ServiceNow ITOM

Key risk management tools for IT managers in 2018

Key risk management tools for IT managers in 2018

It’s no secret that technology is advancing at a faster rate now than ever before. While technological advances often enable better functionality and more efficiency, they also bring with them a swathe of risks and challenges for businesses. Implementing good risk management tools in your IT operations is critical to protect your brand and your reputation.

No matter what your organisation does, chances are you rely on effective and functional IT systems to keep the doors open. If their IT systems go down or experience delays, businesses across all industries see significant impacts on their revenue and reputation. Many customers will swear off a business entirely after even one major issue if they know they can get a better service from their competitors.

So, how do organisations keep up with the constantly changing IT landscape? One of the most effective ways to manage risk in technology is by using other technology. To that end, here are some of the key risk management tools for IT managers in 2018.

ServiceNow IT Operations Management

If you have a particularly complex solution stack or a broad range of devices and components, ServiceNow ITOM is designed for your business. Seamlessly integrating with your current ServiceNow instance and configuration management database (CMDB), ITOM gives you a single pane of glass view of how your entire environment is impacted when one system or server has an error. There are three key components of this service that make it a good choice for risk management:

1. Event Management

What if you could see your entire IT environment on one easy-to-read dashboard? Event management cuts down on the noise from your monitoring tools, proactively informs your IT team of any issues with performance, and helps you virtually eliminate outages altogether.

2. Service Mapping

When one device or server goes down, it often impacts a variety of your IT services. With service mapping, you can see how each of your IT components impacts the others and easily identify the root cause of an issue if it occurs.

3. Orchestration

One of the most important things you can do to manage risk in your organisation is to ensure your skilled IT operators are focused on business-critical tasks. Using orchestration, you can automate repetitive, time-consuming processes to resolve common errors, alleviating the burden on your IT team’s time and resources. Find out more about this here.

PagerDuty

PagerDuty is an event notification solution designed for any type of incident response that involves people stepping in to execute a resolution. It integrates with the top development, deployment, monitoring, and ticketing tools to route all alerts to one location, and distribute those alerts to the right individuals—the first time.

PagerDuty uses sophisticated machine learning to orchestrate a coordinated response in real time, which leads to increased operational efficiencies, faster incident resolution, less employee burnout, and less downtime. This solution functions as the single source of truth for incidents and stakeholder management, with detailed reporting and automated post-mortem analysis, making sure you learn from any issues that arise. PagerDuty manages the on-call roster for all operational responses as well as planned maintenance.

Active Robot Monitoring (ARM) with Splunk

This custom-built synthetic monitoring solution from JDS employs scripts that emulate the steps taken by real users engaged with your business services, automatically and according to your preferred schedule. This significantly de-risks new projects, as you are able to accurately predict your user experience with an application or service by simulating any action you want from any location.

ARM allows you to test variables ahead of time and throughout the lifecycle of an IT service, meaning you can always add new scenarios and actions to your scripts to see how your service will perform. Plus, since it all takes place in Splunk and transactions are unlimited, the cost to your business is significantly reduced compared to other synthetic monitoring solutions.

Not sure what's right for you?

JDS specialises in helping organisations analyse their IT environments and determine what solutions will work best for them. We provide independent advice; training and ongoing support; and IT testing, monitoring, and management solutions to businesses across Australia and around the world. If you want to enhance your risk management tools in 2018, give JDS a call and we’ll discuss the best options for your business.

If you want to learn more about orchestration with ServiceNow ITOM, sign up for an on-site workshop in one of our four city locations, and we’ll show you how automation will cut down on outages and free up time for your IT staff.

Conclusion

To find out more about how JDS can help you with risk management in your IT services, contact our team today on 1300 780 432, or email contactus@jds.net.au.

Our team on the case

Every day, do something that people want.

Nick Wilton

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

8.5 years

Skills

Primary: Software security, Performance optimisation

Secondary: DevOps, Software development, Technical sales

Workplace Solutions

I help clients to solve problems like:
  • Is my application secure?
  • How do I manage threats?
  • Will my application perform when I need it to?

Workplace Passion

It’s all about managing risk whilst driving business confidence in technology and software solutions. That’s what I’m passionate about.

Commas save lives.

