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Want Better IT Infrastructure and Operations Efficiency? Here are 4 Tips

Want Better IT Infrastructure and Operations Efficiency? Here are 4 TipsIT infrastructure and operational efficiency are essential to the ongoing success of businesses in every industry. Yet, even those who recognize this fact may not have yet achieved full maturity in these areas. To remain competitive in the digital age, IT leaders must find a way to improve, enhance and foster the infrastructure and operations of their organization. Here are four tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

Focus on the Right Metrics – Measuring and monitoring performance are critical components of a mature I&O, so it’s important that you develop a good system that puts the right metrics in place. Not only do metrics provide the ability to monitor internal performance for ongoing improvement, but they also arm IT managers with the tools and information needed to demonstrate and quantify those improvements to key decision makers.

Use the tools and technology at your disposal for measuring things like performance and availability, configuration management, workload automation and more to establish a baseline of I&O metrics and measure that baseline regularly. This will allow you to ensure optimum performance which will eliminate the need to keep such a close watch on IT. This, in turn, provides an added benefit of enhanced security and compliance.

Plan Ahead to Achieve Maturity – Understanding that you need to achieve a certain level of I&O maturity and actually putting the right steps in place to do so are two entirely different things. As with anything else in business, if you want to improve and enhance your infrastructure and operations, you must develop and implement a plan for reaching that goal. Try taking a programmatic approach, plotting a course of action that is most closely aligned with your overall business goals and needs.

First, determine the appropriate services that will help you achieve better performance and work toward your goals, always considering the costs associated with said services. Select your services and assemble the right team to help implement and manage those services. A recommended approach is to combine new employees with existing ones and provide the right training and tools to help empower them toward success.

Consider Different Angles & Think Outside the Box – There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to maturing your I&O, nor is there one single approach that works better than others. You may need to combine a variety of new and existing technologies to achieve the desired results. For instance, adding new hardware or servers can breathe new life into existing systems and make them more efficient and effective than they were previously. This marries new with old for optimum results at the right price.

Upon a thorough assessment of the company’s required governance, risk levels and change rate, another option would be to shift workloads from core resources into the cloud (either public or private). The key to this step, regardless of how it is ultimately executed, is to identify areas where existing hardware and systems can be leveraged and which areas will require new technology. Therein lies the answer as to which direction your particular business should head.

Automate, Automate, Automate – Finally, although perhaps most important, IT automation can have a tremendous impact on I&O maturity. One area in particular where automation can be critical is that of support and remediation. These routine, repetitive tasks, which are usually assigned to the IT help desk, can be more efficiently handled by an automation tool, freeing up personnel to focus on more important things. Automation can also reduce errors and improve compliance through enhanced auditing capability.

The requirement on IT groups to provide better, more accurate service with fewer resources is ultimately the need that will drive I&O to perform at its best. This takes maturity, which is something that doesn’t come naturally, but must be achieved through careful, strategic planning and ongoing measurement using the right tools, such as IT automation.

Could your I&O use an overhaul? Help bring the maturity of your infrastructure and operations to a whole new level by implementing IT automation within your organization. Start your free trial today.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




New Critical Roles in Future IT Infrastructure and Operations

New Critical Roles in Future IT Infrastructure and OperationsThe world of IT Infrastructure is fluid, and as such, is constantly evolving to meet the changing demands of the businesses and industries it serves. A recent shift has been made toward developing technology and processes that not only streamlines the operational tasks of a business, but also focuses on service and support as a top priority. Gone are the days when all IT was responsible for was handling the back-end processing tasks.

The future of IT infrastructure and operations is about the big picture – managing processes from start to finish and delivering real solutions to the end-user. As a result, a number of new roles have emerged and are beginning to take shape, slowly replacing the tech-heavy positions of the past with more robust and balanced skillsets. Here are a few of these new roles that we can expect to see as the coming years unfold.

Designers and Assemblers

As we move toward a more well-rounded approach to IT, it is becoming more and more evident that to be successful, infrastructures will need to carefully develop robust portfolios of services that combine a variety of options from multiple sources – internally, externally and cloud-based. Expert designers and assemblers will be needed to develop these portfolios and ensure that the services within come together seamlessly and deliver results in the most efficient way possible.

