How Managed Service Providers Can Gain Operational Efficiency and Add an Edge to Their Clients

Managed Service ProvidersIn years past, businesses had little choice when it came to managing their own internal IT operations. For many, the only feasible option was outsourcing. Today, with so many advancements in technology, the concept of outsourcing has shifted and more companies are bringing these services in-house. So, how can Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) compete and stay profitable? Simple. They must maximize efficiency while delivering the highest value proposition to their customers.

Do More with Less

The first step in staying successful as an Managed Service Provider is finding a way to get the most out of their employees while also keeping expenditure down. While hiring more staff may seem like the logical step to staying on top of tasks and delivering exceptional service, doing so would be too cost prohibitive for most firms.

As an alternative, Managed Service Providers can turn to technology and leverage the various tools available to them to help boost productivity without the need to bring on additional employees. IT process automation is an excellent solution to this dilemma, as it can alleviate many of the day to day tasks. Not only does this allow firms to keep staffing lean, but it also frees up those who would normally handle those repetitive workflows to focus on other key business initiatives.

By automating activities such as incident management, the program itself can handle much of the process without the need for human intervention. This improves response time and efficiency levels, which ultimately enhances SLA to the clients.

Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

One of the reasons MSPs are in a risky industry is because tech advancements, such as cloud hosting, have made managing operations in-house easier and more affordable. To counteract this, MSPs must make what they have to offer too valuable to refuse. Beyond just taking on the task of handling operations for a company in real-time, these firms must remain one step ahead. This means taking a proactive approach and identifying issues before they occur.

Again, the best tool for this task is automation. By leveraging a robust IT automation product that can be integrated with other existing systems, things like alert management can be streamlined to maximum efficiency. This reduces human error and allows problems to be corrected at a much faster rate. When an Managed Service Provider can demonstrate to a company that is considering hosting IT in-house that their services are much more valuable, they’ve won the battle for survival.

eyeShare for Managed Service Providers

To stay afloat in an increasingly volatile, highly competitive environment and disprove the impending “outsourcing is dead” theory, Managed Service Providers must continue to adapt. Performance will need to be at its highest with cost at its lowest. The only logical solution to this is IT process automation. This will provide the edge needed to remain ahead of the pack in the months and years to come.

Are you an Managed Service Provider that is feeling the pressure to perform better? Are you ready to see what the right automation tool can do for your business? 





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




How to free up disk space on your server in 5 minutes

When it comes to disk space errors on servers, the problem is usually related to log files, temporary files and dump files; here are 5 tips how to free up disk space on your server in 5 minutes:

  1. Make sure you don’t have applications writing to log files in debug mode or with detailed logs, such as IIS or Apache, and no home grown application where someone forgot to change the flag to non-debag mode in production.
  2. Make sure your deleted files are permanently deleted and not in your recycle bin.Don’t use that place to back-up your stuff 😉 – I knew someone who did that, and after we emptied the recycle bin he lost all of his backups!
  3. Trace and monitor logs that might grow fast, such as Database logs, Application logs, backup logs, etc.
  4. Don’t write or archive any files or logs to the system (OS) drive.
  5. Remove old snapshots, orphan user profiles and old deployment files

See it in action in the video below:

So, how do you start? Create a routine clean up task to free up disk space on your server.

Whether you need to remove temporary files to free up space, archive files or simply free up some space on disk drives– is there any reason not to automate this repetitive task?

With eyeShare, you can free up disk space automatically on multiple servers, storage and devices – running on Windows, Linux and Unix systems.

The eyeShare:

  • Monitors the available disk space on selected disks (for example 10%).
  • Deletes files in the designated temp directory.
  • Archives and moves log files to a different location.
  • Sends notification email about the disk space usage before and after the cleanup.
  • Can be scheduled to run on a regular basis or initiated according to a trigger.

Of course, any of these steps can be easily customized and tailored according to your own needs. Adding or removing machines does not require any changes to the process, but simply editing an Excel file with IP addresses or server names.

