At times, building applications with lines of code feels like constructing a replica of the Empire State Building out of toothpicks - a single vulnerability, however slight, could cause a complete collapse.
For toothpick architects, the damage doesn't pose a threat to anything besides their pride - so long as everyone was wearing goggles when the toothpicks came tumbling down - but disruptions to IT service can be financially catastrophic. In a 2013 study, Aberdeen Group researched business continuity across different organizations and revealed downtime costs, on average, more than $163,000 per hour.
What could that mean when a business' internal IT services go under? What could that mean to IT service providers when their software falls apart in the hands of their customers? Nothing good for client retention, that's what. Really, it doesn't matter what the exact figure is when it comes to downtime losses. Just know, when downtime happens, businesses lose. Period.
But you know what they say: The best defense is a good offense. Advanced IT service management suites protect application change with tools designed with configuration integrity in mind.
Step Aside, Puny Humans - Automation Is Here
Automation in the ITSM sphere primarily reduces workload for service management teams. Consider the benefits of automated incident management, for starters: Not only do customers solve their own issues faster than if they'd collaborated with actual IT members, but these tech wizards - whose precious time can't be wasted asking "Have you tried reloading the page?" - deal only with major concerns, leaving the trifles to automated self-service technology.
But there's a hidden advantage IT service providers might be too proud to admit. More automation means less human error. In an interview with TechTarget, data center expert Robert McFarlane stated three out of every four downtime events occur because of human error. How is that possible?
"It's easy to say 'lack of training,' but even the best trained people still make mistakes when they are in a rush, are tired, weren't really thinking, or just thought they could get away with taking a shortcut," said McFarlane.
With better ITSM tools at their disposal, IT teams can automate things like regression testing. This alone both reduces the risk of implementing faulty change by adding a layer of security to change and release management, while also lightening IT workloads and streamlining processes by eliminating manual steps. That means no more weighing risks against deadlines.
Leave No Serious Problem Unchanged
As we mentioned already, automated incident management can take some of the pressure off IT teams clambering to push important updates into the configuration. Problem management, on the other hand, will always involve some form of manual aspect, at least for the foreseeable future.
Why? Tracking problems is really about tracking trends, monitoring recurring issues that prevent users from utilizing software the ways they want or the ways the applications were designed to work. Collaboration between IT managers and data analysis is necessary - one won't work well without the other.
What does this have to do with downtime? If you think of IT service as the family minivan, a problem is like a dashboard light going off. Though you may choose to ignore it, it may be trying to warn you about something serious under the hood. Effective problem management with ITSM notifies service providers as to issues which could easily snowball into widespread application failures at a moment's notice. Catch these problems early enough, and DevOps teams can enact beneficial change without sounding the alarms. Crisis averted.