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FCW : May 30, 2013
to support speci c processes that are outside the initial implementation." Furthermore, legacy systems might have gotten bogged down in extensive customization, said Larry Schink, senior managing partner at CorTechs, an IT services company with an ITSM practice area. Those custom features drive up maintenance costs, while a new system offers the oppor- tunity to set things right. The fundamentals Help-desk software has been a mainstay of IT automation for a couple of decades. Over time, the help-desk function has evolved beyond its initial scope of resolving users technical issues to take on a broader set of services. ITSM software provides a more comprehensive set of tools as help desks become service desks. The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a collection of best practices for service management, often provides the essential framework for ITSM. Indeed, ITSM software now encompasses a range of ITIL practices, including change, con guration and incident management. Agencies often undertake ITSM software and ITIL adop- tion efforts at the same time. The National Institute of Stan- dards and Technology took that approach last year. NIST needed to replace an older ITSM system that the vendor no longer supported and decided to migrate to ITIL Version 3 "in the same breath," said Tim Halton, chief of customer access and support at NIST. The agency adopted ServiceNow s cloud-based ITSM prod- uct and offered training to more than 140 NIST employees. Halton called the training "a cultural migration to get people settling into the new norm" of ITIL practices. "We got everyone using the same nomenclature and the same terminology." Agencies going down the ITSM and ITIL path describe a number of bene ts. The Army, for instance, points to the ability to trim expenses and keep critical IT resources functioning. "ITIL practices have been proven to reduce costs and improve ef ciency in the delivery of those services," said Lemont Powell, deputy chief of the Networks, Plans and Engineering Directorate at the Army s Network Enterprise Technology Command. Powell added that many Army organizations use ITIL Version 3 as the framework for delivering and managing IT services. He cited change management as one area in which ITSM can save resources. With a structured process, administrators make authorized changes that are deliber- ately implemented and monitored. "Many times, unauthorized changes or incorrectly admin- istered changes can bring a service down," Powell said. "For a business, this is loss of pro t. But for the Army, this can affect soldiers in combat or those supporting combat operations." Schink, meanwhile, said the automation of manual tasks provides the biggest ITSM bang for the buck. Large IT opera- tions that can signi cantly reduce the number of people performing service management chores can justify the price of the software, he added. In addition to cost, security stands out as a plus for ITSM processes and tools. "An organization without serv- May 30, 2013 FCW.COM 31 Agencies seeking to upgrade their IT service manage- ment or implement a system for the rst time should think broadly before jumping into the project to ensure they get the most value from the investment. In particular: Review IT processes. Agencies should reassess their old IT processes if they hope to get the greatest ef ciency boost out of new ITSM deployments. "Just implementing a new system with their old processes might be simpler...but they are missing a huge opportunity to drive ef ciencies, " said Rob Stroud, vice president for service and portfolio management at ITSM provider CA Technologies. Consider compliance. ITSM could make it easier for agencies to manage their regulatory compliance obligations. Through ITSM, "compliance with legal and regulatory requirements is more manageable and helps reduce the risk of inadver- tent legal infractions, " said Lemont Powell, deputy chief of the Networks, Plans and Engineering Directorate at the Army s Network Enterprise Technology Command. Think beyond IT. ITSM provides a platform that agencies can use to accomplish tasks outside technology, such as handling human resource requests. ITSM s request management feature, in particular, lends itself to more generalized, non-IT uses. --- John Moore Getting the most out of ITSM
May 15, 2013
June 15, 2013