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Technology Portfolio Management

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Technology Portfolio Management

The technologies that underlie the business applications used in your business enterprise have a shelf life that must be actively managed and diligently monitored to track their versions and lifecycle. Use the timeline view of the Technology Portfolio Management to track their dates and thereafter create an idea or a project to upgrade or retire them.

The technology of a business application is also known as a software model. A software model is a specific version or configuration of a software.

The software models or the technologies used in your business applications can be operating systems, database management systems, development tools, and middleware, each of which has a lifecycle. If these lifecycle stages are not tracked, there are risks where the vendor may not support them any longer and the business applications that run on these technologies are at stake.

Creating an inventory of all technologies used in the enterprise helps to

  • Track the versions of the software and manufacturer support dates for the software.
  • Set an internal lifecycle guidance for the software.
  • Assess risk in using outdated software.
  • Plan to retire them just like the applications they support, at a definite date.
  • Support upgrade processes.

Internal and external lifecycle stages of the software model

The business applications used in your organization are all linked to one or more business services. Each of the business services run on one or more technologies or software models.

The software model has a sequence of lifecycle stages/phases from their installation to retirement. Internally, business organizations set a date based on the lifecycle phase of the software models. These phases can be Early Adopter, Mainstream, Declining use, and Retired.

Similarly, the vendor of the software also sets a date for the software based on the vendor lifecycle phases such as Pre-release, General Availability, End of Life, and Obsolete. The support from the vendor may vary depending on the phase of the technology. When the software model reaches the stage of obsolescence, the vendor may stop supporting the technology.

Note: The Publisher choice type of the Lifecycle type field in the Software Model Lifecycle form is the same as the External Lifecycle that is being used in APM.

As a software asset management user or a software model manager you have the ability to add the software model lifecycle details to the software model. To use TPM ensure that the lifecycle data is populated in the software model table and the table name is present either in TPM or SAM.

Integration with Service Mapping to use Technology Portfolio Management

If the Service Mapping product is installed then business applications are related to the discovered business services. If the Service Mapping product is not installed then business applications are related to the business services.

APM no longer integrates with Service Mapping through the Instances tab. The application Instances tab has been removed and the apm_app_instance table has been deprecated, which is replaced by the Business Services (cmdb_ci_service) table or the Discovered Service (cmdb_ci_discovered_service) table. Any data existing in the application instances table must be migrated to the business service table. If you are upgrading to the Kingston release, then contact the ServiceNow personnel for migrating the data.

Service Mapping discovers all the business services in an organization. It builds a comprehensive map of all devices, applications, and configuration profiles used in the business services. It maps dependencies based on the connection between devices and applications. It lists all the underlying software models of a business application such as web servers, application servers, databases, middleware and network infrastructure supporting a business service.

Figure 1. APM or TPM dependencies in mature ServiceNow implementation
APM or TPM dependencies in mature ServiceNow implementation

TPM depends on SAM to retrieve the technology information of the software product

You can use Technology Portfolio Management even if you do not have Software Asset Management (SAM) installed. A preconfigured Software Product Model table is available to all TPM users. You can create a list of all software models that your organization uses either manually or import them from the Discovery application.

Figure 2. Connecting software lifecycles to the business application
Connecting software lifecycles to the business application

Using TPM depends on SAM plugins and the dependency is as follows:

With SAM Premium plugin
To access the Product Classification (samp_sw_product) table you require the Software Asset Management Premium plugin. Reference of samp_sw_product_classification is present in samp_sw_product table. This content table is referenced in the Software Product Model (cmdb_software_product_model) table to retrieve the technology information. Subscribing to SAM Premium plugin enables you to view the applications By Business Applications as well as By Category in the TPM timeline view.
Without SAM plugin
Product classification is not available without this plugin and hence view By Category is not available in the TPM timeline view. Software model information is retrieved from SW Product Model (cmdb_software_product_model) table. You must populate this table manually or export the content from an excel sheet.