Case Study: Infrastructure, Cloud, and ESM
SITUATION & BUSINESS NEEDS
A telecommunications company providing wireless voice, messaging, and data services had systems for incident and change management, but wanted to improve their awareness in the infrastructure they managed and the health of the business services supported. The company’s services were structured across separate IT and engineering organizations, with no overlap between management and little sharing of information across the teams in the division. Numerous custom tools were built, with as many as six separate platforms being used disparately to better understand the underlying infrastructure and services the IT organization supports.
The broad use of tools hindered visibility into a holistic view of IT infrastructure assets, leading to a massively limited view of the infrastructure and the components of it. Creating accurate reports of upstream and downstream dependencies was extremely difficult and no single source of record provided a clear indication of the risks associated with changes across their environments. In addition, it was not possible to reliably identify the potential impact of any given incident to a business service.
To begin addressing these concerns, management decided upon ServiceNow to consolidate infrastructure and services related configuration information into a single configuration management database (CMDB). Management was eager to adopt best practices and learn the ServiceNow platform to begin achieving the results they were looking for, but they had little knowledge of ServiceNow and how to achieve the change they needed.
The company needed expertise to help it discover and map their infrastructure assets and business services. The goal was to collect the necessary information and store these assets as configuration items (CI’s) in a single repository that can be used across the organization. They found this expertise in AIM Consulting’s IT Service Management practice.
In just six months, AIM Consulting drove the implementation and provided best practices in delivering a consolidated CMDB on the ServiceNow platform. This has begun elevating configuration management capabilities and bringing greater awareness and visibility into the underlying technology stack in support of the organizations business services.
AIM Consulting began by having discussions around data needs and the capabilities inherent to the platform. Using this context, the team worked together to bring legacy data into a new CMDB, with the intention of making it the most accurate and useful data source at the company. Gradually, workers have transitioned from using their legacy, more familiar sources in favor of ServiceNow as they realized the usefulness of having a single, authoritative source for answers.
As part of the data migration initiative, AIM Consulting configured discovery to locate and track the company’s hardware and software asset CI’s. ServiceNow’s Discovery service provided agentless discovery of these items connected to the organization’s network, updating the CMDB with configuration, provisioning and status updates. Today, all of the company’s CI’s and related information are managed by a few team members on one team using a single system to source the enterprise need for configuration related data.
After the implementation of the CMDB, AIM Consulting worked closely with the organization to automate additional organizational processes and create more efficiency using ServiceNow’s Orchestration tool. The decommissioning steps as part of the server management lifecycle were very manual and took a lot of cycles to complete. AIM Consulting was able to incorporate its expertise in reducing that cycle time by 75%.
Next, AIM Consulting is helping the organization get a better picture of the business services. Using ServiceNow’s ServiceWatch tool, services will be discovered and a complete mapping of the service generated. This will show upstream and downstream dependencies that CI’s have with one another and give an accurate visual representation of the service. In addition, a dashboard will be generated showing the impact that a given incident may have on a business service, based on its level of impact as determined by the interdependencies of the architecture. This all represents a major change management improvement for the operations and applications teams and also reduces the risk of change in production environments.
AIM Consulting’s expertise and configuration of ServiceNow has enabled dramatic efficiency gains at the telecommunications company that will yield benefits far into the future. Consolidating data and IT processes has also served to unite the company’s IT and engineering divisions in ways not possible beforehand. Resource savings for the company from this effort are potentially in the millions of dollars.
Employees have eagerly moved to the platform and now view it as a key ITSM platform and data source at the company. Development of the CMDB has seen huge success, yielding an estimated 90% discovery rate with highly accurate data that can be relied upon.
The use of ServiceNow has provided the company with a single source or record for all the hardware and software CI’s, lifting the organization to a greater level of maturity in how it manages its IT and business service assets. The company can now monitor its CI’s much more closely. Automation allows management to easily take advantage of efficiencies and software licensing compliance questions are now much more easily addressed. The enhancements should make software vendors more accountable as well.
ServiceNow will soon be configured to map out business services. AIM is leading this effort and will continue to deliver support for the company’s ServiceNow initiatives into the future.