Do you need babysitters for your IT Services?

Greetings all,

 

Anyone want to know how to deliver better service to your consumers while improving the efficacy (nice word eh?) of your IT staff?  Would you appreciate helping team efficiency while reducing costs? If so, read on. 

 

(Secret text:  don’t tell anyone but there may be an opportunity for you to get FREE attendance to HP Discover this year.  Details are contained at the bottom of the blog)

 

We all know that delivering IT services to consumers is often a challenge. The key questions I hear most often include

  •  How can I handle more work when my team is already fighting to keep up?
  •  Why are more than 40 percent of incidents the result of bad changes?
  • Who is that Murphy guy and why does he and his laws spend so much time at my place?
  • If they can make cars with robots why do we need to do everything manually for computer and software systems?   

 

Actually, it turns out that there are answers to your questions. Some of them have been available for a long time.  Let’s explore the possible answers to your questions today.

  

First steps

Based on requests from several of you, I presented at a recent Vivit session on the topic of how to leverage automation for ITSM. Today’s blog encapsulates the content of that presentation and some of the follow-up questions and answers.  BTW…should you want to listen to the recorded track of the session which also contains a great roadmap session from Jacques Conand and Service Anywhere update from Chuck Darst, you can find it here.

 

Why do you care about automation?

In our world people often throw around terms like “Reduce your TCO” or “Improve your return on investment”.  Most of us in the trenches don’t accept these as answers—we want practical answers we can execute on.  We care about what an investment can do for our teams today.  Here is the list I came up with for my presentation:  

  • Automation enhances the accuracy of the tasks accomplished by your teams
  • Automation increases agent efficiency and allows them to work on multiple task concurrently
  • Automation reduces the task time for many actions and frees agents for other tasks
  • Automation improves the repeatability and reusability of tasks 

 

 

Mrs Doubtfire.pngOne other benefit of automation is what I call the Mrs. Doubtfire consideration, (mostly because I can’t help throw out random movie references). As you may recall, the movie Mrs. Doubtfire is about a babysitter.  Ok sure there is a lot more to the story, like the point that the babysitter is actually the divorcee father that lost his visitation rights, but this blog is on automation right? My point is that automation can dramatically reduce the need for your team to “babysit” tasks.  Once the tasks are validated and automated your team can run them in a “fire and forget” mode and know that they will meet their objectives. 

 

In the Vivit session I discussed an example from our internal HP R&D team. The team used automated tests as an example of how automation can free the team from babysitting tasks.  By automating thousands of tests, the R&D Quality Assurance teams were able to run significantly more tests on every release. This has resulted in a demonstrable improvement in product quality—especially in reduced regressions. 

 

What are some practical examples of automation available to HP customers today?

 

Example one is for cloud deployments.  Consider the story of the large US-based customer that reduced total deployment time of cloud servers from approximately 1 week to 1 to 2 hours by using automation.  I also want you to notice the limited amount of engineer involvement in this use case below and compare it with the manual process often used today.  The scenario is as follows:

  •  Business customers request cloud servers via the ITSM service catalog 
  • Requests are approved and changes opened in Service Manager
  • The change triggers an Operations Orchestration (OO) flow via web services
  •  The change is verified
  • The  Service Manager change record is closed

 

Example two is for the automated generation or update of incidents or interactions from email.  Before I specify the example use case, I feel the need to digress for one second. As some of you know from my previous blogs, there are often topics that fall into the topic area “What you may not know about Service Manager”. This scenario is one of those. 

 

The following use case has been available for many years and yet I regularly encounter customers that did not know it was feasible. In one specific example, a customer reported that they had help desk agents spending approximately 22 percent of their time copying information from emails and pasting the data into Service Manager interactions.  Consider then:

  •  A business user encounters an issue with one of the services provided by IT or with a service running on an underpinning service provided by ITA 
  • The user submits an email to IT helpdesk for assistance using a predefined submission template
  •  The email is received by Connect-It rather than by a help desk agent
  •  The Connect-It email scenario maps the data from the template into the appropriate interaction fields
  •  The interaction is opened
  •  As part of the open process a response email is triggered to the user directly
  •  If necessary, the user can provide updates to the interaction or corresponding incident via email as well

One technical tip on this automation is to take advantage of templates to make sure you get the necessary data from the user and populate the Service Manager records appropriately.  Consider using an email template to ensure that the data provided by the user is sufficient and properly formatted. Then consider using Service Manager templates to populate the remaining data and mandatory fields as you create the new interaction or incident.

