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ITinvolve Blog

Archive for February, 2013

How ITinvolve works with your existing ITSM investment to resolve recurring problems

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

One of the more vexing challenges of managing complex IT environments comes from recurring problems that frustrate IT professionals and wreak havoc on SLAs.  The good news is that ITinvolve for Social Knowledge Management can offer insights that make you and your staff much more effective in analyzing and resolving chronic problems.  Because our IT collaboration solution works either as a standalone system alongside existing ITSM tools, or as a solution that’s tightly integrated with your existing tools, it can make a huge difference immediately to improve IT operations.

We explain our approach to improving problem management in a new use case scenario document called: Using ITinvolve with a Third-Party ITSM or Service Desk that you can download for free.

In this document, we illustrate our advantages from the perspective of a problem manager named Peter.  Peter finds himself struggling to reduce his overall problem backlog, including a specific problem that is causing regular outages and embarrassing IT with its business users.

Up until now, Peter has been using a patchwork of information to investigate the root-causes to recurring problems. He’s tapped the company’s CMDB, for example, plus Visio diagrams from several IT architects, and info from a SharePoint site where workarounds are catalogued, not to mention consulting several asset spreadsheets—an exhausting and time-consuming process.

Because Peter doesn’t have an up-to-date view of his organization’s complex IT environment, he has to schedule several meetings with engineers and architects to get a better understanding of the most current reality of the environment and what may have changed recently. In these meetings, Peter is able to learn bits and pieces of information to help identify several potential root-causes, but his organization can’t really justify investing in a fully configured clone of the environment to test his assumptions.

As a result, he’s forced to wait for the next outage to occur so that he can monitor all the relevant system logs and test his assumptions. While this hit or miss approach can rule out some of the possible root-causes, it’s rarely conclusive.  ITinvolve gives Peter a dramatically better solution.

With ITinvolve deployed, Peter can immediately see a far more complete and up-to-date picture of the affected application environment including supporting objects and relationships. He can also bring key engineers and architects into a collaborative process where they can share their expertise with each other and quickly crowdsource their expert knowledge to narrow the field of likely root-causes.

ITinvolve also allows Peter to model  scenarios that mimic characteristics from past outages, and help him to more accurately identify the most probable cause of the problem – in this case a weekly batch job that appears to hang.   ITinvolve enables Peter to include the batch job in a problem scenario and engages the job scheduling team to analyze its impact.  With this shared knowledge, the job scheduling team can focus on the underlying issues and discover that a key setting has not been included, causing the job to enter a perpetual wait state.  Once the problem has been correctly identified, the job scheduling team then resolves the error by applying the key setting.  Problem solved.

You can get more detail by downloading the Use Case Scenario, and learn more about how you can use ITinvolve to improve your problem, incident and change management processes.  You can also register for an upcoming free webinar, “What’s new in Social IT Collaboration” that walks you through examples of how you can put ITinvolve to work in your environment.

ITinvolve is the innovative new solution that works as a standalone knowledge and collaboration system or can be integrated with your existing IT service management tools to help you leverage the people power of social IT collaboration.

Matthew Selheimer,
Vice President Marketing

How ITinvolve works with your existing ITSM investment to reduce the risks from changes

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

As IT environments grow more sophisticated and complex, the challenge of managing changes becomes a bigger issue for most IT departments.   Fortunately, ITinvolve for Social Knowledge Management can help you manage the risks associated with changes—and easily complement your current service management software investments. One of our key advantages stems from making use of social IT collaboration to improve change management processes either as a standalone system alongside existing ITSM tools, or as a solution that’s tightly integrated with your existing tools.

We explain our approach to helping improve change management in a new use case scenario document called: Using ITinvolve with a Third-Party ITSM or Service Desk that you can download for free.

In this document we describe a change management scenario featuring “Charlie,” a change manager wanting to achieve a 100% change success rate and ensure there is no business downtime caused by changes he has managed.  No easy task in highly dispersed and complex environments where hundreds of changes occur every week.

Using existing service management tools, Charlie often lacked a full understanding of his organization’s complex IT environment and who he could rely on as subject matter experts to assist him in evaluating the impact of a proposed change. In fact, Charlie had experienced situations where he missed several key dependencies when planning changes, and also failed to correctly note several key settings that needed to be verified after change execution.  Making changes and keeping within current SLAs was a constant struggle.

With ITinvolve deployed, however, Charlie can meet the challenge of managing risks much more effectively by quickly identifying the right IT and business stakeholders who need to weigh-in and provide their risk assessment when he is planning changes. For example, when evaluating a proposed change, the ITinvolve solution automatically identifies the key stakeholders for Charlie and initiates a collaboration process with them so that they can weigh in on the proposed change with their own individual risk assessments.

