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Integrating IT Automation with ITSM – Maximizing Calue Creation for CIOs

Tuesday April 7, 2015, by Prashanth Prabhakara

Brillio@Knowledge15 – What You Need to Know

Every CIO is measured by his ability to meet the challenge of delivering value at reduced cost. A key approach to unlocking value is reducing spend on service provisioning and service operations.

ServiceNow’s ITSM platform is popular among infrastructure groups to optimize IT Service Management. The impact of the ITSM platform on cost take out can be greatly enhanced through IT Automation. However, IT Automation needs to be closely integrated with the ITSM framework, in order to yield maximum results.

You may wonder – does IT Automation fall under ITSM, or is ITSM a part of IT Automation? Most organizations, where IT Automation and ITSM are two different teams or groups, face challenges in meeting the CIOs’ goals. IT Automation, if integrated within the ITSM framework, provides the most effective way to govern and execute the initiatives needed to optimize, expand and innovate IT services.

Here’s an example of Brillio’s ITSM framework which integrates IT Automation.

IT_Automation

A combination of a scalable, stable service management tool and well-designed ITIL aligned processes provides a solid foundation to implement and roll out IT Automation. Some of the key guiding principles while planning for IT automation within the ITSM framework are:

  • Self-Service: Self-service is about user empowerment. Enterprise IT is one of the laggards in this space. After years of tight control by IT, the pendulum is swinging the other way and rightfully so. Users love to have the control of what and when they will request for, without dealing with any human intermediaries. Self-service is one of the most effective way to increase customer satisfaction. There are 2 views to self-service and need to be carefully designed. 1) Request 2) Status. ITSM and specifically service catalog can be leveraged to build an enterprise wise self-service portal and upon this platform, Automation need to be implemented to automate zero-touch request fulfillment.
  • Services-based Automation: In a service oriented world, having an end user perspective is of utmost importance for a scalable and sustainable automation framework. The industry is moving from Elemental Automation, to Run Book Automation to Services and Value flow Automation. Having automation modelled as a service helps in a structured implementation approach and achieving a scalable design. Key parameters that need to be defined for any automation requirements are 1) Price 2) SLA 3) Description 4) Components 5) Availability 6) Exclusions. ITIL’s Service Design processes provide the right framework in designing services based automation.
  • Facilitate Continuous Improvement: In large organizations, IT Automation initiatives are seldom met with enthusiastic reaction. One of the approaches to circumvent this is to start small, show incremental value and then leverage the savings achieved through automation for the next set of initiatives. A strong and robust governance process is critical for a smooth adoption. Continuous improvement is effected through pro-active and reactive means and the process should be designed to handle the same. Process to ensure that the automation service manager has the right set of data to help analyze service performance and also ensure that user feedbacks are incorporated and updates are made to the automation service in the next iteration.
  • Technology agnosticism: Most automation tools are technology specific and over a period of time, this becomes a constraint on their impact. IT Automation has to be technology agnostic and needs to overcome changes to the underlying technology. End users need to be abstracted from the underlying technology and be flexible to adapt a variety of automation products. Automation Service Bus helps to orchestrate seamlessly between the Service catalog front end and underlying automation tools and technologies.
  • Integration with ITSM processes: Industry regulations demand auditability on IT environments. ITSM processes govern IT operations and ensure that organizations are compliant with defined standards. Key integrations with Change Management, Asset and Configuration Management, Financial Management, Incident Management, Request Fulfillment Process and Service Level Management ensure that automation implemented is future proof and this improves the maturity of organization’s IT service and Operations. A stable ITSM platform is essential to build these integrations and a flexible ITSM platform will accelerate and reduce the cost of successful IT automation implementations.

While many CIOs have made investments in ITSM platforms such as ServiceNow, they can unlock more value from their investment by integrating IT Automation with the ITSM platform.

Meet us at Knowledge15 in Las Vegas on April 19-24 to learn more about how this can be done. We’ll be exhibiting at the conference with Brillio representatives stationed at P22.


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