6 Best Practices for IT Operations Management

July 3, 2019 Brian Watson

You may know ServiceNow best for their six-time Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader IT Service Management (ITSM) platform. But not to be overlooked is ITSM’s sibling, IT Operations Management. Like ITSM, ITOM can transform the way organizations operate for the better. But while ITSM can look more or less similar from customer to customer, ITOM is a whole different story, and what you know to be true for ITSM may not be the case for ITOM.

Fortunately, there are some universal truths about IT operations management implementation that transcend a company’s unique needs. Here are six to keep in your back pocket:

 

  1. The More MID Servers, the Better

    The MID server—known in some more verbose circles as the Management, Instrumentation, and Discovery Server—has a lot of work to do. So much, in fact, that the MID server can become overwhelmed. For example, if your MID server is running Discovery at the same time you’re trying to run an Orchestration activity, you’re may run into issues. To alleviate some of the overhead from that one MID server try giving it a friend! Give it two, or more! Leveraging more than one MID server for Discovery gives you the opportunity for load balancing and failing over your multiple MID servers for increased redundancy.

     

  2. For Implementation, Give Yourself More Time than You Think You Need

    For ServiceNow’s ITSM suite, it’s possible to get it up and running in a very short amount of time. Larger corporations can be set up by the time they get the credentials they need for Orchestration. This is because it’s easier to rinse and repeat best practices that are common to nearly all customers.

    However, with ITOM, that just isn’t possible. ITOM implementation is more hands-on and involves more set-up and configuration than ITSM—it takes longer! So be conservative with your timelines when you’re planning your project, and budget appropriate resource time.

     

  3. Leverage Multiple 'Discovery' Tools to Complete Your CMDB (Config Management Database)

    The more complete your Configuration Management Database (CMDB), the better everything else will be.

    What’s the best way to complete it? Use multiple tools. For example, by employing ServiceNow’s Discovery you can get all your infrastructure-related devices into that CMDB. At the same time, you can use Microsoft SCCM as a source of truth for all of your Windows endpoints. You can even queue those that can’t be discovered automatically. If you have desktops or laptops that aren’t online when you’re running your Discovery, SCCM can complete that for you. With a complete CMDB, you can begin to make better changes around your CMDB, because everything is already contained within it.

     

     

  4. Know Which Alerts You Want

    For anyone who has ever done event management, you’ll know that simply connecting Event Management to your monitoring sources and turning it on will result in a flood of Events and Alerts that can be difficult to wade through. To prevent this, you need an idea of what Alerts you’re interested in seeing and when. You don’t want to have everything set to instant. That just creates noise, obscuring the most important Alerts and building resentment towards the tool, ultimately making it ineffective. So decide which Alerts are important to take action on, and put that plan into action.

     

  5. Orchestration: If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

    At a high level, Orchestration is an automation tool that you can leverage within a workflow. However, if this automation happens completely outside of ServiceNow, you can still trigger and manage that workflow within ServiceNow. Orchestration as a whole is an automation tool. Basically, if it can talk to something—via REST, PowerShell, etc. – then you can leverage it within a ServiceNow Orchestration workflow. So don’t be afraid to think outside of the box with Orchestration. You can do more than you might think.

     

  6. IT Operations Management Can Be Much More Out-of-the-Box

    If we’re just talking about Service Mapping or Discovery, they’re both fantastic out-of-the-box, with plenty of Probes, Sensors, and Patterns to properly identify myriads of different devices. However, they can do even more. If there is a vital service or vital application that isn’t found out-of-the-box, don’t let that scare you. Custom Probes, Sensors, and Patterns can be created to bring these vital items into ServiceNow platforms so you can better keep track of them when you’re monitoring Events or attaching them to applicable Business Services.

    IT Operations Management is a fantastic tool as-is with an upside that you’re not stuck with just what you get out-of-the-box. In this case, what you see doesn’t have to be what you get. Use your imagination! If something is important, chances are it’s possible to bring it into ServiceNow.

     

Final Thoughts - How Crossfuze Can Help

We enjoy hearing about your goals for ServiceNow IT Operations Management. Our team of ServiceNow ITOM experts are ready to help you get the most out of your investment. Send us a note at LetsTalk@Crossfuze.com and, well, let’s talk ITOM!

About the Author

Brian has nearly 2 decades of ITIL Practitioner and real-world IT Operations/Engineering Management experience that he brings to bear in his role as a ServiceNow Architect and ITOM/ITAM expert. He loves working closely with customers using ServiceNow to solve difficult challenges, and does not believe in the Kobayashi Maru. He is an avid skier and motorcyclist, and loves to cook outdoors on his giant griddle.

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