Happy Christmas!

In the immortal words of Noddy Holder, it’s Christmaaaaaaaas!!  Happy Christmas to all our fabulous readers from everyone here at the ITSM Review. We hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a brilliant 2016.

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For shift workers and all our readers who have to work over the Christmas break, we’ve put together a little care package to keep you going. Some of it’s work, some of it’s fun and we’ve even thrown some funny cat videos into the mix; if you’re working over the holidays, consider this a Christmas hug from us here at Enterprise Opinion towers:

Work Content

Here is the link to some of our most popular articles this year, from DevOps to SIAM and from Shadow IT to Knowledge Management, we’ve got you covered. You can also check out our sister sites, the ITAM Review and Tools Adviser. For everything itSMF related, check out the itSMF UK and itSMF Ireland websites (hi @BarclayRae and @itSMF_ie) and for ITIL towers check out the AXELOS website here.

The British and Irish computing societies are always full of interesting content as is the Back2ITSM group on Facebook and a big hello to some of there other ITSM sites out there in particular All Things ITSM and Service Desk 360. For a geektastic look at anything techie related, check out vulture central at The Register and if you fancy super charging your ITSM qualifications check out our friends at Pink Elephant.

 

Fun Stuff

Because I’ve worked in IT forever, I’ve done my fair share of Christmas on calls or working over the holidays so here are some of my favourite sites:

 

Remember guys it’s Christmas so if all else fails, Quality Street for breakfast (but the green triangles are mine OK?) stick The Pogues, Band Aid and Slade on the radio and check out this video (nothing to do with Christmas but was the best thing on the internet this year): 

 

Happy Christmas!!

 

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DevOps and ITIL: Why Can't We Be Friends?

6347903993_4d1370e4d8_zThe IT world we know and love exists today thanks to the bedrock of the IT community: ITIL, the IT Infrastructure Library. Since ITIL’s inception 26 years ago, the world has changed and an app exists for everything – shopping, messaging, ride sharing, or just staying connected via social media. We’re in the midst of a new technological age. This evolution has been guided by agile methodology and now, with the rise of cloud computing, many teams are embracing DevOps.

The consumerization of technology is changing expectations of IT. And IT has pressures to live up to these expectations. Because the pace of innovation is largely driven by DevOps and agile methodologies, IT must adapt. To do this, ITIL must support an agile environment. By working together, these practices reinvent how IT teams deliver reliable services to the business, faster.

DevOps and ITIL working together

Developers want an agile process – and it’s best for the organization that they have one. This means having a frictionless release process, and continuously improving software for customers.

ITIL’s framework is hyper-focused on reliable service delivery and support, with its feedback loop based on incident management. ITIL can combine with agile to get the best of both worlds: better software and a reliable, stable environment.

How agile saves the day

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Real world example – the Service Desk received reports of a slow loading login page. The underlying issue is confirmed by a bad Apdex score (a user satisfaction score reported by New Relic). The problem might be a runaway query so the development team implements the bug fix into their next sprint, which happen on a weekly basis. From incident to resolution, turnaround time is two weeks.

Using ITIL to support Agile and DevOps

Agile incident management

Maximize your team’s bandwidth with sprint planning. Reserve 30-40% of your team’s capacity for operational tasks, where priority 1 and 2 incidents are resolved immediately, and lower priority incidents are resolved within bandwidth. This means that incident management doesn’t affect sprint goals.

Agile problem management

Trim down on time-wasting administrative work. Manage problems as user stories in a product backlog. Don’t separate “incidents” and “problems” – everything should be cohesive. If a problem occurs more often, it should have higher priority in the backlog.

In ITIL orgs, there’s an assumption you’ll need multiple instances of an incident before starting problem analysis.

Instead of waiting for incidents to pile up, detect and solve problems faster with automated monitoring. Link monitoring tools to your incident management system to identify the cause of problems earlier and get it restored faster.

Agile change management

When it comes to change and releases, many IT orgs drown in bureaucracy related to heavy processes. That can change.

