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IT Operations Management automation has been an emerging trend for a number of years now, and with the benefits obvious to all who stop to consider them, it is somewhat surprising the trend hasn’t converted into real life just yet. In fact, during a recent industry presentation on the subject, the audience was informed that full integration of IT operations tool suites would not be available for at least another 3–5 years. In the same breath the audience was also informed that they would be expensive, would likely lock IT departments into a single vendor for a long time and lock out any ‘best of breed’ IT operations tools strategy. A suggested alternative solution was to investigate the automation of suites of tools around a particular operations management component such as IT Process Automation or IT Service Support Management, for example.

 

IT Service Support Management Automation

 

Taking IT Service Support Management as an example element of IT Operations Management, a range of IT service, support and management tools managing sub elements such as Service Desk, Release Governance, Change Control and Change Management, ITIL Asset Management and so on are required by the IT team to support the IT applications. Each tool is effective and useful on its own, but if connected to the others, together they could become a powerfully integrated mini suite to share and exchange data automatically to eliminate significant manual effort and reduce human error potential. In an environment of change control regulation, high support service SLA’s and production system uptime criticality ensuring correct process and minimisation of system error are important goals for IT Service Support teams.

 

Change Control and Change Management Automation

 

Managing change effectively to ensure good change control, effective governance, enforcement of change process and error free change delivery is challenging, especially in large dynamic SAP ERP environments. However, third party SAP change management tools represent a near term opportunity for the integration and automated sharing of data which potentially could ease the challenge. With tool sets handling SAP change activities such as requirements management, defect management and testing, change management and service desk functions, transport impact analysis and detailed change control, integrating these tools so that data from each can be automatically exchanged and reported upon centrally and status updates and authorisations automatically passed between each, for example, can result in significant automation lowering overall costs and reducing incidence of human error.

 

Concluding thoughts

 

Although some industry presenters predict a solution to IT Service Support Management automation may be a way off, by implementing and fully utilising available existing third party tools and their extension package and integration suites, a tightly integrated IT Service Support Management suit taking in Service Desk, Change Management Governance, Requirements Management, Defects Management, Testing Management, Impact Analysis and Change Control is available today.

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