Monday, 22 June 2015

IT Service Continuity Management: Why Is Operational Safeguarding Valuable?

IT Service Continuity Management: Why Is Operational Safeguarding Valuable?

IT services are designed to support one or more business technology areas by supplying the skillsets, physical hardware, applications, or processes necessary to accomplish an operation. Continuity management consists of planning and administering the risks associated with technologies used by a company. Professionals can be brought in to evaluate organizational values, potential threats, vulnerabilities, and determine a plan of action for disaster scenarios.

IT Service Continuity Management (ITSM) can also be centered on the licensing, agreement, and maintenance of third party implemented solutions to supply continuous availability. The goal is to identify and monitor risks to prepare a company for any type of situation with possible impact on utilized services. ITSM is a preventive measure used to make certain the minimum service levels can always be provided. This is accomplished by taking measures to reduce associated disaster risks and making plans to accommodate recovery needs.
Managed Services: Abundant Protection Options for Evolving Enterprises
ITSM is a managed service designed to improve the reliability of systems or processes used by a business. Multiple concepts have made it easier for providers to supply a straightforward solution in regards to process or information protection. Delivered assistance includes:
  • Systems Administration
  • Managed Security
  • Storage Services
  • Monitoring Assistance
  • Networking
  • Data Replication
Supplied knowledge can be used to leverage various aspects of an infrastructure, technology, and business continuity. Providers make it simple to have a redundant environment in place for disaster preparedness. These secure environments are available whenever needed by an organization. Professionals have the capability to support critical systems or applications necessary to maintain business operations.

Administration support allows a company to have a consistently efficient server or application environment. Hardware or software can be configured quickly, deployed, and maintained as needed. Managed security assists with the protection of vital information from any type of internal or external threat. Managed services include firewall management, intrusion detection, potential weakness identification, and continuous monitoring. Companies use measures such as offsite copies to make sure information is available regardless of the disaster scenario. Off-site providers can not only store the data, but also manage the hardware and configurations needed to keep a business operating when a problem occurs.

Monitoring identifies potential or existing problems involving a specific system, database, or process. Network assistance entails the monitoring of traffic or connectivity to create solutions for improved connectivity, reduced costs, or better performance. Data replication services help a company ensure critical data can be recovered in real-time to prevent the halting of important applications, loss of information, or integrity issues.

IT service continuity management is a diverse area where the offered assistance depends on precise organizational needs. An abundant amount of help is supplied to increase the dependability of vital operational components. ITSM is used to align support needs with solutions for risk minimization. Organizations gain a combination of proactive and reactive procedures geared toward preparing for unforeseeable complications. While these measures can seem like a costly investment, it is often necessary for companies with vital systems or information that cannot be compromised under any circumstances.

Author: Delina R. Cunningham
Source: Link

How IT Departments Make Money?

How IT Departments Make Money?

One of the biggest challenges that the person with the CIO job has is that the department that they are responsible for is more often than not viewed as being a cost centre. What this means is that the IT department spends and spends and spends and never seems to actually bring in any money.  Now I know that we all know all about the importance of information technology; however, to the rest of the company IT sure can seem like a big black hole. However, things are changing and some CIOs are discovering ways that the IT department can actually generate money for the company.

How Waste Management Sells Its Services

Over at Waste Management, they haul trash to the dump. They haul a great deal of trash. Last year the company earned US$13.5B hauling trash. However, even when you are making that much money, you still would like to be able to make more. That's why Waste Management's CIO decided that it was time for the company to launch an ecommerce site.

The purpose of the Waste Management ecommerce site is to allow their residential and business customers to purchase additional services from the company. These services can include such things as renting dumpsters as well as getting quotes for both trash pickup and recycling services that are offered by the company.

What makes the Waste Management ecommerce site unique is that it has been designed and is being run by the IT department. What this means is that the IT staff that have been assigned to run the ecommerce site now have sales quotas assigned to them that they have to fill. In order to accomplish this, the IT department plans on adding new products to this site every two months!

From Trash Man To Logistics Consultant

The ecommerce website is only the first step in Waste Management's plans to transform their IT department into a profit canter. They plan on putting the IT department in the centre of additional customer-facing revenue-generating projects.