In a DevOps environment, releases are frequent. ITIL framework combined with DevOps means development, operations, and support are always collaborating. It means change requests link from incidents and problems. Issues related to changes are added to a developer’s backlog and allocated to their sprint.

In the end, there’s no budding conflict when it comes to these methodologies. It’s all about making processes leaner, making data visible and enabling faster resolutions. With the right practices, the ITIL framework supports the agility of DevOps.

Author bio:

Sid Suri is the Vice President of Marketing for JIRA Service Desk. He’s worked in various technology roles over the last fifteen years at Salesforce.com, Oracle (CRM), InQuira (acquired by Oracle) and TIBCO Software. An expert in the intersection between IT Support and DevOps, Sid helped create the detailed ebook, “How to Enhance IT Support with DevOps”.

 

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Miradore for ITAM and ITSM

This independent review is part of our ITAM vs. ITSM Integration group test.

Also participating:

To read the summary, strengths and weaknesses, and criteria please visit this page.

Commercial Summary

Vendor Miradore
Product Miradore
Version reviewed V4.1 (released June 2015)
Year Founded 2006
Customers About 40 service provider customers, servicing about 500 end customers and about 450,000 devices
Pricing Structure Priced by managed device per month

Miradore Desktop ManagementMiradore-Logo300dpi_RGB

A desktop management solution providing ITAM and Configuration Management capabilities and opportunities for automating routine ITSM tasks.

 Miradore was formed in 2006 when three IT specialists working at the Finnish pulp, paper and timber manufacturer, UPM, couldn’t find a suitable solution in the market for their IT infrastructure management requirements. Miradore now has customers in 70+ countries and over 450,000 devices under management.

Miradore is a Desktop Management solution for Windows, OSX and Linux providing ITAM and Configuration Management capabilities and opportunities for automating routine tasks in ITSM lifecycles.

A key route to market is Managed Service Providers who harness Miradore for monitoring and managing client environments. MSP business partners include global integrators such as Fujitsu to local specialists such as Tieto.

A key differentiator for Miradore is providing a light, versatile and automated desktop management solution to partners and end user organizations that find larger frameworks such as Microsoft Configuration Manager too expensive and labour intensive to implement.

Miradore provides partners an easy to use console for visibility and management of client environments via a low cost subscription.  Managed Service Providers can easily see what devices they are supporting and the status of each device to facilitate efficient support.

Miradore also offer a SaaS based Mobile Device Management called ‘Miradore Online’ for the management of iOS, Android and Windows Phones. This provides asset location, technical specification, security settings and installed applications for connected devices. We trialled the system using Apple’s Device Enrolment program and found it remarkably easy to use.

Miradore’s product naming conventions are not obvious and those browsing their website could be forgiven for getting completely confused which product is which. Perhaps calling the products Miradore Desktop Management and Miradore MDM would be more straightforward.

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Self-Healing ITAM

Miradore offers comprehensive device monitoring and management features including:

  • Asset discovery and SNMP scanning for other network devices such as printers, switches and routers
  • Hardware and software inventory for Windows, Linux, OS X
  • Connection to Miradore’s ‘Miradore Online’ MDM solution for management of iOS, Windows Phone and Android devices
  • Power Management and centralized management of endpoint back up
  • Device monitoring, alerting and reporting
  • Automated tasks based on rules e.g. Create an incident in the service desk based on an alert
  • Remote control, operating system and software installation, patch management
  • Asset update service
  • Quality index reporting
  • Software license management including normalized inventory, software usage tracking and a software request catalogue

We particularly liked the asset update service, allowing Miradore customers to confirm the continued ownership of assets and keep their asset and ownership details fresh. The service checks-in with end user customers to ask, “Do you still own these devices?” then provides a workflow for administrators to eyeball and verify any changes.

We also found the quality index reporting a powerful reminder of key metrics and a refreshing change to the usual reporting dashboards found in IT management tools.

