IBM® today announced the first set of software and services to help customers automate and standardize the way they design and integrate information technology (IT) processes—from releasing a security patch to changing or adding a server—across separate departments within their enterprise.
This offering delivers another major step in helping customers transform their business operations into an on demand environment. Customers can evaluate their business designs, processes and infrastructure to build responsive and automated IT environments.
Based on experience with thousands of IBM software and Global Services customer engagements, IBM’s new IT service management solutions translate IT processes into manageable pieces, or services, and then automate their integration—much the same way IBM integrates business processes for customers through services-oriented architectures (SOAs).
As a result, customers will no longer have to manually design IT processes individually within their own silos of operation, and then hand-code their integration across different departments. Instead, they can design IT processes once and automate their integration across all areas of operation, saving time and money.
Managing IT processes end-to-end helps companies keep people and IT resources focused on business priorities, such as delivering more accurate inventory information to the sales force. This approach also minimizes disruptions caused by common IT changes—such as updating a complex application residing on a dozen servers—which typically cause up to 80% of planned system outages.
Developed over the past year at IBM’s development labs in the United States, Canada and Europe, the solutions span IT process management for change, configuration, release and information lifecycle management. Built on IBM’s Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere and DB2 middleware and extending the company’s innovation in self-managing autonomic technology, the solutions include “tool mentors” that help implement actions prescribed by the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a widely used industry guide of best practices.
According to a report from Gartner Inc.(1), many IT organizations will shift their focus during 2005 from traditional cost-cutting techniques to process improvement—a measure that will not only affect IT costs but also IT performance. The report also says there is a strong probability that 20 percent of large IT organizations will rely on IT process improvements to lower operational costs by 10 percent by year-end 2005, rising to as much as 40 percent of large IT organizations by year-end 2007.
“The slightest amount of system downtime, or even the simplest of IT changes, can cause a domino effect that can wreak havoc on a company’s IT environment and, by default, their business,” according to Paul Brooks, director, enterprise system services, USA Information Systems for Ahold, an international food provider based in the Netherlands. “IBM not only understands this, they’re providing us with the tools and methodology to automate IT processes so we can prevent that from happening. Already, using IBM automation technology, we’ve had record levels of availability of our IT infrastructure in our thousand-plus retail stores and two data centers, and a 99% success rate in over a thousand monthly software distributions.”
New services and software for IT service management on demand
The rollout includes:
*IBM Tivoli Unified Process – the first navigational tool to provide the “how-to” for customizing and implementing best practice for mapping, modifying and improving IT processes. This is the first-ever solution to prescribe specific actions for ITIL through “tool mentors” that help customers improve IT processes integration. Customers learn how to alter a system, how to put the right steps in place, and what software and hardware are required. This online tool is available now at http://www.ibm.com/software/tivoli/itservices
*IBM Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database (CCMDB) – a “virtualized” database that federates IT information spread across multiple databases. It provides a single view of an application running on a dozen servers, so IT staffers can make better decisions—such as administering passwords so the right people have access to the right systems. This is particularly important for organizations grappling with compliance and governance issues. IBM is working with business partners Cendura, Collation, nLayers and Relicore to use the CCMDB to collect information—such as when the last time a change was made to an application—into a “discovery library.” The IBM Tivoli CCMDB will be available later this year.
*IBM Tivoli Process Managers – first-of-kind, pre-packaged software to automate IT processes, such as coordinating application deployment across software, hardware, storage and network technologies. These turnkey products can also be customized to a particular industry, such as healthcare or retail. IBM Process Managers will support change and release management, availability management, and information lifecycle management. The IBM Tivoli Process Managers will be available later this year.
*Customized services from IBM Global Services around the new IT service management solutions. IBM’s asset-based hybrid software-services delivery model speeds the development and deployment of software and services to solve specific business problems. It combines software code, intellectual property and best practices accumulated by IBM Global Services and their work with customers.
In addition to new solutions, IBM is enhancing existing Tivoli products to support IT service management. For example, IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager and IBM Tivoli Configuration Manager together automate the way changes are implemented in an IT infrastructure. The new versions automatically find and acquire security patches, determine which machines require them, deploy them, and then verify security compliance. Customers can also automate the tracking of data center resources so they can more quickly determine what changes need to be made. The new versions are available now.
“IBM is offering customers a better way to manage the business of IT, marking a fundamental shift in the way companies approach the process and cost of managing IT,” according to Al Zollar, General Manager, IBM Tivoli Software. “Our approach to IT service management helps customers automate their business services and make them more fluid and responsive to changing business demands and compliance.”
New opportunities for IBM business partners
IBM is working with more than 50 partners to extend Tivoli orchestration and provisioning product capabilities to include “automation packages” with workflows for automating common IT processes. These packages are housed in IBM’s Open Process Automation Library (OPAL), where they can be accessed and utilized by customers and partners at http://www.developer.ibm.com/tivoli/workflow.html
IBM is taking a similar approach with IT service management, expanding the OPAL program and working with ISV partners such as Cisco, Citrix, Peregrine and Siebel Systems. In addition, IBM is providing channel partners like Advanced Integrated Solutions (AIS) Consulting, MSI System Integrators, and Northwind Consulting with tools, training and education so they can help customers manage their IT processes more efficiently.