Enterprise Management

Making The Connection

I am consistently surprised, as a consultant, by the number of people, departments, and companies who decide that a service management tool can only be used for their IT (or IS) department because “it was designed for IT”. Many service management tools such as Footprints, Remedy, Cherwell, and Ivanti have the capability to spread into an organization and connect the data from most or all their departments and achieve the level of data needed to increase efficiency and productivity that a single enterprise management tool can provide.

Think about Lego blocks as a unit of a company. Whether the individual block is an employee, team, department, entity, or section of a company, they connect to build the bigger picture that is the company itself. At least, that is the ideal form. Most companies are built with a hybrid of Lego, K’nex, and maybe some third-party modeling clay. Some pieces are staples in most companies such as the Information Services brick and the Accounting K’nex connector. Others differ depending on the model one is trying to build. But what happens when you need to connect the Lego to the K’nex? You can use some glue or tape or find a unique way to wedge the two together, or maybe someone gives you a piece designed to integrate the two of them, but it will never truly be that ideal structure that is displayed at the local mall or Christmas event.

While it may be an imperfect analogy, these examples provide us with an idea of why it is beneficial to build from the same construction set, or enterprise management platform. No structure will ever be perfect, because no software can do everything, but the closer one gets to the model prepares them for when the ideal becomes possible. The world of big data shows us that everything is connected if we just understand how.

Until recently, software was designed to accomplish tasks related to each of these areas individually, so it is understandable that companies would rely on the best one and be concerned about moving away from it. However, in this new world, those tools should be what is used to represent the data, not collect it. Data collection, when possible, should always be routed through the fewest number of systems absolutely needed. When this does not happen, errors in consistency, data types, lookup values, and compatibility occur in much greater numbers. In addition, the connection needed between two systems to identify similar or related data becomes flawed. Managing the data collection through a single enterprise service management system ensures that the data types can be easily managed and referenced data is in a format that is easily relatable.

Another reason for managing through one system is resources. Many companies use “home-grown” systems like those designed in Lotus Notes or created using pure code. The only people who truly know how and why something occurs in that system tend to come and go, leaving everybody else to figure it out for themselves. Nobody has the time for that in an efficiently run department, so instead, they decide to continue with the process as-is because they do not want to risk the time and effort to fix the issues. When multiple systems are developed that serve disparate functions, each requires dedicated resources, skills, etc. When a single system is developed that serves multiple functions, support resources typically decrease, and support skills and knowledge is shared across all resources.  Improvements can be made as needed, and after all, processes and tools should be designed to be improved upon, not allowed to become stale because they are “good enough”.

I recently heard a client say that the average lifespan for a “good” tool that they use at their company is five years. This means that ROI must be achieved within the smallest window possible. With service management tools creeping into enterprise management in today’s big data world, it becomes even more possible to achieve higher ROI by utilizing your service management tool across the enterprise. So, do your company a favor, make the connection.

About The Author:
Thomas Scheel is an ITSM Consultant for Flycast Partners. He implements IT Service Management Software as well as configuring that software and uses customer requirements to design Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management processes in addition to other ITIL processes and data integrations.