Figuring out how the various layers of your tech stack best work together can be a bit like solving a puzzle.
When it comes to IT Service Management (ITSM) Tools, the current market leaders stress the value of implementing automation - and it's fair to say that many organizations are investing heavily in those technologies to streamline process and reduce operating costs. While many ITSM solutions are developing or offering task automation from a ticketing perspective, though, real automation of action is often a different story.
This is where Endpoint Management (EPM) toolsets come into play. EPM tools offer value by tracking key data points on Endpoint devices, as well as allowing for powerful trigger-and-response functionality that drives execution of client-side actions. The challenge that presents itself, then, is this: How do you get your ITSM automations to trigger action by your EPM tool?
The "easy button" solution that many ITSM developers are beginning to offer now, is an EPM tool that is specifically designed to work as part of a platform approach. An example of this is BMC's Helix ITSM solution that is offered as part of a greater platform that includes their Client Systems Management tool. For some organizations, this all-in-one approach may satisfy the need, but for many others - especially cost-conscious orgs - this may prove to be priced out of their reach.
“The challenge that presents itself, then, is this: How do you get your ITSM automations to trigger action by your EPM tool?”
If, like them, an all-in-one solution does not fit your organization's needs, the next path is typically looking for an existing (or developing a new) integration between two disparate systems and implementing it. When doing so, it's critical to have the right expertise engaged to ensure that not only is the integration able to be implemented in a fashion that is timely and cost-effective, but that the integration serves the purpose of enabling robust, bi-directional workflows to occur between the ITSM and EPM tools in use.
ServiceNow + BigFix
As part of a case study, Noware has developed and published an open source plugin that supports one common ITSM and EPM tech stack, ServiceNow ITSM and HCL's BigFix EPM. This plugin is a simple yet powerful tool that allows the two systems to converse API to API. Our initial use case for the plugin is the automated delivery of software by BigFix upon the successful approval of a related Request in ServiceNow.
Using this plugin, an automated workflow can be kicked off by an end user by requesting their software in the ServiceNow Service Catalog, which generates a request for approval. If approved, ServiceNow "converses" with BigFix via the plugin, using ServiceNow CMDB details to instruct BigFix which device should be deployed to, which software to deploy, and even which license is used in doing so. BigFix then executes the deployment as requested. Upon completion, BigFix then uses the plugin to indicate the Request has been successfully completed. The plugin will also trigger remediation activity by technical resources should the automation fail to complete.
As a result, several tasks that were previously completed by technical resources are automated:
The action to request approval for the software deployment.
The action to deploy the software.
The action to track which license is used in the deployment.
The action to complete the Request ticket in ServiceNow.
The action to engage technical resources to remediate a failed install.
This alone has the potential to save an organization vital time and cost associated with a key facet of their IT Service Delivery. Find out more about how this plugin is being developed, and contribute to it's growth by checking out our GitHub entry.
Noware offers both consultation and development services for this and other Business IT needs. To learn more about Noware and how we can help your business move forward, see our Get Started page.