Waste Management's IT department is planning on putting mobile devices on their fleet of trash trucks. This will allow them to measure such things as load weights, the route that each truck travels, along with how much time is spent at customer sites and at landfills. This will produce a great deal of data that can be combined with the customer related data that the company already collects.
Once the IT department has all of this data, they plan on transforming the company from just being a trash hauler to now being a logistics consultant to their customers. With the data that they've collected, they believe that they can start to make recommendations to their customers regarding how they can change their trash habits so that they can save money and recycle more.

What All Of This Means For You

IT departments exist to serve the rest of the company. That's why in the past, the IT department was treated like a cost centre and nobody really worried about where the money was going. As things got tighter, IT budgets got squeezed and now IT departments are being expected to generate revenue just like every other department in the company.

Over at Waste Management, they've gotten very creative with their IT department. They've created an ecommerce site that the IT department is now in charge of in order to sell more of the company's services. They are also trying to transform the company from being a simple waste hauler to now being a logistics provider for firms.

Revenue opportunities exist for every IT department. As the person in the CIO position, you need to learn to keep your eyes open in order to spot where the revenue opportunities for your IT department lie. Get good at finding out how your IT department can generate money and soon enough your IT department will be making more than it spends!

Author: Dr. Jim Anderson
Source: Link

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Business Relationship Management

Business Relationship Management

Whether you're a business owners with a brick and mortar business, online business, MLM or a home based business, building a good business relationship with your clients or customers is extremely important. It will bring more financial success and encourage an honest service.
Administrative assistant: When looking about building and maintaining a good business relationship with your customers, there are 6 areas which should be looked at. The first one is empathizing with customers. When you first meet with your client, they usually have a problem. Sometimes big and sometime small, you have to be sensitive to their issue at hand.
Second is remembering the little things about your conversation with your customers. When there is meeting, they will share some information about themselves which will indicate they like and what they don't like, make a note. Sometime they will even share something which they like to do during their personal time. You can also make a note and on your way back from the meeting, you can start thinking about what you could do or send them that would be related. Anything which will be related will help build that relationship.
When you are committing anything in the meeting, you have to do without fail. It should be timely and the deliver should be kept in promise. This will go a long way towards building a long lasting relationship. When you fail to deliver, that client is looking for another provider the minute you missed that deadline.
During your meeting with your client, it is very important that expectations are very clear. It is most important that your client make his expectations clear. You have to be very loyal to them. Don't play games and be upfront. This will also go a long way in building your relationship with your customers.
By making some mistake, admit to it immediately and apologize sincerely. Your customer will appreciate your honesty and will not hold it against you.
Business relationship management is not easy but when done correctly, it pays dividend like no others. Take your time and make sure you are taking the steps to building a good lasting relationship.
Author: Peachtree
Source: Link

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

What is Knowledge Management?

What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge Management focuses on the organization-specific body of knowledge and skills that result from the organizational learning processes and is concerned with both flow of knowledge and the making of profits.  ‘Knowledge Flow' represents the ways in which knowledge is transferred from people to people, or from people to a knowledge database. Knowledge Management is intended to capture an organization's collective expertise and distribute it to "wherever it can achieve the biggest payoff".

Knowledge Management is about storing and sharing the accumulated collective understanding and expertise within an organization regarding its processes, techniques and operations.  Because it treats knowledge as a key resource Knowledge Management is a key component of intellectual capital, which allows HR practitioners to influence the area of people management.

One of the major requirements for Knowledge Management is to integrate the link between people management practices and organizational performance in professionally-run organizations.  The organization has to monitor how HR contributes to the creation of tangible value in the form of knowledge-based outputs.  For instance, in professional service organizations, the knowledge held by their staff is the key to the development of intellectual capital.  Such organizations "sell their people because of the value they add to their clients".

Though the concept of Knowledge Management is of recent origin, interest in it has grown rapidly with the development of information technology (IT).  Accordingly, a Knowledge Management system will require carefully prepared, structured management information systems (MIS) in which information is recorded, stored and made available to those who need it.

The essence of Knowledge Management then, is the need to have designated ‘knowledge developers' to design the computer software to control the knowledge database, and the ‘learning options' that will guide users in finding, at any given time, information that will serve their personal development and  work needs.

