In previous articles about the functionality of e-service platform ITmonit (1 and 2) have been presented: in the first the specificity of micro and small enterprises, which in addition to the their need for more efficient business operations requires also a proactive attitude to manage their own IT infrastructure, in the second were discussed features of independent modules such as e-help and e-monitoring. They allow to manage IT infrastructure of organizations effectively according to their needs and skills.
This happens by taking into account different levels of practical knowledge and experience in the management of ICT equipment and trends related to this issue. The trend, which exists today shows that the solutions available on the market make it impossible to popularize proactive attitude to IT infrastructure management. However, it is equally necessary to take into account the cost of modernization and maintenance. So far the problem was a lack of available solutions to realization a wide range of activities and analyzes in order to prevent a premature wear of the equipment with simultaneous possibility of using outsourcing executed by an e-service platform. Developing ITmonit functionality based on this model for customers results in fast access to applications (Internet), low and spread over time the cost of charges (subscription). Additionally independent modules of ITmonit, such as e-help and e-monitoring have been adjusted to the a diversified knowledge about infrastructure management, and thus also diversified needs. This can be illustrated by two examples, in the first one we have employees of a small company who by using programs, systems, computers, and phones fulfil their daily tasks related only with business profile of their company, such as transactions, finalizing the contracts, preparing deals etc., so they don’t have a time for: a) streamlining processes for eg. sales by implementation of innovative solutions, b) optimizations and configurations of equipment, systems and programs; c) solving problems caused by malfunction or damage that occurs during current exploitation, d) analyzing of cases (causes, dependency) for prevention actions. One of the solutions in this case is hire an specialist of IT, but when a company is small and has only several employees, the costs relating to his maintenance disqualify this option. Another solution is to outsource, but understood more broadly than use of the services of the nearby IT company, because the solution offered by the module ITmonit, which is e-help beside supplying the system environment for managing IT infrastructure for the outsourcer, also provides a database of contacts which may be helpful for realization of service actions by another company of organization, which uses its services. Thereby giving a choice, which results in competitive prices.
In the second example, the company has a practical knowledge of the service actions, for example by hiring an administrator, also has a hardware, which includes various types of models and is from different manufacturers. This results a heterogeneity of brands what prevents an implementation of dedicated system offered by only one manufacturer, because it will not cooperate with appliances from other manufacturers. Briefly, currently exist tools to manage IT infrastructure, but with the stipulation that they concern a specific range of products. This leads to difficulties with shopping, because for micro and small enterprises is important to maximize savings rather than spending on the very possibility of using the system to manage the infrastructure by purchasing the products of one manufacturer. Therefore, such a solution is high-budget, what more except for monitoring of key parameters of components does not include e.g. mobile devices, which are used across many businesses as a basic work tool, what only demonstrates that this is not adjusted to constantly changing customer needs and requirements. So diagnosed need is homogeneous, friendly and feature-rich environment e.g. for remote assistance, inventory or handling taken or ongoing service activities. These highly versatile requirements also fulfils other module of ITmonit, which is e-monitoring, by offering in practice for the company the opportunity of using the platform under subscription, while reducing the costs associated with its implementation.
The platform, which is expected to realize a motto Effective IT Infrastructure Management must be based on innovative solutions for application access, ease of configuration and multiple tools available. One of them, in ITmonit are dynamically generated reports, which are available from level of e-help and e-monitoring. Reporting is the basis for a deeper familiarization with the conclusions of the inventory of hardware and software, and their exploitation. They allow to make decisions that are based on specific data. This is well shown in the example of information about the quantity of taken warranty claims (components, hardware etc.), which taken under consideration by subsequent purchases allows to make a choice of a different, extended service, or enhanced hardware that in the long term usage will be less expensive, more sustainable and efficient.
In ITmonit we can use the following reports:
- Status of IT infrastructure Report – collects data on devices that are connected to the network. It is available for the outsourcer and the company which is using its services. Similarly it can be used by independent administrator from company. The collected data include: a) the type of equipment, b) the key parameters (eg. temperature), c) the value of the monitored parameters, d) functioning of the device in the optimal range of values.
- The report of current service activities – applies ongoing and completed service requests, included in this area are records include: a) the date of creation b) assigned request number c) the topics of request d) the latest information regarding the action taken, e) category of request (the status of high or low), f) data on devices, its parameter, value out of range and its estimated optimal values. This report allows to gather full details of the request from its creation to completion. Outsourcer and the company have, thanks to it the full story of failure. It is also a real basis for the verification executing service outsourcer (basis of calculation) and their own administrator.
- Network interfaces status report – provides information from devices within the infrastructure and connected to the network. It allow outsourcer and administrator in the case of workstations to analyze which of them have Internet access, network interfaces names and whether they are enabled or disabled. Also collects the transmission values data (send and receive), taking into account date of their change.
- Report of defects – allows to specify service actions that took place in period chosen by the company or outsourcer. After clarifying the time range to analyze (start date – end date) report will be generated in the form of records with the following information: a) the name of the device, b) assigned request number, c) its title, d) date of the last update e) the quantity of hours required for the task. In addition, the report includes the information when and which device has been added or removed from your organization’s network.
- Report of infrastructure changes – takes into account any changes to the network of devices belonging to the company. Provides outsourcer or administrator full details on the device names and the date of their removal or addition.
- Update status report – it is important from the perspective of security, stability and productivity of work because signals which of devices may be covered by the potential threat of attack by viruses using of a gap in the software. Similarly, labor productivity can be increased by updating the software of users making their work easier and more efficient. Records of the report relate to the device name, the software and the installation date. It also contains information about installation or installed updates. It includes also installation/update of the operating system (eg. updated ServicePack) and the installation/update any other software (eg. Word, Photoshop and others).
- Report of installed software and licenses report – those two independent reports collect information on the software that is detected by the agent installed on the device. Records of these reports refer to the device, software and installation date (except that the license report gives concrete name and version of the installed programs). It allows the outsourcer and the administrator to inventory of software, licenses and operating systems in terms of their legality, updates, and also act in cases where users arbitrary made program installation, what could expose the company to the large financial losses in the event of an audit of legality.
Effective IT infrastructure management is not possible without access to diverse and synthetic reports. The above-mentioned reports provide key data including the most important issues related to the current maintenance of the company’s infrastructure. They allow the company, administrator and outsourcer more effectively execute service, purchasing and inventory actions, so it is possible to reduce costs for ad hoc services in case of failure, increasing control, safety and productivity.