Last week we held our sixth ITOM Summit in Dallas, TX. More than 300 customers and partners attended more than 50 presentations. These included exciting keynotes, CABs (customer advisory board), and hands-on workshops (introduced at this event). There were also a multitude of booths where teams demonstrated Micro Focus and our partners’ solutions.
But the fun wasn’t limited to the event show floor, everyone danced, celebrated and had an incredible time at the parties held on Monday and Tuesday. If you were unable to attend the Summit this time, I urge you to be with us next time—I promise this is such a unique opportunity.
(Tentatively we are looking for the next Summit in the US to be held in the September time frame and probably in the North US—Chicago, Washington DC or similar). In case you missed the event, or if you want to relive your memories, here is the summary of the key customers’ presentations in SMA track. Many of these presentations were filmed, and you will be able to watch them, together with ITOM keynote, SMA keynote and SMA sessions presented by our PMs, during the ITOM Virtual Summit end of February. Stay tuned on the exact dates that the videos will be available and how to register for the Virtual Summit.
Before I finish this (not anymore brief) introduction let me tell you that customers really like the opportunity for continuous delivery that is provided by moving to containers. Being able to consume new capabilities every quarter without long upgrade cycles is very attractive for users.
SMA-X rocked the show. It has a compelling using experience, and upgrades are done in minutes. SMA-X does not need integrations with CMS because it’s based on the same data model. It’s based on IDOL analytics and machine learning for smartest automation available today.
OK, now to the promised sessions’ insights.
GreenLight Group: Customer decision process for SMA-X, On-Premise, in the Cloud, or As A Service
Torrey Jones, the principal consultant at GreenLight Group, presented on the behalf of the customer, Credit Union Service Organization from Florida, USA. Torrey also presented GITOPS, GreenLight IT operations services and gave an awesome, live demo. Luckily this session was filmed and you will soon be able to watch it during our Virtual Summit at the end of February.
The customer to which GreenLight will provide SMA-X as a service has 1800+ employees, is service to 850+ credit unions with 39.3 million members and 20.2 million accounts. They manage 2.1 billion unique transactions per year.
Change management was the driving factor them to subscribe to HPE Service Anywhere since 2014. They needed a newer and more modern way to manage change across IT. The customer was fully satisfied with Service Anywhere because all of the promises of SaaS were fulfilled, upgrades and patches were fast and easy and product enhancements required by this customer were rolling into the product. The customer was about to implement Incident and Request management and move away from their previous tool, when the news hit that HPE stopped selling Service Anywhere. The customer evaluated many of HPE/Micro Focus competitors trying to find out which one could fulfill some of their key requirements, such as:
- Self Service Portal
- Submit Pre-formed Request
- Submit Incident
- Show tickets for “My Location”
- Backend Workflow to support Self Service use cases
- API for Integration
- Security & encryption at the field level
This customer could not find appropriate replacement for their Micro Focus ITSM solution. They told us that one of the key reasons why they did NOT select one of the biggest vendors in this space was because they do NOT offer concurrent user licenses.
The customer made the decision to migrate to Greenlight offering SMA-X as a service. The customer has agreed to speak publicly about their migration experience once it is finished, which is planned in the next few weeks.
What is GreenLight’s offering?
Utilizing GreenLight IT Operations Services (GITOpS), customers have the ability to leverage GreenLight Group’s expertise to run and manage Micro Focus SMA (also entire ITOM) solution for day-to-day operations--taking the technology constraints out of the equation. By leveraging Micro Focus Managed Services Licensing Program in combination with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) partnership, GreenLight Group can offer customers subscription-based licensing for core ITOM capabilities hosted in AWS’s secure infrastructure at very competitive prices. GITOpS is a unique offering that only GreenLight’s expertise can bring.
GreenLight recognizes that no two customers are alike. Some customers already have licenses, some don’t. Some customers want a “SaaS” type solution, some want to run software on-premises in their own datacenter(s). By using existing perpetual or building with our subscription licenses, running from the cloud, or in the customers public/private cloud environment, GITOpS allows customers to choose a model that best suits the needs of their business. This allows the customer the utmost flexibility so specific conditions can be accounted for.
Torrey went on and gave a detailed demo of the solution that they are building for the Florida customer. Do not miss the opportunity to watch this session during our Virtual Summit.
HealthNow: Six Mini Talks for a Better ITOM Journey
Michael Lim is the manager for the IT change and release management at HealthNow and Robert DeRush is a configuration management analyst as well at HealthNow. In a very informative, enjoyable and succinct session, Michael and Robert walked us through the six topics which are relevant and on top of the head of any IT professional responsible for the continuous improvements at their organizations. Here are some of the key highlights of the mini-talks:
- Talk and listen to other customers and partners. Especially when engaging with partners. Understand how they can help you and understand your value proposition with them.
- Ticket automation via UCMDB. Requesting access to servers and software for discovery service account interrupts the natural discovery spiral. UCMDB can automatically create service request tickets in your service desk tool for the access needed by using the data flow management API, Discovery Adapters, and UCMDB RESTful web service. This enables you to utilize the fully automated discovery process by removing manual requests to access systems and the UCMDB discovery becomes self-sufficient. Michael’s tip: Notify and get buy-in from various stakeholders to determine manageable volume of these tickets
- Discover your batch processing system. Systems are reliant on batch processing, but if you have thousands of batch processing changes, you will not be able to manually document them. Therefore you should consider mapping the batch process via automation. HealthNow team uses a Jython adapter that discovers batch infrastructure from system configuration files. CIs are dynamically added, removed to/from the service models with minimal latency, and with no manual intervention. The results are better dependency maps and more accurate impact analysis. Automation does not rely on tribal knowledge and has less delays to production.
