Leveraging managed services to get more from your IT data.

ServiceNow Data – A Managed Services Approach that enables Deep Insights

Leonard Wiens, Beniva Partner

The data management challenge...

Most companies have great intentions when implementing ITSM capability in ServiceNow. Significant service, incident and problem management benefits are realized when the solution is implemented in conjunction with strong supporting processes. And for those who haven’t been paying close attention, ServiceNow is truly not just for IT anymore. We are seeing substantial, increasing market adoption in leveraging ServiceNow’s newfound focus into low-code development/aPAAS platform to solve business problems. Even standard, out of the box functionality is increasingly adopted for multiple business workflow uses. The future looks very promising. However, as part of many ITSM implementations, effective IT environment data discovery, half-cooked data models, and subsequent partial data loads often occur in implementations – and these have material downstream effects. The fundamental value proposition of ITSM can be hampered in realizing it’s full potential to understand, operate and manage security & risks to your IT environment. The challenge doesn’t end there, unfortunately. Even those companies that do a good job at initial data discovery and load, in the vast majority of cases we have seen, there is a very real and ongoing struggle to maintain data effectively with the myriad of IT changes annually. Thus, what was once a clear vision and set of insights into one’s operating environment degrades over time. Even with the best of intentions, Change Management processes simply fail to keep up with ensuring accurate and complete IT data sets.

Why?

  1. IT people don’t get into IT to be financial managers, contracts managers, or do relational mapping and constant updating of metadata of the environments they are in-charge of.
  2. IT enviroments are often resource constrained, and given the mix of priorities, IT professionals must focus on project delivery, troubleshooting incidents or the thousands of other daily tasks that take precedence over updating, auditing and analyzing their data.
  3. Some IT departments lack effective Configuration Management Database (CMDB), Application Portfolio Management (APM), and Asset Management practices to begin with, and without these, keeping data up to date is a seriously uphill climb.

So what options does an IT leader really have at their disposal?

  1. Hire some junior people to do data discovery and mapping. This is the typical knee jerk reaction we often hear, thinking that the tasks associated with the type of data load and IT environment mapping is lower value, and so – why not just hire a kid to do it?. This approach won’t succeed. And if this approach is considered, the best initial approach is often to spend time with IT leaders discussing the security, operational and administrative issues that arise without a more robust IT data management strategy.
  2. Appoint the internal IT Business Office (ITBO) / Office of the CIO with the task of annual data re-discovery, clean-up, analysis and reporting. If you combine the ITBO with some architecturally minded professionals, this strategy can definitely work and is a much more sustainable approach to ongoing Data Management. This doesn’t always work in resource constrained environments, and has the drawback of not bringing industry perspective and IP to the table for things like “what are my peers paying?”.
  3. Augment internal efforts by engaging a third party as a managed service. Operational staff in a companies’ ITBO or Architecture team can and should be tasked with coordinating the daily management of IT data to the best of their capabilities, priorities & resource levels allow. It is important to install an “internal ownership” culture for data maintenance. However, an annual check-up that includes a robust feature set (discussed below) could be considered to provide ongoing audit and assurance that your IT environment’s lack of proper data will not be a cause of security breaches, unplanned outages or bad changes.

Managed Service is a Solution

Turning the keys over to a managed service may not seem like an option, however, more organizations are realizing the benefits. The value offering of a managed service, and what it can deliver for your organization can best be described by taking a deeper look into the solutions available as part of a basic and more robust value offering:

Base Service Considerations
1 Data audit/clean up (financials, contracts, technology mapping) inc. updating business capability map to identify all changes to the environment not captured in the past 12 months
2 Annual technology optimization analysis refresh with road-map inputs
  • In conjunction with new industry app and app platform trends. Timed before budget to feed budget process as required
3 APM Dashboard & Reports
  • Peer spend/app usage comparison reporting with recommendations, maintain access to industry IP
  • Application Spend Trending (i.e., alerts on indicators re: sprawl return by business functions)
  • Duplication recommendations in conjunction with new industry trends
4 Data audit/clean up (financials, contracts, technology mapping) inc. updating business capability map
5 ServiceNow – Beniva APM Dashboard and Reporting Widget
  • Have ongoing and real-time access to key application portfolio reports, including a business capability model with full financial and application footprint mapping – a useful tool for those without ServiceNow Asset Management and ITBO Application Portfolio Management modules enabled currently.

Enhanced Service Offerings - The Value Increases

Enhanced service considerations include moving the above Managed Service Provider further up ‘the architecture value chain’ in outsourcing select architecture services as well. If done properly, internal cost reduction can be achieved by replacing expensive architect contract labour.

Expanded Service Considerations
1 Coordinate and support business engagement asset planning meetings, prior to annual budget. Keep a focus on optimization.
2 MSP led IT investment roadmap updates; a concerted service effort results in no need for an internal architect to be assigned to this task
  • Including providing industry technology trend inputs with a market connected service provider
3 Cloud migration metadata data enhancements and data gather support
4 Cloud readiness assessment
5 Integrated APM, Data Centre & Network Optimization Strategy, building off of the data now available for effective planning, optimization & strategy opportunities

By letting your internal staff work on what it is they do best and offloading more manual data management, audit and analysis work – insights gained will improve your productivity, operational effectiveness, security and administrative delivery assurance. Highly specialized services like IT Data Management & Assessment with fit-for-purpose but high-value offerings can accelerate the capability of your IT department without heavy internal investment. We have the knowledge base and sample reporting of these types of insights that enable a better understanding of your IT environment. How effective data management addresses costs, operational and administrative problems are easily demonstrable. We would be happy to demonstrate at your convenience.

Contact us today to learn more.