Amy Clarke

Marketing Communications Manager

Length of Time at JDS

Since July 2017

Skills

Writing, communications, marketing, design, developing and maintaining a brand, social media, sales.

Workplace Solutions

Words matter, so make sure you get them right!

Workplace Passion

Helping a company develop its voice and present that to their clients with pride.

Our success stories

Posted by Amy Clarke in Blog, PagerDuty, ServiceNow, Splunk
How to effectively manage your CMDB in ServiceNow

How to effectively manage your CMDB in ServiceNow

Configuration management is a popular topic with our customers, and JDS has been involved in a number of such projects over the years. Specifically, we deal regularly with configuration management databases, or CMDB. The CMDB is a foundational pillar in ITIL-based practices; properly implemented and maintained, it is the glue that holds together all IT operations.

A good CMDB keeps a system of logical records for all IT devices/components, known as Configuration Items (CIs). When all of your organisation’s assets and devices are logically presented, this gives you and your executives greater visibility and insight into your IT environment. As an example, all of the Windows servers are tracked in CMDB, and all of its version details are also tracked. This greatly aids any incident resolution or analysis tasks.

ServiceNow CMDB

ServiceNow CMDB

ServiceNow CMDB

The ServiceNow platform offers a fully integrated CMDB and JDS consultants are experts at implementing and populating the ServiceNow CMDB. The process of discovery can be an onerous and time-consuming task, as you search your entire organisation for each CI and enter it into your CMDB.

ServiceNow Incident Record

ServiceNow incident record referencing a CI

Our team of ServiceNow engineers not only help with the manual processes at the outset, but we also introduce automation to ensure that all new CIs are discovered and entered as soon as they are brought into the environment.

ServiceNow CMDB Health Dashboards

ServiceNow CMDB Health Dashboards

The ServiceNow CMDB, like any other CMDB, faces one particular challenge: as the CMDB grows, it’s increasingly difficult for administrators to keep track and keep data relevant. As complexity increases, it can be challenging to ensure your CMDB remains accurate and relevant.  

The complexity and dynamic nature of today’s IT environments means organisations move and upgrade continuously (e.g. server names and IP addresses are commonly repurposed when new projects enter the picture).

A common myth is that the CMDB is hands-free. It’s common for administrators to turn on the CMDB and populate it initially without giving enough thought to strategies for keeping the data up to date. In reality, it takes constant vigilance or its value to the organisation will quickly diminish. CMDBs require careful maintenance to stay relevant, and JDS can assist with this process.

One of the most important things an IT administrator can do is plan and have a clear scope and purpose when enabling a CMDB. The CMDB supports other critical platform features (e.g. incident, problem and change management, etc). JDS can further narrow down the types of CIs that should be retained (e.g. exclude non-managed assets such as desktop, laptops, and non-production servers). Excluding non-managed assets avoids paying unnecessary licensing costs while also keeping your CMDB focused and concise.

CMDB receiving data

CMDB receiving data from many integration points

It’s common for an organisation to use different vendor tools and often their capabilities overlap each other. In the image above, the customer is receiving CI information from integrations with different vendor products, with each tool reporting conflicting information. JDS specialises in integration across multiple data sources and ensuring the most relevant data is ingested into your CMDB.

A CMDB is fundamentally an operational tool. It needs to be concise and ultimately informational to be useful.

While it is tempting to keep all data in your CMDB, often having too much data introduces confusion and fatigue for users. The strength of ServiceNow is its ability to link to related records, allowing you to have a rich CMDB without it being cluttered.

The benefits of Service Mapping

Service Mapping is a key feature of ServiceNow ITOM, and it’s a different approach to the traditional CMDB population methods. Rather than populating all known assets, Service Mapping adopts a service-oriented approach where only relevant devices and components for a technology or business service are tracked and viewed.

This “lean” approach focuses on the CIs that matter while avoiding many pitfalls of the traditional CMDB.

Service Mapping can be further utilised to drive the event impact dashboard (available as part of ServiceNow ITOM offerings).

Service Mapping

Service Mapping in ServiceNow

Having fewer CIs also means that administrators avoid spending time keeping track of things that are of minimal relevance or importance.

