VOLUME 4, NUMBER 1, JANUARY Alloy Navigator 5: Robust New Service Management Solution Slated for Release

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1 Directions VOLUME 4, NUMBER 1, JANUARY 2006 Welcome to Directions Welcome to the January 2006 issue of Directions, Alloy Software s online customer newsletter. Let us know any topics you want to read about, or your thoughts about this newsletter. Send your comments and questions to About Alloy Software Alloy Software is the leading global provider of Service Management, Asset Management, and Network Management solutions that capitalize on continuous changes in IT business technology. Our mission is to deliver powerful and practical software solutions that meet the critical demands of the enterprise service management community. Alloy Software, Inc Broad Street, Building A Bloomfield, NJ USA Website: Sales Team: Technical Support: General Information: Phone (9:00 am to 6:00 pm EST): (U.S. toll free) or (International) Fax: (U.S.) or (Int l) Alloy Navigator 5: Robust New Service Management Solution Slated for Release Customizable, Modular Solution Lets You Align IT with the Priorities of Your Business Alloy Software announces the imminent release of its groundbreaking Alloy Navigator 5, an innovative new IT solution that lets you introduce best practices for Service Management into your organization. You can implement each component of this flexible, modular system at your own pace depending on your unique needs and degree of readiness. Based on industry best practices and the overall framework of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Alloy Navigator is an adaptable, comprehensive system for effectively managing both your IT infrastructure and your Service Desk by aligning IT with the priorities of your business. Alloy Navigator uses a Configuration Management Database 1, or CMDB, as the core foundation for your service support processes. Using the CMDB, you can manage the complete lifecycle of each individual physical or logical component in your IT infrastructure, 1. For more information about using a CMDB, see Controlling the IT Infrastructure with a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) on page 3. allowing the flexible administration of a continuously changing IT infrastructure. This integrated approach helps to improve the quality of your service support operation. In turn, this maximizes the various business processes of your organization as well as their overall performance, ensuring the current and future viability of your business. Several of Alloy Navigator s major features include: Four types of Service Support tickets, which can be mutually related (e.g., Work Orders that are based on Incident or Change Request tickets) CMDB for managing all data about each object in your IT infrastructure, and tracking the relationships and dependencies among these interrelated objects (continued on page 2) IN THIS ISSUE Alloy Navigator 5 Release 1 Professional Training and 2 Consulting Services Alloy Navigator 5 Webinars 3 Controlling the Infrastructure with a CMDB 3

2 (continued from page 1) Knowledge Base with hierarchical indexing, categorizing, and searching Technician s Web Portal that is fully integrated with Alloy Navigator s Service Support and Knowledge Base Integrated Self-Service Portal for end-users to submit tickets, monitor their statuses, and search the Knowledge Base Business Logic function for creating customized business rules that automate service-related processes (e.g., automatically ing a technician about an assignment to a new support ticket, or notifying a technician that a ticket is overdue) Comprehensive Asset Management functionality, including network discovery, software licensing compliance, asset depreciation, and lifecycle management Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to monitor service performance based on agreed-upon service levels Change Management to control the process of making changes to an IT infrastructure, and reduce changerelated incidents on service quality Customizable and Scalable Absolutely no software programming knowledge is required to customize Alloy Navigator: The system is easily customizable to accommodate your exacting business needs. Unlike other solutions with complex integration requirements for a series of future addon options, you can realize a fast ROI by deploying this single seamless solution right from the start. And yet, Alloy Navigator is fully scalable, offering your business unlimited room for future growth. In addition, Alloy Navigator s Main Console includes an extensive contextsensitive Help system that provides an exhaustive set of embedded instructions when you need them. New Crystal Reports Alloy Software has also integrated Crystal Reports software into Alloy Navigator. This gives you access to a number of predefined templates, with the ability to generate a host of detailed management reports based on an unlimited number of database parameters. See Figures 2 and 3 on page 6 for two samples of these reports. Alloy Navigator includes the Crystal Reports viewer for previewing, printing, and exporting these reports. In addition, you can purchase a license for the Crystal Report designer from Alloy Software. This will enable you to change the default reports and add custom ones. Business benefits realized from using Alloy Navigator include: Investing wisely in industry best practices for Service Management Implementing world-class Service Desk standards Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for IT infrastructure assets Maximizing business performance Ensuring (and/or exceeding) customer service expectations Controlling enterprise-wide changes to your infrastructure Optimizing your organization s intellectual capital Increasing bottom-line profitability Migrating from Asset Navigator For existing Alloy Software customers who are using Asset Navigator (Alloy s Asset Management and Help Desk solution) and want to capitalize on the enterprise-level functionality of Alloy Navigator in a cost-effective manner, Alloy Software will be offering a logical migration path. Databases from Asset Navigator can easily be migrated to Alloy Navigator. For a limited time only, Asset Navigator customers will receive a promotional discount for upgrading from Asset Navigator V4.5. Product Availability Alloy Navigator will be shipping imminently, and will be sold off-theshelf in pre-packaged form. A full evaluation version of Alloy Navigator will be available upon release. This includes an Alloy Navigator Evaluation Guide that will offer a guided tour of several major features and functions. If you have questions about this impending solution, call or Alloy s Sales Department. For the latest news about the upcoming release, go to More information will be available shortly, so stay tuned! Alloy Software Offering Professional Training & Consulting Services Alloy Software will be offering a complete menu of professional services for customers who would like personalized assistance with implementing or using Alloy Navigator. Professional services will encompass both Training and Consulting Services. Alloy Training Services Training Services are designed to educate specific target audiences on using Alloy Navigator. Alloy Software will be offering a variety of online training courses, as well as traditional classroom-based workshops with user, technician, or administrator audiences, including the following: End-users who are working with Alloy Navigator s Self-Service Portal Service support technicians who are working with Alloy Navigator s Main Console or Web Portal (continued on page 3) ALLOY SOFTWARE DIRECTIONS 2 MAXIMIZE YOUR IT UNIVERSE