Architects

Just as the very foundation of IT operations is evolving, so are the responsibilities of those who handle the day to day duties of the field. Architects are no exception. Presently, architects are spending an exorbitant amount of time and resources on menial operational responsibilities, such as system support functions and project execution. As IT Process Automation (ITPA) becomes more commonplace, many of these elementary duties will be eliminated, creating an opportunity for architects to apply their skills to more important strategic responsibilities, such as monitoring service vendors to ensure that what they are delivering is in line with the overall direction of the organization. Additionally, we will see architects taking on more responsibilities as they are freed up by technological advancements.

Process Design Experts

Because the future of IT infrastructure and operations involves a more robust and comprehensive business approach, the very design of internal processes will need to be modified and enhanced to accommodate these changes. Process design experts will be needed to analyze and polish internal processes, such as how change management is handled with new cloud-based applications. As IT operations evolve, so must the processes by which tasks are accomplished in order to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly and efficiently.

Vendor Managers

The more businesses begin to rely on external services as part of their robust IT portfolio, the more critical it becomes to monitor these outside vendors to prevent costly mistakes. Today’s operations view vendor management as a smaller function, but as we shift toward more abstracted services, the role becomes increasingly larger and more significant. Vendor managers will be required to closely monitor external services, well beyond the specifics of their contracts, to ensure stability and reduce liability to the organization.

Planners

With an ever-increasing list of infrastructure options, particularly those that can be customized and deployed rapidly, businesses must carefully consider the liability and complexity involved with integrating such a service with their existing systems. Planners will be needed to strategically analyze and tactically measure these services against their present processes, specifically narrowing down the choices to only those services that are in line with the direction of the organization and can be safely and seamlessly integrated with their existing infrastructure.

As we steamroll forward into the promising future of IT operations, it is becoming increasingly evident that the required technical skills of the past are changing. No longer will businesses be able to rely on traditional IT professionals, each with their own fragmented skillset. Instead, they will need to shift their focus toward IT Process Automation Engineers who will be prepared to take on the new roles listed here and better position the business for future success.

Is your organization ready to take on these changing IT roles?





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




How Leveraging a Virtual Operator Could Transform IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

Managed Service ProvidersIt’s happened time and time again: large corporations wavering between total in-house IT and complete outsourcing, only to discover that neither option provides a truly cost effective and efficient solution. Such was the case with European oil company Rompetrol, who seesawed between both approaches, all the while wasting value time, money and resources only to lose control over their IT altogether. This all changed, however, when CIO Marcel Chiriac took over in 2012.

Upon discovering that the outsourcing firm the company had hired had grossly mishandled things, Chiriac took on the daunting task of getting things back under control as quickly as possible. Weighing his options, and considering the fact that shifting everything back to in-house again that fast would be just short of impossible, Chiriac opted instead for a hybrid IT environment. This provided the “best of both worlds” in terms of control and efficiency.

The first step in the process involved putting together a team of IT professionals with whom he could work to renegotiate contracts with the many software vendors Rompetrol dealt with. Chiriac’s in-house team then had the job of evaluating the state of the company’s IT infrastructure since it had been managed by the previous provider. The results were disheartening. Additionally, the outsourcing provider refused to cooperate with the transition, making the process extremely frustrating and arduous.

Knowing he was working with a timeframe of just 3 months, Chiriac knew that using traditional technologies simply wouldn’t be sufficient to gain control over and document the asset transfer process. He decided that IT process automation might be his best option for meeting the tight deadline and getting the company’s IT performance back up to par. The new IT provider got to work extracting the information needed to allow Rompetrol to begin securing their scattered and vulnerable infrastructure.

Perhaps the most important step taken during this 3 month period was the introduction of “virtual operators”. These are essentially just IT service robots which helped to quickly identify the exact network composition. In addition to facilitating the consolidation and optimization of the company’s infrastructure, these virtual engineers also enabled in-house IT professionals to manage incidents more proactively. This allowed problems to be resolved quickly and efficiently, improving performance and service levels.

