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Archive for March, 2012

Object Oriented Collaboration

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Our IT environments are incredibly complex, and they’re constantly changing from one minute to the next. Add a group of people to the equation and you get a whole lot of miscommunication, which ultimately leads to impacts that could have been avoided.

It feels like we’re playing a never-ending childhood game of telephone. Except in this case, John needs to make a change to a web server that front-ends an important business application, so he sends an email to Billy, who owns active directory.

When Billy finally responds several days later, he and John talk about some new, highly critical information. John sends a text about the change to Suzie, the IT security manager, but he forgets to give her the important update. And it’s too late by the time Suzie tells John that his change violated a security policy.

You get the picture. Miscommunication like this can result in huge impacts to your IT environment, but they can all be avoided with Object Oriented Collaboration.

Object Oriented Collaboration automatically identifies and communicates with the right people at the right time, so you never have to guess whom to contact about a proposed change.

This allows for effective communication within the context of the technology object and change at hand, so everyone benefits from having access to complete information and a full line of a communication.

By using a familiar social media interface, users can contact and question each other through real time posts and notifications. This enables you to share information, which is then automatically recorded for future reference, so it’s always there when you need it.

And Object Oriented Collaboration lets you cut through the noise by enabling participants to follow discussions only about objects that are relevant to them. The result is that when you communicate through Object Oriented Collaboration, you start to see the bigger picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMA report

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Executive Introduction

The transition away from siloed management toward a more service-centric management culture was never going to be easy. And even as it’s stumbled forward towards real progress, it’s taken many casualties along the way.

While many solutions are evolving, and CMDB technology is finally moving forward to begin to keep with the dynamic needs for cloud, most solutions remain very “technology” versus “people” centric. This is more often than not a recipe for failure, when, as ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES® (EMATM) consulting has documented, it is governance and dialog across multiple stakeholders, along with solid C-level commitment, that most often determines whether or not a strategic service or change management initiative succeeds.

In EMA’s opinion, ITinvolve for Change Management is designed to be a perfect complement to industry advances in discovery, application dependency mapping, CMDB/CMS solutions, advanced analytics in performance and trending, and other areas of technology focus. By leveraging a combination of object-modeling for context and impact analysis, with Social IT for stakeholder and executive interaction, with a core, self-populating knowledgebase for trending, analysis and governance, ITinvolve is providing a compelling new facility for actively managing change by optimizing and sharing tribal knowledge with minimal technological complexity and administrative costs.

 

Why Cross-Domain Change Management is Essential – and Why It So Often Fails

EMA research and consulting consistently reinforces the requirements for a more effective approach for cross-domain change management control, as well as cross-domain service management more broadly. This is all the more conspicuous with the growing criticality of cloud-related technologies and services, as well as pressures for IT to align more cohesively in support of business objectives.

However, moving beyond siloed processes, tools and mindsets to a truly cross-domain approach for managing change across IT is not only a technical challenge, with distinctive demands on toolset design, it is also a very human challenge.

What’s largely been missing from the marketplace is a change management solution that can combine strong communication and socialization capabilities with broadly adaptable reconciliation, impact analysis and reporting functionality. Moreover, all this needs to be achieved without trapping IT adopters inside a maze of overwhelming technical complexity.

 

ITinvolve: Enabling Change through an Interactive Knowledge Building System

ITinvolve is a new and innovative company with a unique approach to cross-domain change management. This approach is built squarely around communication requirements through a highly contextual approach to social networking, as well as a solid focus on the technology challenges of currency, visibility and impact analysis across domains.

What sets ITinvolve for Change Management apart in particular is its consistent attention to the human dimension of change management – including dialog facilitation and role-related visualization capabilities that are surprisingly granular for a new entrant into the change management marketplace. One analogy might be – just as physical CIs have “adjacency” in terms of connected interdependencies – change managers, systems administrators, network engineers, application owners, security professionals and IT executives all have interdependencies upon each other when they attempt to manage or govern change. By providing directed visibility into “adjacent” roles as well as devices, software and services, ITinvolve provides a foundation for knowledge building and sharing that’s unique within the industry.

 

EMA Assessment

While ITinvolve for Change Management is very much a new and evolving solution, it holds great technology for modeling, reconciling, and analyzing critical resources and unique capabilities for socializing the process of change management across multiple stakeholders.

This doesn’t mean that all the thorny political and process issues associated with managing change simply go away. Like any advanced technology, ITinvolve will deliver its best results in organizations ITinvolve brings to the table is a distinctive set of capabilities for evolving both dialogs and an intelligent database intelligence of the most relevant stakeholders, versus an all-consuming effort at centralized data administration.

