ITOM, ITSM and AIOps: a clear view of IT infrastructure management

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Managing sprawling IT estates is becoming increasingly complex. What is needed is clear end-to-end visibility of the infrastructure, which is where IT operations management (ITOM), IT service management (ITSM) and Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) are helpful – teaming up to provide a single view and enabling enhanced overall service quality.

ITIL (formerly an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a set of best practices that centers on aligning IT services with the needs of business. ITIL sees ITSM as not just a concept that allows organizations to maximize business value from the use of technology, but also as a “cultural mindset” – one that incorporates principles and practices from various management approaches such as lean manufacturing, risk management and organizational change management.

ITSM, on the other hand, is seen as a cornerstone of IT operations along with other IT operations management (ITOM) processes, such as managing applications and connectivity elements. ITOM is one of the main functions of the service module of the ITIL framework and is responsible for managing the capacity, performance and availability of mechanisms in an organization’s IT infrastructure.

A powerful mix

By combining the powerful capabilities of ITOM and ITSM, it makes it much simpler to manage IT infrastructure performance, availability and business metrics and optimize systems and applications to meet changing business needs. ITSM platforms and tools, for example, track the status of the components within your infrastructure, such as processes and services. By linking ITSM to ITOM, you can easily turn this data into valuable business and operational insights.

By consolidating data and metrics from diverse monitoring tools across the IT estate and merging reports from both ITOM and ITSM, IT teams can provide a single pane of glass on the entire IT infrastructure and operations through a dashboard. This provides real-time visibility into the end-to-end activities that bridge both service management and operations management.

Some organizations opt to use different tools to manage different parts of their infrastructure. They may use one tool for systems networks and infrastructures, for example, and another to manage the performance and availability of applications across cloud computing environments. These tools come with their own innate reporting and dashboard capabilities, and it is often assumed they are being used to create and distribute reports. In reality, all these reports can build a complex picture. In such scenarios, organizations do not have end-to-end visibility of their IT infrastructure and operations. If there is an issue, IT teams may spend a large amount of unnecessary time collecting, compiling and analyzing this data from numerous reports to find the cause of the problem, for example. Integrating ITOM and ITSM allows organizations to manage these entities as one, aligning your operations with your business requirements, while cutting both down time and costs, both of which have a big impact on the bottom line.

To provide a holistic view of the complete IT infrastructure and operational ecosystem that serves as a single pane of glass, companies like Business & Decision, an Orange Business Services company, can combine metrics from different monitoring and service management tools into a single dashboard, pulling out insight from reports from diverse tools.

The rise of AIOps

Further transformation of ITOM and ITSM is underway with the arrival of what Gartner calls “Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations” or AIOPs. This is basically the merging of ITSM, ITOM and IT Automation, providing multi-layered technology platforms to automate and enhance IT operations.

Gartner defines AIOps as platforms that “utilize big data, modern machine learning and other advanced analytics to directly and indirectly enhance IT operations functions with proactive, personal and dynamic insight.” IT operations include monitoring, automation and service desk. Gartner believes 40 percent of large enterprises will combine machine learning and big data to enhance IT operations by 2022.

The AIOps approach isn’t a replacement for ITIL, but it will undoubtedly complement it as organizations face growing challenges raised by the speed and complexity of digital transformation. AIOps will enable them to predict service outrages and automate root cause analysis, for example.

The ability to proactively manage performance and predict events has enormous potential, but AIOPs is still a new technology and one that is still being explored by pathfinding enterprises.

Find out about recent changes to ITIL 4, the latest edition of the framework for IT service management (ITSM).

Jan Howells

Jan has been writing about technology for over 22 years for magazines and web sites, including ComputerActive, IQ magazine and Signum. She has been a business correspondent on ComputerWorld in Sydney and covered the channel for Ziff-Davis in New York.