Mapping service and infrastructure dependencies in your IT environment

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Service mapping

Without a doubt, IT environments are complex. With cloud services, 3rd party components, and employees bringing their own devices (BYOD) to work, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what you have, where they are located, and how the different pieces of your IT puzzle fit together.

With digitally-enabled business processes and users relying on technology for almost every facet of their day-to-day work, your IT staff members must understand how it works. This is where IT asset management can help.

One of the challenges of managing modern IT environments is dependency and relationship mapping. IT discovery tools do a good job of identifying lists of assets and components, but don’t always capture the relationship data to identify each asset’s technical and business context. That requires IT asset management.

Understanding context is important for assessing the impacts when components break and systems malfunction, implementing changes safely/effectively, and diagnosing the root cause of problems.

(See, “Drive Better Decisions with IT Asset Management”)

There are 3 layers of dependencies within your IT environment you must capture, manage, and leverage for decision making. Understanding each of them and managing their relationships will help your IT staff better support your company’s users and business processes.

Infrastructure dependencies

IT organizations are most familiar with this set of dependencies and most comfortable managing. IT services are component building blocks that are assembled to provide resources, capacity, and capabilities users consume.

Software, running on servers, is connected to the storage, and utilizes processing power. Transactions move on networks comprised of centralized and distributed components. Cloud services run in operating environments which 3rd parties may manage and rely on subscriptions to provide access to resources.

Infrastructure dependencies are typically managed as a part of your company’s core configuration data and represent the technology relationships among components.

Data relationships

Information is an equally important part of modern IT. Data may be stored within a system, integrated across multiple systems, replicated to data warehouses / repositories or transformed through ETL processes.

Data often exists in multiple places – being created in a source system, moved into transactional systems, aggregated into systems of record, and distilled into systems of insight. Data and information are assets with owners, a useful life span, and intended use.

Understanding the operational data in your organization and how the various pieces of data fit together into the big picture are essential to managing these assets effectively. In turn, using them to derive business value.

The relationships between data elements and different copies of data that exist in your IT environment and broader cloud ecosystem are the source of valuable insights your company leaders can use to improve operations, profitability, and competitiveness.

While IT discovery tools help you identify individual assets and places where data might be stored within your environment, you need solid ITAM capabilities to map the data-related relationships between your systems.

Business process workflows

Individuals and groups within your organization use information and technology tools to enable productivity and facilitate business processes. Two sets of data relationships are needed to understand the business context of your IT systems.

First, are data relationships among business process activities, which can tell you how the business operates. Second, are the dependency relationships between business processes, and the technology and data components on which they rely.

Together, these two sets of relationships provide insights into the context of your IT systems to help you understand the impact of changes, events, and issues.

Managing relationships in your IT environment requires more than discovery capabilities. You need to collect asset lists , to map and manage data relationships across all three layers of dependencies (IT asset management), to visualize and traverse the web of relationships, and to consume this information in the context of your IT service management (ITSM) processes with integrated ITSM tools.

Virima’s IT Asset Management solutions help you do this through an affordable solution that provides you the tools and insights your IT organization needs to be successful.

Virima is here to help. Learn more about how our discovery and visualization capabilities unlock value for IT.

To get started, contact us today to schedule a demo and explore the possibilities!

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