, HR, and Sales and Marketing. The team includes thought leaders globally across sectors, technologies and specialties with their unique experience and acumen. If you would like to connect with the Emtec Blog Team: Insights@emtecinc.com

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