A sophisticated Knowledge Management system aims not just at information-sharing, but also in meshing the assumptions and beliefs of the learner.  Tacit Knowledge—expertise that is stored in people's heads—can be clarified and shared with others, eventually becoming ‘newly created knowledge', which is understood and accepted throughout the organization.

Depending upon a person's position within the organization, and his/her viewpoint, encouraging a team approach to sharing knowledge and skills may benefit all employees, or may even prove to be a strategy by which the senior management can extract individuals' key knowledge in order to take advantage of  the ‘knowledge creation pool' existing within the organization.  However, in an organization which is aggressively competitive and rewards individual achievement rather than teamwork, employees may be reluctant to share their ideas for a new service with their manager, simply to avoid the manager receiving a performance bonus for someone else's idea(s).
Therefore, an organizational climate of trust and mutual respect would seem to be essential in developing effective Knowledge Management Systems.

Finally, knowledge creation in an organization assumes that employees, especially at the middle and senior levels, actually know more than what they are perceived to know, even though they may not provide solutions to all of the organization's ills.  Hence, the imperative for organizations will be to create an organizational climate wherein tacit knowledge can replace existing/traditional systems of knowledge-sharing; such a climate necessitates systematic training interventions appearing alongside the routine scheme of things.  This will offer exciting new horizons for HR practitioners and managers at all levels, ultimately contributing to enhanced employee performance and organizational well-being and effectiveness.

Author: Team Careertunity
Source: Link

Friday, 11 July 2014

Benefits of Release Management

Benefits of Release Management

In today's scenario with globally distributed teams, there needs to be proper collaboration and automated processes in place for the successful launch of any software.  Manual build, test and deployment processes can be expensive, risky and error-prone. If you need to build software fast and reliably to meet changing business goals - without compromising on quality you need to have proper release management processes in place.          

Release management  is a software engineering process that is used by organization for the development, testing, deployment and support of software releases. This process combines the traditional project management with System Development Lifecycle (SDLC) and IT Service Management (ITSM) practices. A software project before it is finally released goes through a series of processes based on good release management i.e. build a detailed plan of software implementation process.

Release Management helps maintain and track different versions of your project deliverables, along with their planned and actual release schedule and the requirements, task, bugs, changes to be resolved in each different release. It helps improve the productivity and quality of product, unifies disparate and distributed teams and provides better visibility into each change and control over the flow of changes as they flow from build to release in the project lifecycle.
Automating release management provides you with traceability across the software development lifecycle. You can not only maintain software integrity, reduce costs and risk but also control changes, improve business availability and simplify software audits. You know exactly where your project is heading and can identify and correct the bottlenecks faster.

Automating release management reduces the manual effort and helps developers and IT operations plan and collaborate on the software release right from the beginning and not at the end of a development phase. This helps management continuously identify and quantify risks, even as the application changes and release reliably and predictably.

This is not only applicable to software development, but also to any type of project where some "milestones" need to be reached. The goal of release management is to deploy application changes into production without disrupting the business.Automating release management provides you with traceability across the software development lifecycle. You can not only maintain software integrity, reduce costs and risk but also control changes, improve business availability and simplify software audits.

Author: lisasmith
Source: Link

Thursday, 10 July 2014

5 Strategies for ITIL Change Management

5 Strategies for ITIL Change Management

Nowadays businesses are faced with everlasting opposition, varying conditions and enlarged customer requirements. To remain practicable and economical, their IT and services organizations must be in total affiliation with the tactical aims of the company.
In commerce, this means that IT has to be an associate in bringing value to the customer. One of the central objections of doing this is to guarantee, that changes are implemented without disturbing the delivery of that use to the customer. While no tactic can promise complete achievement, a uniform Change Management process with evidently definite duties and responsibilities, intensifies the chances that the business objectives and aims are effectively attained, and confines the possibility of upsetting and costly errors in implementation. Here is a compiled list of the top five tips to use when implementing an ITIL Change Management process.

1. Make Achievements Clear
Many companies fight back with ITIL in general and Change Management in particular. The most ordinary misapprehension is the supposition that implementing Change Management will mend issues that are associated to Release Management or Configuration Management.