3 (continued from page 2) System administrators who want to maximize their implementation or configuration of Alloy Navigator Alloy Consulting Services Consulting Services are designed to deliver dedicated expertise to each individual organization based on its unique needs, including: Installing Alloy Navigator Migrating an Asset Navigator V4.5 database to Alloy Navigator Importing organizations and contacts from Active Directory or other sources Integrating other software applications with Alloy Navigator Integrating barcode scanners Configuring the Network Inventory module, including setting up an automated audit; creating software recognition rules; and configuring an Inventory Server Installing and configuring the Web Portal, including integrating it with a company intranet Designing new custom reports or changing Alloy Navigator s existing ones Creating templates Creating business rules Customizing fields Customizing the Knowledge Base, including creating index and article categories; and creating and/or implementing Cascading Style Sheets Creating Work Calendars Providing advice on industry best practices for service management Creating an Alloy Navigator implementation plan, based on the current state versus the desired state For more information about Training and Consulting Services, please contact Alloy Software Technical Support at or call Series of Alloy Navigator Webinars to be Provided Alloy Software will offer a series of informative, educational webinars on overcoming some of the challenges facing today s IT professionals. The webinar series will be presented over a two-month period. Most webinars will be scheduled about 30 days in advance. At the end of each webinar, there will be time for participants to engage in a 15- minute interactive Q&A session with our knowledgeable speakers. Some of the topics planned may include: Realizing the Benefits of Best Practices in Service Management Leveraging Asset Lifecycle Management Touring Alloy Navigator: Major New Functions and Feature Enhancements Using Business Logic to Automate Service Processes To choose your topics of interest and register for webinar updates, click here for the webinar survey. The final topics and time frames for the webinars will be published once the series is scheduled. Controlling the IT Infrastructure with a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) EDITOR S NOTE: This article is the first in a four-part series excerpted from Alloy Software s upcoming white paper, Aligning IT with Business Priorities. This paper will describe current trends in IT Service Management, and the business value that IT executives can realize by using Alloy Navigator. The next article in this series will be Investing Wisely in IT Best Practices. One of the most daunting challenges business faces today is how to deliver a sophisticated level of service support for a complex configuration of IT components, while simultaneously controlling an array of accelerating costs. Many organizations have become increasingly reliant on the diverse components of a large, complex, and widely distributed infrastructure. Without a well-defined configuration management process, these organizations will probably spend too much time correcting problems on-thefly, and performing ad hoc changes to the configuration items (CIs) in this infrastructure. The most important step towards aligning IT service support with the priorities of the business is to implement a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Demystifying Configuration Management A CMDB is a unified database repository for details about all the CIs in a given IT infrastructure. As a whole, the CMDB is a mapping of an IT infrastructure s actual physical contents and their logical relationships. The CMDB stores all of the typical details about each CI, but more important, also stores details about all the objects that are related to each CI. These related objects can be assets, people, Knowledge Base articles, service desk tickets, and so on. Unlike the principle of asset management, which primarily concerns each infrastructure component that has a monetary property value, configuration management concerns all of the CIs, and managing the intricacies of the interrelationships and dependencies among them. Configuration management becomes the natural precursor for controlling all the changes made to any of these CIs, based on the principle of change management. This industry best practice can become a pivotal turning point for minimizing the risks and potentially negative impact of changing any of these interrelated infrastructure items. Change management is vital to ensuring the continuity of the business, and contributes to the economic and effective delivery of IT support services. (continued on page 4) ALLOY SOFTWARE DIRECTIONS 3 MAXIMIZE YOUR IT UNIVERSE

