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HP software assists in app management

ITPA This is the time of year when HP rolls out its ideals for IT. The vendor who's carrying many HP 3000 enterprises forward on another platform has been preaching the benefits of ITIL best practices in IT for more than two years now, messages rolled out in summertime meetings at the HP Technology Forum and HP Software Universe among other places.

This summer HP exhibited a new tool to collect and analyze ITIL-based metrics. HP DecisionCenter is software that includes the HP Financial Planning and Analysis (HP FP&A). HP bills this software as a tool to help "CIOs take action to reduce variances between planned and actual spending, optimize underutilized assets and accurately allocate IT costs to the consumers of IT services."

When an enterprise grows beyond midrange size, these kinds of issues become as important to a company's top management as reliable backups are to the datacenter manager. The FP&A software links combines a financial planning and analysis capability to a financial data model. It consolidates financial information from project, asset and configuration management systems, as well as ERP software.

This kind of analysis might be familiar to an HP 3000 owner who plumbed the depths of data processing to track performance of a system. ITIL concepts such as Application Portfolio Management can be tracked using a dashboard like the one above that HP says helps "tackle the traditionally high cost of IT."

HP reports that when 200 "IT leaders" were surveyed recently, "nearly half... said they lack investment rigor and have no form of portfolio management in place for aligning IT investment decisions to business priorities." The vendor is offering an IT Performance Analytics module for HP DecisionCenter to assist in this kind of tracking. If a 3000 operation is headed into a larger data enterprise, such as through an acquisition, then ITIL, APM and analysis of investment decisions will become new skills to polish.

DecisionCenter is an analytics suite, an ITIL v3-aligned tool that enables users to "target business priorities and drive process health by discovering bottlenecks and inefficiencies." This tool can be predictive -- you can train it upon a solution your company hasn't adopted, for what-if scenario analysis  to allow IT and business decision makers to model the impact of changes in SLAs, funding, or risk tolerances. Nothing can take the place of pilot projects, rigorous testing or user interviews to learn what solution might replace a 3000. But even as you embark on that task, measuring your business IT goals against financial models provides a clearer picture.