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Service Mapping 101 – Back to Basics

Service maps enable IT organizations to identify dependencies between SLAs, OLAs, technologies, customers, and the impact to the service delivery. Knowing who delivers a service and who consumes it are critical. Proper implementation and maintenance of this process will ensure the availability of reliable data.

When most organizations take on a sizable project mapping out Business Services, they commonly jump in feet first, beginning by focusing on the technical aspects of what needs to be mapped. While this may work at times for a small mapping project, it often leads to major issues when it’s found that scopes expand and hundreds of services need to be mapped. Let ConfiureTek experts give you the basics of Service Mapping with ServiceNow; just read on.

Ownership Enables Success!

Your first focus is to keep in mind that input loaded into your CMDB must always have an owner assigned. This goes for relational data between Business Services and infrastructure level data too. One of the most common pitfalls that occurs with CMDB’s, happens when trust in the data is lost and the organization no longer wants to invest the time and effort into maintaining data they feel is unreliable. Because of this, all Service Mapping projects should have a proper process that not only takes into account what to map, but who is responsible for each piece of the process.

ITILv3 states that a service owner role is “to act as prime customer contact for all service-related enquiries and issues”. This is not possible in all businesses, but when planning your process start with this question: “Who will sign off on these service maps?” Starting this conversation properly will help enable a successful implementation. Service owners may be the same person or group that will ensure the data is correct, and it may be the same team or individual that is the primary contact if any issues should be encountered during or after deployment.

Once you have established service ownership, search for the information needed to create the maps. The assigned owners should have the appropriate subject matter expertise to know which infrastructure, applications, and entry points make up their business service. The primary contact should also complete the initial questionnaire which provides the information that the technical mapping team will need to begin mapping the Business Service. The primary contact will also be the point of contact for technical questions or verifications that may arise while the tool runs (e.g. verification of boundary points and appropriate infrastructure discovery).

How Do You Know a Map is Complete?

Initial verification and sign off of a map ensures both accuracy and efficiency, and creates a baseline for proper maintenance. It is important to understand that the mapping process is dynamic. One map may be created, verified, and never change in its lifetime while another one may change often. By ensuring ownership, the process of map verification and auditing can be dictated according to the owner’s needs for service delivery to consumers.

If an organization has a proper application life cycle, mapping completion may be as simple as adding a step within the life cycle process so the service owner can handle any discrepancies. In many cases though, organizations are not that advanced in tracking application life cycle states. As a result, owners will require attending service mapping at regular intervals to ensure success. (The interval should be determined by each individual organization’s need, as it may be based upon many different factors).

It is important to note that no two organizations are the same and that many of the concepts discussed above may be seen as either too advanced or even not necessary. While this may be a common perception, following best practices as outlined here in these basic steps is critical. A process should be developed that matches your organizational needs while also making sure that the data is kept up to date with a proper paper trail of any and all changes created along the life cycle. It’s nearly impossible to implement these processes after a mapping project has wrapped up, so it is absolutely crucial to start off with a solid foundation.

We specialize in Service Mapping and CMDB. Please contact us with any questions you may have and we will help you discover, map, and manage what matters most to your organization with efficiency and maximum business value.