Information Technology

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Posted by pompos 03/17/2009 @ 14:12

Tags : information technology, telecommunication, technology

News headlines
Nonprofit consortium, NetHope, formed to share technology - Seattle Times
Information technology plays a major role in these organizations' ability to communicate and dispatch resources, but nonprofits can't afford hefty IT departments. So members of the consortium, formed in 2001 and based near Washington, DC, work together...
Dragging health records into the Digital Age - CNET News
"Finding 50000 high-quality professionals is going to be hard," said John Halamka, who serves as chief information officer of New England's CareGroup Healthcare System and also chairs the US Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel....
The Machinery Behind Health-Care Reform - Washington Post
Some advocates have talked about improving use of health information technology for decades. Government and private studies have found that much of the $2.5 trillion spent on health care each year is wasted on the duplication of tests and unneeded...
Government Hails "Transformational" Nature Of Information Technology - ITProPortal
The UK government has acknowledged the significance of digital technology in public sector reforms with the minister of digital engagement Tom Watson asserting that the government should continue using IT to deliver more productive public services....
Soldotna Police Department gets top honor - KTUU
AP - May 17, 2009 9:24 PM ET The department is the winner of a 2009 Innovation in Information Technology Award for its Technology on Patrol project. The goal of the project was to enhance traffic enforcement efficiency by utilizing Smartphone...
TechPoint Announces Mira Award Winners - Inside INdiana Business (press release)
The Mira Awards identify the most innovative and successful firms in information technology, as well as technology-focused companies in industries like advanced manufacturing, logistics and the life sciences. “Gazelle” awards are given to fast-growing...
SilkRoad technology Honored with Network Product Guide 2009 ... - PR Web (press release)
Winston-Salem, NC (PRWEB) May 18, 2009 -- SilkRoad technology, inc., a leading provider of talent management solutions, announced today that Network Products Guide, the industry's leading publication on information technologies and solutions,...
Technology booms in district - Times of India
The information boom has also become apparent at railway stations, including Cantonment railway station which continues to witness up gradation in services mainly linked to information technology. According to RS Dubey, station manager, services like...
Medical industry pins hopes on IT funds - Roanoke Times
By Sarah Bruyn Jones With nearly $20 billion in federal funds about to hit the world of health care information technology, Virginia's health sector and political leadership are trying to prepare to capture their share of the money....
Insurance Agents Accelerate Automation Adoption, According to ... - SYS-CON Media (press release)
Kaplan Compliance Solutions is a part of Kaplan Professional, a leading provider of education and compliance solutions to businesses and individuals in the accounting, insurance, securities, real estate, financial planning and information technology...

Information technology

Information and communication technology spending in 2005

Information technology (IT), as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), is "the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware." IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and securely retrieve information.

Today, the term information technology has ballooned to encompass many aspects of computing and technology, and the term has become very recognizable. The information technology umbrella can be quite large, covering many fields. IT professionals perform a variety of duties that range from installing applications to designing complex computer networks and information databases. A few of the duties that IT professionals perform may include data management, networking, engineering computer hardware, database and software design, as well as the management and administration of entire systems.

When computer and communications technologies are combined, the result is information technology, or "infotech". Information Technology (IT) is a general term that describes any technology that helps to produce, manipulate, store, communicate, and/or disseminate information. Presumably, when speaking of Information Technology (IT) as a whole, it is noted that the use of computers and information are associated.

The term Information Technology (IT) is sometimes said to have been coined by Jim Domsic of Michigan in November 1981. Domsic, who worked as a computer manager for an automotive related industry, is supposed to have created the term to modernize the outdated phrase "data processing". The Oxford English Dictionary, however, in defining information technology as "the branch of technology concerned with the dissemination, processing, and storage of information, esp. by means of computers" provides an illustrative quote from the year 1958 (Leavitt & Whisler in Harvard Business Rev. XXXVI. 41/1 "The new technology does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology.") that predates the so-far unsubstantiated Domsic coinage.

In recent years ABET and the ACM have collaborated to form accreditation and curriculum standards for degrees in Information Technology as a distinct field of study separate from both Computer Science and Information Systems. SIGITE is the ACM working group for defining these standards.

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Information Technology Infrastructure Library

An ITIL Foundation certificate pin.

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of concepts and policies for managing information technology (IT) infrastructure, development and operations.

ITIL is published in a series of books, each of which covers an IT management topic. The names ITIL and IT Infrastructure Library are registered trademarks of the United Kingdom's Office of Government Commerce (OGC). ITIL gives a detailed description of a number of important IT practices with comprehensive checklists, tasks and procedures that can be tailored to any IT organization.

