February 28, 2009

CMDB/CI Relationship Types

Posted in CMDB, Configuration Management tagged at 2:31 pm by Molly

Here are some relationship types:-

parent descriptor
Connects to
Depends on
DR provided by
Exchanges data with
Hosted on
In rack
IP Connection
Located in Zone
Located in
Received data from
Runs on
Virtualised by

child descriptor
Connected by
Contained by
Used by
Provides DR for
Exchanges data with
Rack contains
Instances of
IP Connection
Zone contains
Contains Room / Houses
Member of
Powered by
Sends data to


Six Sigma for Dummies

Posted in Frameworks, Six Sigma tagged at 11:34 am by Molly

Is it karate? So what is this Black Belt and Yellow Belt then? In short, they are the certifications you receive when you attend training and pass the exams.

Six Sigma (SS) is a business management strategy. SS targets three main areas:

    * Improving customer satisfaction
    * Reducing cycle time;
    * Reducing defects.

SS is a total management commitment and philosophy of excellence, customer focus, process improvement, and the rule of measurement.

SS is about making every area of the organisation better meet the changing needs of customers, markets and technologies, along with benefits for employees, customers and shareholders.

Six Sigma is customer focused;
Six Sigma project produce major returns on investment;
Six Sigma changes how management operates;
Six Sigma is a statistical measure of the performance of a process or a product;
Six Sigma is a goal that reaches near perfection for performance improvement;
Six Sigma is a system of management to achieve lasting business leadership and world-class performance.


DMAIC – (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control)

* Define high-level project goals and the current process. Covers process mapping and flowcharting, project charter development, problem solving tools.

* Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data. Covers the principles of measurement, continuous and discrete data, scales of measurement, an overview of the principles of variation, and repeatability and reproducibility studies for continuous and discrete data.

* Analyse the data to verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered. Covers establishing a process baseline, how to determine process improvement goals, knowledge discovery, including descriptive and exploratory data analysis and data mining tools, the basic principles of statistical process control, specialised control charts, process capability analysis, correlation and regression analysis, analysis of categorical data, and non-parametric statistical methods.

* Improve or optimize the process based upon data analysis using techniques like Design of experiments. Covers project management, risk assessment, process simulation, design of experiments, robust design concepts and process optimisation.

* Control to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability, move on to production, set up control mechanisms and continuously monitor the process. Covers process control planning, using SPC (statistical process control) for operational control.

Six Sigma is a rigorous, focused and highly effective implementation of proven quality principles and techniques. SS relies on tried and tested methods that have been around and in many of the large world-wide organisations for decades.

Since Six Sigma has been tried and implemented in the big cat companies, what are you waiting for? Get identifying those Six Sigma projects now and start saving the company money.

More coming later, stay tuned to the blog.

February 27, 2009

COBIT for Dummies – A quick introduction

Posted in COBIT tagged at 6:10 pm by Molly

COBIT stands for “Control OBjectives for Information and related Technology”.

COBIT is just one of the frameworks from ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), an international professional association, affiliated member of (IFAC) International Federation of Accountants and (ITGI) IT Governance Institute. ISACA has more than 86,000 members in 160 countries and is a recognized worldwide leader in IT governance, control, security and assurance which was founded back in 1969.

COBIT is an IT governance framework and supporting toolset that allows managers to bridge the gap between control requirements, technical issues and business risks. COBIT enables clear policy development and good practice for IT control throughout organizations. COBIT emphasizes regulatory compliance, helps organizations to increase the value attained from IT, enables alignment and simplifies implementation of the COBIT framework. [from ISACA website]

COBIT uses a maturity model as a means of assessing the maturity of the processes described in the domains (see below for a full description of Domains). The model encompasses the following levels:

1) non-existent
2) initial / ad hoc
3) repeatable but intuitive
4) defined process
5) managed and measurable
6) optimised

COBIT is made up of a number of ‘domains’, ‘processes’ & ‘activities’. Here they are:


1) Plan & Organise (PO)


PO1 Define a Strategic IT Plan and direction
PO2 Define the Information Architecture
PO3 Determine Technological Direction
PO4 Define the IT Processes, Organization and Relationships
PO5 Manage the IT Investment (ITIL related: Financial Management for IT Services)
PO6 Communicate Management Aims and Direction
PO7 Manage IT Human Resources
PO8 Manage Quality
PO9 Assess and Manage IT Risks
PO10 Manage Projects


