IT Building Blocks: The Essential Elements of IT Foundation Management

Foundation Management defines the scope of a foundation by all of the technologies that contribute to the reliable, secure and compliant operation of the business. This definition requires ITFM to embrace all technologies regardless of who made them, what they are, or where they physically (or virtually) reside. All organizations have hardware and software from different vendors in their I.T. Infrastructure and most organizations have a mix of technology platforms. Because of this, Foundation Management cannot be achieved without the ability to bring any type of technology under systems-based management.

The specific scope of a given Foundation is most often determined by the flows of information that are available and relevant to the achieving of a business goal. That business goal can be anything that is important to the business.

In addition, ITFM is an essential part of the strategic CIO’s game plan behind providing the kind of leadership that addresses CXO concerns and supports the executive business role of the CIO. Foundation Management is a key imperative to protecting the organization’s Brand, delivering customer satisfaction, increasing margin, and by decreasing litigation and regulatory penalty vulnerability.

In this regard, Foundation Management serves to protect the organization from the occurrence of negative events that can lead to financial loss or reportable negative incidents while creating the forensic evidence to prove such events or incidents never occurred in the first place; shutting down misplaced, frivolous or opportunistic threats.

Flows of Information
ITFM recognizes that IT devices – both hardware and software – can produce information about their operational status, health, and activity in a number of different ways that often require specific technical capabilities in order to interact with that information. To meet this challenge, Foundation Management defines the management scope as “all flows of information relevant to the business goal at hand.”

The “flows of information” concept enables ITFM to embrace a much broader set of technology than infrastructure or systems approaches do traditionally do – increasing the organization’s ability to perform proactive response to conditions that can adversely affect business operations before the adverse affect actually occurs. This also opens the technology management practice to devices that are not normally considered part of the I.T. infrastructure though they are imminently relevant to business goals.

Non-Traditional Devices
By extending the scope of ITFM to technology traditionally not considered part of the I.T. Infrastructure, any other device (hardware or software) that can “talk” can become part of the Foundation Management strategy.

For example, building security systems that may be an important part of an organization’s security and compliance practice can be incorporated into the Foundation. Fire alarms, power supplies, power delivery systems, lighting and HVAC may also be relevant and be incorporated into the Foundation to support systems reliability, threat detection, risk mitigation and cost management strategies.

The same may be the case for industry-specific devices such as medical equipment or distributed utility systems with “smart” controllers capable of generating flows of information. The discerning factor in Foundation Management is not so much what purpose a device services, but whether or not it can produce a flow of information, and if so, is that flow of information relevant to the business goal.

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