2. Articulate The Benefits
A top-down executive method is the most effective way of bringing Change Management to your company. Inform the clients and the employees about the benefits in detail, which can be extremely useful in executing Change Management.
 3. Recognize The Business
Normally, higher-ranking executives put out goals and objectives for the coming year. Individual production units then settle on what activities they need to take, to collaborate with them. But how can IT find out what these objectives are? With necessary research finished, there is loads of work to do. Asking is one thing, but it has to be supported by dedication from those influenced.

4. Know Information Technology
Though IT has to be all over the commerce side to determine goals and line up to existing activities, the opposite doesn't essentially hold true. It isn't compulsory for industry executives to get caught up in all the information of how different processes are executed, much less how the original expertise infrastructure works.

5. Describe What A Change Is
The most central concept to pass on is that everything in the IT world can have a change aspect to it. This can be true if you are implementing Change Management in an undeveloped, silo-structured corporation.

Author: Eli Shemluck
Source: Link

Friday, 20 June 2014

Basics of Access Management for IT Web Infrastructure

Basics of Access Management for IT Web Infrastructure

Access management, or web access management, is a part of identity management that defines access to resources on the web, using techniques like authentication and authorization to determine a user's identity. It makes access to resources and information easier by providing a one-time sign in, and defining different roles to different users depending upon the extent of access they have been provided. In larger websites, a single sign-in after proper authentication and authorization allows users to access other parts and resources of the website as well. Usually, the SAML protocol is used to interchange secure information between the servers.                

In most cases, like in emails or social networking websites, it is done by asking for a username and password but in more secure environments, like internet banking, access tokens are provided to generate a one-time password. In a networking environment access management becomes imperative, given the security and privacy concerns. Social media websites make heavy use of access management, by determining what part of a user's profile has to be displayed to which section of the user's network.

How Is It Implemented?
Access management is a type of identity management, which in turn falls under the umbrella of IT security, and therefore it uses the fundamentals and concept of identity management. The sign-in is a two-step process, which includes:
  • Authentication: This proves the genuineness of the user's identity, and
  • Authorization: This determines the extent of access to be given to the user.
After this process is complete, further services may be implemented and provided by the IT staff, like:
  • Auditing: This enables a log creation that records the log in details and history of a user, the attempts of a user to gain access to the resources, and any successful/unsuccessful attempts to perform administrative functions.
  • Reporting: This gives a report of all the access-related activities to the IT staff and the user (optional).


How Does It Work?
Access management works in two ways, depending upon its architecture. The two types of architecture are:
  • Plug-in (also known as web agent)
  • Proxy
Plugins are different programs installed on a particular server and are implemented each time a request is made for a particular webpage. This type of architecture is customizable according to the exact needs of a web server. The major drawback of this type of architecture is that a different plugin is required for each type and version of a server for different platforms. Proxy servers, on the other hand, route all the requests to the back-end application server through a proxy server.

How Does It Help?
Many a time, it could be hassle for users to provide their login details and extensively authenticate their credentials on multiple websites during the course of a day. Access management software helps them store their credentials securely, thereby providing them with a cookie, which is a temporary token, for authorization to all the protected resources with a single sign-in. This not only saves a lot of time and effort for the users but also streamlines the entire process for the IT staff.

Is It Costly?
The purchase price may be significant, but after that the maintenance price is negligible as compared to the purchasing price. Many a time, high-end hardware is needed to effectively execute access management software, because the response time needs to be quick or else the website risks losing visitors the next time. Hidden costs include centralized administration and regulatory compliance. It needs to comply with major audit requirements in order to provide firewall-like security.

Author: Arun Mehta
Source: Link

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Business Transaction Management and Managing Risks

Business Transaction Management and Managing Risks

When a B2B firm handles orders worth millions, orders that run slowly or are lost have the potential in any economy to put pressure on a business' solvency. This is why business transaction management or more precisely monitoring (BTM) is such an important component of any business risk management plan.

What is business transaction monitoring? Business transaction monitoring, referred to by the Gartner Group in their APM Magic Quadrant as transaction profiling, is the dimension of application performance management (APM) that focuses on the two types of transactions common in business-IT transactions and business transactions. Business transactions are comprised of a series of IT transactions.

How do typical business transactions work? The transaction might be an order update. For that update to execute correctly, the update order must occur in a specific sequence across many Java,.NET, and database applications. As the update order interacts with each IT entity, the required function at that endpoint must execute correctly.