4 (continued from page 3) Using a core CMDB foundation, configuration management enables an organization to plan, identify, control, maintain, and verify all of the CIs that are essential to a given IT service provided by that organization. In addition, configuration management helps an organization report on their IT components, and address the possible impact(s) that changes to these items will have on the IT support services provided. Once deployed, the CMDB provides a solid underpinning for two other closely related support processes, based on industry best practices for IT Service Management: incident management and problem management. Incident management is designed to minimize the adverse customer support and economic impacts of service interruptions or reductions. Problem management is designed to apply permanent solutions, instead of temporary workarounds, to the root causes of incidents. Many organizations have been using asset databases to manage their infrastructures, but many more have made the crucial decision to migrate to CMDB-based service management systems. The newest entry into this class of sophisticated service management systems is Alloy Software s Alloy Navigator 5. Equipped with a powerful CMDB, Alloy Navigator quickly becomes inherent to an organization s key business processes. This is accomplished by ensuring continuity of its IT support services through some of the following activities: Providing the CMDB foundation for all service management processes Controlling every aspect of change to an IT environment Managing all CIs 2 throughout their complete lifecycle Monitoring the relationships and dependencies among all CIs Using a powerful search mechanism to locate any CIs in the CMDB Retiring obsolete CIs while storing them as read-only records in the CMDB Using the integrated Asset Management and Network Inventory function for related activities that include: Creating rules that recognize installed software during the audit Calculating the current value of computers, hardware, and software with standard depreciation methods Monitoring licensed and unlicensed software Managing any critical organizational documents in a dedicated Documents component Moving to a CMDB Depending on the type of CI, Alloy Navigator stores such data as: Identification (depending on the object type, its name, barcode, serial number, owner, organization, location, status, and title; plus ID and asset tag) Categorization Lease information Product data Users Configuration (computer CIs) Financial information, including purchasing data and depreciated value Allocated and discovered software (computer CIs) 2. Alloy Navigator has five classes of CIs: computers, hardware, licensed software products, networks, and documents. You can define your own categories within these classes. In Alloy Navigator, CIs are computers, hardware, licensed software products, networks, and documents; whereas assets are CIs that have a specific monetary property value, such as computers, hardware, and software products. Computer installations (software CIs) Licensing compliance (software CIs) Because the CMDB is wholly integrated with Alloy Navigator s Service Support module, the relationships among the CIs extend to encompass the complete history of all service support tickets for each CI. In addition, the CMDB stores for each CI an unlimited number of relationships with other related objects. The type of relation depends on the class of CI. For example, a mouse will be shown as connected to its computer; a computer will be shown as related to its maintenance agreement; and a hardware device will be shown as connected to a service support Incident ticket. See Figure 1 on page 5 for a sample screen showing a computer s related objects. Moreover, you can easily maintain and manage complex relationships. For example, a master change control document can be directly related to numerous Change Request tickets, of which two are directly related to an Incident ticket, which is directly related to five Work Order tickets. The CMDB is seamlessly integrated with Alloy Software s intelligent Network Inventory module, which delivers a comprehensive audit of all the machines on a network(s), and automatically loads this data right into the CMDB. You can use the Software Recognition Manager to create rules to recognize installed software during this audit. Furthermore, Alloy Navigator s integrated Crystal Reports viewer allows management to analyze this invaluable data by generating numerous detailed reports. Figures 2 and 3 on page 6 show two of these sample reports. (continued on page 5) ALLOY SOFTWARE DIRECTIONS 4 MAXIMIZE YOUR IT UNIVERSE

5 FIGURE 1: In Alloy Navigator, the Related Objects tab of a computer CI record shows the computer s related objects (which are also CIs) (continued from page 4) The nature of today s infrastructure is such that the lack of a CMDB may place the business at risk for deleterious economic effects. Implementing a CMDB to manage the increasing complexity and support costs of an IT infrastructure can protect against business service interruptions by providing the following benefits: Increased visibility of all CIs Maximized control of mission-critical IT services Clearly demonstrated business case for change Accurate planning information for new purchases Reported problem trends with certain CIs Supported and enhanced software and hardware upgrade processes Minimized future problems with CIs Contributes to contingency planning Improved estimation of maintenance, licensing, and replacement costs Enhanced provision of cost-effective IT support services Additional benefits derived from using the software licensing compliance functionality of the integrated Network Inventory module include: Reduced use of unauthorized software Improved security through controlling CI versions Maintained legal requirements to licensing agreements through apprisal of unauthorized software Accurate details about all CIs throughout their complete lifecycle See page 6 for two of Alloy Navigator s default reports: Software products by type and category, and computers by location and status. The next article in this series will be Investing Wisely in IT Best Practices, which will be published in the April issue of Directions. ALLOY SOFTWARE DIRECTIONS 5 MAXIMIZE YOUR IT UNIVERSE

6 FIGURE 2: Report showing software products by their type and category FIGURE 3: Report showing computers by their location and status ALLOY SOFTWARE DIRECTIONS 6 MAXIMIZE YOUR IT UNIVERSE

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