Service management: Aligning business and IT

Keeping businesses up and running smoothly requires an in-depth understanding of how IT impacts the business.

A burning issue that exists in current modern enterprises is that few companies have a single vendor environment. This necessitates that any adaptive management solution is able to handle not only single vendor environments but heterogeneous environments as well, reallocating resources on a dynamic basis to ensure that each business process is provided with the ability to run at optimal efficiency.

IT service management (ITSM) solutions optimise IT service delivery and support workflow, while service teams assist in designing new or optimising current IT processes. ITSM provides assurance of specific performance and availability of business-critical IT services and is focused on making service-driven operation a reality, enabling a consolidated service desk driving IT process re-engineering.

ITSM is the management system that allows the enterprise`s infrastructure to be controlled from a central point and maintained automatically, delivering a navigable, visual representation of business services, aiding operational IT staff in prioritising tasks, performing root-cause analysis and enabling users to focus on the services they are responsible for.

This is the bottom level of an adaptive management strategy as it looks at the resources that are both in use and in reserve, and ensures they are optimally utilised. More importantly for an enterprise is the understanding of the business processes within an organisation and how this translates into resource requirements.

As a business` network grows in physical size, range of services, or complexity expands, new capabilities should be easily added from the broad portfolio for managing these new domains or growth. An excellent, high-quality software service should address all aspects of your software application lifecycle needs and align with your business goals. ITSM software offers a scalable set of services for a business` products and solutions. A wide range of service offerings enables the enterprise IT manager to choose the services that best match the business` needs.

Integrated management solutions for optimised business success

By utilising IT service management, you align people, processes and technology to share expectations and measure IT`s performance against established service level agreements.

Dillon Gray, Manager, HP

ITSM solutions are designed to ensure that available services perform and out-perform customer, employee and partner expectations at every stage of business, optimising the experience. ITSM facilitates a `building-block` approach where the most urgent management problem can be solved first, a multi-platform solution that manages heterogeneous environments, offering a quick return on investment (ROI). A complete service management solution provides the best end-to-end multi-platform management tool and a flexible, solution-ready architecture.

Enterprise IT managers should only implement the most comprehensive operations support system solutions. These support systems should facilitate the automation of business processes and integration of the entire service lifecycle: service fulfilment, assurance and usage, assisting businesses to bring revenue-generating services to market faster with lower cost of operations, while increasing service quality.

Becoming proactive

As organisations evolve from reacting to infrastructure problems to proactively managing IT services, the following needs to be taken in consideration:

* Does an organisation have the right combination of people, processes and technology required to deliver those IT services?

* How are expectations set in line with business goals and then measured accordingly?

* What is the relationship between the IT services expected by business and the infrastructure necessary to deliver those IT services?

* How can an organisation evolve from managing technology to managing IT services?

Utilising this management methodology allows the understanding of which business processes are mission-critical and which are not as important. As soon as a company implements an adaptive strategy where all the enterprise resources are available in a single virtual pool, an understanding of the priority of business processes is vital. While management systems have traditionally provided reporting or reactive action to problems, an adaptive enterprise requires the management systems to resolve problems in a proactive manner, requiring a level of communication between the different components that has not been present before.

IT: Managing your business

Enterprise IT managers are responsible for delivering and maintaining the infrastructures and services relied upon by businesses to compete effectively and efficiently. Keeping businesses up and running smoothly requires an in-depth understanding of how IT impacts the business. It`s critical to set appropriate expectations across the enterprise about the type and quality of IT services users will receive. Even more challenging is the fact that IT operations and capital expense budgets are under constant scrutiny and pressure.

By utilising IT service management, you align people, processes and technology to share expectations and measure IT`s performance against established service level agreements. These solutions leverage best practices, which assists businesses in delivering quality IT services, technology and support to the entire enterprise.

It is ultimately not about what infrastructure is in place or how well a company manages that infrastructure, but rather that the company understands its business processes well enough in order to let the implemented solutions manage them properly.

* Dillon Gray is software business development manager at HP SA.

HP sponsors ITWeb`s enterprise portal. This carries news on the hardware, software and networking technologies and infrastructure that drive and deliver e-commerce, enterprise resource planning, data warehousing, storage, outsourcing, human resources, middleware, Web strategies, business reporting tools and much, much more.

Dillon Gray
Manages HP OpenView business development at HP

Dillon Gray started his career with Computer Alliance, working in the network management arena with software such as OpenView and Optivity. He later moved into a consulting role with Digital, and at a later stage moved to Compaq. Gray later left Compaq to join Computer Configurations in the Middle East as a consultant. Once his contract with Computer Configurations expired, he joined Hewlett-Packard (HP) South Africa in the HP OpenView software division. He now manages HP OpenView business development in the financial and government sectors, utilising HP's Adaptive Management Strategy.

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