Why not try it yourself? With our 30-day free trial version you can run this workflow out of the box, as well as 120 additional workflows for killing processes, performing database actions, file and folder automation, service restart, and much more.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Why IT professionals should change their view of IT Service Management?

service managment

To date, IT Service Management (ITSM) has consistently been viewed as simply part of the IT infrastructure library (ITIL) processes. However, with the looming shift of IT operations from fragmented services to a more end-to-end, service-driven approach, the concept of ITSM is poised to play an increasingly critical role in business operations. In order to successfully navigate this shift toward service, IT professionals must essentially rethink what this practice is really about and how it will serve their organizations going forward.

The Original Intention of IT Service Management

When it was first developed, the practice of IT Service Management was intended to bring a more unified approach to how IT technology services were integrated with the organization as a whole. Rather than managing individual components, ITSM focused on developing a collection of best practice processes (ITIL) and using these best practices to deliver end-to-end services. Organizations would conduct ITSM audits which analyzed things such as ROI, budget adherence, and the effectiveness of communication and identifying and evaluating risk. The purpose was to identify areas that needed improvement so that IT services could be better honed to benefit the entire organization.

What’s missing?

While ITSM is still a concrete practice, in order to be truly effective it must evolve along with the changes of IT as a whole. What’s missing from the original concept of ITSM is the very end-user – the customer. Internal processes may have been improved significantly, but if these improvements don’t translate to the customer, it’s not a true victory.

How can IT professionals change their view of IT Service Management?

In order to get the most out of ITSM, people must begin to shift their perspective from strictly internal to also include external benefit. The easiest way to do this is to simply drop the “IT” from ITSM and replace it with automation. This essentially expands the benefit of ITSM from the internal operations of the enterprise to also improve the customer experience through the delivery of faster outcomes, higher quality service and at a much more attractive price. Internal processes are streamlined and made more efficient, while external service also improves. It’s a win-win.

If businesses are going to be successful in the future, they must leverage new and changing technology to truly deliver the unique and unparalleled experiences that their customers are seeking. Adjusting the concept of ITSM to incorporate IT process automation into the mix will accomplish this goal, providing the competitive advantage needed to thrive in the coming years.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Integrating IT Process Automation with Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus

IBM’s Netcool/OMNIbus is a widely utilized operations management software which is used to consolidate complex IT and network operation management tasks, making them easier to use and more efficient for the end user. In order to maximize the use of this software solution, businesses need to find a way to capture alerts and manage incidents in a more timely and efficient manner. By integrating Netcool/OMNIbus with eyeShare’s IT process automation software, you can do just that, developing a faster, more effective approach to incident management.

Ayehu eyeShare offers convenient 2-way plug and play integration with Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus, which ultimately allows IT personnel to send and receive data instantly to and from the Netcool/OMNIbus server. Alerts are captured in real-time and events that meet specific conditions can be seamlessly transformed into a workable incident in eyeShare. By combining Netcool with IT Process Automation you will be able to deliver actionable information and workflows, accelerate responses to alerts, and create response actions (IT process workflows) to any problems that arise across your entire physical, virtual, or cloud IT infrastructure.

Integration IT Process Automation with Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus- Video tutorial!

How it Works

Essentially, eyeShare extends the capabilities of IBM’s Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus, from simple, repetitive IT tasks to complex processes spanning across multiple systems.  eyeShare automates procedures while keeping you in full control, providing freedom and flexibility to manage incidents according to your own needs and criteria. The bi-directional integration with Tivoli lets you trigger workflows based on Tivoli alerts using email, SMS, phone calls or IM. Close the loop between automation IT personnel to control task execution, anytime anywhere.

With eyeShare for Netcool/OMNIbus you can open, retrieve, and update alerts. Create new alerts in Netcool/OMNIbus, receive list of alerts according to specific criteria that you define, and update existing alerts in Netcool/OMNIbus with the click of a button. This integration brings two highly effective tools together to create a more efficient, effective incident management tool to arm IT personnel with. Integration is simple and fast – you can be up and running in just 5 minutes.

