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ITIL :: View topic - Mapping Batch Processes using a CMDB
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Mapping Batch Processes using a CMDB

 
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Cotswolddave
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Joined: Mar 23, 2007
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 2:36 am    Post subject: Mapping Batch Processes using a CMDB Reply with quote

Hi all,

I work for a small software vendor creating CMDB analyser and visualisation solutions. We have been set a task by a customer to see if we can model batch processes for the operations teams using his existing service desk CMDB as a base. The idea being that they can quickly see the impact of an incident on applications and business services when a server crashes.

While I'm pretty familiar with service mapping and hierarchies, this is outside my comfort zone. So my question is - are there any accepted industry standards or methods of modelling batch processes which we can reference rather than create our own.

Dave
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Guerino1
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Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Dave,

There are no real standards, here. Many enterprises we deal with simply ensure that each batch stream is, in and of itself, inventoried as a "Service" that has an expected and associated SLA. When Incidents occur, they can then simply associate the Incidents to the Service, which in this case would be a batch stream.

The problem is that there are many different things that you could technically associate Incidents to and not all of them are covered properly, or in dept, by ITIL.

Anyhow, I hope this helps.

My Best,

Frank
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Cotswolddave
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Frank,

Thanks for your feedback, I've looked around and found nothing so far. Maybe I'll invent my own templates and claim to be an industry leader! Its not much of an industry however as I rely on customers already having a CMDB which covers infrastructure.

Whats the take up like in the US on organisations actually implementing config mgmt to cover infrastructure?

Dave
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Dave,

The implementation of Configuration Management in the US is gaining pace. Most companies start down a road of trying to implement their own, then ultimately realize they're in way over their heads (since CMDBs are far more complicated than most people want to believe they are), and then look to vendors to give them more complete, flexible, and cost effective solutions.

My Best,

Frank
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Cotswolddave
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds a bit like the UK. My biggest issue (I see you on itskeptic also) is that many IT people think that a CMDB database is just a "database" so all you need is to define a schema and you have a CMDB. When you then start talking about audit trails, continuous development, access rights, workflow, user interfaces etc. you get a blank expression and they go ahead anyway as "it doesn't cost anything" to develop in-house solutions!

My ideal customer is someone who has tried and failed a couple of times as they understand what is involved.

Dave
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Dave,

I think the reason for this view of CMDBs is that most IT people try to convince themselves that:

1) They're good enough to do anything and everything.
2) They must own and control everything they do.
3) They can't possibly let anyone know that they don't know everything or know how to do something specific.
4) They want to be working on "cool stuff" and there is a very high probability that the "cool stuff" is something that has nothing to do with their business but everything to do with making them feel smarter and improving their resume.

The reality is that the implementation of a CMDB (a real one) is very complicated. It's so complicated, in fact, that the majority of IT organizations don't have the internal expertise nor do they have the internal budget that they will need to, first, design and implement it and, second, support and grow it year over year.

Remember, a CMDB is far more complicated than an Incident Management platform. If designing and building your own IM platform were so easy, why are there so many sales of vendor based IM tools?

The reality is that understanding what a CMDB has to do is something that very few individuals in the world truly understand, as a properly designed CMDB will act as the Knowledge Management Platform for IT and its business clients. We have yet to see a single enterprise implement a CMDB that they didn't want to get rid of.

Another thing that we find is that most IT organizations that implement a CMDB take advantage of their business leaders' lack of IT knowledge to convince them to let the organization build their own CMDB, even though they don't have the necessary expertise or funds to do so. They think that just because they can model a few tables and build a few web pages that they'll be able to deliver the type of enterprise class application that will be needed by their enterprise. Here's what people in IT don't seem to want to admit to themselves about a CMDB:

A CMDB is the brain for all IT information and therefore will act as the hub for all critical data collection, storage, association, access, transformation, rendering, and dissemination. It is the core data point for which IT will rely on to get its work done and help automate all internal IT processes. The weaker this link, the weaker your IT organization becomes.

However, we're seeing more and more non-IT leaders get smarter about managing IT. They're realizing that IT is 1) not their core competency and 2) doing lots of things that are not the core competencies of the company. We're finding that non-IT leaders are starting to hold IT organizations accountable for taking on such non-core initiatives. These reasons are why non-IT leaders are trying to outsource IT. They haven't succeeded ,yet, but they will, at least when it comes to horizontal/operational IT services that are common to all enterprises.

We're also seeing very smart IT leaders that understand that focusing resources on internal core competencies yields far higher results than focusing them on non-core competencies. They realize that if something already exists in the world (such as a CMDB) and they choose to implement it, themselves, the internal implementation, itself, is the re-implementation of a wheel that already exists. Implementing something that already exists and sacrificing other work that could improve your core competencies is starting to become a bad IT business practice. And, I have to say that it makes complete sense to me.

