by guest blogger David Oakley, Managing Director, ANZ at ServiceNow.
It’s hard to miss one of today’s biggest technology opportunities confronting large enterprises – big data. Companies are amassing vast amounts of data ranging from website activity, user data, support issues and even directly from products that are deployed in the field. The quest, of course, is to find patterns, glean understanding and extract knowledge that will help improve the company’s business.
Unlocking the big data opportunity represents massive upside for enterprises, but there’s another big data issue plaguing many IT organisations. In many cases, IT lacks a single source of truth, a centralised, comprehensive understanding of IT services, the hardware and software underpinning these services, the way they interact and are configured, the cost of delivering these services, service level management, the demands for new or improved services, the associated projects, the upcoming changes and how all of these things Interact.
For IT, the service experience is the end state. This IT big data challenge stems from the necessity of IT to deliver on this service experience, to keep the services running and rapidly change as business needs change.
The lack of comprehensive truth directly translates to essential qualities, such as data centre or network uptime, application availability, security, ease of maintenance and the ability to implement change. Simply put, when you don’t know what you are working with, how it is configured or should be configured and how it impacts other things, you are fundamentally working in the dark. The repercussions are enormous. The wasted time spent by companies chasing what they think the issue is rather than what it really is becomes a massive overhead.
At a base level is the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) – often the object of controversy and deep misunderstanding. Who takes ownership? How is it done? How do you make it comprehensive? Is CMDB the starting point or the finishing line? Then, as soon as it is created, it is out of date!
The issue is not just the CMDB itself but the fragmentation that exists among IT tools and systems—islands and moats that prevent a centralised view and systematic consistency. Solving this crisis necessitates jettisoning individual, standalone tools and having a single system of record for IT. Once you have moved to a single system of record, you can focus on streamlining your process to ensure accuracy and decrease the time taken to recover from system impact. Ultimately, it means service quality up, costs down and a level of control that the business expects.
In the end, it is IT’s sole purpose to be a trusted advisor and service delivery partner for their users. After all, so much of the organisation is reliant on the data that IT manages for company services.
Does your IT organisation have a single understanding of IT costs and charge back? Service delivery – both by internal and vendor sources? Hardware and software asset management? Can you ensure consistency across all delivery models and resources? Are you well positioned for effectively managing an ever-changing landscape of applications and infrastructure? And are you prepared to extend your data across the company?
If the answer is ‘No’ to many or all of the above then a single system of record for IT is a proven solution to your IT big data challenge.
This article was originally published in the itSMFA April 2015 Bulletin.