Within just one month’s time, automated solutions had been put in place for more than 2,000 items, including switches and servers for over 750 of Rompetrol’s gas stations. There has only been one single outage since the shift to the new hybrid model, and it’s succeeded in reducing operating costs by 27%. At this point, the internal IT team is able to focus on further optimization needs.

Beyond what this means for other companies looking to cut costs and improve IT operations, the use of virtual operators is poised to revolutionize things for managed service providers.  IT Automation will open up new avenues of opportunity to provide enhanced levels of support, maximize internal resources, lower costs and maintain competitive advantage. As businesses begin to recognize this hybrid approach, they will begin to once again look to managed service providers to help them achieve the best of both worlds in terms of control, IT security and efficiency.

Are you an managed service provider that would like to become part of a success story like that of Rompetrol?  IT Automation is the tool you need to jump ahead of the game. 





eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s




Go Green! With IT Process Automation

The term green IT became popular a decade ago. However, only giant IT organizations and large data centers implemented green IT practices  – and this was mostly due to regulations and the wish to cut costs, rather than any internal agenda for reducing global warming*.

Go Green with IT Process Automation

Considering the great interest in going green with IT (both for $’s and J’s (Joule) savings) – why so few projects?

I believe the main reason is that green IT is still not a top priority task and furthermore, there’s an erroneous notion that it’s costly to implement.

“We are not that big to make a difference” is what one IT manager told me. In my opinion, going green in IT can make IT operations much more efficient, regardless of the size of the company, and reduce costs significantly. And yes, it does contribute to decreasing carbon dioxide and combined, it will make a difference.

What does go green with IT mean?

Simply, green IT means having an IT infrastructure that consumes less energy (=cheaper). The next question is how it can be done (with minimal impact on your day to day work)?

There are several simple steps you can implement immediately:

  • Shutdown remote computers – Power-off servers that hardly work and consume more power than CPU. You can schedule a shutdown process on a daily or weekly basis for lab, tests, etc.
  • Automated remote workstation shutdown or standby – Turn idle workstations and user PCs to standby mode every time users are not using their computers- overnight, on weekends and holidays.
  • Go virtual – take your physical servers and virtualize them, as one strong hardware can run multiple operating systems. You can turn servers off when they are not in use or start them only upon user request (usually this works for R&D, QA and Lab testing).
How much you can save with IT process automation?

Average energy savings per computer for a 12 month period can reach to $36. Multiple this figure with the number of workstations, and you realize the potential may reach hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

How to go green with IT Process Automation without adding extra work?

Use IT Process Automation tools for scheduling maintenance tasks, and applying remote workstation shutdown or standby policies.  Workstations that are turned off not only save energy consumption but also increase data security and lower the possibility of failures.

*According to Gartner, PCs, monitors, laptop computers and networked devices represent close to 60% of the total ICT consumption.

You can start saving today, and make your organization greener


IT Process Automation Survival Guide




Using IT Process Automation to Enhance Continuous Response

security-breachWith all of the latest news reports about massive data breaches resulting in the sensitive financial information of millions of consumers being compromised, the topic of cyber security remains a priority for organizations of all shapes, sizes and industries. It’s also becoming more evident that the best offense in these situations is not just a preventative approach, but also successful, continuous incident response. Let’s take a look at what this entails and how IT process automation can enhance it further. When it comes to cyber security, it pays to plan ahead and think outside the box. Businesses must find ways to outwit and outmaneuver would-be cyber attackers by being smarter and better prepared. And it’s not just the big players that can benefit from enhanced security. In fact, as a recent Forbes article points out, even smaller businesses can now take advantage of a more secure existence, provided they leverage excellent data management and the quality continuous response resources available to them.

