United answers to systems overload

United answers to systems overload

Add a duplicated workflow to the daily grind and you have got major issues. Martin Atherton looks at the benefits of connected thinking

One of the most topical issues is IT service management. The increasing adoption of IT infrastructure library (ITIL) hot spots such as configuration management databases, and that many vendors are rolling out new IT management solutions are all contributing to significant activity in this space.

In a recent 2007 study, analyst house Freeform Dynamics spoke to more than 1,100 IT professionals, and asked them about their day-to-day challenges.

On an individual basis,the daily demands of security, desktop maintenance, helpdesk and information management are bearable. However, when examined collectively, they cause significant headaches to the majority of IT departments throughout the world.

The lack of joined-up IT management capability is, in itself, yet another burden levied on the IT department.

The risk of missing important changes or problems, duplication of workforce effort and the high cost of trying to maintain and work efficiently across multiple, disparate equipment and systems, are additional challenges to those posed by every-day operations.

The pressure that IT departments are under has historically little to do with different approaches taken to IT management. There is very little difference in overall obligation between organisations that have followed a single-vendor systems management strategy and those that have not.

Regardless of the strategy followed, there is a common set of difficulties, which are sustained by the relative lack of integration and cohesion between systems management tools in use by the majority of organisations today.

Addressing fragmentation in IT management environments can have a positive impact on your businesss in two areas.

First, it is the root cause of some of the common problems the IT department has to deal with.

Second, starting to take a more consolidated view of IT systems management is the foundation of a services-oriented approach, which allows organisations to get closer to the objective of exploiting their IT resources in better alignment with business requirements.

The challenge lies in seeking short-term gains so that longer-term planning and action can be accommodated.

The good news is that daily workloads can easily be reduced by applying some simple, and perhaps easily overlooked, measures.

Ensuring that users and IT staff have been properly trained can have a significant impact on reducing the IT department load associated with security, infrastructure use, information management and end-user support.

These gains can be used to justify exploring how IT systems, management equipment and processes can be united to provide a coherent view of what is going on. The ability to understand how the IT infrastructure impacts business service quality is the foundation for a longer-term strategy.

There are many organisations that have already benefited from having addressed these areas in more detail, so the question really is, why are more organisations not seeking the same?

The report, Relieving the systems management burden, is available free here

Martin Atherton is research director at Freeform Dynamics.