Ruben MeierRuben Meier HP Service Manager Stressed by Real Change Management

04/21/2009 by Ruben Meier

HP Service Manager is used to administer and process tickets within the framework of IT Service Management. The Service Manager adheres to ITIL V3. Various modules are used, such as incident, problem, change, etc. With the ESS (Employee Self Service) Web control surface, end users can issue their own interaction tickets, which a support technician can then use to open an incident. If no solution is found, the  Service Desk can transfer incidents and interaction tickets as well as track problems and changes.

HP Service Manager shows limits with Change Management

Simplified workflows are certainly possible with Service Manager. However if comprehensive Change Management is in operation, requirements exceed conventional ITIL functionalities. The administration of all relevant objects is of utmost importance. Information about infrastructure as well as about organizational (organizational units, roles, security aspects, etc.), technical (programs, change requests, transactions, etc.), and descriptive (documentation, concepts, test cases, etc.) objects – and their relationships – should be represented. This is beyond the scope of HP Service Manager. As soon as requirements increase and greater flexibility is needed, a tool such as the HP Project and Portfolio Management Center (PPM) is necessary. PPM provides extremely powerful workflow controls with a variety interfaces to additional tools and to the Service Manager. In addition, PPM allows control of any number of commands to be performed and external Web services to be controlled. This allows for example control of SAP transports, administration of Quality Center (QC) requirements and defects as well as an additional configuration database, such as HP UCMDB, to be updated. Compared to more technically mature PPM workflow controls, Service Manager demonstrates significant weaknesses in flexible administration and process configuration.

By integrating the change process into PPM, a change request issued in the Service Manager – in which no longer just the Service Desk but also other teams, tools, and processes are integrated and a broad range of decisions for controlling the change process are required – can be transferred to PPM. Because processes in PPM can be better and more flexibly modeled, the change process is completely administered through PPM. A change ticket in the Service Manager still receives only the requested status updates so that the Service Desk knows for example that a development has been launched or that a change is being tested and nearly complete. Users are continuously informed of status.

Integration change process: PPM-Service Manager

Integration change process: PPM-Service Manager

Integration with HP PPM

Through a PPM add-on called MAC (Managing Application Change), integration of different tools is possible. Necessary Java classes and configuration examples are provided during installation. All communication between PPM and Service Manager is based on the Web service interface in the Service Manager.

First of all, the Web service for the requested module must be configured in the Service Manager, in our case Change Management. When all necessary fields as well as any number fields and functions are available through the Web service, the Java stub for PPM can be produced from the Service Manager WSDL file. Through this stub, PPM can communicate with the Service Manager. Of course it is also possible to access the Service Manager from PPM or any other Web service.

At a determined interval, PPM searches the Service Manager to determine is a new change has been opened. This change is then fetched and opened in PPM as a new request. It is also possible to send status updates to the Service Manager, thereby informing the Service Desk about the progress of the process. When the process is complete, the same interface is used to send the message back to the Service Manager and close the change.

Conclusion

Service Manager workflow controls are not sufficient for implementing and automating a comprehensive change process from start to finish, for example test management in QC, expanded configuration management in the uCMDB, or transport administration in SAP.  However the possibilities are open upon integration of the change process into PPM. Configuration necessary to integrate the tools is nonetheless somewhat complex: the stub must by newly constructed as soon as the configuration of the Web service has been changed, mapping of fields takes place through JavaScript code and without a configuration control surface, time formats must be correctly converted, files must be repeatedly deleted, a small mistake results in the entire integration not functioning … In summary, integration appears to remain rather underdeveloped, and experience is necessary to achieve successful and efficient implementation.

However, when integration runs as desired, and all fields are correctly copied and converted, its usefulness is enormous. The most diverse processes are thoroughly integrated: from issuing tickets by end users and development to testing and deployment. This also includes dashboards, notifications, and reports that can be flexibly and process- as well as project-comprehensive generated, administered, and customized. Every participant stays informed, and changes to systems are controlled and thus implemented with lower  risk.

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3 Responses

  • 1
    Julie Brock:

    We are just now researching integration between SM7 change and PPM and have wanted to find other customers who have done so to understand what we might be facing and get suggestions for successful implementation. This seems to be such a new area that we are having difficulty, suggestions anyone?

  • 2
    Dan Gallagher:

    I am investigating the same integration between SM 7.1 and HP-PPM 8.0. While very experienced in HP-PPM, I have no experience with SM and am particularly interested in integration points related to time tracking, resource allocation and assignments and demand management on an integrated, enterprise level. Any other sites or reading guidance greatly appreciated.

  • 3
    Joe:

    Look out Microsoft has entered the market space, and appears to be delivering a fairly credible v1 product. It appears that you can actually make customizations that won’t force you into a re-implementation when you move to a newer version like happens to many Service Manger customer and especially any that have implemented the HP BP4SM extension on top of Service Manager.