Bridging the Gap Between ITSM & DevOps Through Integration
Top Challenges, Why Integration is Useful & What is the Added Value
In big companies, ITSM & DevOps often coexist. The service desk is a part of ITSM, while R&D, QA, and monitoring are a part of a DevOps system. However, they are not always synchronized — which could pose a challenge when handling issues. And especially when issues are bouncing back and forth between departments.
Of course, high-level goals for both ITSM & DevOps are common. In nearly all organizations, they are related to achieving and maintaining excellent uptime & response time stats and achieving high levels of customer satisfaction — plus a combination of other objectives related to the specific products and services that are offered, as well as to the business model of the company.
Yet, the tools that are used to reach those goals are different for ITSM & DevOps, as well as the approaches. And this is why effective solutions to align those tools are necessary.
So, how can ITSM & DevOps coexist? What are the main challenges they face? What is the best way to achieve smooth communication between different departments?
Let’s discuss that.
Top challenges for ITSM & DevOps
- The use of different tools
Each team uses a different set of software tools, which is logical and can be expected. Each of those tools has been designed with ITSM or DevOps in mind, so they correspond to the needs of each team and department that uses them. And we all know how difficult it might be to change working habits, especially if your system works well, and if you’re highly experienced in it. Problems arise if systems cannot synchronize with each other. And it’s not intuitive for professionals to look for ways to adapt to a system that isn’t native for them.
For ITSM, software tools that are commonly used are ServiceNow and BMC Remedy, for example. In general, ITSM tools are often aligned with ITIL. For DevOps, some of the tools that are often used are JIRA and Azure DevOps, which are more suitable for CI-CD. Those tools do not share the exact same principles and infrastructure, which leads us to the next challenge:
- Communication between the teams
Each side is hesitant to change habits and working tools, which can result in the duplication of work, or in exchanging incomplete or conflicting information. It’s easy to see how problematic it can be to log (and later resolve) the same issue twice, in two different tools. The obvious result? This can impede communication and make it slower and less efficient.
- Keeping response time low
Maintaining a low response time is directly related to achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. It’s one of the first metrics to take into consideration when aiming to improve the relationship with your clients. When ITSM & DevOps aren’t well aligned, this results in a response time that, while not necessarily bad in itself, could be improved.
How can this be achieved, though? What would be a successful strategy in helping ITSM & DevOps work better together?
After having discussed the challenges, let’s now look into one of the possible solutions: integration.
Integration platforms: bridging the gap between ITSM & DevOps
Integration can be extremely beneficial for improving communication between teams. It helps remediate structural or organizational vulnerabilities in a company, such as bottlenecks, duplication of work, or misaligned working procedures.
This can be particularly valuable when dealing with ITSM & DevOps. By synchronizing different tools in a given software ecosystem, an integration platform successfully resolves a number of problems. It greatly improves communication and end-to-end data flow within organizations, simplifies workflows, and automates processes.
This helps teams stay connected in new ways, which improves work cohesion. If you can use your own tools, which are relevant to your line of work, you’re also more involved. Resistance to the use of the other team’s tools is no longer a factor. Automation does the heavy lifting.
Integration reduces work redundancy, whereas different teams no longer need to log issues separately, or to perform similar actions twice to solve the same problem. Each team can concentrate on their side of the equation, while the integration platform guarantees a smooth synchronization between ITSM & DevOps. As a result, integration speeds up the delivery process and lowers response time.
Additionally, integration can significantly expand the functionalities of a given tool, simply by connecting it bi-directionally to other tools. Like this, the functionalities of each tool are harvested and added to a common system, or a functionality pool. This is done without disruption to the work process of any department, and without significantly modifying procedures. Introducing new tools (with new, different functionalities) also becomes easier, thanks to integration platforms.
Solving an issue with the help of integration — an example
To illustrate what we mean, let’s look into an example. We’re sure this is a scenario that is common for many organizations.
The Helpdesk team receives a ticket by the company’s end client in their ITSM platform (for example, ServiceNow). After investigating the issue at hand, they find out that it’s a product problem, which needs to be escalated to the Development team. Thanks to the integration platform, the problem is pushed from ServiceNow to JIRA, where a bug is logged. The Dev team solves it and updates its status in JIRA, after which the integration platform automatically pulls the information from it and instantly updates it in ServiceNow. The Helpdesk team can then close the ticket and inform the end client of the successful resolution of their problem. Overall, the whole process took much less time than it would without an integration platform to connect ServiceNow to JIRA. Plus, it was smooth and effortless for the teams involved. They needed to investigate and resolve the issue, and not spend time communicating it to others, or logging it in a different system.
Of course, there are many different cases where a similar scenario could play out — and with a lot of different ITSM & DevOps tools. Our platform ZigiOps allows for a large number of bi-directional integrations between some of the most popular enterprise software tools, such as ServiceNow, BMC Remedy, JIRA, Azure DevOps, and others.
In conclusion, we’d like to point out that agreeing on the overall strategy on a company level is essential for a smooth communication process. Building on that basis, however, is much easier if you’re using a well-functioning integration platform to synchronize ITSM & DevOps.
Like this, each department can stay on track, without having to spend unnecessary time in solving communication problems. Instead, everyone can concentrate on their piece of the puzzle — and let the integration platform automatically connect the pieces together.