Times Have Changed

It used to be that installing anti-virus software and putting up a solid firewall were enough to keep most serious attacks at bay. The problem with this strategy, however, is that there are highly sophisticated organizations at work that are capable of getting around just about every prevention-first security measure in existence. To counter this, Forbes interviewed Shuman Ghosemajumder, vice president of strategy at Shape Security, who recommends taking an approach that protects your sensitive assets from the inside out. One of the things that businesses across the globe are now facing is the fact that viruses are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cyber security. This has essentially ushered in a new dawn of safety measures, and a new way of thinking overall. Instead of having to keep up with cyber threats, technology can be used to turn the tables and make these criminals keep up with the enhanced security strategies that organizations are putting into place. It allows businesses to stay one step ahead of their attackers.

Knowledge AND Action Are Required

Simply acknowledging that there are hacks and data breaches in just about every business and industry to some degree is not enough to keep your organization safe from the dangers that lurk beyond the perimeters of your IT infrastructure. It’s this knowledge, coupled with the appropriate action – namely, continuous response – that is critical to keeping precious data safe. It also requires a combination of ongoing analysis that allows firms to learn from past experiences and use that information to anticipate and prepare for similar situations in the future.

using IT process automation

Most cyber security experts acknowledge that sophisticated hackers are already using IT process automation to help them identify and exploit areas of weakness around the web. The best way to combat this is to beat these criminals at their own game, using the very technology they are to shut them down at every potential point of entry. Using IT process automation to detect malware and enhance continuous response allows businesses to locate and eliminate threats before they have the opportunity to wreak havoc. Like it or not, as long as the internet remains as the information super highway, there will be dangerous hackers waiting to exploit every opportunity they can find. Only those organizations that understand the importance of continuous incident response and leverage IT process automation to maximize their efforts will have the best chance at making it through unscathed. Is your business protected from the many security dangers out there?  





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




 

How to Integrate IT Process Automation with HP Operations Manager

Businesses across the globe are leveraging  HP Operations Manager (HPOM) software to monitor their internal IT infrastructure and consolidate fault and performance events to help identify the causes of IT incidents. HP Operations Manager is the choice for many organizations because it provides a single monitoring console for both virtual and cloud infrastructures. What many businesses don’t realize is that this highly effective tool can be enhanced to further improve response time and subsequent service levels by simply integrating it with eyeShare’s IT Process Automation (ITPA) product. Here’s how.

The eyeShare product features a convenient bi-directional integration with HP Operations Manager, which allows the end user to capture and acknowledge alerts in real-time while updating and closing alerts directly through the HPOM console. Implementation can be completed in less than 5 minutes. It’s fast, it’s simple and it’s an easy way to improve and enhance an already powerful tool.

Check this video tutorial you will learn how eyeShare’s bi-directional integration with HP Operations Manager (HPOM) can help you to manage alerts:

How it Works

The plug and play integration of eyeShare with HP Operations Manager allows businesses to automate the creation of tickets in a variety of IT Service Management tools, including HP Service Manager, ServiceNow, Remedy, and many other service desk applications. Not only does this integration improve internal and external service levels, but keeping your data up-to-date and organized also enables for continuous service improvement and helps you meet your governance and regulatory compliance requirements such as SOX, HIPAA, ITIL, etc.

By combining eyeShare’s IT Process Automation capabilities with the expert functionality of HPOM, IT professionals can easily capture and manager actionable information and workflows, accelerate responses to alerts and create automated response actions (IT process workflows) for any problems that may arise across your entire physical, virtual, or cloud IT infrastructure.

Some of the many tangible results that can be seen almost immediately following the integration of eyeShare with HPOM include the ability to:

  • Automate the capture of alerts for quicker response
  • Consolidate and organize all critical alerts
  • Assign responsibility and automatically troubleshoot (triage)
  • Immediately notify and/or escalate to the appropriate user or group
  • Execute tasks to resolve IT problems remotely

All of these things can be accomplished while still maintaining real-time updates and working via a single HP Operations Manager console.  It really doesn’t get any easier and more efficient than that!

If your business has chosen HP Operations Manager, chances are you’ve already improved and enhanced your ability to manage incidents. Why not take that achievement one step further and let Ayehu eyeShare bring your IT operations to a whole new level? Download your free trial today to get started!





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate