The challenge of managing IT environments is the ability of staying abreast of the many facets that exist.  No matter what your role is in the environment, the requirement to monitor an aspect is present from the manager overlooking operational performance to the service desk agent keeping a handle on open problem tickets.  In most cases, the items requiring monitoring are not few.  Nor are they convenient.

Most companies invest large portions of their IT budget to create reports and monitoring interfaces to systems.  However, many of these efforts are done independently of each other and not often considered as a collective.  As a result, the people required to manage the environment often have to use several distinct tools in order to obtain a full picture.

Mashups can provide an effective alternative to the challenge.  Using web technologies to access the business logic used to control and support the IT environment, a presentation interface can be created.     Do this for every system found in the environment to create a “catalog” of available monitoring tools.

However, mashups actually provide greater capabilities.  By identifying the tools required, an individual can create a single interface that allows them to view several systems simultaneously from an web browser.  The ability to compile a single interface for multiple perspectives is the core ability of a mashup.

However, it doesn’t end there.  Some business functions may find a need for some additional logic in presenting information:  for instance, applying financial performance to the number of problem tickets resolved to identify the true cost of services.  Unfortunately, the information is often found in separate systems.  Mashups components can be created to apply business logic to such situation and make it available for monitoring.

For viewing multiple perspectives of the environment, mashups prove an effective management tool.  The ability to customize allows managers to build their own “monitoring tool.”  And for the business, an inexpensive alternative to empower their managers.

A lot of companies are looking for ways to manage their IT environments.  The fastest growing method is the ITIL® standard.  The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) is a series of books covering each major topic of IT management. It serves as a framework of concepts and policies that are considered “best practices” for managing the infrastructure, development, and operations of information technology.  Companies implementing ITIL® into their processes can have their employees become certified as well as their business accredited.  Still, why adopt ITIL®?

The reasons for ITIL® are numerous, but one reason in particular is often overlooked:  the adoption of a common language.  Especially with IT businesses working with other IT business, the advantage of using similar frameworks allow for common terminology, concepts, and processes.  Two organizations using tools based on ITIL® practices have a the greatest opportunity to merge systems during alliances and partnerships.  For instances, many IT organizations have a single problem management process to resolve disruptions on service.  Within the ITIL® framework, two processes actually exist:  incident management and problem management.  The first handles the disruption if a resolution is readily available, a workaround if a resolution is not.  Problem management handles finding a resolution when one is not available.  Two companies attempting to merge IT operations together as in the case of acquisitions, partnerships, or service support agreements have a step up in the game if they are using the same framework.

Some relationships with other companies require ITIL® compliance, particularly companies in Europe, government contractors, and the financial industry where ITIL® is growing strong.  The growth of the framework has encouraged its recognition of a IT management standard.

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