These transactions execute in micro-seconds, so detection of any breaks in proper transaction flow would be impossible to detect in the early stages without software that has the power to track these transactions. In order for business transaction monitoring to be truly useful, it must also give business the ability to evaluate business transaction performance (BTP).

BTP, then, tells you what happened through transactional monitoring, how the observed performance compared to expectations described in a Service Level Agreement (SLA), and why it happened through operational monitoring. It takes all three pieces of information to reduce business risk.
Business transaction performance monitoring provides early warning. The sooner a business has actionable information that detects a potential problem in its transaction flows, the more likely that business will be able to deal with the problem before it begins to impact their customer. When a problem arises in an IT transaction flow, the IT department has the diagnostics already in hand to address the issue promptly and efficiently.

The reason the diagnostics are already in hand is that business transaction monitoring is a proactive technology. Rather than waiting until problems blow up, The complex event processing (CEP) engine scans all transactions for patterns that could indicate that a "business abnormal" situation is developing. This saves a business considerable stealth waste, because many of the inefficient transactions that are overlooked without a business transaction performance monitor, become consistently addressable. Processes that are often considered impossible to address because they aren't visible can be resolved because BTM provides the necessary visibility.

Business transaction monitoring conserves resources. While it is commonly believed that a shortage of resources such as too little network bandwidth, a lack of memory, slow and/or undersized disk, or inadequate CPU are the cause of transaction problems, BTM reveals another story. Rather many transaction failure to execute correctly are due to a logic error or similar "normal accident". These errors can occur after a data-cleansing event for example. The transaction follows a pathway that dead-ends. Mission critical applications may fail.

The value of using business transaction monitoring (BTM) is that these dead-ends are caught before the help desk is flooded with angry customers asking, "Where is my order?" There is no question that an angry customer will expend more energy tarnishing a company's business reputation that a happy one will expend in trying to help a company get more business. With BTM in place, a business lowers its risk proactively.

A business that isn't transitioning immediately from one crisis to the next will find employees more productive and customer confidence enhanced. These two factors alone will help conserve company resources. Preventing crisis events will also conserve resources by minimizing overtime costs to repair a problem that has "blown up." Business transaction monitoring for performance of each customer and in-house transactions is a sound investment that will pay for itself in the savings generated each year.

The right BTM software provides both financial and manufacturing businesses with the information needed to remain competitive within the marketplace as well as compliant to Government regulations for these industries. Learn how business transaction performance software could help your business perform better in any economy. Nastel Technologies, Inc. has prepared a white paper on this subject, BTP: Proactive Prevention & Visibility, which will help you make an informed decision about the value of adding this software solution to your business IT applications.

Author: TomTess
Source:  Link

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

What is IT Infrastructure Services?

What is IT Infrastructure Services?

IT infrastructure is the most important factor that affects every aspect of an organization. Thus, it must be managed effectively. A reliable IT infrastructure serves as a cornerstone to the different solutions and technologies that enhance the efficiency of your organization. Large numbers of businesses are moving towards becoming knowledge-based organizations and this makes IT infrastructure management really important. Improvement of your vital business processes, interlinking of employees, customers and associates is only possible with better networking and internet performance. It you have a good and dependable Networked infrastructure; you will witness great end user experience. This in turn will bring about increased productivity and huge profits.


Albion Global provides system administration for applications, network equipment's, servers and other technologies. You can easily meet deadlines, adapt to the highest quality standards, accelerate time to market and get talent pool of resources with us. We ensure that our clients' existing IT infrastructure contributes towards optimum performance of their businesses.

Most importantly, we offer end-to-end IT infrastructure management solutions. Our wide-ranging services encompass IT infrastructure consultancy, design, implementation and remote infrastructure management (RIM). All-inclusive and industry-leading range of IT infrastructure management services at Albion Global assure 24/7 availability, remote manageability, high reliability and optimum scalability.