 

The third and final automation example for this blog is event management handling as used by a large customer in the US Midwest along with many other customers. They leverage multiple IT infrastructure monitoring tools from HP and other providers.  They automate the event submission process so that HP OMi correlates, filters and queues the detected events, and passes them to Service Manager for processing.  The event handling is part of a closed-loop system that also involves feedback from Service Manager to the monitoring tools, updates to the incident,  downtime alert suppression and other features that improve overall service availability. 

 

Dilbert.png

 

Courtesy of www.dilbert.com

There are many other examples for your consideration.  Some of the best involve Change Management, which we can see from Dilbert is very straight forward and simple.   You can also use automation everywhere in ITSM such as the following: 

 

  • Unplanned change identification automated via Universal Discover, UCMDB and Service Manager to detect and ensure evaluation and mitigation of unplanned changes
  • Change verification leveraging discovery activities to ensure successful  change completion
  • Incident remediation by which users can find relevant knowledge articles and automatically trigger OO flows to correct the issue or to gather troubleshooting data to assist helpdesk or resolver personnel  

 

In summary, Service Manager customers have many opportunities to take advantage of automation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of IT.  Even better, there are many resources available to help you move forward.  Here are some of my favorite resources:

 

 

Secret text? 

 

OK so how many of you came here without reading the blog to get the “secret info” on free passes for HP Discover?  Go ahead now, raise your hands I know who you are.

 

The secret is that we at HP want to know who has the best automation solution or idea.  We will reward the brave souls that are willing to share their ideas and automation solutions with free HP Discover passes to one or more of you(to either the Las Vegas or Barcelona conference).  If you think you qualify and want to tell us about your automation solution add a comment to this blog thread and we will reach out to you to discuss. You won’t even have to do a presentation or share your company details if you don’t want to.   Of course, whether you take me up on my offer or not we do want you to share your ideas with the community we always  welcome your comments.   Click here to enter the contest on LinkedIn.

 

One final note:  Since a couple of people reading the draft of the blog were VERY concerned.  I have done a fair bit of research with someone called Sarah Conner and as best we can tell today none of your automation activities will activate Skynet.  We must always maintain vigilance but we think we are ok.  

 

 

 Discover2013.png

 

HP Discover Pass giveaway

OFFICIAL RULES

 

1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

 

2. Eligibility. Subject to the additional restrictions below, the “HP Discover Pass Giveaway” (the “Sweepstakes”) is open to legal U.S. residents who are 18 years or older at the time of entry. Employees of the Hewlett-Packard (“Sponsor”) and advertising and promotional agencies, and the immediate family members of, and any persons domiciled with, any such employees or contractors, are not eligible to enter or to win.

 

3. How To Enter. The Sweepstakes will begin at 4:00 p.m. PST on March 27, 2013 and end at 11:59 p.m. PST on May 17, 2013 (the “Sweepstakes Period”). Enter by visiting  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4828727 and completing all of the required information and following all posted instructions. Entries limited to only one (1) entry per person. Hewlett-Packard, the Sponsor will not be responsible for incomplete, lost, late, misdirected or illegible entries. By entering, you agree to the terms of these Official Rules.

 

4. Winner Selection. Three (3) Grand Prize Winners will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received to be held on or about May 17, 2013.

 

5. Prizes and Odds. Three (3) Grand Prize Winners will receive one ticket to the HP Discover Conference held June 11- 13, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Venetian hotel or tickets to the HP Discover Conference held in Barcelona, Spain December 10-12. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

 

6. Winner Notification and Acceptance. Winners will be notified on or about May 20, 2013 at the point of entry (blog or LinkedIn). To claim prize, winner must follow instructions to pick up tickets as directed at time of notification. Valid photo identification may be required.