ITIL Certifications are managed by the ICMB (ITIL Certification Management Board). The Board includes representatives from all interested parties within the community from around the world. Members of the Board include (though are not limited to) representatives from OGC, APM Group, TSO, V3 Examination Panel, EIs (Examination Institutes) and itSMF International as the recognized user group.

On July 20, 2006, the OGC signed a contract with the APM Group to be its commercial partner for ITIL accreditation from January 1, 2007..

APMG manage the ITIL Version 3 exams and award qualifications at Foundation, Intermediate and Expert level (with a new Masters level under development).

APMG maintains a voluntary register of ITIL Version 3-certified practitioners at their Successful Candidate Register. A voluntary registry of ITIL Version 2-certified practitioners is operated by the ITIL Certification Register.

The primary author of the IBM yellow books was Edward A. Van Schaik, who compiled them into the 1985 book A Management System for the Information Business (since updated with a 2006 re-issue by Red Swan Publishing). In the 1985 work, Van Schaik in turn references a 1974 Richard L. Nolan work, Managing the Data Resource Function which may be the earliest known systematic English-language treatment of the topic of large scale IT management (as opposed to technological implementation).

What is now called ITIL version 1, developed under the auspices of the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), was titled "Government Information Technology Infrastructure Management Methodology" (GITMM) and over several years eventually expanded to 31 volumes in a project initially directed by Peter Skinner and John Stewart at the CCTA. The publications were retitled primarily as a result of the desire (by Roy Dibble of CCTA) that the publications be seen as guidance and not as a formal method and as a result of growing interest from outside of the UK Government.

During the late 1980s the CCTA was under sustained attack, both from IT companies who wanted to take over the central Government consultancy service it provided and from other Government departments who wanted to break free of its oversight. Eventually CCTA succumbed and the concept of a central driving IT authority for the UK Government was lost. This meant that adoption of CCTA guidance such as ITIL was delayed, as various other departments fought to take over new responsibilities.

In some cases this guidance was lost permanently. The CCTA IT Security and Privacy group, for instance, provided the CCTA IT Security Library input to GITMM, but when CCTA was broken up the security service appropriated this work and suppressed it as part of their turf war over security responsibilities.

Though ITIL was developed during the 1980s, it was not widely adopted until the mid 1990s for the reasons mentioned above. This wider adoption and awareness has led to a number of standards, including ISO/IEC 20000 which is an international standard covering the IT Service Management elements of ITIL. ITIL is often considered alongside other best practice frameworks such as the Information Services Procurement Library (ISPL), the Application Services Library (ASL), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), the Capability Maturity Model (CMM/CMMI), and is often linked with IT governance through Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT).

These publications update much of the current v2 and extend the scope of ITIL in the domain of service management.

IT Service Management as a concept is related but not equivalent to ITIL which, in Version 2, contained a subsection specifically entitled IT Service Management (ITSM). (The five volumes of version 3 have no such demarcated subsection). The combination of the Service Support and Service Delivery volumes are generally equivalent to the scope of the ISO/IEC 20000 standard (previously BS 15000).

Outside of ITIL, other IT Service Management approaches and frameworks exist, including the Enterprise Computing Institute's library covering general issues of large scale IT management, including various Service Management subjects.

COBIT is perceived as an audit framework but the supporting body of knowledge (such as COBIT's books Control Practices, IT Assurance Guide, IT Governance Implementation Guide, and User's Guide for Service Managers) has grown to offer a credible alternative to ITIL.

The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) has developed the Framework for ICT Technical Support (FITS) and is based on ITIL, but it is slimmed down for UK primary and secondary schools (which often have very small IT departments). Similarly, The Visible OPS Handbook: Implementing ITIL in 4 Practical and Auditable Steps claims to be based on ITIL but to focus specifically on the biggest "bang for the buck" elements of ITIL.

Organizations that need to understand how ITIL processes link to a broader range of IT processes or need task level detail to guide their service management implementation can use the IBM Tivoli Unified Process (ITUP). Like MOF, ITUP is aligned with ITIL, but is presented as a complete, integrated process model.

Smaller organizations that cannot justify a full ITIL program and materials can gain insight into ITIL from a review of the Microsoft Operations Framework which is based on ITIL but defines a more limited implementation.

The enhanced Telecom Operations Map eTOM published by the TeleManagement Forum offers a framework aimed at telecommunications service providers. In a joined effort, tmforum and itSMF have developed an Application Note to eTOM (GB921 V, version 6.1 in 2005, a new releases is scheduled for summer 2008) that shows how the two frameworks can be mapped to each other. It addresses how eTom process elements and flows can be used to support the processes identified in ITIL.

