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Expert Interview (Part 2): Andi Mann Compares ITSI and Business Service Management (BSM)

In Part 1 of this two-part expert interview with Andi Mann (@AndiMann), Splunk’s Chief Technology Advocate, he talks about IT Service Intelligence (ITSI) and how it fits with ITOA and AIOps, and the main drivers for the big investments organizations are making in Big Data. In today’s Part 2, he compares ITSI and Business Service Management, and discusses the reasons mainframe and distributed IT are sharing data, and the use cases where organizations are building more effective digital capabilities with mainframe back ends.

ITSI sounds a lot like what we have called Business Service Management (BSM) for the last decade, what is different about it?

Today, it is clear that the promise of Business Service Management was never fulfilled. It was too ambitious for its time, too complex in its make-up, and suffered from deficient underlying technologies – not least its database-driven approach.

Business Service Management was too hard to create and update service definitions, and too rigid in how service data was collected and managed. It relied on too few data sources for actionable business insight, and was typically restricted to too few (typically tech-centric) users to have broad business impact.

Download our free eBook: IT Service Intelligence (ITSI) -- What Professionals Need to Know

By contrast, Splunk IT Service Intelligence (ITSI) uses an analytics-driven solution, with machine learning, open integrations, and real-time processes as part of a modern business-centric solution. Unlike legacy BSM tools, ITSI integrates data sources from across the organization (and beyond), providing highly customizable visualizations, even in rapidly changing environments. ITSI is flexible and secure enough to provide real-time insights for any user, on-demand and on-the-fly. BSM tools pale in comparison.

One of short-comings of BSM, or whatever we chose to call it, had been the weak integration between IT metrics from distributed platforms with mainframe systems within IT infrastructures – how does ITSI help to address this?

With so much mission-critical data coming from mainframe platforms, it is amazing how many tools and solutions ignore it, or at best publish some kind of loosely-coupled connector and call it a day. That is not nearly enough for such a valuable source of intelligence. Instead you need to treat the mainframe as a first-class citizen in the service environment, alongside cloud, *nix, mobile, and other systems.

ITSI integrates tightly with solutions from trusted mainframe partners like Syncsort to ingest data from mainframe platforms, and combine them with distributed systems, to provide cohesive insights into the activity, status, and performance of cross-enterprise services.

This means more than just scraping application outputs, but also safely and securely integrating data from syslog, RMF, SMF, IMS/CICS, MICS, and other sources on zOS and zLinux partitions. Tightly integrating mainframe data in this way is the only way to provide total visibility of enterprise-wide services.

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We are seeing the walls between mainframe and distributed IT coming down as organizations are more open to sharing information – what are some of the primary use cases driving this?

People are starting to understand that, despite some challenges, mainframe applications and data are too critical to leave in their own silo.

As organizations work through new “digital” projects, they eventually realize that the mainframe is the locus of so much mission-critical information. Teams focused on mobile engagement, customer experience, sentiment analysis, web interfaces, application modernization, digital transformation, and even innovation are realizing that you cannot just “ringfence” the mainframe.

You need mainframe data for a truly cohesive application, so they are building more effective experiences by integrating new “digital” capabilities with mainframe back ends.

Download Syncsort’s eBook, IT Service Intelligence: What Professionals Need to Know, to see how an IT Service Intelligence approach extends ITSSM to provide end-to-end visibility and insight into the operational health of critical IT and business services which span distributed systems, mainframe, and even mobile devices.


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