- Dashboards. Every company aims to make informed decisions, supported by data. Decisions are made daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Dashboards widgets, hot topic analytics and CMDB widgets are very useful to provide you with a quick view of data that is important to you. It is worth investing time to build the widgets in a systematic way that helps answer key questions. Michael’s tip: make sure that widgets do not give you false positives or negatives, and verify results with deeper review of data.
- Stay Up-To-Date on Latest Version (aka HPE Service Anywhere Migration to SMA-X). After HPE announced the end of sale for Service Anywhere, Michael and his management approached the new situation with a cool head and a deep breath. They evaluated the pros versus cons versus costs versus time and versus resources. In the end they decided to migrate to Micro Focus SMA-X, containerized suite, which they will maintain by themselves. HealthNow trusts Micro Focus and are already familiar with SMA-X from their previous Service Anywhere experience. They developed migration project plan with one of Micro Focus partners. The key benefits for migrating to on-premises SMA-X include:
- Minimal disruption
- User community -> New internal URL
- Minimal to no training for general user community
- Training needed only for admins and power users
- Service Catalog. It’s a table’s stake today that IT offers a service catalog for all employees which provides a positive customer experience and improve interactions between the requestor and service provider (IT). But this can be also seen as a challenge when you have to roll out a service desk to thousands of your users. The solution to this problem is to start with pilot groups, such as executive admin groups (C-suit, VPs) and focus groups, such as HR (and immediately test the naming conventions), Purchasing, Building Services, or IT. However the key to success from the day one is understanding the end users’ value proposition! IT may think that the end user will want servers or access to applications as first items to request. Do not be surprised if this is not true, because there are other existing methods to request an IT service such via service desk. The users want to report that their trash is full, the restroom out of order, light bulb out or the chair is broken. Therefore, first create items in your catalog which will keep bringing users back to use the self-service catalog and encourage future usage. These are typically new service catalog items that are not provided anywhere else. In the case of HealthNow, at the “Go live” date, the most popular categories and offerings were:
- Software requests
- File transfers
- Cisco phone requests
- Laptop requests
- Meeting setup assistance
SMA-X will be the first enterprise applications in containers and Michael and Robert said it was a perfect entry point to adopt containers and Kubernetes!
IRS: The Journey to “Out-Of-The Box"
Madelyn Walker is Assistant to Director of Enterprise Computing Center and a director in Chief Counsel Migration Program Office at the IRS. She presented with Rick Fratanduono, the VP of customer success at Intact Technologies about IRS journey to out-of-the-box Service Management. This session was packed with lots of best practices and was told in a clear and direct way.
The IRS has 85,000 employees and 10 percent of them are employed in IT, which manages a huge infrastructure to serve US citizens. At the IRS IT, they only have six months to work on any significant change, and six months is the filling season freeze. Madelyn told us all about how she won her management and executives over to give her a green light for the re-implementation of Service Manager “out-of-the-box”. The key driver for the idea and the plan was the better value realization: maintenance costs are decreased; leveraging OOTB workflows and processes; reduce the time to upgrade; implement standards to allow for easy integrations; better reporting on hours and overall costs and greater efficiency. Here are some of the activities that had to be successfully finished to be able to execute on the out-of-the-box vision:
- Training and Enablement
- Analysis and evaluation of technical capabilities
- We didn’t bring old data into the new system
- We had two systems up and running at the same time
- Leverage the OOB Capabilities and modifying Business process
- Enterprise Standardized method for Incident, Change, and Service Request procedures
In the first roll out, the IRS leveraged the following built-in features:
- Incident Tasks
- Request Fulfillment Tasks
- Major Incident Capability
- Multiple Incident Workflows
- Multiple Fulfilment Workflows
- Related Record Type and Related Records
- CI Visualization
- Impacted Services (leveraged for our Critical Systems and Premium Services)
Needless to say, that this was a gigantic project which needed to be finished in the shortest time. So how did Madelyn’s team keep on track? They established a customer focus group and executive council group to evaluate the business needs and submit recommendations to the executive council for approval. They recommended what features needed to be made available next and the priority and to identify any user training or adoption needs. At the same time they kept the “big picture” in mind, and determining what is best for the enterprise was the key.
- Going out-of-the-box requires discipline. Here are some final lessons-learned from Madelyn and Rick:
- There are always options to customize: use the 80/20 rule and document modifications
- Communication is key: You can never over communicate. Repeat it again and again, and again and again…When you’ve done it that many times, do it again.
- Going out-of-the-box is not about the technology, but about business decisions.
My comment is that streamlining an organization of the size of the IRS and moving to out-of-the-box is an awesome achievement.
Kevin Leslie from our EMEA team shared with the audience some of the customer case studies of those who are either migrating to SMA-X or are implementing the solution from scratch. One of these stories, was about Schlumberger. The key part was about why Schlumberger selected Micro Focus Service Automation X, and these include:
- Focus on IT needs, ITIL requirements met
- Improvements provided in problematic areas of our existing setup
- Automation built-into the tool
- Machine learning and big data capabilities
- Most competitive offer
- Opportunity to have one ITOM vendor suite of tools (ITSM, Operation Bridge, BSM, HCM etc..)
- Improved user experience
- Partnership and solution design membership
- Alignment and combined efforts between SIS & IT concluding on single vendor
- SM capability for non IT process
In my next blog post, I will share with you the key insights from a couple of more SMA track customers’ presentations (I realize that this blog is already very long).
In the meantime, get ready for the Valentine’s Day – it’s about love and love is great!
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