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Effective service mapping implementation for your business

How to implement service mapping effectively for your business?

When it comes to IT infrastructure, it’s important to know what you have and how it works. Service mapping is a technique that helps you do just that.

Service mapping is about taking a holistic view of your IT infrastructure and identifying all of the components of your system. This includes not only physical devices like servers and routers but also applications and services that are being used to support business processes. It’s also important to understand which components perform which functions so that you can make informed decisions about how much redundancy is necessary for each function.

Service mapping ensures that all dependencies are documented, which makes it possible to identify and address problems before they have a negative impact on business processes. It is becoming increasingly important with the advent of cloud computing and microservices. Service mapping allows you to manage these distributed systems in a transparent manner, so that you can easily monitor them and respond quickly when problems arise.

What is service mapping?

Service mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of all the services available to customers, with each service described in detail. A service map is a graphical display of a service that illustrates the various components upon which successful delivery of that service relies. These components include:

Infrastructure

The physical environment upon which the services are deployed. This includes hardware, networks, and software.

Applications

The applications that are used to provide the service. These may be internal or external to the organization.

Dependent services

The services that are used by the application in order to perform its function. 

People

The people who use or provide the service; this includes both internal and external users as well as any third parties involved in providing support for the service. 

Settings

The settings required for successful operation of any aspects of infrastructure, applications, dependent services, and more.

It enables IT teams to optimize process workflows and operational costs by providing a clear view of the entire system and making it easy for everyone to see how their specific responsibilities fit into the larger system.

When you use service mapping, you’ll be able to quickly and easily identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your processes, as well as opportunities for improvement. This means that you can make changes as needed with little risk of disrupting your workflow or introducing new bugs into the system.

Read more: Why is a business service map critical for IT management?

How does service mapping work?

Service mapping uses top-down discovery to create a comprehensive view of the applications and services within an organization’s IT infrastructure. This includes identifying devices, services and relationships between them.

There are two methods for top-down discovery: pattern-based discovery and traffic-based discovery.

Pattern-based discovery

It uses a method called patterns to create attributes for each device and their relationship to other devices. Patterns are a series of operations that create attributes such as TCP/IP addresses or host names, which are then used to map out the relationships between devices.

Traffic-based discovery

It uses network traffic information to build a comprehensive database about application services and related devices. Traffic-based discovery will identify devices which failed to be discovered in the pattern-based discovery. 

Service mapping helps organizations keep track of services and their dependency on other Configuration Items (CI) within the organization. This mapping creates dependencies between devices and services, which helps to identify the impact a failed device has on the rest of the infrastructure services.

The process of service mapping involves collecting information about an organization’s infrastructure. This includes any CI that supports its mission-critical operations. It also includes any CI that is dependent on other CIs to perform their functions. The collected data is used to create a map that shows how these components interact with each other, as well as how they depend on each other for functionality.

How service mapping helps your business

Service mapping can help you gain a better understanding of the services that are available within your organization, who provides them, and how they fit together. The key features of service mapping include:

Visibility

Service mapping allows you to see how your services connect with one another and the outside world. Perhaps, more than anything else, service mapping exists to provide transparency, visibility, and clear understanding of your IT environment. It can help you identify opportunities for improvement and make sure that you’re able to keep track of your business’s services in a way that makes sense to everyone who needs it.

Accuracy

Accuracy is a core feature of service mapping. Service mapping functions in real time, automatically updating whenever any aspect of the infrastructure or its components change. With reliable, real-time data, decision makers can act secure in the knowledge that they are building on a firm foundation of accurate information.

Efficiency

Service mapping is a technology that can improve efficiency in IT departments. Instead of having IT specialists dedicate their valuable time towards constantly monitoring IT applications and components, and addressing any errors or vulnerabilities they might uncover, service mapping takes over for many of these responsibilities. Service mapping allows you to assign certain tasks to computers so that you can focus on other things.

Flexibility

Service mapping supports all types of infrastructure, including physical, virtual and cloud environments. It enables you to map your entire IT environment at scale, without requiring major changes to your existing tools or processes. Service mapping also allows you to customize your approach depending on your business needs. It can be used to assess the current state of services, identify gaps and opportunities, and plan for future enhancements.

Benefits of service mapping

Service mapping is a powerful tool for gathering, organizing, and analyzing information about a service. It can be used to improve how you work with your clients, as well as how you organize your business processes. The benefits of mapping IT services include:

Ensures quality incident, change, and management processes

Service mapping ensures quality incident, change, and management processes. By mapping out the steps involved in performing these actions, service mapping helps you determine the root cause of incidents, changes, and issues. It reveals the gaps in your processes and can help you identify areas where improvement is required.

Helps track outages and their impact

It’s important to know when something goes wrong because it helps you understand how your customers are impacted by those issues and what you can do to make them happy again. If you’re not tracking your service breakdowns, then you don’t have any way of knowing whether or not they’ve been resolved—and if they haven’t been resolved, then there’s no way for you to fix them. 

Service mapping helps you to identify the points of failure in your system, and the impact those failures have on your customers. This information can be used to help prevent future outages, or at least make sure they are resolved quickly once they do happen.

Improves resolution time of infrastructure issues

Service mapping improves resolution time of infrastructure issues by making it easier to identify the source of a problem or issue and isolate it from other services that may not be affected. This also makes it easier for you to keep track of the status of certain services; if a service is down, you can easily see its impact on other services in the map.

Services that are mapped out in a visual manner make it easier for IT staff to identify and resolve problems quickly because they can see exactly where the problem is occurring without having to read through pages and pages of log files or network configuration files.