The IT Infrastructure Library originated as a collection of books each covering a specific practice within IT Service Management. After the initial publication, the number of books quickly grew within ITIL v1 to over 30 volumes. In order to make ITIL more accessible (and affordable) to those wishing to explore it, one of the aims of ITIL v2 was to consolidate the publications into logical 'sets' that grouped related process guidelines into the different aspects of IT management, applications and services.

While the Service Management sets (Service Support and Service Delivery) are by far the most widely used, circulated and understood of ITIL publications, ITIL provides a more comprehensive set of practices as a whole. Proponents believe that using the broader library provides a comprehensive set of guidance to link the technical implementation, operations guidelines and requirements with the strategic management, operations management and financial management of a modern business.

ITIL is built around a process-model based view of controlling and managing operations often credited to W. Edwards Deming. The ITIL recommendations were developed in the 1980s by the UK Government's CCTA in response to the growing dependence on IT and a recognition that without standard practices, government agencies and private sector contracts were independently creating their own IT management practices and duplicating effort within their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects resulting in common mistakes and increased costs. In April 2001 the CCTA was merged into the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), an office of the UK Treasury.

One of the primary benefits claimed by proponents of ITIL within the IT community is its provision of common vocabulary, consisting of a glossary of tightly defined and widely agreed terms. A new and enhanced glossary has been developed as a key deliverable of the ITIL v3 (also known as the ITIL Refresh Project).

Service strategy is shown at the core of the ITIL v3.1 lifecycle but cannot exist in isolation to the other parts of the IT structure. It encompasses a framework to build best practice in developing a long term service strategy. It covers many topics including: general strategy, competition and market space, service provider types, service management as a strategic asset, organization design and development, key process activities, financial management, service portfolio management, demand management, and key roles and responsibilities of staff engaging in service strategy.

The design of IT services conforming to best practice, and including design of architecture, processes, policies, documentation, and allowing for future business requirements. This also encompasses topics such as Service Design Package (SDP), service catalog management, service level management, designing for capacity management, IT service continuity, Information Security, supplier management, and key roles and responsibilities for staff engaging in service design.

Service transition relates to the delivery of services required by the business into live/operational use, and often encompasses the "project" side of IT rather than "BAU" (Business As Usual). This area also covers topics such as managing changes to the "BAU" environment. Topics include Service Asset and Configuration Management, Transition Planning and Support, Release and deployment management, Change Management, Knowledge Management, as well as the key roles of staff engaging in Service Transition.

Best practice for achieving the delivery of agreed levels of services both to end-users and the customers (where "customers" refer to those individuals who pay for the service and negotiate the SLAs). Service Operations is the part of the lifecycle where the services and value is actually directly delivered. Also the monitoring of problems and balance between service reliability and cost etc are considered. Topics include balancing conflicting goals (e.g. reliability v cost etc), Event management, incident management, problem management, request fulfillment, asset management, service desk, technical and application management, as well as key roles and responsibilities for staff engaging in Service Operation.....

Aligning and realigning IT services to changing business needs (because standstill implies decline).

The goal of Continual Service Improvement is to align and realign IT Services to changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to the IT services that support the Business Processes. The perspective of CSI on improvement is the business perspective of service quality, even though CSI aims to improve process effectiveness, efficiency and cost effectiveness of the IT processes through the whole lifecycle. In order to manage improvement, CSI should clearly define what should be controlled and measured.

CSI needs to be treated just like any other service practice. There needs to be upfront planning, training and awareness, ongoing scheduling, roles created, ownership assigned,and activities identified in order to be successful. CSI must be planned and scheduled as process with defined activities, inputs, outputs, roles and reporting.

Once an organization has gone through the process of identifying what its Services are, as well as developing and implementing the IT Service Management (ITSM) processes to enable those services, many believe that the hard work is done. How wrong they are!! The real work is only just beginning. How do organizations get buy-in for using the new processes? How do organizations measure, report and use the data to improve not only the new processes but to continually improve the Services being provided? This requires a conscious decision to adopt CSI with clearly defined goals, documented procedures, inputs, outputs and identified roles and responsibilities. To be successful, CSI must be embedded within each organization's culture.

The Service Lifecycle is a comprehensive approach to Service Management: seeking to understand its structure, the interconnections between all its components,and how changes in any area will affect the whole system and its constituent parts over time. It is an organizing framework designed for sustainable performance.

