To understand the business value of service mapping, it’s important to shift to a service delivery mindset, rather than thinking about delivering infrastructure, equipment, software, and applications. Defining services is relatively simple if thought of as the commoditization of what’s already being provided: how would you define and package what you offer if it was sold to a customer?
Services provide value to a customer by enabling them to predict their costs while driving revenue. A service can be anything from cable TV/Internet services, inventory management, or payroll services: they represent any combination of hardware, software, and personnel which make a product available to a customer. Service management is the set of practices organizations use to deliver and support their services.
The service portfolio represents the financial investment in a set of services an organization provides, enabling it to balance investments across three types of areas:
The service catalog: those services currently offered (or those that will become available very shortly), which the business is currently funding operationally.
The service pipeline: new services being developed, representing an investment into growth and innovation, actions that keep the provider relevant in the market.
Retired services: those services no longer offered and which are not funded at an operational level, representing the ability to reuse resources (both physical items and staff resources).
Configuration management is at the core of an organization’s ability to provide services successfully, as it enables technical teams to manage the technical configuration of a device or service, understand how components are brought together to deliver a particular service and how much is invested in the service to deliver and support it.
Service mapping is the term used for diagramming and documenting all of the components needed to operate each service the organization provides, enabling service and financial management. The information that follows offers five benefits of knowing this information, demonstrating why it’s so important.
Five Business Benefits of Service Mapping:
Benefit #1: Faster time to restore service by correlating a hardware or software failure to the service(s) it supports and engaging support teams more quickly.
Without Service Mapping: While it’s commonplace to monitor things like equipment, network traffic, and automated transactions for failures, without mapping, manual effort is put into determining the criticality and impact of alerts. This can lead to a slower than necessary response to address the issue before consumers start to experience problems with the dependent services. Conversely, when the service desk receives reports of a service outage, it’s too often a scramble to figure out what changed to cause the issue. While operators take time to understand the criticality of an alert and even more time to investigate the underlying cause of a service outage, the business may be financially impacted by loss of productivity or the inability to conduct business transactions.
With Service Mapping: Along with monitoring, service mapping makes it possible to identify the issue, automate the creation of an incident, prioritize it, and drive appropriate escalations and communications with a clear business impact. Teams can be working the issue far more quickly, perhaps even before the business realizes it’s experiencing an outage. Service mapping also provides visualizations of what other services may be impacted there-by enabling IT to be much more proactive.
Click here to learn about VIRIMA Service Mapping
Benefit #2: Protecting the environment from security vulnerabilities
Without Service Mapping: Each time a new vulnerability is identified, the organization needs to determine whether they have the components involved in the threat and the criticality of services the components support. Identifying the impact and mitigating the risk may take so much time that organizations never fully engage in vulnerability management, risking expensive outages and the organization’s reputation.
With Service Mapping: Visual representation of device vulnerabilities provides your team the ability to identify crucial and high-risk services/conditions for remediation. An ability to visually see communications on your network with unvalidated/rougue system will help you avoid network breaches as are reported by news media today. Proactive awareness of a risk versus having data stolen by unknown entities outside of your organization that may cause harm to your organization.
Click here to read about the convergence of ITSM and SecOps.
Benefit #3: Improved risk management for execution of changes.
Without Service Mapping: Risk is evaluated by the team making a change and by a change advisory board (CAB), which meets for an hour or two, requiring every team from IT to come together and review proposed changes based on their tribal knowledge. This is inefficient and costly from the cost of personnel time and the inefficiency of using tribal knowledge to assess and address risk.
With Service Mapping: The service management system in which both change records and the CMDB reside can be automated to evaluate the risk of making the change, based on the services the component(s) support and performance of past changes of similar nature. Automated risk calculation is more effective than tribal knowledge, costs less to perform, and enables approvals for very high-risk work to be managed by a much smaller CAB. The effort is placed on effective mitigation rather than determining the risk.
Click here to read the VIRIMA Change Management use case.
Benefit #4: Proving the value of a service, or return on investment
Without Service Mapping: Understanding the true cost of ownership is either intensely manual or unable to be performed with any certainty unless each service has its own dedicated equipment and software. To occur at all, the organization would have to know every component associated with a particular service and manually manipulate and correlate data to calculate these costs.
With Service Mapping: Service-based reporting can streamline reporting by enabling reports to capture the costs associated with maintaining (change records) and supporting (incident and problem records) a service. While this requires the capturing and apportioning costs at the record level, it’s far easier to achieve when the system or record knows which components support the service.
Click here to read the VIRIMA Service Mapping use case.
Benefit #5: Enable proactive IT service management (ITSM)
Without Service Mapping: It’s difficult for organizations to work proactively when they cannot identify single points of failure or relate component failure to their impact on the business. Thus, without service mapping, most organizations work reactively as they don’t have the tools needed to do otherwise.
With Service Mapping: Looking at a service map can help a technician identify a single point of failure immediately and recommend/justify resolving it. Additionally, monitoring systems can provide correlated reports (using service mapping) showing alerts received by all components that support a service, enabling technicians to address repair needs and other adjustments before outages begin to occur. The ability to stop outages of vital services protects the organization’s revenue stream.
Click here to read the VIRIMA ITSM use case.
Each of these areas points to ways service mapping makes critical business services more reliable, secure and available, protecting the organization from financial loss, loss of customers and other business threats caused by unstable systems and services, and by helping IT organizations justify the investment of time and resources needed to achieve a fully-mapped CMDB.
In the market for service mapping automation tools? VIRIMA has you covered. VIRIMA Discovery and CMDB power the creation of incredibly detailed application dependency maps, infrastructure relationship maps and of course service mapping.
To learn how you can help your organization achieve the benefits of service mapping join Virima’s next Live Webcast “6 steps to Service Mapping Success”. Virima experts will be joined by Raj Subramanian, Founder of Digital Reboot, to share real life challenges and solutions to ensure a successful service mapping project.
Register now for the upcoming livecast webinar “6 Steps to Service Mapping Success” on June 25th at 10 AM EST