Maps services with minimum input from service owners

Service mapping is designed to be as easy and efficient as possible, so that you can get the information you need without having to ask the same questions over and over again. This means that you can spend less time gathering data, and more time analyzing it. It helps you identify areas where you may need more support, or where improvements can be made.

Read more about the benefits of service mapping: 5 Key Business Benefits of IT Service Mapping

Building an effective service map for your business

Building an effective service map for your business can help you establish the standards and processes that will make your company successful. An effective service map is essential to understand the flow of your business processes, the value of each service you offer, and how to improve those processes.

Let us walk you through the steps for creating an effective service map for your business.

Step 1: Identify the stakeholders responsible for the service maps

The first step in creating an effective service map is to identify the key stakeholders and roles involved in delivering your services. This can be a complex exercise where different components are managed by different teams. It is unlikely that one person will have all the knowledge required to map the services. Therefore, bring together a cross functional team for this purpose, led by the service owner.

Step 2: Defining the mapping template

Defining the mapping template is the second step in building an effective service map for your business. This involves setting the ground rules for the mapping exercise including:

  • Systems to be used: The first thing you need to decide is whether or not you want to use an existing system or find/develop a new one. 
  • Map orientation: This can have a big impact on how easy it is to navigate through the map later on so think about this carefully before deciding on one approach over another.
  • Naming conventions: The template should include a standard naming convention so that all services are easily identifiable. 
  • Other standards that the team should abide by: This will include decisions like how maps will be created and maintained over time (i.e., who owns them?), how often they will be updated, and so on.

Step 3: The level of resolution to be captured by the service map

As you build your service map, it’s important to keep in mind the level of detail that will be captured by the map. This decision can be a difficult one, because too little detail and you don’t have enough information to support your service management practices, but too much detail might introduce unnecessary complexity in management and communication. It’s crucial to find the right balance between detail and simplicity.

Step 4: Selecting the services to be mapped is the next step

The fourth step in building an effective service map is selecting the services to be mapped. The service owner should determine which services have been prioritized for business needs and select those for mapping. If you are new to creating service maps, it may be helpful to start with a smaller group of services and then expand your map as you become more comfortable with creating them and mapping them against your business needs. Ideally all services should be mapped, but depending on the organization’s bandwidth for such activities, as a service owner, you may choose to concentrate on a few.

Step 5: Gathering data to create a service map

The next step in building an effective service map is to gather the data needed for it. There are a few options here. First, you can pull it from existing systems or databases. Alternatively, you can ask your customers to fill out surveys regarding their service experiences and then manually enter the information into a central location. Whatever method you choose, make sure that all of the information is available in one place before building your service map. Or use an automated tool like Virima IT Discovery that carries out discovery and provides dynamic visualization of service components automatically.

Step 6: Establishing service relationships

As a service map is built, it is important to establish the relationships between services. This can be done in two ways: automated discovery by software systems and discussion with stakeholders drawing from their experiences in the development and operation of the services. 

Automated discovery involves using software tools to identify services, services owners, and other elements within the enterprise. Automated discovery may be performed through testing with tools like Virima IT Discovery which can generate the relationship documentation with ease.

The second method involves taking inputs from stakeholders who have experience operating these systems and have knowledge about how they interact with others within your organization as well as external partners or customers they interact with through them. The goal of this discussion is to understand how each service impacts other services in terms of performance, reliability, security, availability and so forth.

Step 7: Maintaining the service maps

After you’ve worked hard to build an effective service map, you must make sure that it remains effective over time. The best way to do this is to maintain your map.

The first step in maintaining your service map is by keeping it under the custody of the service owner and communicating it to key stakeholders involved in the service lifecycle. You should also make sure that changes to your service map are tracked so that they continue to provide value to your organization’s practices. Maintaining your service map can be difficult if you don’t have a system for doing so. To keep track of various changes within your organization, you should develop a process for reviewing, recording and storing these updates.

The purpose of these reviews is to ensure that everything remains up-to-date, accurate, and relevant. If there are any changes needed, they will be identified during this process so they can be implemented immediately before they become problematic down the road.

Virima makes your service mapping journey easier

Service mapping can be a daunting task. If you’re trying to map your service dependencies and dependencies on applications, it can become difficult to visualize your infrastructure and application dependencies.

ViVID (Virima Visual Impact Display) Service Mapping provides application and service dependency mapping with dynamic visual depictions of your IT infrastructure, application dependencies, business services, and ITSM process relationships.

Find out more about ViVID: Introducing ViVID Service Maps

When you’re managing your IT system, it’s important to know what each service is and how it works. ViVID Service Mapping makes this process easier by scanning your entire environment for dependencies, creating a visual representation of those dependencies, and even generating reports based on what it finds so that you can act on them immediately.

ViVID Service Mapping is the only solution that provides dynamic visualizations of complex CMDB relationships. It enables you to see the impact of changes to your IT services, including their dependencies and interdependencies. With ViVID, you can easily track your service inventory.

With Virima, you can see the impact on your services caused by changes in other areas of your IT environment—such as hardware or software changes—and how these changes will affect other parts of your infrastructure. This information can be used by administrators to make informed decisions about how best to proceed with any given project or initiative without having to wait for reports from multiple sources before making decisions about how best to move forward.

If you’re building a service map, you know how much time it takes to discover what your customers want and need. When you’re manually mapping your services, every step of the process is one more thing you have to keep track of. You also have to keep track of where all those steps are in relation to each other, and how they’re going to fit together when they’re done. With ViVID™ Service Mapping, your team will be able to see how everything fits together from start to finish—and then use that knowledge to create an amazing experience for your customers!

Schedule a demo with Virima to find out more about our service mapping services and more.

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