ITPA integration with Netcool/OMNIbus provides businesses with the ability to:

  • Capture events for quick response
  • Keep all important alerts under a consolidated view and process
  • Automatically troubleshoot and diagnose to determine best resolution (triage)
  • Notify, escalate, and assign responsibility to specific user, group, or duty
  • Execute tasks to auto-remediate problems as they occur

If your organization employs the use of Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus, you’re already half-way there toward efficient incident management and task execution. Let eyeShare bridge the gap and help bring your IT department full circle to manage your IT processes most effectively.




eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Using IT Process Automation Beyond Provisioning

Using IT Process Automation Beyond ProvisioningMany organizations start their IT process automation projects with server provisioning and stop there. What they may not realize is that there are actually many more ways that IT automation can drive more value to the business. Let’s take a look at some of these ways below.

Reduce operational costs. By creating a more streamlined and efficient operation, productivity naturally increases, as does output and service levels. The results is higher performance at a lower cost overall, which is great for the bottom line.

Improve problem identification and root cause analysis. As we all learned from Target’s debacle last year, incident management is a critical part of the IT role. Determining which alerts are worth pursuing can be a challenge, and if you choose wrong – as was the case with Target – the results could be disastrous.  IT process automation helps quickly identify real issues so they can be prioritized and addressed.

Ensure consistent security. Another key step in the incident management process is properly handling potential security breaches in the most timely and effective manner.  IT process automation helps to ensure that all risks are identified and the appropriate parties are notified so the organization can keep sensitive data safe.

Reduce infrastructure complexity. When IT automation handles the majority of tasks, what’s left for IT personnel to handle is much less complex and daunting. This allows for better infrastructure management and enhanced levels of control.

Enable faster application delivery. Technology allows people to work better, faster and more effectively, which improves service levels and speeds time of delivery.

Enhance capacity management. How do you know when your servers have reached maximum capacity and are about to experience an interruption? Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a proactive approach to this important information? With IT process automation, you can keep one step ahead and avoid problems before they occur.

Help achieve compliance objectives. Identifying and reducing risk is a big part of IT management. So is keeping systems in line with ever-changing requirements. Automation is an excellent tool for streamlining all systems and applications and creating the checks and balances needed to stay on the right side of compliance issues.

Simplify audits. Nobody wants to deal with an audit, but they happen and when they do, you’d better be ready. Having IT process automation at your disposal helps you keep up with compliance issues on an ongoing basis, so that if and when an audit occurs you’ll be ready.

Ensure infrastructure and application SLAs. When an IT problem occurs, it’s the entire department’s job to get things up and running again as quickly as possible. With IT process automation, incident management is much more efficient, and this naturally results in a higher level of service by meeting and exceeding SLAs.

Attain higher server/admin ratios. We hear it time and time again: to stay competitive in the IT industry, people must find a way to do more with less. IT process automation provides the perfect solution, removing the tedious day to day operations and freeing up existing personnel to focus on other important tasks. Instead of having to hire additional staff, you can essentially optimize your existing resources and actually end up with a better outcome overall.

As you can see, IT process automation is not only a great tool for provisioning, but it can also improve operations, cut costs, boost service levels and so much more.
Are you leveraging this important resource for your own organization? 





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Top 5 IT Process Automation Myths and Misconceptions

IT process automation myths

If you ask any IT professional why they haven’t yet leveraged the power of IT process automation to streamline their manual tasks, you’ll inevitably get a number of excuses. Many of these excuses stem from myths and misconceptions that are floating around, leading people to believe that ITPA is not good for business. The fact is, these common misconceptions are simply not true, and they could very well be costing your organization money. Here are 5 common myths about IT process automation and the real truth behind each one.

Myth #1 – It’s too expensive.

