Total spend on IT infrastructure products deployed in cloud environments was about $44.2 billion, says an IDC report. Overall spend on IT infrastructure – including server, enterprise storage, and Ethernet switches – had an increase by 18.2% in 2017, says the same report.

While a lot of money is spent on IT infrastructure to meet customer demands, experts say that a concerted effort to identify, prioritize and monitor business services is missing in many organizations, which jeopardizes their reputation and results in outage costs getting escalated.

For example, imagine a retailer whose business service suddenly becomes unavailable when a customer tries to place an order? What if this happens consistently like 3 times in a month? What mechanism can be put in place to monitor this business service and alert when something goes wrong?

Business Service and Service Mapping

Gartner’s maturity model shows that among Infrastructure & Operations personnel, the current ranking on the maturity scale (stages include: Awareness, Committed, Proactive, Service Aligned, Business Partner) is 2.35 out of a possible 5.

This score means that majority of IT organizations have not yet achieved a service-aligned view of their operations.

What is a business service? A business service is a set of interconnected applications and hosts, which are configured to offer a service to the organization. Examples of business services include internal systems in an organization such as email to an online retail system that helps customers purchase products. The online retail system can have a number of business services that uses different complex IT components such as Applications, Middleware, Databases, Storage, Networks and Servers.

  • How can organizations identify the key infrastructure components on which the business services rely on?
  • How do they ensure that critical business services are identified, prioritized and monitored to ensure that they are always available and responsive?

In order to achieve that, organizations need a detailed map of their relevant business processes and the IT resources they look up to. This approach is called as Service Mapping.

Service Mapping – Some Background

Traditionally, organizations used manual efforts to create service maps. Using legacy discovery tools, organizations used either programmers or subject matter experts to create the mapping. This approach had 2 major challenges:

  • The maps took time to design since they were created manually.
  • The pace at which infrastructure changes happened made it difficult for the organization to incorporate the changes in the business service map.

Service Mapping with ServiceNow

With ServiceNow organizations can now discover all business services and build a comprehensive map of all devices, applications, and configuration profiles used in these business services. ServiceNow uses a patented, automated, top down approach that provides IT with visibility into the IT infrastructure that makes up business services.

Starting with the use of Pattern/Traffic based Discovery to identify the right CI’s(Configuration Items) that are relevant to the business service and setting up discovery rules to include/exclude a CI type or specific CI from traffic-based discovery, implementing service mapping requires good knowledge of the business and expertise in ServiceNow’s ITOM suite, particularly Discovery and Service Mapping.

As discussed in the earlier part of the article, unavailability of business services can lead to loss of reputation and impact revenues severely. It is important to choose the right partner to help with your service mapping efforts.