Defining key relationships in a fast growing complex IT environment
“As we grow, we are adding new computers and devices on a daily basis,” according to Pollard, “One of our biggest challenges is making sure we document and define the relationships between these machines and the team members who use them.”
Using ITinvolve for Change Management’s Technology Objects Manager™, Jalasoft’s IT department can view systems and their relationships to each other quickly and easily through an intuitive interface that can be accessed anywhere and anytime.
“When you’re in a high-growth mode, you have a wide range of machines in your environment and very little time to document each machine as it goes into production,” Pollard noted. “Technology Objects Manager keeps our information up to date and gives our IT guys a clear picture of our environment—and a single version of the truth— so we’re all working off the same page.”
He explained that ITinvolve for Change Management helps consolidate the information traditionally found in numerous Word documents and spreadsheets collected in a variety of process books around the company. Without an authoritative location for this information, it often gets stale and out of sync. When IT team members need that information, they spend a lot of time searching for the right copy, hoping that the data is up-to-date, and that it lists the right people who should be involved. This can be a huge waste of time and create bigger problems than the ones you are trying to solve.
Pollard estimates that using Technology Objects alone can eliminate 50 percent to 75 percent of the typical administrative burden on IT by simplifying they way they keep information on IT assets current.
Resolving IT problems and issues faster
Once IT professionals have a clearer picture of their environment, according to Pollard, it is much easier to address issues and significantly reduce the mean time to resolution (MTTR).
“ITinvolve for Change Management helps us to clarify and define our chain of command” Pollard said, “so that we don’t waste time trying to figure out who is responsible or accountable for specific components of our business processes and systems “
This is essential in critical situations such as a security incident, he explained, whereby the right people with the right information have to be brought together quickly to address the attack.
Just as important, ITinvolve for Change Management automatically keeps a record of how the incident was resolved, preserving key knowledge for future reference. ITinvolve for Change Management enables Jalasoft’s IT team to automatically track its actions when resolving problems and see how well it performed. That kind of performance information can then be used in the future to improve problem resolution and reduce MTTR. “It’s like reusing code when you’re programming,” Pollard said. “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you get a reported issue.”
Pollard said he and his IT team also appreciate the flexibility of the ITinvolve for Change Management service to leverage their existing processes and resources. “ITinvolve for Change Management doesn’t replace your current processes and procedures, It Instead, helps you to pull them all together so everyone is working more efficiently and effectively,” he noted. “We document our processes and procedures in a variety of electronic documents and tools., With ITinvolve for Change Management we define the relationships between assets and then point to the authoritative docs for details on configuration, management and repair.”
Viral IT change management on demand
Pollard said he particularly likes that ITinvolve has developed its service in the cloud based on the Force.com platform pioneered and proven by Salesforce.com.
“Our IT department operates 24/7,” Pollard emphasized, “and it’s critical that we can securely access key information on demand. I can get online from anywhere, at any time, look at a proposed change, see who should be involved, even make an approval if necessary…all without leaving my house.”
Pollard highlighted the favorable response by his IT team members to the Facebook-like interface of ITinvolve for Change Management’s Object-Oriented Collaboration function. “Our younger programmers and system administrators took to the collaboration process in ITinvolve for Change Management immediately,” he said, “and they love the social media look and feel to the collaboration interface. They get it right away…its viral IT management.”
He described how an Exchange Administrator, for example, could use ITinvolve for Change Management to automatically monitor chatter feeds about Technology Objects connected to his servers. Because the service automatically notifies individuals involved in a proposed change, conflicts or issues can be resolved in advance, avoiding unintended consequences down the line.
Giving IT auditors what they’ve always want
With a background in IT security and governance, Pollard is sensitive to the compliance aspects of change management and sees clear advantages using the ITinvolve for Change Management service. He indicated that ITinvolve for Change Management can make both internal and external IT audits much less painful and time-consuming by documenting their change management processes showing how their IT team uses them.
“Using ITinvolve for Change Management’s Perspectives Manager and Change Lifecycle Manager we can show our auditors how we plan for specific events,” Pollard explained. ”More importantly, we can show how our IT guys followed these procedures in real-life situations. and the improvements we have made to them over time”
This saves both IT administrative time and effort, as well as reducing audit expenses which can add up quickly if procedures and processes cannot be verified or require extensive exploration of manual records.
Real-time and planned IT operations advantages
Overall, Pollard summarized his IT team’s experience with ITinvolve for Change Management as extremely positive. He cited several key IT change advantages in what he calls real-time and planned IT operations, including:
- Fast and easy access to key information about systems and relationships within the IT environment eliminating 50-to-75 percent of the administrative burden on IT staff
- Faster time to value in getting new IT staff up to speed and functioning more efficiently, helping to minimize training requirements
- Unique insight and views into the IT environment saving time and effort in identifying issues and resolving problems
- Intuitive “social media” type collaboration promotes more aware and informed decision making and streamlines the change approval process
- Automatic tracking and recording of change management histories for audit and review to improve future performance
- Report templates provide a convenient way to measure individual and department change management and problem resolution performance
In conclusion, Pollard said he was glad to see a tool that looks and feels like it was developed by actual IT professionals on the front lines of operations in an affordable cloud service. “I like that we don’t have to spend a lot of money up front on software licenses and maintenance,” he said. “ITinvolve for Change Management gives us a turnkey solution for change management that’s easy to implement, dramatically reduces our risks and is affordable for a medium-size company like ourselves.
“ITinvolve for Change Management makes our IT guys a lot smarter, much more productive and ensures we understand the impact of every change we make,” Pollard concluded. “ITinvolve for Change Management is truly unique, provides significant value from day one and is a product I’d highly recommend to any IT executive who wants to dramatically improve change management.”