Quality index reporting allows Miradore customers to set thresholds for key ITAM or Configuration Management performance metrics as asset visibility or anti-virus coverage. This reporting, presumably driven from Miradore’s SLA driven MSP partners, is great practical use of asset data to improve ITAM quality over time rather than generic dashboard.

Automation and Empowering Self-Service

Miradore_screen 2From an IT Service Management perspective, Miradore is a great complement to a broader service desk solution and provides great asset data to empower service management processes.

Miradore’s close device monitoring and management capabilities allow alerting on the service desk to enable proactive problem management by generating tickets based on device events, or highlighting mismatching configurations of devices, or simply identifying changes.

Similarly, Miradore’s self-service software request catalogue allows customers to select software, seek management software, and for the software to be deployed to the end user’s device – without the need for service desk agent intervention.

Finally, Miradore’s remote control facility will be a useful utility for the service desk. Features include screen sharing, controlling mouse and keyboard, file transfer and drawing tools.

In summary, Miradore is a good all round solution for desktop management and configuration management to support the service desk, especially for those organizations looking for a simpler and easier to use solution to Microsoft Configuration Manager.

Vendor information – in their own words

“Miradore

Miradore was born when three IT specialists working for a global paper giant UPM needed a better way to manage their own IT infrastructure. Since none of the existing configuration management solutions did not address the challenges they faced in a company with 20,000 workstations in over 30 countries, they decided to create their own. The pilot project and full-scale roll out was a success, and so in 2006 they left UPM to found Miradore Ltd. And naturally, UPM became Miradore’s first customer.

Today Miradore provides a mature and feature-rich product for managing different types of IT devices throughout their entire lifecycles. This is done by collecting accurate and up-to-date information from devices, automating device management activities, and integrating Miradore easily to overall ITSM toolset.

Miradore is committed to continuous improvement and thereby strives to further improve the product, focusing especially on utilization of cloud technologies, easiness of implementation and use, and mobility.”

Nexthink V6 Review

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I reviewed Nexthink earlier in the year, worthy winners of our ITAM Excellence awards for Innovation. Check out a summary of Nexthink below or read the full review on Tools Advisor here: http://www.toolsadvisor.net/tools/nexthink

Nexthink V6.0

Nexthink is a pioneer of end-user IT analytics. This review takes a look at the core capabilities of Nexthink, the route to market for the company, competitive strengths and weaknesses, and market reach.

 A new paradigm in IT Management Tools

Nexthink is perfectly placed to take advantage of the IT industry trend towards end-user centric computing, hybrid IT and analytics. Nexthink provide a sophisticated solution for visualizing IT infrastructure from an end-user perspective in real-time and over time.

This is a next-generation solution for forward thinking organizations focused on transforming the end-user experience, proactive identification of probable causes before end-users flag them as issues and generally increasing service quality.

Key Capabilities Table:

KEY BUSINESS CONCERN  KEY ISSUES  NEXTHINK – KEY CAPABILITIES
IT Operations Service quality gap between what IT believes its delivering and end-user experience View service quality from an end-user perspective
Majority of incidents are not reported by end-users Proactive Problem Management via end-user analytics
Demand to release applications at faster cadence Measure service quality before, during and after App deployments
IT Projects Stale or incomplete inventory Real-time analysis of IT Infrastructure
Lack of insight into project delivery Real-time visibility during App deployment and baseline service quality before and after
Inaccurate, out of date or failed CMDB implementations Continuous automated relationship and connectivity mapping in real-time
IT Security Poor visibility of IT infrastructure and connectivity CCTV-like experience recording real-time and historical
Zero-day exploits and rogue behavior Real-time monitoring and alerting of unauthorized or abnormal application and connectivity activity
BYOD and end-user centric behavior End-user centric relationship and connectivity mapping

Major Product Components – Nexthink V6

  • Collector – continuous real-time monitoring creates a ‘highlight reel’ of each endpoint and end-user.
  • Engine – continuous real-time analytics and alerting, discovery and dynamic pattern analysis to identify anomalies.
  • Finder – real-time visualization and ability to smart search, pivot on data / findings, look for patterns, and create custom investigations, alerts and actions.
  • Portal – near real-time visualization and historical trend analysis, sophisticated custom dashboards that include metrics, goals, thresholds, and status indicators.

