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ITinvolve Blog

Archive for September, 2012

Expect your ISV to provide a business service

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Business owners expect IT professionals to deliver business services designed to meet their needs. These services generally include:

  • Defined processes to complete the service
  • Deliver data to the user to make decisions
  • Infrastructure to support the service
  • The communication backbone to complete the service

We believe that you should expect the same comprehensive solution from your service desk provider.

For example, as IT professionals perform their daily operational tasks, an effective solution would combine the understanding of important relationships and dependencies, with the actual steps to perform a process (say, propose a change) within a communication framework that facilitates not only communication but effective collaboration around the task.

Next add intelligence to the process whereby detailed analysis is presented to the IT professional surrounding the potential impact of a change, and that analysis is then automatically delivered to the right people who have a stake in the issue at hand.

Thus, IT professional are equipped with a single solution that combines knowledge with intelligent analysis and automatically delivers that information to the right people within a communication framework that ensure consistent context. The result is an IT organization that collaborates more efficiently, resolves issues faster, and delivers business services more effectively while increasing quality and customer satisfaction.  This is the solution we have created with ITinvolve for Service Management.

Logan

Integrating with existing apps and data sources

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

When we talk about integrating with systems like CMDBS, we recognize that these systems have very valuable information about business services, applications, and technology objects in general. And if you have all that information and one of your challenges is keeping it accurate, there are products like ours that make it really easy to update technology objects, business services, and so on—and keep this information constantly current and accurate.

Use of SOCIAL IT solutions

Monday, September 17th, 2012

As social methodologies permeate the world of IT, I often hear from IT stakeholders that the benefits they see from our product are very profound, but, much of the value is realized only if a significant population of their IT community uses the product. This observation is absolutely true. The value a social tools provides grows exponentially as the community of users expands.

This leads me to the next thing  I have heard time and again, “…individual IT professionals detest using many of today’s service desk products because individually they do not derive value from the product.”  By value they typically mean either a savings in  the user’s time or obtaining knowledge that helps in the operational task at hand.   Sure, current service desk solutions are a valuable tracking tool for the change and, in some cases, approval processes. But, its value is primarily as a system of record for the IT department, and does very little attempting to empower or benefit the user in any meaningful way to perform their job more efficiently and with less risk.

The key to gaining a broad and healthy user base of a social tool is ensuring that the value the individual receives is greater than the effort required to use the product. It really is that simple.

We have spent millions of dollars making sure that the value the user receives from our solution in performing daily operational tasks is well beyond the effort needed to maintain the product.  If you are attending Dreamforce, visit us at Booth 20 and we’ll show you some examples.

A (Small and Medium) Business Service Management Conundrum

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

For a number of years, many large enterprises have wrestled with implementing a service management strategy that integrates relevant data resident in a configuration management database (CMDB) with an understanding of business services as derived from / by IT service dependency mapping tools in order to streamline problem, incident, and change management processes.

The benefits provided to IT professionals in obtaining insight from a service view of their IT environment is critical when managing changes or solving incidents/problems. Thus, significant effort and expenditures have been spent on obtaining those views. However, for the less than enterprise sized IT environments, the cost required to obtain an IT service view has been too high both in terms of tool cost as well as in terms of resource allocation. Currently available solutions were simply not designed for their needs.

There is a gap between the commoditized approval/resolution tracking functionality provided by most service desk tools and the full blown service desk/CMDB/ auto discovery and dependency mapping features resident in very large deployments

I believe ITinvolve is the solution for these the medium sized IT environments. We provide a very easy to implement solution that captures the human knowledge resident in the minds of the IT professionals utilizing a truly collaborative methodology. Combined with robust impact analysis, the ability for users and groups to create customized service views, and reporting scalable to the device or CI level, the result is a truly revolutionary solution. In many ways, it far exceeds what current vendors provide in that it is built on knowledge that has been socialized and verified by the right people within the community.

The kind of reports that every IT manager dreams about

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

ITinvolve for Change Management’s Results Manager gives you the kind of “out-of-the-box” report capability that IT managers usually only dream about.  That’s because it generates reports that are filled with actionable information.  Our detailed and summary reports enable individuals at all levels to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of their change management processes and activities. And just as important, get valuable insights into the application of policies across the entire IT environment.

Take a look at this screen capture of a change success rate report that only took a couple of seconds to produce.  You can easily compare the total number of changes (blue) against the number of Emergency Changes (red) as well as successful (green) and failed changes (yellow)

 

Some of the reports that IT Manager’s love include:

IT Assets by Owner: Provides details about the number and types of objects owned by individual IT team members to help identify where staff may be overburdened and work load balancing required.

Changes by Type and Status: Allows change owners to see status of their changes from initiation to final review and approval.  Improves change management efficiency and demonstrates when and where workloads may require additional resources.

Change Planning and Outcome Detail: Shows all changes by owner, time from proposal to completion, and the result of the change in terms of success or failure to measure change owner performance.

Change Planning and Outcome Summary: Summarizes the total number of changes, average time spent in process, and outcomes such as success/failure and emergency vs. planned changes.  Measures the efficiency and productivity of IT staff both individually and as a team, and is an ideal tool for setting and evaluating performance goals.

Learn more about Results Manager under the product section of our web site and watch the short instructional video that helps explain how it works.

 

Reducing the risk of changes

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

IT environments have gotten so complex that a “simple” network change can cause massive impacts, because you don’t know all of the business applications and objects that are connected to that network.

That lack of visibility opens doors to all kinds of unnecessary risks that are assumed just because you don’t have the tools to help you visualize and understand impacts and risks. That’s where ITinvolve comes in and helps you see, “Wow if I change this, that network is not going to be able to handle the load.” That kind of visibility is lacking in today’s complex environments, and we think that’s part of the reason why a lot of the teams have to put more people on the incident side to put out fires instead of being able to be proactive.

 

Some CEO thoughts on the new Gartner ITSSM Magic Quadrant

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Last week Gartner released their “kinda annual” magic quadrant for the service desk market.  I say “kinda annual” as they skipped the prior year citing there was really nothing new to report. This year, the big news was that there still was nothing new to report. Gartner concluded there were literally no innovators and no leaders in their report. For those interested in the source document, it is titled “Magic Quadrant for IT Service  Support Management Tool” issued August 20, 2012 numbered G00231576.

I agree with Gartner’s conclusions that IT service desk tools themselves are no longer sufficient for maintaining business productivity. I believe the reason is service desk venders have not spent cycles on innovation due to the lack of perceived return on the innovation investment.

I’ll take social collaboration as one example of service desk venders asserting they have innovated where there really is none. Virtually all service desk tools claim they have social collaboration, but in reality their definition of social collaboration means opening a ticket via an IM session or chat rooms around a particular topic. That is not social collaboration. That’s a joke.

Collaboration innovation means:

  • A subscribe/unsubscribe capability to allow you to follow the items you care about
  • Automatic notification of only the items you care about
  • A methodology where all stakeholders are looking at items in the same context
  • Enabling virtual processes creation with common content and context
  • A simple methodology to retain knowledge and associate it with a particular item in your IT environment such that the information is not lost in a knowledge base black hole

Social collaboration needs to be in the fabric of a service management solution, not an “add on” check box. At ITinvolve, we understand what it means to innovate. Check out our service management capabilities and see how we are innovating.

Logan Wray

CEO, ITinvolve