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Maximizing Service Desk value = Integration

chuck_darst ‎04-16-2013 02:07 PM - edited ‎09-20-2015 07:54 AM

There are reoccurring themes in the IT Service Management (ITSM) and service desk areas; it is no surprise that process (maturity) is one of them. Another reoccurring theme is integration. When I look at the customer case studies with the biggest impacts with significant improvements and associated return on investment (ROI), these are the two common themes: process improvements and integration scope.


Let’s look beyond basic service desk integrations such as: pulling data from directory services, passing messages via email, web services or other techniques. There is a huge value in sharing configuration information and federation and integrations could be discussed here. I am also going to largely skip service desk process integrations such as, requesting a change to resolve a problem.


I typically see the world in shades of grey as opposed to black and white. This thinking applies to integrations as well. At one end of a continuum, there is arguably a stand-alone help desk (with some basic integration such as LDAP). At the other end of the continuum, there is the nirvana of fully integrated ITIL Service Lifecycle Management (SLcM).


What are some good integration stops on the way to SLcM nirvana?


  • First, the most classic cross-functional operations integration is arguably incident creation from event management systems. This extends back to acknowledging events based on the closing of an incident from the service desk side. This isn’t revolutionary, but there are some great additional integrations to consider in the quest of automating the break-fix loop.

Task or process automation is first, and for HP this would be via HP Operations Orchestration. Automating tasks in the operations domain has been around for years—think of the Run Book Automation and process restarts via an intelligent agent (or agentless approach). Diagnostics/triage can be automated along with remediation. Such activities could be executed based on a Knowledge Management article.


  • Second, change management is arguably the most integrated single process. Beyond the process integrations that I said I would largely skip, this is another area where we are seeing increasing automation integration—especially regarding ITIL standard changes which could be pre-approved.  This could be integrating change management directly with a server, network and/or cloud automation product/solution. It could also be integrating change management with a more general purpose task/process automation tool. Incorporating discovery and dependency mapping information could have an integration role depending on your discovery sources. Other change integrations could include asset management and/or project and portfolio management (PPM).


  • Third, taking a different twist on change could take you down a request or release management paths. In the interest of time and space, I am not going to deal with these in this blog. I will have that for another day.

If you interested in service desk and operations oriented integrations and their potential value, there is a good Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) white paper, Collaborative IT: A Pragmatic Approach for Bringing the Service Desk and Operations Together,  that was recently updated that covers the break-fix and change examples above in more detail.


Overall, there are a number of associated resources available on the HP ITSM website. Another specific recommendation would be starting with a paper on Standardizing IT Service Management.


Chuck Darst


P.S. If you are reading this the week of April 15th and will be at HDI, please stop by the HP booth and say Hi.


P.S.S. I also started this post with a nod to processes. We have written some other posts recently on the process (and services) topics that I recommend reading:


P.S.S.S. If you have clicked every link, let me know! I will get you a prize of some type or another.

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About the Author


HPE IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager spanning our solutions for the service desk, asset mngt, CMS, and more. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.

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on ‎04-17-2013 07:31 AM

great post, i like this site.

Michael Pott (michael_pott)
on ‎04-18-2013 07:55 AM

Chuck, I think your article hits a couple of extremely important points when it comes down to service lifecycle management and integration. I had an interesting discussion the other day at the HP EMEA customer forum. The point was made about configuration management. Now, as IT finally really is getting service oriented, also enabled by the cloud, configuration management is regaining importance.

Whether one looks at Asset Management, at understanding change impact on services, or at doing problem analysis - this list could be continued endlessly - all processes, workflows, tasks and involved people need to rely on the right shared data.

In the end this leads to integration between your configuration management data and all other involved tools. The more one leverages this data, and the more you integrate with this data, the more value you get out of it. 

on ‎04-19-2013 07:17 AM

Michael, Having just got back from HDI, I have a few more thoughts here. I continue to see incident, problem, and change as the most common processes implemented. Automation complementing any of these is definitely interesting, but still fairly new. A broad interpretation of catalog continues to be a hot topic whether implemented now or strategizing for the future. In most cases catalog goes along with self-service and more automated request fulfillment/management. This is a hot area for integration - touching asset management, configuration management, supporting systems (procurement), cloud service automation - regardless of where it is sourced, ...


And I fully agree on your configuration management / data comments above.



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