There are various benefits of these services like reduction in IT operational costs, IT costs becoming more predictable and direct linking of these costs to infrastructure. Our infrastructure management services minimize your total cost of ownership. This is implemented by lowering your facility costs, training and re-hiring costs, support infrastructure costs, personnel and administrative costs. We target at boosting your business productivity and efficiency. Indeed, these services are best to help you achieve quick returns on IT

Author: Albion Global
Source: Link

Monday, 31 March 2014

Managing Service Level Agreements

Managing Service Level Agreements

Nearly everyone is familiar with Service Level Agreement (SLA). This is a covenant between two parties for the delivery of service to a certain standard and at pre-defined and agreed upon periods. Historically, SLAs were executed between a company and a service provider. There is basically no end to what can be passed through an SLA contract.                        
This is easier said then done. Today's business processes are a complex amalgamation of compartmentalized departments that run distinct services. This is matched only (and in some cases exceeded) by technology that is as dynamic as the business processes it purports to serve.

What is worst as the technology for providing the service grows in complexity so, too, does the challenge of assessing service results and performance.

"With highly complex environments, senior managers may run the risk of wasting resources on tools that may not effectively satisfy the client needs. It takes time to define a service, set metrics for benchmarking its success, and monitor those metrics to ensure compliance," said Nair.

Challenge beyond understanding

The good news is that a new breed of business managers and decision makers are coming in force. They understand what IT is trying to sell and are thus able to agree in principle with IT as to what constitutes service levels and are able to agree on the end objectives.

Pacquet says the problem actually lies in the implementation. SLMs are still implemented from the perspective of making IT look good, at the expense of the end user.

"The end user pays the bills and yet IT continues to ignore the needs of the very people it is meant to serve, IT itself needs to become more service oriented," admonishes Pacquet.

Bottom-line impact

Experts like Arundell agree that SLM is key to improving bottom line performance and productivity of the company as a whole. Many organizations depend on innovation to gain competitive advantage, reduce costs, and develop new products and services. Crucial to delivering innovation is IT enablement and focus. SLM aligns and prioritizes IT needs to the business strategy and operations.

"Successful SLM needs time not only from the business and IT units but also from the end users to define expectations, measure and maintain performance. Hence SLM might be perceived as holding back progress instead of driving better services," says Nair.

If done correctly and successfully, Gartner calculates on average a 20-35 percent improvement from an operational perspective. "This can come in the form of improvements in quality of service, lowering costs and agility. However, the mileage will vary depending on the conditions of service delivery before SLM gets implemented," say Pacquet.

Benefits versus costs
A CIO once quipped that lowering the cost of ownership itself costs a fortune because it takes an investment cycle to drive these costs down. "However, if you don't drive these costs down, you end up in this vicious cycle where quality of service is constantly going down and costs constantly going up," he says..

Pacquet cites the example of the IT organization whose response to orders to cut cost is to implement standards for its infrastructure and the services it delivers. Then the business may want to implement a non-standard solution in order for a specific project.

When IT complies and uses the non-standard equipment costs go up and complexity go up. When the business complains about the rise in cost IT can then explain that by choosing a non-standard solution the business is responsible for the higher costs.

By having SLM in place, associated costs will be clearly defined for exceptions such as non-standard solution. This gives the business unit the ability to decide whether they want to go ahead and implement the non-standard solution and incur the higher costs, or stick with standards already in place.

Without SLM such a conversation does not exists and creates the wrong assumption within the business that the non-standard costs the same. An error that can cost the company more than it bargained for.

Essential steps to a successful SLM program

Pacquet lists five essentials for a successful SLM program as follows:

1. Define a service in the language that the user understands. This is the service. This is what it means. This is what is supported and what is not supported. This is how it will be reported, communicated, charged.

2. Understand the costs at a granular level, identifying all the different cost elements involved in the delivery of a service. This will give IT the ability to also execute improvement programs aimed at reducing further these costs.

3. Price the service delivery accordingly. There will be projects in the future where the business may not see immediately value for it. So price some of the services to allow for some buffer to pay for these yet-to-be-accepted services.

4. Implement differentiated charge backs to reflect the differentiated levels of service you have on offer. Avoid offering gold service at the price of bronze. Everyone will want to get gold service at the price of bronze. So be firm on the price but never sacrifice on the quality.

5. Have regular service reviews. Reviews are a communication and marketing mechanism for IT to show to business how it is improving and helping the business. Identify through this dialogue with the business on what else is needed by the business.

A feedback loop is thus created where both business and IT are able to help each other improve.

Author: Jose Allan Tan
Link: Source