Fact:  Sure, there are products out there that come with hefty price tags, but there are also other IT process automation solutions available that suit your budget. The beauty of ITPA is that if you work with the right provider, you can customize a product that meets all of your needs and leaves off any extra bells and whistles that aren’t useful to your organization. The result is an affordable solution that is fully customized to address your specific business needs and falls within your allotted budget and time constrains. If you looked into ITPA in the past and were scared away by price, you were probably looking in the wrong place.

Myth #2 – It’s too long and complicated.

Fact: While it’s true IT process automation involves a lot of functions and tasks, that doesn’t mean it’s complicated for the end user. In fact, ITPA solutions are specifically designed to be user friendly to shorten the time of implantation. What’s more, quality ITPA platforms typically come backed by a number of service options for the customer to be able to access at any time. Resources like pre-packed process templates, Integration packs, video tutorials, e-books and whitepapers, online user manuals and comprehensive support packages all make answering questions and understanding processes fast and efficient.

Myth #3 – It results in staff reduction.

Fact:  IT process automation doesn’t necessarily eliminate the need for staff as much as it allows that staff to work smarter. Instead of focusing on a number of labor-intensive manual tasks, your team is freed up to apply their talents and efforts to other more important business functions. It’s not about reducing your workforce, it’s about allocating your resources in a more efficient and profitable way.

Myth #4 – I won’t have control over the automation.

Fact: Many people mistakenly think that the word automation means that the entire process becomes automated, effectively removing the control from management. The truth is ITPA offers a flexible solution that incorporates the automation of common manual tasks with human decision points. That means that at various intervals during the automated process, when a critical decision junction that requires human judgment is reached, the process owner can be contacted, presented with the available data and required to enter a response before the process can continue. This lets you remain fully in control over your IT process automation.

Myth #5 – The process won’t meet my specific business needs.

Fact:  People often operate under the misconception that all ITPA platforms are the same. While there are some similarities and most programs come with pre-packaged workflows to address common IT functions, a quality IT process automation solution will also provide you with the ability to customize the product to suit your individual needs. The right provider will work with you to identify exactly what your pain points are, and then develop a tailor-made solution to address those points.

IT process automation has gotten somewhat of a bad rep. When you take the time to peel back the layers and address the truth behind each of the common misconceptions listed here, it’s clearly evident that ITPA is a viable, affordable solution that is both user-friendly and customizable and will effectively help your organization to streamline operations and become more profitable as a result.

Ready to see for yourself how IT process automation can benefit your organization?

<



eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




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 IT Automation Complements Humanized NOC Operation

IT AUTOMATIONThis post was published originally by MoovingON

Today, many companies are integrating internal network operation centers, or NOC, to monitor and manage incidents affecting the infrastructure. The network operation team is responsible for making sure that all systems are running smoothly, ensuring optimal productivity and efficiency. Managing incident response in a timely manner offers the best solution to NOC teams.

Humanized NOC services provide seamless Uptime management, comprehensive monitoring and remediation services for servers, workstations, network devices, applications as well as business-oriented workflows. Identifying network problems before impacting business functions or productivity is the primary focus of any NOC.

Ultimately, the goal of any NOC is to reduce downtime and to increase efficiency. Automating disparate systems and softwares to become self-acting or self-regulating decreases recovery time and response rate. IT process automation will also directly affect the number of system outages and other critical issues. By ensuring business resilience, automation is helpful in improving operational performance and maximizing the business ROI.

IT automation is critical for managing operations to consistently maintain the highest quality of service while reducing operations costs. Customizing scripts to replace manual processes, in turn directly impacts the process of creating a scalable service model.

“In our ongoing efforts to expand our Uptime Management services for technology companies and enterprises, we are proud to announce our partnership with Ayehu.

Ayehu helps IT professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents, simplify complex operations and achieve improved control over IT infrastructure. Ayehu solutions are already deployed in major enterprises supporting thousands of business users.”





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




ITSM Automation – Start Filling in the Gaps

ITSM AutomationThe nice thing about IT Service Management platforms is their comprehensiveness. Using a single, unified umbrella, you manage and integrate a range of best practices and service components – service desk, project and service portfolio management, incidents, change, configuration management and more. All of which helps to ensure that your services stay aligned with your business requirements.