The Service Lifecycle can be viewed in a graphical manner, where it is easy to demonstrate the value provided, both in terms of "business contribution" and "profit". The business contribution is the ability for an IT organization to support a business process, managing the IT service at the requested performance. The profit is the ability to manage cost of service in relations to the business revenue.

The interaction between phases are managed through the Continual Service Improvement approach, which is responsible for measuring and improving service and process maturity level. After comparison of all phases, a service period is concluded and another service period begins.

The Continual Service Improvement phase is involved during all phases of the service lifecycle. It is responsible for measuring the service and the processes, (Service Measurement), and to document the results (Service Reporting) in order to improve the services quality and the processes maturity (Service Improvement). These improvements will be implemented in the next period of Service Lifecycle, starting again with Service Strategy, and following with Service Design and Transition, the Service Operation phase of course continue to manages operations during all service periods.

With the evolution of service periods, the "effort" for each phase will be reduced concerning the strategic and tactical phases (SS,SD and ST), here the SO phase is optimized and takes the primary role. At each cycle of the service (service period) the service will be improved with results of increasing of the value of business and maximizing of profits.

In terms of Business Contribution, the IT Service begins to be valuable when in the first step the Service Transition starts.

In terms of profits, the major investments are required with the big implementation projects (ST), when the transition is complete and the Operations start, the service begins to support business process and the new revenues balance the costs. After some periods of service optimization the "Profit & Loss" start to be profitable and reach the "break even point".

After a number of periods (depending on the complexity of the service and the complexity of the service and the flexibility of the business), the business contribution and the profit will be stabilized, which means that the IT organization has reached the right level of maturity in managing processes and the service has reached the right level of performance in meeting the service level requirements.

The Service Support ITIL discipline is focused on the User of the ICT services and is primarily concerned with ensuring that they have access to the appropriate services to support the business functions.

The service desk is the single contact point for the customers to record their problems. It will try to resolve it, if there is a direct solution. If not, it will create an incident. Incidents initiate a chain of processes: Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Release Management and Configuration Management (see following sections for details). This chain of processes is tracked using the Configuration Management Database (CMDB), which records each process, and creates output documents for traceability (Quality Management).

Tasks include handling incidents and requests, and providing an interface for other ITSM processes.

The Service Desk function is known under various names .

The goal of Incident Management is to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible and minimize the adverse effect on business operations, thus ensuring that the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained. 'Normal service operation' is defined here as service operation within Service Level Agreement (SLA) limits.

Problem management is different from incident management. The principal purpose of problem management is to find and resolve the root cause of a problem and prevention of incidents; the purpose of incident management is to return the service to normal level as soon as possible, with smallest possible business impact.

The Error Control Process is an iterative process to diagnose known errors until they are eliminated by the successful implementation of a change under the control of the Change Management process.

The standard technique for identifying the root cause of a problem is to use an Ishikawa diagram, also referred to as a cause-and-effect diagram, tree diagram, or fishbone diagram. An Ishikawa diagram is typically the result of a brainstorming session in which members of a group offer ideas to improve a product. For problem-solving, the goal will be to find the cause and effect of the problem.

Ishikawa diagrams can be defined in a meta-model.

First there is the main subject, which is the backbone of the diagram that we are trying to solve or improve. The main subject is derived from a cause. The relationship between a cause and an effect is a double relation: an effect is a result of a cause, and the cause is the root of an effect. But there is just one effect for several causes and one cause for several effects.

A change is “an event that results in a new status of one or more configuration items (CI's)” approved by management, cost effective, enhances business process changes (fixes) - with a minimum risk to IT infrastructure.

Configuration Management is a process that tracks all of the individual Configuration Items (CI) in a system.

Service Level Management provides for continual identification, monitoring and review of the levels of IT services specified in the service level agreements (SLAs). Service Level Management ensures that arrangements are in place with internal IT Support Providers and external suppliers in the form of Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) and Underpinning Contracts (UCs). The process involves assessing the impact of change upon service quality and SLAs. The service level management process is in close relation with the operational processes to control their activities. The central role of Service Level Management makes it the natural place for metrics to be established and monitored against a benchmark.

The Service Level Manager relies on all the other areas of the Service Delivery process to provide the necessary support which ensures the agreed services are provided in a cost effective, secure and efficient manner.

Capacity Management supports the optimum and cost effective provision of IT services by helping organizations match their IT resources to the business demands. The high-level activities are Application Sizing, Workload Management, Demand Management, Modeling, Capacity Planning, Resource Management, and Performance Management.

