Micromuse Aims to Impact Work of Lower-Level Techs

Micromuse Inc. (www.micromuse.com) is trying to narrow a priorities gap by bringing together company IT and business units.

The fault and service-level management software vendor built Netcool/Impact to help corporations assess the business impact of IT service outages and to accelerate service restoration by following procedures that are aligned with business objectives.

The Impact facet of the solution works with the core Netcool product to gather meaningful information that helps network operators prioritize work according to business needs.

For instance, Netcool/Impact analyzes what specific business processes, applications and people are affected by faults; prioritizes work to handle the most critical tasks first; determines who is responsible at the moment for a particular problem and what policy they should follow to fix it as rapidly as possible.

A network manager at a major software company, who has requested anonymity, worked with Micromuse in the development of Netcool/Impact.

"We don’t want to change the events themselves," he says. "We just want a layer that basically adds English to the situation."

Micromuse maintains that this is the product’s aim.

"We focus on faults, things that go wrong, and dummy it down so low-level technicians can use it," says Jill Huntington-Lee, marketing manager at Micromuse.

Netcool/Impact provides data from various databases to help technicians know what to do when problems arise.

For instance, if a switch is down a Netcool/Impact interface will display what kind of switch it is, where it sits, the serial number and the number to call for service. Netcool/Impact provides this centralized access by simplifying the process of linking disparate data stores.

These data stores may include LDAP directories of users and applications, complex provisioning systems or relational databases documenting business processes, configuration relationships or information such as the technicians on call at a particular hour. Netcool/Impact's information infrastructure can be continually or periodically updated from existing external databases or statically defined.

The anonymous network manager says his company still uses OpenView as a framework but can benefit from the simplicity of Netcool/Impact. Although Netcool/Impact is aimed at low-level technicians, he says, there are complicated aspects to the product.

"The installation of Impact is certainly not for low-level technicians, but once it’s up and running, the use of the product definitely is geared for low-level technicians," he says.