Tools Advisor

 

Read the full review on Tools Advisor here.

Do you use NexthinkV6?

Please share your opinion for the benefit of others. Leave a customer review on Tools Advisor here.

 

 


 

Event Listing: Service Manager Dag – User Central

The ITSM Review are excited to be confirmed as official media partners for Service Manager Dag’s upcoming event – User Central being held on 17th March 2016 in The Netherlands.

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This is the 15th Event hosted by Service Manager Dag. Their events are renowned for bringing different cultures, notable personalities and wonderful experiences under one roof.

This year’s conference theme is User Central consisting of keynotes, presentations, case studies and workshops on subjects as diverse as user experience (UX / CX), customer journeys, design thinking, service management, agile business, DevOps practice stories, and much more. 

The event will be attended by a vast array of expert speakers including; David CannonCharles Betz, Jurgen Appelo, Peter Lijnse, Nelli Serifovski and Tine Peeters

Sponsoring the event are: Yacht, TOPdesk, PINK and fencerit and we are joined by IT-Infra, ag, informatie, BiSL, itSMF NL, Van Haren and KIVI as Media Partners.

This is a unique opportunity to hear from experts directly, sharing their knowledge and experiences and to connect with industry peers.

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NS Trefpunt Te Utrecht

 

WHAT: User Central 

WHERE: NS Trefpunt Te Utrecht. Laan van Puntenburg 100 3511 ER Utrecht – The Netherlands.

WHEN: 17th March 2016 (08:30 – 18:00)

WHO: Service Manager Dag

HOW TO BOOK: Click Here

 

We’re looking forward to attending and covering this event and hope to see you there!

 

itSMF Czech Republic 2016 Conference

It’s the Czech Republic baby! The itSMF Czech Republic will be holding their annual conference next month – the first big ITSM event for 2016 – how exciting is that? Here’s what we know so far:

About the conference

itSMF CZ

The aim of this year’s conference is to help senior management in both private companies and public organisations optimise performance using best practice, standards, methods and techniques within IT.

IT can be either simple or complicated, but which way is best? This issue and much more will be addressed at the itSMF Czech Republic conference. Together we will be discussing whether simplicity means a higher quality of service for less money or if the reverse is true.  Are there other routes that will lead us to the holy grail of  optimal quality and optimal cost?  At this year’s conference we will look at practical examples of where simplicity worked and the other side of the story where the quality needed required more sophisticated solutions.

This year’s conference is a joint event for the itSMF Czech Republic and the Czech Association of IT Managers The conference will be over two days and has four work streams:

  • Simple or Complex IT? (Where is the optimum in terms of usability, processes and information security?)
  • Software as a Service in the commercial sector
  • Enterprise Architecture (pros and cons of using this approach in Governance and Public Sector)
  • Software as a Service in the public sector

 

Event Details:

Date: 21st and 22nd January 2016

Name:  A Simple or Complex IT?

Organiser: itSMF Czech Republic in cooperation with the Czech Association of IT Managers

Venue: the Top Hotel Prague 

Are you planning on going to the conference in Prague next month? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Injecting some ITSM goodness into the itSMF UK

After an action packed few days at the itSMF UK conference last week, I was lucky enough to catch up with itSMF UK CEO Barclay Rae for a quick chat about life the universe and everything, or in our case, IT, SDI, AXELOS and the sparkly new ITIL practitioner qualification.

Barclay Rae, The Service Desk Inspector
Barclay Rae, The Service Desk Inspector

The Conference has been a big focus over recent weeks and has been generally seen as a huge success.For those of you that didn’t manage to go, some of the highlights were SIAM, winning elephants and cute penguin videos so it was all kinds of awesome! Barclay’s focus is now on taking that energy forward. So what has Barclay been up to over the last few months? Well firstly, his role is part time which means that as well as itSMF, he’s also had the day job and some exciting work with the Service Desk Institute to get on with.