In summary, the ServiceNow CMDB offers some great benefits for practitioners, but it’s important to have a clear understanding of the scope your organisation needs to avoid the pitfalls of a bloated CMDB. JDS recommends using ServiceNow ITOM to manage and make your CMDB more efficient. We have the breadth of skills and expertise to configure your CMDB for the needs of your organisation, as well as to work with you on the Service Mapping of your business. Contact one of our representatives today to find out more or set up an in-person discussion.

Conclusion

To find out more about how JDS can help you with your ServiceNow needs, contact our team today on 1300 780 432, or email contactus@jds.net.au.

Our team on the case

Use your strengths, and turn your weaknesses into strengths!

Ian Ma

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

3 years

Skills

HP Products (SiteScope, UCMDB, BSM, Orchestration) and ServiceNow ITOM.

Workplace Passion

ITSM and auto-discovery, and using auto-discovery to deliver visibility of infrastructures in the customer’s IT department.

Document as you go.

Peter Cawdron

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

5 years

Skills

ServiceNow, Loadrunner, HP BSM, Splunk.

Workplace Passion

I enjoy working with the new AngularJS portal in ServiceNow.

Our ServiceNow stories

Posted by Amy Clarke in Blog, PagerDuty, ServiceNow, Splunk
Breaking down silos to create an enterprise capability

Breaking down silos to create an enterprise capability

Traditionally, IT manages services in silos (networks, servers, databases, security, etc), which inevitably leads to an incomplete picture when things go wrong. Each team has a piece of the puzzle, but no one can see the picture on the box. Lack of visibility is a significant risk for companies, particularly those businesses with complex solution stacks and thousands of users. Breaking down silos in your business is an essential part of good IT management.

Correctly implemented, IT Operations Management allows for the rapid triage of outages and service degradation. According to Monash University, regardless of industry, workers with six to ten years experience in a given field will spend most of their time trying to understand the cause of a problem. Few if any IT organisations calculate their Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR), but if they did, the research from Monash and RMIT suggests 45% of that time would be spent simply trying to isolate the cause of the problem.

A variety of solutions exist to help with this issue. Dashboard technology continues to advance each year, providing executives with a single pane of glass view of their business enabling IT services in real time. Artificial intelligence in IT operations is on the rise, and can be leveraged both with your internal IT users and your customers to anticipate behaviour and provide solutions in the event of an error.

The best IT management solutions focus on leveraging your existing software investments and integrating with your business processes. ServiceNow ITOM does exactly that, seamlessly integrating event management, service mapping, and orchestration with your current systems and environment. ITOM complements your current portfolio of solutions and seeks to orchestrate disparate processes and systems into a single workflow.

The ServiceNow ITOM dashboard gives executives a full view of each service in their environment, with colours associated with incident priority (red = critical; yellow = minor; blue = warning). By integrating event management into your processes, you will have an at-a-glance view of what is working and needs attention across your whole IT environment.

ITOM dashboard

System outages are inevitable, no matter how sophisticated your system and skilled your team. Implementing a solution such as ITOM helps you protect your brand by ensuring your team can proactively identify the root cause of an issue, and resolve it before it negatively impacts your users.

When you implement service mapping and orchestration as part of your ITOM solution, you can identify which services in your environment are impacted when one server fails, and put automation in place to resolve regular issues.

service mapping

If you are interested in seeing how ITOM service mapping and orchestration works, register your interest using the form below and one of our local account executives will be in touch with you to schedule an on-site demo.

Conclusion

To find out more about how JDS can help you with your ServiceNow needs, contact our team today on 1300 780 432, or email contactus@jds.net.au.

Our team on the case

Document as you go.

Peter Cawdron

Consultant

Length of Time at JDS

5 years

Skills

ServiceNow, Loadrunner, HP BSM, Splunk.

Workplace Passion

I enjoy working with the new AngularJS portal in ServiceNow.

Commas save lives.

Amy Clarke

Marketing Communications Manager

Length of Time at JDS

Since July 2017

Skills

Writing, communications, marketing, design, developing and maintaining a brand, social media, sales.

Workplace Solutions

Words matter, so make sure you get them right!

Workplace Passion

Helping a company develop its voice and present that to their clients with pride.

Our ServiceNow stories

Posted by Amy Clarke in Blog, PagerDuty, ServiceNow, Splunk