Just as important, ITinvolve gives Charlie full visibility into the IT environment including dependencies, relevant policies, relevant key settings, and best practices from prior changes for the key objects involved every new change. With the ITinvolve solution, Charlie gains a much more accurate understanding of risks, including the opinions of IT experts, so that when he finalizes his recommendations to the Change Advisory Board (CAB), he can do so much faster and with a much higher degree of confidence.

Besides downloading the Use Case Scenario, I encourage you to learn more about how you can use ITinvolve to improve your change management processes and reduce the risk of unwanted consequences from changes by registering for an upcoming free webinar, “What’s new in Social IT Collaboration”.

You’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish with ITinvolve as a standalone collaboration system or integrated with your existing IT service management tools.

Matthew Selheimer, Vice President Marketing

How ITinvolve turbo-charges your existing ITSM or Service Desk investment

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

While many IT organizations currently use a service management (ITSM) or service desk tool to help manage IT service support, if you are like most, you still struggle with accurately assigning incidents to the right individual or team and have incident resolution times that are still too long for what the business demands.

ITinvolve for Social Knowledge Management can help you with all these challenges—and easily complements your current service desk or service management investments. That’s because ITinvolve works its magic in leveraging social IT collaboration to improve operations either as a standalone system alongside existing ITSM tools or as a solution that’s tightly integrated with your existing tools.

We explain how it works in a new use case scenario document called: Using ITinvolve with a Third-Party ITSM or Service Desk that you can download for free.  It describes three scenarios; one for incident, one for change and one for problem management from the point of view of individual IT professionals responsible for these areas.

In the first scenario, “Terry” is a first-level support technician who has to quickly resolve basic support issues and assign more complex issues to the right second or third level support personnel.  Terry’s biggest challenge centers on correctly assigning complex issues to the right individual the first time, so that they don’t have to be re-assigned to others, thereby reducing overall productivity and delaying resolution. But Terry is struggling like many in her role.  She is only able to get each ticket assigned to the right team a little more than half the time, and she has trouble identifying the right individual within those teams most of the time.

Using ITinvolve’s scenarios capability, deployed along with her company’s existing service desk tool, Terry can make significant improvement in assigning complex incidents to the right teams and individuals. With ITinvolve, she can quickly analyze the impact of object(s) – e.g. servers, network devices, applications, databases – she has associated with an incident. She can then quickly and easily review existing knowledge about those objects, such as best practice documents, policies, and key settings, and also identify the individuals or teams responsible for the objects. In this way, Terry gains the insight to make a much more informed decision when assigning the incident to the right individual or queue.

And to further reduce time to resolution, when Terry associates an incident scenario object to other objects, the individuals who are following those objects are automatically notified and pulled into a collaborative triage process that allows them to help identify the root-cause of the incident—along with any available workarounds.

It’s a win/win situation for all concerned.

If you want to learn more, register for the free webinar, “What’s new in Social IT Collaboration” which is running over the next several weeks.

Matthew Selheimer,
Vice President Marketing

Context is king when it comes to our peer review approach

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Remember from our last blog that ITinvolve addresses the challenges of achieving consensus around complex IT environments by leveraging both the social concepts of crowdsourcing and the mechanistic approach of auto-discovery tools, combined with the practice of peer review.  By putting together both system and human knowledge along with a peer review process, we offer a much more balanced—and effective—approach to key IT operational tasks.

Unlike any other IT knowledge system out there, ITinvolve makes the peer review process work efficiently and effectively by creating social IT “objects” that can be reviewed and judged appropriately in a specific context.  This a major breakthrough in IT service management.

Think about it. Context forms the circumstances and setting for an event, change, or issue in terms that can be fully understood and assessed by members of a group. Our unique advantage stems from the fact that objects in the ITinvolve solution are always “contextualized,” and therefore can properly frame the discussion that takes place among peers.  For individuals as well entire teams, this collaboration in context  helps ensure everyone participating in a particular discussion sees the relevance to themselves and cares about the information being communicated.

Our new thought leadership white paper called, From Many — One Trusted Source: 30 Days to Better IT Visibility Through Peer Review and Collaboration, explains it further, and I would recommend you download it to learn more.

And while you are visiting our website don’t forget to take the IT service industry’s first Social IT Maturity Assessment.  Spend a few minutes with it and you’ll be rewarded with an immediate summary of your social IT status.

Michael Mychalczuk,
Senior Director, Product Management