You’ve heard the hype. The Internet of Things (IoT) promises a world where virtually every object is interconnected via embedded sensors, software and electronics to collect and exchange data. Gartner predicts that, by 2020, the IoT will grow to 20.8 billion connected things with 7.2 billion of them used by businesses.
Regardless of the pace at which businesses adopt the IoT, the best ITSM tools will have to evolve to deal with IoT-driven changes such as more connected nodes, data points, and automation, all of which add complexity. In this slideshow, Ujjwal Sood, product analyst, ManageEngine, has identified seven ways in which the IoT will impact ITSM.
Ujjwal Sood is a product analyst at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp. He works in the ITSM products division for the flagship product ServiceDesk Plus. He tracks emerging IT technologies and studies their impact and application in the IT service management context.
The Future of IoT and ITSM
Click through for seven ways in which the IoT will impact ITSM in the near future, as identified by Ujjwal Sood, product analyst, ManageEngine.
Proactive Incident Identification and Prevention
IT service desks typically deal with incidents reactively. This means that incidents are often reported to the IT service desk only after they have occurred. But, smart organizations can use IoT sensors to monitor device performance levels, thereby automatically reporting impending issues before they occur. Furthermore, you can proactively prevent incidents from occurring, mitigating the risk of downtime.
Impact on Agentless Network Scanning
Current hardware asset management processes require a scan of connected devices. For companies that use agentless scanning, devices can only be scanned when scheduled, and the network is loaded with inventory-scanning pings that degrade overall network performance. On the other hand, the large-scale interconnection of devices in an IoT network means that the devices are constantly exchanging pings, which avoids the traffic jams created by scheduled scans. Furthermore, you can identify and report a dead device in real time instead of waiting until the next scheduled scan to find it.
Shifting Focus on CI Relationships Through the CMDB
As components (nodes) in the IT infrastructure start communicating with each other, their relationships come into focus. This visibility helps map the flow of information in the network, which is essential to understanding how a problem with one node affects the entire network. With the IoT, ITAM practices will become more focused on the relationships between configuration items (CIs) to achieve this high level of visibility, meaning that the configuration management database (CMDB) will become an integral part of ITSM.
Impact on Root Cause Analysis
The current level of data analysis in the problem management process is limited by the relatively low device counts and data volume on today’s networks. However, for IoT networks, the volume of data will increase with the growing number of connected devices and technological advancements. This data can be used for a wider analysis of issues across IT, ultimately leading to continuous improvement and a decrease in associated major incidents.
Impact on Change Management
Implementing a change can be a challenge for IT organizations due to the increasingly interconnected nature of IT. With the IoT, implementing a change is a bigger challenge as there are more CIs connected to the network, and they are all more interdependent. For example, let’s say a department in an office has 10 nodes sharing and routing data with and through each other via near field communication (NFC). With IoT, if one of these nodes is changed, the routing table (which is common to all nodes) has to be modified, affecting the entire network. In contrast, when each node is connected to a conventional network, changing a node affects only that particular node and not the entire network. When implementing a change in an IoT network, it’s best to go for incremental steps to minimize the number of CIs that need to be changed and managed.
Centralize Purchases and Converge SAM and HAM
Assets are typically purchased through the procurement department, where they can easily be classified as IT and non-IT. However, this clear differentiation will blur in an IoT network, and all assets will have to be added to the CMDB for clarity. Therefore, the IT department will have to work with the procurement department to sort out assets. Another major consequence of the IoT is the convergence of software asset management (SAM) and hardware asset management (HAM) to support the transition of static, non-IT assets to IoT-enabled smart assets.
Beyond Incident Management
ITSM will go beyond incident management and into BI.
The IoT-enabled organizations of tomorrow will be able to use the huge amount of data generated by network-connected CIs to help cut costs and increase profits. For example, if the IT service desk is planning to initiate a change, the data collected by the IoT sensors can help analyze past data to figure out the most cost-efficient and non-intrusive downtime window to implement the change. The analysis and insight gained from IoT-enabled IT go a long way to ensure business availability.
While the IoT is currently a consumer-oriented technology, it can definitely impact businesses, especially when it comes to the ITSM domain, much like Wi-Fi and BYOD did in the past. There’s no doubt that IoT will revolutionize the world of automation and Big Data. This is a fantastic time for ITSM professionals to adopt IoT and help their businesses reap the benefits.