Here's a very interesting statistic... While we're not a large enterprise, yet, our own company is gaining traction very quickly. We sell and have acces to the IT leadership of many enterprises in many different sectors, since what we really sell is a business model (our platform is just a "front" for that business model). As a result of being able to sell to leaders in many sectors, we have regular conversations with IT leaders and their non-IT leaders that typically act as owners of IT (because remember, in most cases, IT reports into the CEO, COO, CFO, etc.). Every single time we have a conversation of "It already exists, why would you get involved in building and maintaining something that is not your core competency?, the non-IT leadership always takes the side of the argument that is: "We should not be trying to implement anything, ourselves, that is not part of our core competency. Our IT staff should "always be focused on revenue generation and maintenance functions to maximize our margins. As soon as the non-IT business leaders take this stance, the IT leaders immediately become quiet and openly agree.

You have to ask yourself, "Why would this happen 100% of the time?" We believe the answer is simple and staring everyone right in the face... Business leaders know something about their business(es) that most IT resources, which are further down the chain, don't know or want to know and/or admit... IT is, very likely, not your enterprise's core competency. So, if IT is not your enterprise's core competency, which is the case for well over 99% of the enterprises in the world, you have to ask yourself: "Why would I be trying to implement and maintain something that already exists somewhere else and which distracts from my doing work to solve core competency related problems?" Doing so is 1) Re-implementing a wheel that already exists and 2) distracting me and my critical resources (people, money, infrastructure, etc.) away from solving real business related problems that can add value to generating and/or maintaining revenue.

It's a shame that ITIL doesn't teach that running yourself like a business means focusing on your business and it's needs, not on what you personally want for yourself.

Anyhow, I hope this helps.

My Best,

Frank
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Cotswolddave
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Frank,

Agree 100%, just wish I could put in forward in such a clear manner.

The good thing is so few see where configuration management is going that it means there will be plenty of growth with few able to deliver.

Dave
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dave,

Trust me when I tell you that, when done correctly, the CMDB is becoming the enterprise Knowledge Management platform, one that has the capability to literally eliminate the need for individual point solution tools that can't be integrated to each other. We're seeing it already. One of the main reasons people come to us is because in our platform there is no distinction between our CMDB or our Incident Mgmt tool, or our Problem Mgmt tool, or our Asset Mgmt tool, etc. Since our CMDB encompasses all disciplines, right in the same platform, it's all "one" tool that eliminates the need for many. Not only are we (TraverseIT) doing it but so are companies like ServiceNow. People get that these things can be built and offered up for a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time by experts. So, you have to ask yourself, "Why would I try and do something, myself, when I know it already exists and I can get it better, faster, and cheaper from that provider?" This is why the minute someone tells me they're going to build their own CMDB I cringe.

Anyhow, I hope this helps.

My Best,

Frank
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alphasong
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Joined: Mar 03, 2007
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Location: Minneapolis

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:47 pm    Post subject: Batch process representation Reply with quote

Metadata repositories can also represent batch processes. They are ordered dependencies similar to process models.

The OMG's Common Warehouse Metamodel provides some industry guidance. See the Warehouse Process and Warehouse Operations packages.

Generally, look for batch schedulers to converge with BPM tools.

-ctb
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Cotswolddave
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Charles

Have had a quick look and I'll see what I can use. As you remark, there is overlap and a sense of "is this just another way of describing the same thing". Hence my posting where we are seeing an opportunity to use a service desk CMDB to help ops teams as well as the service desk.

Many thanks

David
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Dave,

Cotswolddave wrote:
Hence my posting where we are seeing an opportunity to use a service desk CMDB to help ops teams as well as the service desk.


Yes, and if you take a further step back, you'll see that it can help development teams... and a further step back and you'll see that it can help PMO... and if you keep taking steps back, you'll see that ultimately, when done properly, a CMDB becomes the master knowledge management platform for the firm, including the businesses that IT supports.

CMDBs, KM systems, Informatics platforms, GIS systems, etc. all are converging. This is why building a limited CMDB with a view on nothing but infrastructure will get many enterprises stuck in the dark ages before they even get started on the path to higher order information management.

My Best,

Frank
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Cotswolddave
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with the principle, but in practice organisations will probably never use and deliver IT systems and service in such a coherent, structured way. Its not a problem with technology, but the nature of supplying a support service.

The focus my business has on infrastructure is because it solves current organisational problems that cross team and outsourcer boundaries. If the tin doesn't work, then neither will the software. For those that have progressed beyond this point - and there are a few, they can be confident that solving higher order issues will not be compromised by the "dark side".

As IT is supporting business structures and information management needs, my belief is that internal IT groups will never to be able to develop the best and most appropriate systems and processes, when business changes and restructuiring prevents long term planning. A case of what can be done, often in an incremental manner, not what could be done.

Dave
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