IBM helps customers with IT processes

* IBM’s IT Service Management

Last week, IBM announced the rollout of IT Service Management, which offers customers assistance with codifying, developing and improving IT processes. There are many components to the announcement, and it leverages IBM’s Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere and DB2 technologies.

IT Service Management complements IBM’s Component Business Model, which helps companies with their business transformation roadmaps. IBM also previously announced its Process Reference Model for IT, a high-level view of what IT needs to do to support a company’s move to IBM’s On Demand strategy. Last week’s announcement provides the implementation-level process assistance that customers have needed.

In the announcement was IBM Tivoli Unified Process, a modeling tool to help ITers map their IT processes visually. This mapping helps in documenting current IT processes, changing those processes and fine-tuning them. IBM Tivoli Unified Process is augmented by “tool mentors” that guide ITers through specific process integration actions prescribed by ITIL. The tool is available at: http://www.ibm.com/software/tivoli/itservices

Although many organizations have been gravitating to ITIL, one of its weaknesses is its lack of prescriptive details on how to implement its ideas. IBM is looking to further fill that gap with its IBM Tivoli Process Managers, which are pre-packaged process models that customers can use as a starting point to set up their IT processes. IBM will initially deliver three process managers later this year, for change and release management, availability management, and information lifecycle management. A long list of additional process managers is planned.

IBM also announced its Change and Configuration Management Data Base (CCMDB), a standards-based, federated database that pulls configuration data from multiple sources to provide a unified view. The CCMDB supports the process theme of this announcement by pulling together a cohesive view of configuration data that can be shared across the IT process, and across IT silos. To gather configuration data, IBM has partnered with Cendura, Collation, nLayers and Relicore. The CCMDB will be out later this year.

IBM enhanced 14 products to support IBM’s IT Service Management, products that range from Tivoli Provisioning Manager to WebSphere Studio Application Monitor. As an example, Tivoli Configuration Manager and Tivoli Provisioning Manager were enhanced to automatically find and download security patches, to deploy them to the appropriate machines, and to verify compliance. The new versions of these enhanced products are now available.

In addition, IBM’s Open Process Automation Library, which has been IBM’s ecosystem for third parties and IBM to make available workflows for the IBM Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator product, is being extended to IT Service Management. Partners for the extension to IT Service Management include Cisco, Citrix, Peregrine and Siebel Systems.

Finally, IBM announced a no-cost, limited time offer: a customized assessment of IT challenges and areas where processes need to be focused to align a company’s technology capabilities.

IBM’s approach to prescriptive assistance for IT process development is unique, and something that its customers have been asking for. IBM is delivering technology that facilitates the development and honing of IT processes - not just another product or service. It looks more like a management philosophy.

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