The Provance Blog

The Provance Blog will provide you with expert advice, insights and opinions in regard to IT Service Management, Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft System Center.  

Meet the Challenge of Managing the Cloud

 

Many businesses are embracing the Cloud and digital business to better engage customers, empower employees and transform products. Gartner contends that 90 percent of large enterprises have already started along a path to digital business while 58 percent already use a cloud service for some aspect of their business.[1] Businesses are adopting cloud solutions across all aspects of their business and it’s likely already reaching the tipping point in many large companies as the preferred method for running their businesses.

Cloud Power for Organizational Control

Many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions are easy-to-implement—as easy as drinking a glass of water for today’s tech-savvy employees—which has led to a wild west atmosphere in many companies of “Stealth IT” or “Shadow IT” (software built and/or deployed by other departments without the knowledge of the IT department). Gartner recently conducted a survey and found that CMOs, on average, allocated 3.24 percent of their budget to technology, while CIOs allocated 3.4 percent of their budget.[2] What’s the impact of all this technology being bought and managed by someone other than the IT department?

The organizational and financial impact of hidden cloud resources can be great if IT is unaware of and unable to track cloud resources operationally or financially. For example, if a person leaves a company, the subscription they ordered on the company card can keep automatically renewing for months or even years if no one is keeping track of who and why a specific software is being used. Or another example, a mission critical subscription doesn’t auto-renew because no one was aware that the credit card expired or when the person ordered they set it to not auto-renew. The possibilities for financial impact of all this Shadow and Stealth IT are endless. Fundamentally, money is going to be burned and a company isn’t going to function well if there are numerous clouds because there are numerous departments, teams or individuals.

So, whether or not IT wants to manage the Cloud, it is all going to end up in their court of responsibility anyway. Provance ITSM Cloud Service Management for Azure helps IT meet this challenge, by making information from Azure visible and manageable in Provance ITSM as well as integrating Cloud services, CIs and business services within Provance ITSM—the first ITSM solution to provide full visibility from a single point-of-view. For Managed Service Providers or large enterprises with hundreds of subscriptions, Cloud Service Management for Azure delivers a new way of managing their cloud resources while having full visibility all in one place.

Giving More Cloud Power to the Service Desk

The Service Desk is probably the best-monitored entity in an organizations’ IT department. Resolution-times, SLAs, customer satisfaction surveys, all of these metrics are used to measure the effectiveness of the Service Desk.

Let’s imagine a scenario in which a project owner calls the Service Desk and says, “My project’s virtual machine, Apache01 in Azure is down, can you help me?” And the Service Desk Agent has zero visibility on the virtual machine, nor on the Azure Subscription. So the Service Desk answers, “Sorry, I don’t know where this system is located, I need to escalate to the next level.” Of course, escalating to the next level delays the resolution of the issue, leading to an unpleasant Service Desk experience for all involved, not to mention a delay in the project that was relying on the virtual machine.

However, if the organization had the Provance ITSM Cloud Service Management for Azure implemented, the scenario could end in a completely different way. The Service Desk Agent would take a quick look at the Cloud Service Management dashboard (see screenshot below) and simply reply, “Yes, I can see the VM is there, but it’s currently shut down, shall I start it for you?”

 

 

That same Service Desk agent could also give configuration information as well.

Information about any active elements providing services to users is imperative for fulfilling the high measurement or SLAs and response times. If there is even the possibility to instantly help the customer and reduce workload for the 2nd Level Support the whole Service organization will benefit from Provance ITSM Cloud Service Management for Azure.

But wait, you may ask, “Does this mean I have to give each of my Service Desk people access rights to all my Azure Subscriptions? I cannot do that, they are not experienced in Azure, or even external, as my Service Desk is an outsourced service.”

Provance ITSM Cloud Service Management includes the Provance Cloud Security Layer, which means you have to configure access for each subscription just once. Authentication happens invisibly in the background and you don’t have to care about managing your Service Desk staff in Azure.

Granular Access Control may allow the start/stop of a virtual machine or reject this action, as needed.

Cloud Power for Proactiveness

Not only does Provance ITSM give IT knowledge and real-time diagnostics regarding their cloud resources, but it also lets IT take some proactive actions. Last year, we already released the connector for Azure Log Analytics, to create incidents automatically based on Events in Log Analytics. Log Analytics provides a wide range of add-ons or solutions and now Provance ITSM Cloud Service Management for Azure integrates with Azure Service Maps. This lets you see machines managed by Service Maps in the CMDB, (they can be on your premises or in the Cloud) and get real-time information about those systems.

For our Service Desk scenario outlined above, the Service Desk agent is able to give someone in-depth information about a particular machine (including processes, network connections and configuration information) so that questions and issues can be solved more quickly.

Example of Network Connection Information

The Cloud Service Management integration to Service Maps can offer even more. Let’s say the customer also wants to know what machines would be affected if a particular service would have to be shut down as part of a change request.

Since the Cloud Service Management capability uses what Azure already provides—Service Map “Machine Group” Technology to visualize services and identify machines providing a service— the Service Desk agent takes a quick look at the Service (see screenshot below) and can answer the question immediately. In our case, there are three machines affected if this service is shut down. This can also be beneficial for impact analysis for scheduling changes

Knowledge is power. And for Provance ITSM Cloud Management, we understand Cloud Knowledge is power—giving you the power to manage IT effectively and cost-efficiently, improving customer service along the way. To see the Cloud Service Management for Azure capability in action, watch this Cloud Powered Ticket and Service Management webcast.

 

 


[1] Sondergaard, P. Willis D.A., Buytendijk F., LeHong H., Lopez, J., Scheibenereif D…. Santos J. Building Platforms for a Digital Society: Key Insights from the 2016 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Keynote. November, 2016.

[2] Sorofman, Jake. Yes, CMOs Will Likely Spend More on Technology Than CIOS by 2017. http://blogs.gartner.com/jake-sorofman/yes-cmos-will-likely-spend-more-on-technology-than-cios-by-2017/. September, 2016.



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