Why do you integrate processes?
Process integration is one of the most under-appreciated functions within an integration. Far too many organisations see integration as something you only do with applications. However, for integrations to work well (or at all!) you need to factor in the process and people elements of the connections too.
Respecting HOW people work, is fundamental to integration success. The more you invest in understanding you're team’s processes and the various nuances that surround them, the more accurate and supportive the rules governing your integrations will be. To do this you have to carry out thorough and well-documented assessments of existing processes. When you have this, you can then include the ‘how people work’ bit into your integration. This will allow you to ensure that when tickets and data are exchanged between one application to another; they move, appear and interact in ways which make perfect sense to the people at the other end.
For example: If you update a service request in ServiceNow, which in turn then updates a task in Jira, you want to be sure that the categorisation, fields and assignees are correct. If they are, then the work gets done at the right time, by the right person! If they are not correct, you have actually created additional work and business waste.
What are the common processes?
Over the years, we have seen hundreds of Service Integration projects, many of which orbit around a similar set of processes. So here are some of our key learnings on getting your process integration right.
Prioritizing Incident management
This is one of the most common processes across service teams, and thus one of the most commonly integrated processes too. One of the biggest issues, which occur around incidents in cross-party/vendor environments is prioritization. This happens because what is important to one organisation can be less (or perhaps more) important to another! The way round this is provide as much context as possible and for each party to understand what business goals and outcomes are at risk when certain services are experience outages. Ensuring that the incident management process includes the business impact of a service within the prioritization, and that this context is included in the integration is the most effective way of overcoming this issue.
Event management and service monitoring is an essential ingredient to any high-performing integration. This is of course because Event management enables your IT team to know about outages before they even have an impact on the business. When this level of automation and insight can be easily shared in real-time with other teams and vendors, you significantly reduce the business impact of incidents. You can make big steps forward in this area by simply having conversations with third-parties and other departments about what would be useful for them to know.
For example: If your telecoms provider would like to know when you experience email outages, so they can have a wider view of your overall communications, would that be helpful? You will never know until you ask! It is actually quite rare for these opportunities and questions to be offered up freely from within the internal service desk, so taking this approach can genuinely create innovative and meaningful improvements.
Most managers hate reporting. It never shows the numbers you want, senior management love to probe you about the ‘red bits’ and you often have to gather up numbers from several systems and services to make it show ‘the big picture’. However, Service Reporting benefits greatly from integration because you can now automate all those gathering, calculating and curating tasks!
If you have ITSM, Monitoring, Development and NetOps tools all hooked up to a single integration platform, all that data is now available to be automatically gathered in one place and populated in any way you see fit. Not only that, but because modern and Next Generation integration tools offer real-time access to every data point, you can show overly curious managers any insight they need to see on the fly, with no more re-running reports or number crunching.
Looking to learn more?
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Traditionally speaking, process integration just isn’t as easy as described above. However, with the introduction of Next Generation tooling and approaches, you can create, manage and scale your integrations faster than ever before.
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