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Archive for February, 2012

Why we chose ITinvolve for Change Management

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

As an independent software provider, I’ve seen my development staff grow 400 percent in the past five years. So it’s not surprising that managing changes in a constantly growing IT environment like ours has become an enormous challenge. That’s why after starting a trial of ITinvolve for Change Management, we are sold on the value and benefits of its unique approach for several reasons.

Here’s what we’ve seen from working with ITinvolve for Change Management so far:

  • Fast and easy access to key information about systems, relationships and dependencies within our IT environment eliminating 50-to-75 percent of the administrative burden on my IT staff
  • Faster time to value in getting new IT staff up to speed and functioning more efficiently, helping to minimize training time and costs
  • Unique insight and views into our IT environment that saves time and effort in identifying relationships and dependencies as well as spotting issues and resolving problems
  • Intuitive “social media” type collaboration helps us more make more informed decisions while streamlining the whole change approval process
  • Automatic tracking and recording of change management histories for audit and review to improve future performance

And this is really only the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to see how this might work for you, check out the ITinvolve for Change Management overview video on its web site to get a general orientation.  Then take a closer look at Technology Objects and Perspectives under the product section and watch the video.  You’ll start to get an idea just how valuable this new change management tool can be.

Every day we use ITinvolve for Change Management at Jalasoft we learn something new.  I’ll be posting more about our experiences in the days and weeks to come.

-Jeff Pollard, Jalasoft Senior Business Strategist

 

Technology Object Manager

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Technology objects are the building blocks of an IT environment—computers, routers, networks, applications, and policies—all of those interconnected pieces that are necessary for an IT environment to operate.

And because they’re so interconnected, one impact can create huge problems elsewhere. The equation is further complicated when we realize that we’re talking not only about a physical framework, but also about virtual and cloud infrastructures.

Your computer and security policies that are developed in New York City could be pulling data from another application in Paris, which is running on a server in China.

We use CMDB’s and policy manuals to try to keep track of it all, but there’s no single source of up-to-date information that you can rely on to tell you everything you need to know about your IT environment. And the truth is—you can’t understand the impact of a change without having detailed knowledge of technology objects and their relationships in your environment.

That’s where ITinvolve’s Technology Object Manager comes in. The service starts by creating a complete definition of the technology objects in your environment.

It defines:

  • Key attributes, like name, type, description and location
  • Knowledge, like documents, discussions, FAQ’s, and fragile settings
  • Policies, like regulations, best practices, roles, and responsibilities
  • Components, like application tiers, core services, and processes; key settings, like files, registry values, and database tables
  • And, of course, the people associated with each technology object

The service continues to discover new relationships with other objects, and that information becomes available to administrators through their related objects. So when individual IT managers add key information about their objects, everyone benefits.

Down the road, all of this equates to the ability to avoid impacts before they ever occur.

 

 

 

 

Change Management Metrics and Reporting

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

 

 

One of the things that we looked at when we were first thinking about the product is that if you don’t know how things are working in your environment, it’s very had to improve them. It’s crucial that you be able to measure these things if you want to improve them, and we especially felt that we needed a lot more information about changes, and about incidents. Because remember, eighty percent of incidents are driven by changes in our IT environments. So we need to have a way to correlate those two sources of information and provide views to the change owners of the IT environment so that they know where they are coming short.

Being able to see how many changes were implemented, how many changes went through the plan process, how many changes resulted in incidents, how many incidents could have been prevented if a particular person was involved in the approval process–those are the kinds of visibilities that can help the entire IT team see what knobs need to be moved to optimize the team as a whole.

We’ve also spoken with many CIOs who tell us that they want one report as much as any other; they want a report that immediately helps them understand all of their assets (servers, routers, applications, etc. are subject to regulatory policies – or really any policy). With ITinvolve, they can have that report in an instant.

Jalasoft on ITinvolve for Change Management

Monday, February 20th, 2012

We recently sat down with Senior Business Strategist of Jalasoft, Jeff Pollard, to talk about some of the real-world advantages of ITinvolve for Change Management. Jeff was able to shed some light on the issues that led Jalasoft to implement ITinvolve’s change management solution.

“We needed ITinvolve for Change Management to address several things going on in our IT department,” he said. “Not because the IT guys weren’t doing their job—just that their job has grown massively in the last five years. The cost of a manual change management process is enormous when you start looking at your IT engineers and their clients. And the time they spend dealing with mistakes that are caused by this manual process is expensive.”

“If I can deploy a single environment,” Pollard said, “where there’s one authoritative definition of—machine, system, owner, relationship—then there will be less mistakes, people will be better informed, and they’ll be working off of one book, one piece of information, as opposed to this large variety.”

We asked Pollard what kind of impact the ITinvolve solution could have on a company’s change management process. “When you understand that,” he said, “then you’re going to start looking at ITinvolve for Change Management and realizing—that’s going to cut 10 percent that’s going to cut 15 percent; I’m going to save time in all of these different places. With this system you’ll have one place to go and pull all of this information. And heaven forbid you’ve got a bad piece of info in there—you only have to fix it one time and now everybody has that update, because again, it’s in one single location.”