 

7. Participation. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify persons found tampering with or otherwise abusing any aspect of this Sweepstakes as solely determined by Sponsor.

 

8. Sponsor. The “HP Discover Pass Giveaway” is sponsored by the Hewlett-Packard. The decisions of Sponsor regarding the selection of winners and all other aspects of the Sweepstakes shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor will not be responsible for typographical, printing or other inadvertent errors in these Official Rules or in other materials relating to the Sweepstakes.

 

Thanx everyone

Scott Knox

Sr Product Manager -- Service Management Center

 

*****************

Join the conversation.

ITSM :  

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Comments
chuck_darst | ‎03-19-2013 11:07 AM

Scott,

 

First, what do 1984, James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Linda Hamilton all have in common? With that out of the way, I can get back to business!

 

Thinking of the automated break-fix scenario (aka Closed Loop Incident Process or CLIP inside of HP), there is a good EMA whitepaper on this overall topic - Collaborative IT: A Pragmatic Approach for Bringing the Service Desk and Operations Together. It requires a short registration, but cover the automated break-fix scenario and also change management in more detail.

 

This is a great topic which is spreading with standard changes, requests, and releases - in addition to the more historical ITSM areas of incident management linking back to run book automation. I would happily buy a drink for anyone of your respondents that makes it to HP Discover.

 

Chuck

Alan Bannister(anon) | ‎03-25-2013 10:30 AM

Great blog - but SkyNet might disagree: http://www.skynet.com.

:-)

Alan

 

3steveco33(anon) | ‎03-25-2013 01:34 PM

The use o ACPI standards should greatly increase the level and safety of automation...Thank you for the usefull and informative article.

 

HPITSM | ‎03-27-2013 05:48 PM

HP Discover Pass giveaway

OFFICIAL RULES

 

1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

 

2. Eligibility. Subject to the additional restrictions below, the “HP Discover Pass Giveaway” (the “Sweepstakes”) is open to legal U.S. residents who are 18 years or older at the time of entry. Employees of the Hewlett-Packard (“Sponsor”) and advertising and promotional agencies, and the immediate family members of, and any persons domiciled with, any such employees or contractors, are not eligible to enter or to win.

 

3. How To Enter. The Sweepstakes will begin at 4:00 p.m. PST on March 27, 2013 and end at 11:59 p.m. PST on May 17, 2013 (the “Sweepstakes Period”). Enter by visiting http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/IT-Service-Management-Blog/Do-you-need-babysitters-for-your-IT-Services... or http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4828727  and completing all of the required information and following all posted instructions. Entries limited to only one (1) entry per person. Hewlett-Packard, the Sponsor will not be responsible for incomplete, lost, late, misdirected or illegible entries. By entering, you agree to the terms of these Official Rules.

 

4. Winner Selection. Three (3) Grand Prize Winners will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received to be held on or about May 17, 2013.

 

5. Prizes and Odds. Three (3) Grand Prize Winners will receive one ticket to the HP Discover Conference held June 11- 13, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada at. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

 

6. Winner Notification and Acceptance. Winners will be notified on or about May 20, 2013 at the point of entry (blog or LinkedIn). To claim prize, winner must follow instructions to pick up tickets as directed at time of notification. Valid photo identification may be required.

 

7. Participation. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify persons found tampering with or otherwise abusing any aspect of this Sweepstakes as solely determined by Sponsor.

 

8. Sponsor. The “HP Discover Pass Giveaway” is sponsored by the Hewlett-Packard. The decisions of Sponsor regarding the selection of winners and all other aspects of the Sweepstakes shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor will not be responsible for typographical, printing or other inadvertent errors in these Official Rules or in other materials relating to the Sweepstakes.

chuck_darst | ‎04-02-2013 12:33 PM

Scott, came across this white paper on how TCS is using HP Software to provide an automated provisioning platform. It does require registration - https://ssl.www8.hp.com/ww/en/secure/pdf/4aa4-5484enw.pdf. And, it does include Service Manager 9.

 

Chuck

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About the Author
I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the...
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