Integrated IT service management with Open Source

Getting your IT service management (ITSM) department up and running usually takes longer than expected. In the best case scenario ITSM is a never-ending process that grows continuously and needs constant improvement.

You can think of ITSM as the integration of processes and technologies with the purpose of optimally supporting business processes. With ITSM, the focus is always on the quality of the services provided, and on the relationship with the customer. ITSM is the foundation for a clearly-structured IT infrastructure providing the IT services your staff and clients need. ITSM is based on three pillars: methodology, processes and tools.

ITIL and the best practices it describes can show you the way in terms of proven IT processes. In order to realize these processes efficiently you need the right tools, which ITIL can also help you choose.

Before you start thinking seriously about tools or software, you need to define all the different services, the relationships and dependencies between the systems and all the related processes. So start your ITSM integration by first creating the documentation of your IT landscape: begin with your configuration management database (CMDB), then proceed to monitoring and ticketing implementation.

Comprehensive Software Package or Individual Applications
There are essentially two ways you can go to realize your ITSM integration: either you choose a single integrated package which includes all the functionality you require, or you go with a system that consists of various individual applications which communicate via interfaces. In either case, all tools should include compatible interfaces so that the data in the CMDB is available to both the monitoring system and the ticketing system.

A comprehensive software package that covers all three areas – CMDB, Monitoring and Ticketing – is generally only a good solution in theory. In real life, such solutions are usually too inflexible and cannot be customized sufficiently for the particular requirements of organizations‘ business processes. I would recommend individually customizable tools that include open interfaces, can be extended and, if possible, are available under an Open Source license.

Required Interfaces
In choosing the components of your planned ITSM system, you should pay particular attention to their abililty to share the following data:

  • CI-specific information
  • Ticket information
  • Service information
  • SLA information
  • Monitoring-specific information

Good reasons to go with Open Source
Open Source software gives you some very important advantages that you won‘t get with proprietary software; scalability, control, and flexibility are critical benefits to your IT staff and business process managers, but the decisive factor may be the low operating costs. Licenses and license management are free while upgrades and maintenance are significantly less expensive as well. Since you are not bound to any single company, you are free to choose from any of a large network of IT service providers for support. Another important advantage that Open Source offers is security: Open Source software is subject to a much greater level of scrutiny than proprietary software so that vulnerabilities and weaknesses are typically discovered much more quickly. So instead of spending a lot of money for licenses and maintenance contracts, companies now have the option of using Open Source software and thereby of reaching higher ROIs - as well as greater functionality and flexibility - than ever before.

You can learn more about how to realize integrated IT service management with Open Source in our whitepaper, which you can download here: (german). A check list of the most important requirements for each component of your ITSM system is available here:

  1. CMDB:
    • Are all IMPORTANT requirements covered?
    • Illustration of dependencies between CIs
    • Services
    • SLAs
    • Contingency plans (ISO 27001) • License management
    • Maintenance contracts
    • Furniture
    • Is the user interface intuitive and easy-to-use?
    • Are standard interfaces available? (Monitoring, Service Desk)
    • Can the system be extended? Is it future-compliant?
    •  Will it integrate well with my existing IT landscape?
  2. Monitoring:
    • Is it multi-client-capable?
    • Will all IT components be supported?
    • Are SLAs supported?
    • Is it easy to use?
    • Does it monitor values in real time?
    • Can it be extended easily?
    • Which platforms are supported?
    • Are applications, services and additional products monitored as well? (eg. remote door openers, air conditioning units)
    • Can values be correlated to services?
    • Are there interfaces to all other components?
    • Is it web-based?
    • Does the system fit in with my existing IT landscape?
    • Can the system be extended? Is it future-compliant?
  3. Ticket system:
    • Is it easy to configure and extend?
    • Does it support workflows and ITSM?
    • Can it be integrated easily into my existing IT landscape?
    • Is it web-based?
    • Does it have interfaces to all other components?
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suchismita (26/08/2014)

Hi Steffen.This is a very interesting article I feel.I have seen company spending ample amount of money & effort to implement an integrated solution covering all three aspects.Is it really possible to achieve this through open source with a seamless integration with quality.Would like to know more.
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