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IT Operations Management Automation

by Rick Porter

January 29, 2012

IT Operations Management automation has been an emerging trend for a number of years now, and with the benefits obvious to all who stop to consider them, it is somewhat surprising the trend hasn’t converted into real life just yet. In fact, during a recent Gartner IT Symposium presentation on the subject, the audience was informed that full integration of IT operations tool suites would not be available for at least another 3–5 years. In the same breath the audience was also informed that they would be expensive, would likely lock IT departments into a single vendor for a long time and lock out any ‘best of breed’ IT operations tools strategy. A suggested alternative solution was to investigate the automation of suites of tools around a particular operations management component such as IT Process Automation or IT Service Support Management, for example.

IT Service Support Management Automation

Taking IT Service Support Management as an example element of IT Operations Management, a range of IT service, support and management tools managing sub elements such as Service Desk, Release Governance, Change Control and Change Management, ITIL Asset Management and so on are required by the IT team to support the IT applications. Each tool is effective and useful on its own, but if connected to the others, together they could become a powerfully integrated mini suite to share and exchange data automatically to eliminate significant manual effort and reduce human error potential. In an environment of change control regulation, high support service SLA’s and production system uptime criticality, ensuring correct process and minimisation of system error are important goals for IT Service Support teams.

Change Control and Change Manag ement Automation

Managing change effectively and ensuring good change control, effective governance, enforcement of change process and error free change delivery is difficult, especially in large and dynamic SAP ERP environments. Tool sets around managing SAP change represent a near term opportunity for the integration and automated sharing of data which potentially could ease the difficulty. With tool sets handling SAP change activities such as requirements management and testing (HP Quality Centre), change management and help desk functions (BMC Remedy), transport impact analysis (Intellicorp LiveCompare) and change control (Revelation Software Concepts’ Rev-Trac), integrating these so data can be automatically exchanged and reported upon centrally and status updates and authorisations automatically passed between each, for example, can result in significant combined value.

Revelation Software Concepts (RSC) and Change Control Automation

A number of years ago RSC saw the benefits of change control and change management automation and developed its Rev-Trac web service and open architecture within the Rev-Trac Extension Package (RT-xPack) to ensure any future request for additional third party integration would be available. Today, with the HP Quality Centre Sync Adaptor integration, the BMC Remedy integration, the IntelliCorp LiveCompare integration and Salt (RSC’s SAP change intelligence software) there is available for SAP IT teams a direct link between the requirements recorded and managed in HP Quality Centre and the actual lines of code created to meet the requirement is available, an extremely valuable audit and analysis data set.

In addition information can be automatically passed between the high level help desk or change management (governance) activities managed within BMC Remedy, for example, and Rev-Trac’s tight management of the change and approval process around the build test and deploy phases of change delivery. Data exchange between HP Quality Centre Defects and Testing modules, IntelliCorp’s LiveCompare intelligent impact analysis and Rev-Trac means that all important change control data can be available from the one place, can be centrally managed and centrally reported upon.

Concluding thoughts

Although Gartner predict a solution to IT Service Support Management automation may be a way off, by implementing Rev-Trac and fully utilising its extension package and integration suite a tightly integrated toolset taking in Service Desk, Change Management Governance, Requirements Management, Defects Management, Testing Management, Impact Analysis and tightly enforced Change Control is available today.

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