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Products and IT Service Management Frameworks Align

IT Service Management (ITSM) has matured through the decades. In the early days of IT, we were so busy automating the business through computer applications that we didn’t put much focus on ITSM. Gradually, as the applications we wrote replaced the manual procedures and the number of applications increased, service management became important because organizations were reliant on the computer systems that we implemented and required high levels of availability. When problems occurred, they needed to be fixed quickly.

At the same time, we started to place focus on designing infrastructure and applications that were resilient, thus minimizing the effects of component failures. In the early days, high availability (HA) was about duplicating everything so if one element failed another could take over through a well-documented manual process, which later became automated. Today, the notion of primary and secondary systems has been replaced by the idea that whatever system that is part of a HA configuration that is active is the primary system.

In the 1980s, as ITSM grew in importance, organizations looked for a blueprint that could help them get prepared quickly and benefit from the experiences of others. Some IT organizations with strong leadership developed their own internal approach as they seized this opportunity to develop a good internal reputation. Others embraced approaches that offered good ideas, yet were flexible to allow for organizational differences and preferences.

Today, several approaches and frameworks have matured and are dominant (see Table 1), including the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) and ISO/IEC20000, which was originally developed to reflect best practice guidance contained within the ITIL.

IBM has a range of ITSM products that align to frameworks like ITIL. These products reflect the experience that IBM has developing ITSM products, along with its experience designing and delivering services to a wide range of customers from consulting engagements through strategic outsourcing contracts.

Service Operation Phase

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk software is a good starting point for a discussion about the service operation phase because it contains crucial functionality like event, incident and problem management. IBM SmartCloud Control Desk also includes service request management providing a service desk for handling service requests and managing incidents. Change, configuration and release management supports impact analysis and automated change procedures.

IT asset lifecycle management provides inventory management and software license compliance support. This function helps to manage assets throughout their lifecycle, helping to make best use of digital and physical assets and minimizing compliance risks. The product’s service catalog helps users solve their own problems by providing a self-help portal and a catalog of services.

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk also has support for commercial service providers by making possible service delivery capabilities for multiple customers in a single instance of the software. Additionally, three editions of the products are offered.. IBM SmartCloud Control Desk is offered as both an on-premise and Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. These choices are offered to better match different customer wants and needs.

It is straightforward to realize that IBM SmartCloud Control Desk can give a company a quick implementation supporting the ITIL Service Operation phase. Other IBM ITSM products might be a better fit for organizations that are looking for a product solution that will meets a specific need that was identified from their service strategy, service design and service transition activities.

Meeting Specific Needs

IBM Endpoint Manager for Software Use Analysis identifies licensed and unlicensed software and tracks software usage patterns and trends to support better planning, budgeting and license compliance. The scope of the software is assets on Microsoft Windows, UNIX and Linux endpoints. IBM Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus delivers near real-time, event management across infrastructure, data centers and networks. The scope includes infrastructure, applications, servers, network devices and protocols, Internet protocols, storage and security devices. The IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator solution supports configuration, provisioning and deployment, as well as metering, usage, accounting, monitoring and capacity management of cloud services. The software works with IBM SoftLayer, existing OpenStack platforms, PowerVM, IBM System z, VMware or Amazon EC2.

IBM Tivoli Business Service Manager monitors business services and tracks them against business objectives and technology infrastructures. It shows the operational status of services using prebuilt reports, scorecards and dashboards for rapid data analysis. IBM Rational Asset Manager family offers a definitive library to help companies manage and govern the business and technical assets involved in software and systems delivery. The software is delivered in two editions including Rational Asset Manager Enterprise Edition (offering advanced features) and Rational Asset Manager Standard Edition.

IBM Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager provides automated discovery and application mapping for building an inventory of applications, configurations and dependencies. This software builds application displays that provide visibility into application infrastructure and helps administrators understand the structure, status, configuration and change history of business applications. Tivoli Integration Composer enables rapid integration of Tivoli Asset Management for IT with asset inventory and system management tools. It contains pre-built adapters for a wide variety of system management tools like Microsoft, HP and Altiris.

Tivoli License Compliance Manager helps manage software costs and license compliance. It identifies software inventory, measures use activity and automatically accesses license entitlements. Tivoli Service Level Advisor simplifies and automates management of service-level agreements. It provides automated service-level agreement evaluation, minimizing the need to review and correlate component level reports.

These products support functions like service desk, infrastructure management, and IT operations and facilities management. How they fit a given support function should be determined during the System Design phase. These products also support processes like monitoring and event management, incident management, request fulfillment, problem management and access management. These are core processes within ITIL’s Operation phase. IBM’s ITSM product scope reflects its decades of work in this area of the IT industry.

Joseph Gulla is the general manager and IT leader of Alazar Press, a publisher of award-winning children’s books. Joe is a frequent contributor to IBM Destination z (the community where all things mainframe converge) and writes weekly for the IT Trendz blog where he explores a wide range of topics that interconnect with IBM Z.

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