Availability Management allows organizations to sustain the IT service availability in order to support the business at a justifiable cost. The high-level activities are Realize Availability Requirements, Compile Availability Plan, Monitor Availability, and Monitor Maintenance Obligations.

Availability Management is the ability of an IT component to perform at an agreed level over a period of time.

The ITIL discipline - Planning To Implement Service Management attempts to provide practitioners with a framework for the alignment of business needs and IT provision requirements. The processes and approaches incorporated within the guidelines suggest the development of a Continuous Service Improvement Programme (CSIP) as the basis for implementing other ITIL disciplines as projects within a controlled programme of work. Planning To Implement Service Management is mainly focused on the Service Management processes, but is also generically applicable to other ITIL disciplines.

The ITIL-process Security Management describes the structured fitting of information security in the management organization. ITIL Security Management is based on the code of practice for information security management also known as ISO/IEC 17799.

A basic concept of the Security Management is the information security. The primary goal of information security is to guarantee safety of the information. Safety is to be protected against risks. Security is the means to be safe against risks. When protecting information it is the value of the information that has to be protected. These values are stipulated by the confidentiality, integrity and availability. Inferred aspects are privacy, anonymity and verifiability.

The current move towards ISO/IEC 27001 may require some revision to the ITIL Security Management best practices which are often claimed to be rich in content for physical security but weak in areas such as software/application security and logical security in the ICT infrastructure.

The Infrastructure Management processes describe those processes within ITIL that directly relate to the ICT equipment and software that is involved in providing ICT services to customers.

These disciplines are less well understood than those of Service Management and therefore often some of their content is believed to be covered 'by implication' in Service Management disciplines.

ICT Deployment provides a framework for the successful management of design, build, test and roll-out (deploy) projects within an overall ICT programme. It includes many project management disciplines in common with PRINCE2, but has a broader focus to include the necessary integration of Release Management and both functional and non functional testing.

ICT Technical Support is the specialist technical function for infrastructure within ICT. Primarily as a support to other processes, both in Infrastructure Management and Service Management, Technical Support provides a number of specialist functions: Research and Evaluation, Market Intelligence (particularly for Design and Planning and Capacity Management), Proof of Concept and Pilot engineering, specialist technical expertise (particularly to Operations and Problem Management), creation of documentation (perhaps for the Operational Documentation Library or Known Error Database).

This volume is related to the topics of IT Governance and IT Portfolio Management.

ITIL Application Management set encompasses a set of best practices proposed to improve the overall quality of IT software development and support through the life-cycle of software development projects, with particular attention to gathering and defining requirements that meet business objectives.

This volume is related to the topics of Software Engineering and IT Portfolio Management.

Software Asset Management (SAM) is the practice of integrating people, processes and technology to allow software licenses and usage to be systematically tracked, evaluated and managed. The goal of SAM is to reduce IT expenditures, human resource overhead and risks inherent in owning and managing software assets.

SAM includes maintaining software license compliance; tracking the inventory and usage of software assets; and maintaining standard policies and procedures surrounding the definition, deployment, configuration, use and retirement of software assets and the Definitive Software Library. SAM represents the software component of IT asset management, which also includes hardware asset management (to which SAM is intrinsicly linked by the concept that without effective inventory hardware controls, efforts to control the software thereon will be significantly inhibited) which includes overseeing both software and hardware that comprise an organization’s computers and network.

ITIL Small-Scale Implementation provides an approach to the implementation of the ITIL framework for those with smaller IT units or departments. It is primarily an auxiliary work, covering many of the same best practice guidelines as Planning To Implement Service Management, Service Support and Service Delivery but provides additional guidance on the combination of roles and responsibilities and avoiding conflict between ITIL priorities.

While ITIL addresses in depth the various aspects of Service Management, it does not address enterprise architecture in such depth. Many of the shortcomings in the implementation of ITIL do not necessarily come about because of flaws in the design or implementation of the Service Management aspects of the business, but rather the wider architectural framework in which the business is situated. Because of its primary focus on Service Management, ITIL has limited utility in managing poorly designed enterprise architectures, or how to feed back into the design of the enterprise architecture.

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Information technology management

Information Technology Management is concerned with exploring and understanding Information Technology as a corporate resource that determines both the strategic and operational capabilities of the firm in designing and developing products and services for maximum customer satisfaction, corporate productivity, profitability and competitiveness.

IT Management is a different subject from Management Information Systems. Management Information Systems refer to information management methods tied to the automation or support of human decision making. IT Management, as stated in the above definition, refers to the IT related management activities in organizations.

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Source : Wikipedia