The Service Desk Institute

Barclay is part of the author team for the SDI standards and was heavily involved in updating both Service Desk training and Service Desk Certification (SDC) standards. For those of you not familiar with the SDI, it’s a professional body for anyone working in the IT service and support industry. It sets the standards for the analyst and manager exams and runs a Service Desk certification program.During our chat Barclay talked about how the Service Desk in St Andrews University went from no stars to four stars with the support of the SDI. It’s a really inspiring journey and you can read more about it here.

ITIL Practitioner

Barclay was also an architect on the new ITIL Practitioner qualification. His take on it? “given the constraints we had, it’s pretty damn good”. The idea behind the practitioner course is that it provides real life guidance, which can be bundled with the ITIL foundation course so that delegates get 5 days of ITIL fun. As an ex trainer, I think combining the two courses will work brilliantly as delegates will be able to spend a decent amount of time learning and getting a really solid grounding in ITSM. It will also ease the transition from foundation to intermediate qualifications, again with my training hat on for a second, the first day of any intermediate course was always a shock to the system for attendees as there’s such a big jump from foundation level to intermediate level. Anything that eases that pressure has got to be a good thing.

itSMF UK

So what is Barclay’s mission for his 6 months as head of the itSMF UK? To boost performance and reinvigorate the business side of things so that it can provide more value to members. Barclay wants to make more services available so that being a member gives tangible benefits to both individuals and companies. Barclay wants to build positive, constructive partnerships with other key players in the industry as well as complementary relationships with other organisations such as the BCS, and also vendor organisations.

Key to driving more value for members is the new leadership council. The leadership council is made up of senior, C level people who are experienced practitioners in ITSM. Having the right people with the right skills in place will enable the itSMF UK to provide more accurate industry analysis, better and more detailed briefings as well as driving new products and services for ITSMF, e.g. for career frameworks and benchmarking tools.

In summary, Barclay’s aim is to make a positive contribution to the itSMF UK, so that it’s seen as a vibrant industry contributor. An announcement on the dates for the 2016 conference will be announced soon for those of you that can’t wait a whole year there’s a tooling event in early February. 2016 promises to be an exciting year for the itSMF UK, more events, better value for members and exciting new partnerships so let’s get this party started!

 

Virima Technologies for ITAM and ITSM

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I recently reviewed Ecosystem Manager from Virima Technologies for the ITAM vs. ITSM Integration group test.

Below is a summary, read the full review on Tools Advisor here.

Also Participating:

To read the summary, strengths and weaknesses, and criteria please visit this page.

In Summary

EcosystemManager from Virima is a new addition to the ITAM and ITSM IT management tools market. We were impressed with EcosystemManager; it offers both detailed inventory for datacenter environments plus key service management functions to be able to turn datacenter insight into action.

ITAM + ITSM in a Competitive Package

If your organization is considering migrating or consolidating datacenters or migrating to cloud infrastructure – EcosystemManager is definitely worth further investigation. It would also be extremely valuable for those looking for comprehensive datacenter visibility to support compliance goals.

EcosystemManager includes both ITAM and ITSM functions integrated into one product.

High-level product feature overview:

  • Asset Discovery – datacenter discovery, inventory, relationship mapping, asset register and CMDB
  • Infrastructure – configuration audit trail and management, change and release management, project management
  • Service Desk – Incident, problem, self-service and knowledge management, request

EcosystemManager Asset MapView (1)

 


Tools Advisor

 

Read the full review on Tools Advisor here.

Do you use EcosystemManager?

Please share your opinion for the benefit of others.

Leave a customer review on Tools Advisor here.

 


SIAM Sandwiches & Champers!

Following our SIAM event last month, the BCS has released a video of the highlights:

If you’d like to see the output of the workshop you can check out our slides here and for more info on SIAM, check out our latest blog post here

A huge thank you to our partners at the BCS for producing such a fab video – teamwork high five!