2) Acquire & Implement (AI)


AI1 Identify Automated Solutions
AI2 Acquire and Maintain Application Software
AI3 Acquire and Maintain Technology Infrastructure
AI4 Enable Operation and Use
AI5 Procure IT Resources
AI6 Manage Changes (ITIL related: Change Management)
AI7 Install and Accredit Solutions and Changes (ITIL related: Release Management)


3) Deliver & Support (DS)


DS1 Define and Manage Service Levels (ITIL related: Service Level Management)
DS2 Manage Third-party Services
DS3 Manage Performance and Capacity (ITIL related: Capacity Management)
DS4 Ensure Continuous Service (ITIL related: IT Service Continuity Management)
DS5 Ensure Systems Security (ITIL related: Security Management)
DS6 Identify and Allocate Costs (ITIL related: Financial Management for IT Services)
DS7 Educate and Train Users
DS8 Manage Service Desk and Incidents (ITIL related: Incident Management)
DS9 Manage the Configuration (ITIL related: Configuration Management)
DS10 Manage Problems (ITIL related: Problem Management)
DS11 Manage Data (ITIL related: Availability Management)
DS12 Manage the Physical Environment
DS13 Manage Operations


4) Monitor & Evaluate (ME)


ME1 Monitor and Evaluate IT Processes
ME2 Monitor and Evaluate Internal Control
ME3 Ensure Regulatory Compliance
ME4 Provide IT Governance

COBIT identifies four classes of IT resources:

1) people
2) applications
3) information
4) infrastructure


COBIT is intended for management, business users of IT and auditors:-

* managers = to balance risk and control investment, since these are the people who control and direct;
* users = who require assurances on security and control of IT services;
* auditors = structure and substantiate opinions as well as provide advice to managers to improve controls;

Although ITIL is the dominant framework with regards to ITSM (IT Service Management), COBIT assists to further improve ITSM;

Primary reason for COBIT benefiting management is to help balance risk and control investment decisions;

COBIT’s main aim is to address the business objectives;

Control of the IT process is intended to satisfy those business requirements, you can’t have one without the other existing, but the processes are the result of those requirements, because you need to have a certain knowledge level first;

February 4, 2009

ICTIM (Information & Communications Technology) Infrastructure Management

Posted in Infrastructure Management at 5:27 pm by Molly

ICTIM aims to provide a stable IT and communication infrastructure. Basically, it is the foundation for ITIL’s Service Delivery and Service Support processes. The resources of ICT underpins IS, helps out with all the decision making processes too.

So how exactly will it help?

Instead of the focus of Service Delivery processes being geared towards the business and the organisation’s management structure, and the focus of Service Support processes being geared towards those of the users, ICT sits in the middle of the bull fighting ring, giving benefits to both the business and the users at the same time. The benefits we are talking about are the usual suspects that we have discussed in many other posts, but let’s give you examples again:

    service availability;
    capacity requirements;
    lowering costs;
    reducing risks

… all through reducing, monitoring, anticipating, and initiating corrective actions.

Let’s take a quick look at the processes of ICTIM:

Design & Planning (creation)
Deployment (implementation & rollout)
Operations (day to day management)
Technical Support (guarantee the delivery of services)

Policy > Strategy > Plan >> Prove >> Deploy >> Operate >> Obsolete

(Design & Planning) >> (Tech Supp) >> (Deployment) >> (Operation) >> (Admin)

ICTIM is the operational arm of the Service Delivery and Support processes. Planning and control will always fall under the jurisdiction of the process owner though, so when we talk about introducing a change management process, its owned by the Change Management process (owner) but operationally is implemented via ICTIM. A further example, would be to undertake the recovery actions (as stated within the Incident Management process and ITSCM process. In fact, the ICTIM act as the mediators between Delivery and Support, bearing in mind the requirements of the users and the business, delivering ICT strategies and plans, keeping their hand in new technologies in the marketplace, building relationships with suppliers, application management (the design, gathering requirements, developing them within projects etc.).