“From a communication aspect,” Pollard said, “where we expect to see the biggest bang for the buck is that we’ll be able to communicate the right information to the right people at the right time. Being able to focus people to just the change request that matters to them means I’m going to have their attention; I’m going to have to keep their attention for a shorter period of time; they can make a much better, informed decision; and then they’ll be able to go about their regular work. So a change management board that would have taken an hour to an hour and a half prior to ITinvolve should only take about fifteen minutes of time for each of the managers that are involved.

We asked Pollard what ITinvolve for Change Management would mean for other companies. “This product is going to change the way that you do business,” he said. “What you’re going to find is that the efficiencies, the structure of the tool, the way that people work with the tool, is going to make you rethink some of your change management process. And again you’re going to start seeing immediate value.”

 

ITinvolve for Change Management

Friday, February 17th, 2012

IT environments are driving us absolutely crazy. We have to manage so many routers, network, policies, and countless other interconnected technology objects that we’re pulling our hair out just to keep it all straight.

The truth is, we just haven’t found a way to keep up with our constantly changing IT environments. Sure, we have CMDBs and service desk tools, but they just don’t help in effectively understanding the impacts of changes. And this leads to huge risks that you have no control over.

In fact, 80% of outages are caused by unforeseen consequence of IT changes. We’re always telling ourselves, there has to be a better way to handle change management. And now there is, with ITinvolve for Change Management. It’s a powerful new cloud service that helps you understand the impact of changes before they’re ever implemented.

Effectively understanding your IT environment with ITinvolve starts with the simple step of using Technology Object Manager to capture and understand the information and relationships surrounding your technology objects.

Perspectives Manager then provides meaningful views of object relationships from your individual vantage point. So you can quickly understand the potential impacts of changes from a perspective that makes sense to you

When it comes to reducing risk, it’s all about understanding the potential impacts of changes prior to their introduction. That’s why Change Impact Analyzer automatically identifies all related technology objects and relationships in order to assess the impact of a proposed change and how it will affect other technology objects.

It displays upstream and downstream impacts to physical objects; reveals impacts to business services, policies, and affected people; and enables you to identify how a change impacts security posture. This allows you to use intelligent Collaboration in the context of the change at hand, and it’s all done through a familiar social media format.

Our Change Lifecycle Manager then streamlines the change approval process by assembling prior discussions and enables members to quickly assess change impacts and make go or no-go decisions on potential changes. And that also means you’ll capture knowledge during the collaboration process, so you can ensure continuity and knowledge building.

By accessing powerful reporting and trending capabilities in Results Manager, you’ll be able to continuously measure and improve your results. That means reduced risk of downtime and dramatically improved change success rates.

Try our free demo to see why there’s just nothing that matches ITinvolve for Change Management when it comes to understanding the impact of potential changes in your IT environment.

 

 

 

ITinvolve for Change Management is officially launched

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

This is a big week for ITinvolve.  We just launched our new ITinvolve for Change Management service that is going to change the way IT departments handle changes from now on.  To kick things off, we want to give you a quick overview of why we are different from any other tool you might be using today.

  1. We dramatically improve your understanding of change impacts and risks before the change is made.  We display upstream and downstream impacts to physical objects as well as showing the potential impacts to business services, policies and your security posture.  We even notify users of potential change collisions, helping to minimize human error and unintended consequences.
  1. Our unique Perspectives help you to quickly analyze and understand the relationships and dependencies of your systems so you can assess the impact of proposed changes in advance.
  2. Our Technology Object management gives you the most effective way to capture information about objects, relationships, key settings, policies and people.  It ensures that a single shared definition of your environment is up to date with accurate information.
  3. Our social media interface to enables IT staff members to share relevant information around any specific proposed change without the noise of unrelated info.
  4. We improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire change approval process by helping your IT team understand the impacts of changes and include the right people with the flexibility to approve changes via an online V-CAB.
  5. Because ITInvolve automatically documents and stores information typically required by auditors, we eliminate a lot of unnecessary work during internal and external audits.
  6. Plus our Cloud-based delivery model gives you the optimal combination of immediate value at low cost and very low risk.

Check out the ITinvolve for Change Management overview video on our web site to get a general overview.  Then take a closer look at Technology Objects and Perspectives under the product section and watch the short video that helps explain how it works.  You’ll start to get an idea just how valuable this new change management tool can be.

 

The ITinvolve Story

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Over the last few years we’ve spent quite a bit of time on the road talking to customers, and we noticed that one of the fundamental problems they all had was change management. And change management is such a key part of any IT environment, because remember, eighty percent of outages are driven by poor changes.

So that got us thinking that if we could solve the proactive nature of changing the environment and actually give visibility to prevent poor changes, it would have a really positive effect on the rest of the business. You wouldn’t have to deal with so many incidents. You wouldn’t have to spend so many resources putting out fires all the time. So that’s how we got to thinking—change management has to be the area that we focus on.

Transforming IT Change Management — a new tool that changes the game for IT professionals

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Over the past several years, the founders and developers of ITinvolve for Change Management have had a lot of conversations with system administrators, IT Directors and CIOs about their change management frustrations and needs.  We invariably heard the same story over and over again: Every time they experienced an outage, it was usually caused by changes made somewhere in their IT environment.  In short, they were doing it to themselves.

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