In today’s world where demand for up to date services has grown and the lead times for delivery has continued to be shortened I am often asked, what is the best tool? The answer is, of course, “it depends!” Every organization has different needs, budgets and resources, however the requirements for automated building, testing and delivering new functionality has never been greater.
Every organization must be able to look at the list of requirements for tools from both the operational and development sides of the IT organization as the functions become more and more integrated.
The starting point is a list of generic requirements. An integrated suite is preferable and should include options such as:
- Service Portfolio
- Service Catalog
- Service Design Tools
- Discovery/Deployment/Licensing Technology
- Workflow or process engines
- Configuration Management Systems (CMS)
- Self Help for Users
- Remote Control
- Diagnostic Utilities
- Reporting Tools/Dashboards
- Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS)
Depending on your requirements, goals, budget and maturity level, you may need one, several or all of the above technologies. A good suite will offer the flexibility to purchase only those modules that are currently needed by your organization with the option to add more over time.
The next step is to assess your current tools and their use. The assessment may reveal that you are not using existing tools to their fullest capability. Consider the following when evaluating existing tools and possible new purchases:
- Support for monitoring service levels, data structure, data handling and integration
- Integration of multi-vendor infrastructure components
- Conformity to international open standards
- Flexibility in implementation usage and data sharing
- Distributed clients with a centralized shared database
- Conversion requirements
- Data backup, control and security
- Support and scalability
The following are useful evaluation techniques:
- Gather your Requirements. (Use the MoSCoW strategy for evaluating your requirements. Must haves (M), Should haves (S), Could haves (C), and our Won’t haves but would like to have (W)?)
- From the MoSCoW list, create a Statement of Requirements (SOR).
- Identify possible products
- Determine a selection criteria
- Evaluate products
- Put together a short list of products
- Score the final products
- Rank the products
- Select the product that meets your needs and budget
Please remember that any tool is NOT a silver bullet. Effective internal processes are critical to gaining efficiencies through tools. Tool success will likely depend on your planning, deployment, management and improvement of process.
While there are many good technologies in the marketplace today, it is important to select the one that meets your specific and unique requirements.