Industrial supplies distribution company (USA)

Introduction

Our company is based in the USA, serving all North America.  Our IT footprint has grown over the years to be over 300 IT employees and more than 25,000 IT Assets.  As is the case with many companies, as we have grown so have the number of disparate systems that we own to keep track of our IT inventory.  The spreadsheets, databases, and other methods of tracking are not adequate any more.

It has become difficult to understand our environment and how the IT infrastructure supports the business.  What is mission critical, or just important?  Which departments would be affected by outages?  At what stage in the lifecycle is my hardware and when should I refresh it?

It became very clear that we needed to consolidate our infrastructure data and map it to our business.  After many failed attempts to do this with traditional spreadsheets or by building our own database, we came across CMDBuild and CMDBuild READY2USE.

We see this product as a framework to centralize our data, map it to business processes and regain control of our IT landscape.

There are two main phases of the project.

  1. Inventory Management: Consolidate our inventory of Hardware and Software and retire numerous old applications/databases.
  2. Business Function and Solution mapping: Understand all the business functions, the solutions that they use and map this to the infrastructure.

The support, advise and training from Tecnoteca has been second to none and we are now making our own changes to the application with confidence.  The 7-hour time difference has not been a factor in this relationship.

Phase 1: Inventory Management

This initial phase has taken feeds from our Personnel database, Inventory Management Database, VMware vCenter and from OCS Inventory to give us a complete view of our inventory, which is never more than 24 hours out of date.

We chose OCS Inventory as our Hardware and Software Discovery tool which collects data from all our computer assets and reports back into CMDBuild.  A future enhancement to OCS will allow us to report back on other non-computing resources (Switches, Routers, etc.).

Some immediate benefits have been that, our Service Desk can now search on a caller’s name and identify the hardware and software assigned to the user and be one step ahead when helping them.

The IT Asset Management team has up-to-date information and is aware of any changes to the environment and Desktop and Server technicians have real information available.

Phase 2: Business Function and Solution Mapping

The second phase has extended the Data Model to allow us to document our Business Functions and Solutions and map them to the infrastructure.

After a small amount of training we were able to design and build this ourselves.  Our model defines the Business Taxonomy, the functions performed, and the solutions used to perform the functions.

Each Business Function is assigned a level of criticality to the business, from Mission Critical to General Purpose. 

The Business Solutions are mapped to the Business Functions they support, the servers they are running on, the departments that own them and the IT teams that support them.  Each Business Solution is assigned service levels for RTO (Recovery Time Objective), RPO (Recovery Point Objective), Real Time Performance and Data Recovery.

Current Status

Currently, we are in the process of entering the business data and mapping to the infrastructure.  When complete, we will have a level of visibility into our IT Environment that we have never had before.  The benefits to our organization will be seen in these areas:

  • Asset Management
  • IT Portfolio Management
  • Business Continuity Management
  • Vulnerability Management
  • Enterprise Architecture, Standards, Life Cycle Management, Software Version Management
  • Service Desk and Operations

Further integration with OCS Inventory will allow more complete Inventory Management across all Infrastructure Hardware and Vulnerability Management.

Peter G. - IT Architecture Manager