By Mike Alley, Director, Service Management, Logicalis US

Conventional technologists have a tendency to measure success in terms of the extent and resilience of the IT infrastructure itself. Technologists who are strategic players, on the other hand, are defining new business models and providing enabling technologies that facilitate cross-functional innovation. If their organization makes widgets, they need to measure their success by how many widgets were manufactured and sold around the world.

Moving Beyond IT’s Comfort Zone

To achieve that kind of success, technologists have to be able to see technology from the point of view of business users. They need to leave their comfort zone in the data center and go all the way out to the interface between their organization and its customers and partners. They need to understand what their users need to do their jobs, and use their technical skills and knowledge to come up with enabling technology that allows users in all critical departments — sales, manufacturing, distribution, finance, etc. — to do their jobs better and more creatively.

This is non-negotiable for IT. Business leaders are under ever-escalating competitive pressure to respond with more agility to demands from their customers; they have also increasingly stopped asking their IT departments for help and turned instead to imminently available services from the cloud and mobile computing providers. IT needs to anticipate business needs or risk getting sidelined by the trend.

Becoming Service Aware

In the past, creating a service‑aware view of your infrastructure has been a challenge because it required a manual approach. Even if you were successful building business service mapping in your configuration management database (CMDB), manually mapping services was much too slow and produced maps that quickly become outdated.

Fortunately, tools exist today that automate the discovery, mapping and updating of business services. They provide a “top‑down” approach to service mapping and show the relationships between IT components that comprise specific business services, even in dynamic, virtualized environments. Automated discovery and mapping tools allow continuous monitoring of IT infrastructure for service‑affecting changes and update service maps in real time.

Single Source of Record

A foundational component of a successful IT operations strategy, the CMDB serves as a single source of record and contains the details and requirements not only of every device in the IT environment, but also the specific business service that depends on it. If you are about to patch a server, for example, the CMDB will let you know that it is supporting a critical customer-facing application and you can proceed accordingly. Essentially, the CMDB needs to contain everything you need to know to reliably deliver services to business users all the way from the infrastructure to the application interface.

Just becoming aware is not enough. To realize its full potential, you need to treat your CMDB like a dynamic resource that is constantly updated as changes occur in your environment…because changes will always occur.

Want to learn more? Download the Logicalis white paper “How to Use IT Operations Management to Become a Strategic Player in Your Organization,” then watch Logicalis Director of ITSM Mike Alley discuss “The Promise of ITSM.”  You will also find answers to many of your ITSM questions at the Logicalis microsite ITSM answers.com as well as on our corporate website.