IBM Tivoli Accelerates and Automates the Employee Service Lifecycle

Service management strategies meet IT implementations

Tivoli Beat. A weekly IBM service management perspective.

Organizations today know that by improving service management, they will generally get a superior business outcome. And IT solutions and business processes designed to support service management goals are certainly a forward step in that direction.

For this reason, IBM's Integrated Service Management vision, as expressed in IBM Tivoli solutions, is very well positioned for today's business climate.

Among other reasons, this is because the features and functions Tivoli solutions provide help fulfill stages of the service lifecycle as described in the world's best-known service management best practices framework, ITIL (the Information Technology Infrastructure Library).

TSRM's ITIL-based service catalog accelerates and automates many common tasks

"IBM Tivoli Service Request Manager (TSRM) efficiently and automatically addresses common service management tasks associated with the complete employee lifecycle, from on-boarding to off-boarding, and delivers a better business outcome by almost any metric you choose."

You don't have to look far to find powerful examples. One such example, for instance, is IBM Tivoli Service Request Manager (TSRM). This solution gives organizations all the power of a traditional trouble-ticket reporting system; as users experience technical problems, they can report them through TSRM to the IT staff, where they will be addressed in an efficient and business-prioritized fashion.

TSRM, however, goes a step beyond this paradigm by also including a service catalog—a different spin on the idea of end-user trouble tickets. In cases where users aren't confronted by a problem beyond their skills, and already know which services they need, they can simply select those services directly from TSRM's catalog—like ordering a la carte in a restaurant.

This approach bypasses the delays associated with a traditional trouble ticket (i.e., the need for IT interpretation and diagnosis) by putting users themselves in charge of simple and common processes.

Furthermore, the TSRM catalog has also been designed specifically to support ITIL service lifecycle management concepts and best practices.

It accomplishes this via workflows that integrate with other solutions and operational domains—driving down operational costs, yet driving up organizational efficiency and creating a ripple effect of optimization that can enhance areas as widely separated as human resources and IT security.

Optimize the complete employee lifecycle, from on-boarding to off-boarding

To see how the TSRM service catalog can drive a better business outcome in this way, consider the employee lifecycle, beginning when employees enter an organization (on-boarding) and ending when they leave it (off-boarding).

To get the best business outcome from that lifecycle, IT service management solutions and processes should be designed to address the whole lifecycle—from end to end, cohesively.

This is true even though the lifecycle may span different operational domains or technical silos within the organization. The goal should be to render the best possible service throughout—essentially abstracting the service away from the operational or technical complexities, and improving it as an entity unto itself.

And one way that TSRM helps organizations achieve that goal is via catalog services that standardize and accelerate different phases of the employee lifecycle.

Imagine that an employee (we'll call her Jane) joins the organization. At this phase, Jane's manager has numerous tasks to coordinate and execute—for instance, getting Jane an employee ID and badge (a human resources function), entering her into appropriate databases (an IT function involving one group), assigning her appropriate access rights (an IT function likely involving a different group), ensuring she has a company e-mail account and a laptop computer, and many others.

Via TSRM, these tasks are standardized and executed in a straightforward manner. This is because TSRM includes not just features per se, but actual workflows—logical business processes, based on ITIL best practices, that are designed to support service management goals and strategies.

TSRM also works to fulfill those workflows. As Jane's manager requests services for Jane (such as the list above) from the catalog, TSRM automatically coordinates all the services, based on the dependencies prescribed, and makes them available on the day the Jane joins the organization.

As a result, Jane gets what she needs in an exceptionally fast, consistent, and business-optimized fashion. From her standpoint, the outcome is an excellent user experience; from the organization's standpoint, the outcome is an employee with high morale and empowered to be productive and contribute to the organization's goals from day one.

TSRM is also designed to support as little or as much granularity as the organization may require—essentially translating into easy customization for different cases. For instance, if Jane were a graphic designer, she may need a particular type of laptop equipped with a particular software stack; she would probably also need less comprehensive access privileges than if she were a database developer.

TSRM fulfills such disparate cases easily, thanks to its extensive, seamless integration with other solutions. Specifically, TSRM can determine from human resources solutions which kind of employee Jane is, then integrate with IT solutions to assign her a suitable laptop and suitable access rights.

In this second area, for example, it can integrate with IBM Tivoli Identity Manager (TIM)—basically, by explaining to TIM that Jane needs application privileges appropriate for her job duties as a graphic designer, not database developer. And all of this happens automatically once initiated by Jane's manager.

Much the same process happens in reverse once Jane leaves the organization. In such a case, the security ramifications are clear enough: Jane's access rights should be eliminated quickly, comprehensively, and across all the relevant systems in which she has created a digital presence during her tenure as an employee.

Here, too, TSRM integrates with TIM to accomplish exactly that. Once the employee-removal workflows have been initiated, they will be carried out swiftly and completely, eliminating any possibility that Jane could continue to use applications or data to which she should no longer have any access.

In many cases, TSRM will represent a truly dramatic step forward for service management

The argument for TSRM only gets stronger when you consider the reality that, at most organizations, there are no such ITIL-driven processes. In fact, in many cases, there is no such automation. Instead, processes of this type are handled manually, at every phase of the service lifecycle.

This manual implementation unfortunately opens the door to the possibility of inadvertent errors, which could translate into consequences ranging from diminished productivity to security breaches. Also problematic in a gloomy economic environment where every dollar counts: the fact that a manual implementation drives up operational costs and darkens the business forecast.

Every minute that IT or HR employees must spend pursuing routine tasks of this type is a minute they can't dedicate to strategic innovation or development designed to serve more complex and challenging goals of a higher business priority.

TSRM is an elegant solution to that problem. By efficiently and automatically addressing common service management tasks associated with the complete employee lifecycle, from on-boarding to off-boarding, TSRM delivers a better business outcome by almost any metric you choose.

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