IBM Unifies and Optimizes IT Services

Getting an optimized IT Service & Asset Management solution up and running has never been easier

Tivoli Beat - A weekly IBM service management perspective. One of the major stories coming out of Pulse 2012 in Las Vegas this year revolves around the steps IBM is taking to integrate traditionally separate IT services in new ways, for even lower costs and risks and higher performance and business value, both on premise and in the cloud.

That has been made possible via IBM's new offering, IBM SmartCloud Control Desk . The new solution combines and links capabilities drawn from some of the star performers of the IBM Tivoli portfolio-IBM Service Request Manager, IBM Change and Configuration Management Database, IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT, and IBM Tivoli Service Manager Quick Install.

Furthermore, IBM is the only vendor that can provide this functionality across all asset types-traditional IT, virtualized IT, cloud, intelligent non-IT assets, and even physical enterprise assets... and deliver it in an on-premise, virtual machine or cloud solution.

Among the capabilities this unified solution can deliver are:

Brought together in SmartCloud Control Desk, this compelling range of capabilities can also help organizations leverage the new IBM cloud faster, more easily, and more comprehensively by minimizing the amount of work required to address technical problems, and also the odds that those technical problems will emerge in the first place. The cloud will very rapidly serve as a unified, cost-efficient, automated, and optimized platform of service delivery-the basic premise that has made cloud computing so attractive to organizations in the first place.

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Intuitive, job-specific insight into and control over services and service management

While IBM Tivoli solutions have historically been feature-and-function integrated, this new management interface serves to simplify and accelerate IT management tasks even more. It acts as a central point of command to better visualize, control, and automate the cloud for any task, and at any necessary level of detail.

To understand just how different IBM SmartCloud Control Desk is, begin with the fact that it provides a single intuitive interface to address all of those capabilities. While IBM Tivoli solutions have historically been feature-and-function integrated, this new management interface serves to simplify and accelerate IT management tasks even more. It acts as a central point of command to better visualize, control, and automate any task, and at any necessary level of detail.

The SmartCloud Control Desk interface is also adaptive. It can be configured to reflect different capabilities and key performance indicators that relate best to specific job duties. So, for instance, suppose that a line of business manager is interested in tracking how well a particular cloud service is hitting business targets. The adaptive interface can be configured to accomplish just that task. Ergo, instead of having to work through IT to understand and improve service performance, the line of business manager can do it directly-a faster, more agile approach to service management that also frees IT team members to attend to tasks of a higher priority.

Even more convenience in management stems from the fact that oversight of SmartCloud Control Desk is supported even for mobile devices such as the BlackBerry, devices based on Apple's iOS like the iPhone, and smartphones running Google's Android OS. The same line of business manager described above can thus oversee service performance anywhere, at any time, both inside and outside company walls.

Cross-domain integration: More business value and less manual oversight

Additional power stems from the fact that with one solution delivering all of those capabilities, they are now linked in new ways—that is, IT service management capabilities can seamlessly interact with each other, spanning technical domains to dial up holistic business value.

Need an example? Consider the direct link between IT asset management capabilities and change and configuration management capabilities. Because SmartCloud Control Desk now seamlessly bridges the gap between these two domains, IT asset management can directly access data, as needed, from the change and configuration management database. That means it becomes much simpler to understand not just how assets are configured, but also how different kinds of technical changes lead to different kinds of business outcomes—some of which are more desirable than others.

If, for instance, a particular asset, such as a disk array, turns out to have technical issues following a certain reconfiguration (a change management topic), it becomes much easier to see how those issues translate into diminished ROI over time (an IT asset management topic). Thus, organizations can now focus more directly on what matters—maximizing the business value of the solution—rather than manually trying to correlate two different information groups and then create a suitable and prioritized response to problems.

Another example of cross-domain power: Software licensing and compliance issues are far more easily addressed with SmartCloud Control Desk.

This is a major issue for clouds, because they are continually and automatically creating new servers that, in turn, include software owned by the organization. Because IT asset management can now be directly linked to the cloud's server provisioning, organizations can easily assess, at any given point, how many copies of any given software package are running in the cloud. That insight, in turn, makes it easy to assess whether the organization is in compliance with copyright laws, and clarifies future budgeting and purchasing related to software.

And for organizations that would like to leverage concepts from ITIL v3, which was specifically updated to address service management, SmartCloud Control Desk's cross-domain capabilities are directly on point there as well. Not only does the solution come with rapid ITIL implementation insight, but that insight can also be carried out far more simply and automatically, because the same solution also handles asset management, change and configuration management, and service desk management.

Implementing ITIL concepts that connect those domains is, as a result, dramatically easier and more effective, and organizations can almost immediately begin reaping the extensive range of associated business benefits.

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk helps you fully realize the compelling business potential of cloud computing

What kinds of benefits might those be? Among others, these stand out:

Any organization interested in deploying a private or hybrid cloud model will certainly find that an attractive list. And over time, as IBM continues to build on its cloud leadership, that list will be enhanced even further, via an even wider range of linked, unified, and automated IT features.

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