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Cut costs and grow service levels with IBM Tivoli

Businesses face a difficult new world

Tivoli Beat - A weekly IBM service management perspective.Economic transformation has brought with it a range of unwelcome challenges—and for CFOs at today’s organizations, those challenges demand a new approach to service management, one designed to create more business value with fewer resources.

Consider, for instance, the recent drop in the Dow Jones industrial average, and the way that drop has yielded a ripple effect of incredible proportions. Business revenues have declined, and with those customer confidence, extending the likely duration of the current problematic economy.

Going forward, organizations must work harder than ever to accomplish business goals in the most optimized manner they can—making services as cost-efficient as possible.

IBM Service Management reduces costs and risks, increases revenue and optimizes asset utilization

“IBM can help organizations to minimize the effects of economic uncertainty by maximizing the total business value generated by their infrastructures. IBM Service Management, as supported by IBM Tivoli offerings, delivers powerful optimizations in three cost-reduction categories of central interest today: management software consolidation, data center automation and asset management. “This strategy, however, will typically require rethinking and reimplementing how IT works. Going forward, organizations require a more dynamic infrastructure—one that integrates business and technical management, and delivers the scalability and flexibility needed to support unpredictable business workloads and generate new services, while also reducing business risks and costs.

Toward this end, IBM can help organizations to minimize the effects of economic uncertainty by maximizing the total business value generated by their infrastructures. IBM Service Management, as supported by IBM Tivoli offerings, delivers powerful optimizations in three cost-reduction categories of central interest today: management software consolidation, data center automation and asset management.

In all three categories, IBM Service Management can help organizations to identify opportunities for cost savings, implement the changes needed to achieve them and generate more value from all business assets.

Management software: Consolidate for a better business outcome

Consider the wide diversity of IT solutions typically in place in infrastructures today. When these solutions are managed by a broad range of disparate tools, the overall business value they generate falls. More time and more energy are required to manage them, leading inevitably to higher costs. IT staff must be trained to use each new tool. When technical problems occur, those problems can be harder to isolate; proactive warnings and alerts designed to minimize the business impact of those problems may not be generated.

The deployment of disparate tools, in short, makes it extremely difficult to achieve a holistic view of service levels that spans the entire IT infrastructure. Organizations are not able to effectively align IT to the business; they cannot easily correlate the performance of the IT infrastructure to service level agreements and other business objectives.

IBM offers a superior approach: integrated, consolidated management for reduced costs and higher ROI. Through IBM Tivoli monitoring solutions, the entire infrastructure can be managed holistically, minimizing both complexity and time-to-solution.

Deployed software agents, responsible for different assets, track changes in real time. Because they are managed centrally, IT staff require no new training for each new agent; nor do newly-deployed agents require new hardware. Furthermore, the information these agents generate can be observed at any required level of granularity, including if necessary the entire transaction path for composite transactions. IBM monitoring tools can also spur an exceptionally swift, proactive response to emerging problems, thanks to e-mail alerts and predictive analytics.

The result? IT management costs fall substantially. In fact, Lloyds TSB Group found, after deploying IBM Tivoli Monitoring software, that their total savings came to an estimated $1.1 million – the outcome of IBM’s simplified, standardized, and comprehensive design.

Data centers: Automate to drive down costs and drive up service levels

In data centers, too, cost-reduction has become an imperative for many organizations. As virtualisation has transformed the data center, it has also led to new challenges—and getting the highest business value from virtualised environments will mean those challenges must be addressed.

Software provisioning, for instance, can be a complex task. Virtual servers require a complete stack of operating system, middleware, applications, data and configuration files—a slow, costly and potentially error-prone installation process if handled manually.

Additionally, consider how workloads are typically handled in virtualised environments. Often, they are distributed across the infrastructure by hand, statically, rather than dynamically by technology. In this scenario, the infrastructure cannot respond quickly and effectively to changing business requirements; that means the customer experience is less than ideal, and business opportunities are lost. Furthermore, still more costs accrue if resource usage can’t be tracked across the virtual infrastructure and the organization, as a result, cannot perform chargeback.

Fortunately, many IBM Tivoli offerings help to capitalize on the promise of virtualisation by automating these and related functions. When virtual server provisioning is industrialized, for instance, virtual servers can be created and deployed far more quickly. Workloads, similarly, can automatically be allocated across the virtualised environment in a manner that corresponds to dynamic business demands; when more demand occurs, the infrastructure automatically ensures sufficient resources are available to meet that demand. And thanks to usage information IBM Tivoli solutions can automatically generate, in whatever logical categories are needed, organizations can charge back for resource consumption.

In every case, through intelligent automation the total business value of the data center climbs, and operational costs fall—exactly what is required in today’s difficult business climate.

Asset management: Track every asset, across its full lifecycle

Asset management represents a third major opportunity for organizations to reduce costs. As business assets both on and off the IP infrastructure have become more complex and more diverse in nature, it has become harder and harder to track them and ensure they are properly maintained and configured.

What organizations require today is a centralized platform of asset management that not only spans the entire asset infrastructure, but also the entire lifecycle of those assets—end to end, and at every stage.

IBM delivers exactly that via its best-in-class asset management offerings. The IBM Maximo family of asset management tools can manage all asset classes: productions, facilities, transportation and IT. All can be tracked using a single, modern platform, in order to reduce software costs and complexity, mitigate risks and verify each asset generates as much business value as possible.

How do these benefits manifest? When assets last longer, capital expenditures for new assets to replace them can be deferred. Labor costs required to maintain assets will naturally fall. Inventory levels and associated carrying costs will decline. Regulation compliance becomes easier to achieve, thanks to improved visibility of asset status and performance—which also leads to enhanced workforce safety.

In short, the business benefits of the IBM asset management solution are as diverse as the assets they govern.

Tune in to a forthcoming Tivoli Service Management Jam on cost reduction

Anyone interested in more information on the subject of how IBM Tivoli offerings can be leveraged to reduce costs should consider attending a forthcoming Tivoli Service Management webcast to be given by Al Zollar, General Manager of IBM Tivoli.

This webcast—one of a series of IBM Service Management “Jams”—will, like all Jams, offer not merely a presentation, but also a collaborative discussion. Zollar’s talk will be followed by half an hour of audience interaction, in which attendees can ask questions and get answers from one of the best-known experts in service management today.

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