But the wealth of functionality, combined with the need to support the unique processes of each organization, brings with it a challenge – filling in gaps. Beneath the wide ITSM umbrella, you’ll find that data that needs to flow from one system to another requires some human intervention or verification; such as a service desk request for a server restart that cannot be fulfilled because it first requires an authorization in the system.

ITSM Automation is a key functionally to filling in these gaps

So despite the all-inclusive ITSM approach, there are still gaps between data silos, resulting in manual work, or inefficient, slow processes. IT process automation lets you fill these gaps to accelerate processes and improve interaction between data silos. If this sounds too theoretical and farfetched, here are two pragmatic customer examples that illustrate this point.

Filling the Gap – Automate Incident Management

A healthcare organization was using full-time help desk staff to capture alerts from the monitoring system (SolarWinds) and then decide if to open trouble tickets in Service-Now. With IT process automation, the IT team can manage alerts from the SolarWinds to automatically open and update incidents in ServiceNow. The team also added some automated workflows to troubleshoot the problem and then update and close the tickets.

Filling the Gap – Automate Change and Fulfillment

A financial customer operating across multiple geographical sites was struggling with a slow response for service request fulfillment. IT personnel would open a change request in JIRA, but even if the resolution was quite simple,  the response time was still extremely slow. With IT process automation, a request in JIRA (for example, a request to restart a remote service) triggers an automated workflow, which immediately sends an email to the service owner. Upon his approval, the workflow fulfills the request (e.g., restarts the service), and updates the JIRA ticket.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Integrating IT process automation with BMC Remedy

BMC’s Remedy ITSM software is widely considered to be one of the most complete and capable IT Service Management solutions available on the market today. It is used by some of the most demanding IT organizations in the world, particularly for its span of ITSM processes and scalability. The only thing better than working solely with Remedy is integrating it with the right IT process automation program to provide the ultimate in flexibility, control and automation of IT services. Here’s why.

The 2-way integration of eyeShare IT process automation with Remedy lets you automate alerts, ticket resolution, and ticket closure within Remedy. Instead of manual data entry and long service desk procedures, you can create a closed-loop automated process that accelerates incident management and resolution. Send, retrieve, and query tickets, as well as create, delete, or update tickets at the click of a button.

Most importantly, this integration requires absolutely no changes to the Remedy system, making it the only integration of its kind in the industry today. It simply provides a way to enhance the program’s performance and bring ITSM processes to a whole new level.

To watch a video demonstration of how BMC Remedy easily integrates with Ayehu eyeShare, click here.

How it Works

The Remedy module provides a bi-directional communication channel between remedy and eyeShare. Once the module is defined, eyeShare pulls newly submitted records and updates, translates them into incidents and displays them on the dashboard, initiating automated workflows. What this means for the end user is a tremendous reduction in manual workload and better control over the process.

eyeShare offers easy plug and play integration packs for BMC Remedy which use the appropriate BMC Web Service, combined with eyeShare listener, to enable and configure the target Remedy server, allowing the Integration Pack to function.  In other words, you get zero touch configuration. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Some of the many advanced capabilities provided by this integration include:

  • Generate new tickets in Remedy
  • Close specified tickets in Remedy
  • Update any allowed fields within Remedy tickets
  • Produce query records of filtered tickets
  • Automate and schedule IT process workflows
  • 2-way notification and escalation capabilities
  • Bi-directional integrations with ITSM
  • Remote resolution and execution
  • Event driven workflow process
  • Generate reports
  • Perform time-to-repair measurements

You were wise enough to choose one of the most efficient, comprehensive ITSM solutions available on the market today. Now, be smart enough to enhance the capabilities provided by that solution by incorporating automation into the process. Learn more about how you can initiate this integration for your organization by downloading the Remedy Integration Data Sheet!




eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate