Staff shortages and ITIL drive interest in automation

There is a growing focus on automation in New Zealand, says BMC vice-president

ICT staff shortages combined with increasing attention being paid to tools of best practice such as ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) could boost business for software companies supplying computer control and monitoring systems, says BMC vice-president Mary Nugent.

This is particularly the case when it comes to countries like New Zealand, and even Australia, where companies tend to be smaller than average and there is a growing focus on automation, she says.

Nugent was delivering a keynote address to the Business Service Management Forum, held in Sydney last week. During her time there she spoke to local customers and found that “labour is a big part of their costs, so automation is pretty well received.”

Many users in this part of the world still have BMC’s performance management product in its original version, Patrol, and are ready to exploit the additions made to it since then — which perform more automatic problem analysis, as well as, to some extent, automating the problem-recovery process.

BMC has boosted its products’ capabilities, both through internal development and acquisition. Last year, the company acquired ProActiveNet, which has moved it further towards providing real predictive capability — software that can read danger signs and alert staff to problems before they become acute.

Nugent says that critical needs include “filtering out the noise” — warnings automatically issued by systems that are not indicative of anything serious — performing automated “root cause analysis”, to take staff directly to the underlying problem; and predicting which business services will be impacted if the problem is not fixed promptly.

BMC now uses the term “service assurance” for this battery of functions.

The detection of faults, and their causes, interfaces with the run-book automation (RBA) functions that BMC added to its repertoire with the recent acquisition of RealOps (Computerworld, March 3).

ICT, both here and overseas, is presently evaluating such frameworks, for better orchestrating the management of their services, including ITIL and, most particularly, its latest incarnation ITIL version 3.

“It gets people interested in managing the service lifecycle well [and] in accordance with best practice,” says Nugent. “This creates a push towards good service management, and, hence, to smartening up and extending those old Patrol implementations.”

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