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Improved IT Operations Management Leads to Less Downtime

Authors Photo Precisely Editor | March 14, 2024

Today’s companies need an effective IT operations management (ITOM) strategy to minimize downtime and ensure the smooth functioning of their IT infrastructure. Minimizing downtime can deliver benefits including increased productivity and efficiency and reduced risk of financial losses.

ServiceNow, a market leader in this domain, defines ITOM as “a strategic approach to planning, building, and operating digital services, technology, components, and application requirements in organizations.” It is all about keeping systems up and running, ensuring connectivity and bandwidth, and monitoring for potential security threats. It’s about managing the complexity of an entire network infrastructure and the systems that run on it.

ITOM breaks down into three broadly defined functions:

  • Network infrastructure management includes things like equipment, connections, remote access, firewalls, and security.
  • Help desk management encompasses ticketing and incident management processes and communications.
  • Server and device management involves managing servers, virtual machines, desktop computers, laptops, and other devices. This includes the installation of patches and updates and maintaining core applications that run on these systems.

Management discussing the IT operations

Challenges & Benefits of ITOM

Today’s IT systems provide a wealth of information about what’s happening moment-by-moment. That’s good, of course, but it also creates some challenges. Disparate systems provide different types of information, structured in various ways. Most of today’s enterprises must manage a combination of cloud-based systems and applications, mainframes, and Windows or Linux servers and endpoint devices.

Managing all of that complexity at scale can be difficult. The information that flows from these various systems is voluminous, and it generally includes a lot of background noise. ITOM staff need to find ways to discern what’s important, zeroing in on the meaningful anomalies. ServiceNow, Elastic, Splunk, and other tools help technology managers bring order to the chaos and make sense of complexity.

The benefits of doing so are substantial. Effective ITOM systems can help technology experts identify issues early, identify root causes promptly, and resolve problems before they grow larger and more costly. With a good ITOM strategy, IT staff can spot issues and resolve them before they ever impact users. Even better, they can automate some mitigation processes such that no human intervention is required.

This proactive approach keeps systems running smoothly, minimizes any negative impact on users, and ensures effective data integration.

White Paper

5 Steps for Better IT Operations Management

IT Operations Management (ITOM) is more important than ever in today’s fast-changing world. It helps IT to ensure availability, maintenance and deployment of hardware, software, services and processes. Read to learn more.

Achieving a Unified View of the IT Landscape

IBM i Power Systems and IBM Z mainframes present a particular challenge for many organizations striving to achieve a unified view of their IT landscape. Naturally, ITOM produces the best results when IT teams have visibility into everything that’s happening within the organization.

Information silos stand in the way of that “single pane of glass” perspective. When mainframe log files and alerts are isolated from other ITOM data, it is difficult to spot issues early and identify root causes. This can lead to delayed resolution and finger-pointing. The longer a problem lingers, the more likely that it will impact end users, and the more costly it becomes. Downtime leads to lost revenue, decreased productivity, and reputational damage.

Gartner has estimated that system downtime can cost around $100,000 per hour just in terms of lost revenue. There can be compliance implications as well. Companies in highly regulated industries such as health care or financial services may be in violation if their systems are down for an extended period of time.

Lost revenue, decreased productivity, compliance issues, and reputational damage all have real bottom-line costs, so it’s well worth investing in a solution to the problem of siloed systems.

The ITOM Paradigm Shift

Many organizations try to address these problems using a “war room” approach. That means assembling a dream team of various IT people to analyze a problem, find the root cause, and come up with a solution.

team discussing IT operations

There are several problems with this. First, it takes time to pull together a group of people from different parts of the organization and get everyone on the same page. Second, they have to gather information from multiple disconnected sources. Third, the war room dynamic often leads to unproductive finger-pointing. The problem of “too many cooks” often results in prolonged debate and delayed resolution.

ITOM presents a very different approach, one in which the organization proactively collects and analyzes information and makes it available to on-call staff for immediate action. That shortens mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) by providing all the necessary information in advance, offering useful IT analytics, and potentially even automating the solution to the problem.

ITOM for Mainframe & IBM i Power Systems

The leading ITOM platforms, such as ServiceNow, Elastic, and Splunk, lack native immigration for mainframes and Power Systems running IBM i. Getting operational data from those systems is essential.

ServiceNow Discovery, for example, offers a means of automatically collecting information about what’s in your IT landscape, enabling a unified view of your environment. Because it lacks native support for IBM i and mainframe systems, though, many organizations remain blind to what’s going on in these mission-critical systems. That perpetuates the silo effect, resulting in a disjointed view of reality and limiting the organization’s ability to respond quickly.

Precisely Ironstream provides seamless, automated, real-time integration of critical IBM i Power System and mainframe data into modern ITOM platforms to deliver an all-important single version of the truth. It automates discovery for a fully service-aware CMDB. Ironstream also integrates with Event Management for rapid discovery and resolution of IT issues. Without real-time visibility of the entire IT landscape, operational IT staff simply cannot respond as quickly and effectively as they should.

Five key ITOM enablers are necessary for IT staff to have complete visibility into all areas of their landscape, with optimized management. These are:

  1. A comprehensive and accurate configuration management database
  2. Discovery of traditional IT resources
  3. Discovery of cloud and virtual resources
  4. Discovery of IBM i and IBM mainframe resources
  5. Service mapping

To learn how you can make these key enablers available to your organization, download your free copy of our whitepaper, 5 Steps for Better IT Operations Management IT.