IT organizations can also freely explore ITinvolve in support of multiple roles and use cases thanks to its versatility and adaptability and relatively low levels of administration via its SaaS services. And while it is fair to assume that functional enhancements will be quickly forthcoming as ITinvolve for Change Management continues to take shape, IT early adopters should still be able to reap meaningful advantages with relatively quick time to value from early phase deployments that build with the solution as it grows.

ITinvolve provides a breath of fresh air in its humanization of change management initiatives that have typically gotten sidetracked due to hard-to-use software and overwhelming technical complexity. Within the very near future, EMA looks forward to ITinvolve for Change Management becoming both a strongly transformative catalyst for IT, as well as a game changer for the industry as a whole.

CMDBs and Service Desks

Monday, March 12th, 2012

At Jalasoft, we develop apps for all kinds of companies and our IT environment is highly complex and diverse.  We’ve looked at a lot of ways to try and improve our change management process and found that typical solutions such as CMDBs and Service Desk tools really don’t work very well.  Here’s why they come up short:

  • CMDBs, for example, often have a lot of information but are usually maintained by “separate” teams who can’t always maintain up-to-the-minute accuracy of systems and relationships.
  • A lot of key information isn’t found in the CMDB but is located elsewhere…even inside an admin’s head.  So we can never be sure that we’ve got all the info we need to address a particular change or issue.
  • They don’t necessarily show the dependencies and relationships among key components of our systems.  They are focused on a narrow asset range.  We need to know how our systems interact with each other dynamically.

Bottom line:  CMDBs and Service Desk tools approach change from a documentation and approval process as opposed to helping people understand relationships, dependencies and potential impacts.  That’s why we love ITinvolve for Change Management.

By comparison, ITinvolve for Change Management helps our IT staff to get their arms around meaningful information that’s relevant to them.  They can easily visualize dependent relationships and organize those relationships into unique perspectives for faster and more effective analysis across teams.  So we save a lot of time and effort trying to understand, visualize and assess potential impacts and risks of proposed changes.

There’s an easy way to see for yourself what I’m talking about.  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.  You can also read about why we at Jalasoft think ITinvolve for Change Management is the best thing we’ve seen so far to help us streamline and improve our change processes.

You’ll start to get an idea just how valuable this new change management tool can be.

 

-Jeff Pollard, Jalasoft Senior Business Strategist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Perspectives

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

While Technology Object Manager allows us to effectively define technology objects and their relationships, we’re still missing an important element—and that’s the people.

When we talk about people involved in change impact analysis, two questions come up: who’s responsible for each technology object, and whom do we need to bring into the conversation to avoid potential impacts?

What traditional products have been doing up to this point is forcing everyone to look at the same pile of information in their IT environments. And people are saying, ‘This has nothing to do with me.’ It just doesn’t help them make sense of their unique situations. But what if there was a way to allow each person to look at technology objects from a vantage point that made sense to them?

Well, that’s the power of Perspectives.

Perspectives is all about relating technology objects to each other through the lens of people’s specific roles. We’re giving each user visual representations of their objects’ relationships and enabling them to quickly understand how changes could impact other systems, applications, functional areas, and policies. And you’ll be able to easily visualize areas of intersection and identify interdependencies across your environment.

Providing risk assessment that’s based on personal, rather than generic perspectives ensures that the right people get involved while an impact is still avoidable.

How IT executives benefit from ITinvolve

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Over the last year we’ve talked to a very wide range of companies—everything from small businesses to multi-billion dollar companies—and as we talked to them, the common theme we found was a concern about lack of visibility when it comes to potential impacts of changes. When you have a CIO or a VP of IT who needs to be in control of the environment, one of the things that really sits wrong with them is that any time there’s an outage, the first phone call that comes in from up above—from the CEO or someone else—is “What happened?” and “What are you doing about it?” And as the IT executives get those calls, they feel very uncomfortable in many cases when they know they did it to themselves; they have to explain that they rolled out a change and caused the outage, and that’s not a good conversation to have with any business owner or CEO.

So that’s a common theme that we saw across the board. It’s just very uncomfortable for these IT executives to have such limited visibility of the potential impacts of their changes. Having the visibility to understand how changes might potentially impact the stakeholders and services in general was an area where they got really interested about ITinvolve, but they told us “We don’t know how you’re going to solve the problem.” When we came back a month later to show them how our product dramatically improves their ability to understand the impacts and risks of potential changes, it was incredible to see their reactions and their excitement. And one of the things they loved most about ITinvolve for Change Management was that it is that it doesn’t require an army to implement. It’s a simple integration process that can be done in a matter days rather than months like most enterprise applications out there. So getting that reaction was even more reinforcing of the concept that this big problem and people want a practical solution.