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Consider your IT processes when selecting new mgmt. tools

Aug 18, 20043 mins
Data Center

* The challenges of selecting mgmt. tools that fit in with your IT processes

As many of you already know, developing IT best-practice processes are important in helping to ensure IT’s efficiency and effectiveness. If you already have good processes in place, you’re lucky. If you don’t, you’ve got a challenge ahead of you that is worth the effort in the long run.

The silo structure of most IT organizations creates challenges to setting up effective processes that cross these borders. But crossing these borders is essential to setting up effective processes that support the business, and that requires collaboration from IT staffs across the various silos.

This is one thing to keep in mind as you select new management tools. Do they fit in with your IT processes? If they do and your IT processes are already effective, then acquiring those tools makes sense. If they don’t and you don’t have adequate IT processes in place, then you’ll have to determine whether the tools will eventually fit in with the IT processes that you will be setting up in the future.

But if the tools don’t fit in with your IT processes, and your processes are already effective, it could be worth looking for alternative tools unless you want to make the necessary changes to your processes.

When considering new point products to manage your infrastructure, these process considerations must be looked at closely. This is particularly true of point products because they are typically designed to solve specific problems rather than fitting in as a part of a logical process flow. But that isn’t to say that such products can’t fit into IT processes – they can. You just need to make sure that the selected products are complementary to, or fulfill a necessary part of the overall processes.

With regards to product suites, the same is true here too. It may be natural to assume that product suites already have built-in processes. Although some product suites have been integrated and facilitate IT processes, others may not. Some product suites may be a set of integrated products, but the IT processes that are required have not been considered in the development of the product suite. Don’t assume that because it is a product suite it facilitates IT processes.

The other issue that could arise is that the IT processes of the product suite may not be a good fit with your own and that you would have to change those. The deciding factor is whether the product suite processes are squarely in line with the direction that your IT organization wants to adopt. A major change in processes is a much more difficult pill to swallow if you’ve already streamlined them.

Be aware that some vendors develop their products mainly for feature, function or technology, rather than also considering the important human element of processes, and facilitating those. So as you approach the procurement of more management tools, your checklist should also consider its effect, if any, on your IT processes. Will it have a positive effect or a negative one? Is the effect on process a welcome change or not? Does your organization need to make changes to or establish better IT processes? How does this product affect the processes for your peers in other areas of IT that may be contiguous to yours?

Even though you may be focused on finding a tool to solve your problem, be aware that it may cause issues for your peers or it may even help your peers.

In any case, taking a broader view when selecting management tools is a good thing. And the importance of process is worth considering.