J2 Global – Service Management

j2 Global improves IT Service Management with IBM SmartCloud Infrastructure solutions

“Our company has struggled with a legacy ITSM application for several years with the software vendor giving us empty promises about new ITIL-based solutions and improved usability.  The IBM Tivoli Service Management Solution will deliver immediate value to us with ITIL workflows inherent in the product and a web-based interface that is intuitive and easy to learn.” Director, Corporate Systems, j2 Global

 

Customer:

j2 Global, Inc.

 

Deployment Country:

United States

 

Industry:

Telecommunications

 

Solution:

IT Service Management – Incident & Problem Management; Endpoint Management

 

Founded in 1995, j2 Global offers a complete array of unified-messaging and communications services, including faxing and voicemail solutions, Web-initiated conference calling, storage messaging services, online backup, and virtual office solutions. The company also provides a full suite of unified communications services that include fax, Web-based voicemail, conference calling and a comprehensive set of outsourced virtual phone services.

These Internet services are provided by j2 Global’s two divisions: Business Cloud Services and Digital Media. The Business Cloud Services Division offers Internet fax, virtual phone, hosted email, email marketing, online backup, unified communications and CRM solutions.  It markets its services principally under the brand names eFax®, eVoice®, FuseMail®, Campaigner®, KeepItSafe® and Onebox® and operates a messaging network spanning 49 countries on six continents. The Digital Media Division consists of Ziff Davis Inc., which offers technology, gaming and lifestyle content through its digital properties which include PCMag.com, IGN.com, AskMen.com, Toolbox.com and others. Ziff Davis also operates BuyerBase, an advanced digital ad targeting platform and Ziff Davis B2B, a leading provider of research to enterprise buyers and leads to IT vendors.

Business need:

1)     Provide better support to the IT operations team resulting in quicker problem resolution and higher availability of mission critical systems

2)     Gain global visibility and management capability of an infrastructure featuring thousands of IT assets—including assets that are in unattended locations throughout N. America

3)     Ability to provision distributed endpoints and other IT assets remotely from corporate headquarters

 

Solution:

A centralized Web-based platform for incident, problem, and asset management that integrates with an industry leading provisioning tool and helps automate implementation of IT Infrastructure Library® (ITIL®) best practices and prepares the organization for change

 

Benefits:

An IT Operations team that is able to better support mission critical applications resulting in higher availability and revenue; enabled proactive maintenance and system upgrades insuring assets are accounted for and protected from viruses and malicious attacks; expected reduction in mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and support costs; allows staff to focus on other core responsibilities.

 

Case Study

 

Challenge
Provide a better service model to the IT Operations team and j2 Global customers that ensures rapid response to IT related problems resulting in higher availability and greater revenue opportunities.

Solution
A centralized Web-based platform for incident, problem, and asset management that integrates with an industry leading provisioning tool and helps automate implementation of IT Infrastructure Library® (ITIL®) best practices and prepares the organization for change.

Key Benefits
An IT Operations team that is able to better support mission critical applications resulting in higher availability and revenue; enabled proactive maintenance and system upgrades insuring assets are accounted for and protected from viruses and malicious attacks; reduction in mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and support costs; allows staff to focus on other core responsibilities.

 

“Implementing ITIL standards and processes is a critical need for our business. IBM’s ITSM solution, SmartCloud Control Desk, gives us a platform that we can build all of our ITIL processes and workflows around allowing our IT organization to respond to incidents rapidly and prevent the serious problems that impact our customers.”

Director, Corporate Systems, j2 Global

 

“The move to IBM’s SmartCloud Control Desk (SCCD) and Endpoint Manager software is about improving our customer service model – increasing our level of service while cutting costs.  The IBM solution is truly a paradigm shift – a direction that the other major software vendors we evaluated have not been able to move in.
Sr. Manager, Corporate Systems, j2 Global

 

IT vision challenges

Managing the IT systems for any company with global operations brings significant challenges. Those challenges become magnified when you’re the IT manager of a nearly $1 billion telecommunications company with thousands of IT assets (including Servers, PC’s, laptops, printers, and a multitude of network devices) supporting over a million customers worldwide.

 

This is the mission of j2 Global’s Director of Corporate Systems. He needs to make sure his small but heavily tasked IT support team can respond quickly to system performance issues, answer employee questions and maintain maximum uptime without becoming overwhelmed. He also needs to make sure j2’s support systems and infrastructure will scale as the company grows at a furious pace (corporate revenues have more than doubled in the last three years).

 

To streamline IT service management, and prepare for future growth using an ITIL based process model, j2 Global replaced a poorly functioning legacy solution with IBM SCCD and IBM Endpoint Manager (formerly BigFix). Having used both BMC’s Remedy and Computer Associate’s Service Center solution in the past, the j2 Global management team was excited by the obvious advantages the IBM solution provided.  Not only was the IBM ITSM solution completely web-based, it was also a single java application that required no integration between the functional components.  The pricing model also introduced tremendous flexibility and reduced the complexity inherent with IBM’s competitors. 

 

IBM SCCD and IBM Endpoint Manager are now the cornerstone for j2 Global’s IT Service Management solution.  j2 Global has capitalized on the software’s Web architecture to create a knowledgebase where employees can access the self-help FAQ section of their intranet to resolve common issues that users encounter. For example, employees are able to find straightforward answers to questions about why their e-mail application won’t launch or why a given server may be running slowly.

When employees can’t find the information they need, they are able to electronically submit a trouble ticket and IT staff will address the problem. IT staff enter the problem, its cause and the completed repair into the IBM SCCD solution so that if the problem arises again, IT staff will know the history. To bolster service level agreements, enable on-time and efficient problem resolution, and help maintain quality, j2 Global sends surveys to employees allowing them to provide feedback about how well staff resolves employee IT issues. To help raise awareness about availability problems on the network, the IBM SCCD is linked to an automated network monitoring application that opens an incident for J2 Global’s IT Operations team.  When the incident is closed, the event is closed on the network monitoring consul.

 

j2 Global is using IBM SCCD in conjunction with IBM Endpoint Manager to help push out application upgrades, security patches, and new software to employees. The software keeps an automatically updated list of the new applications that have been rolled out to employees.

 

Value Proposition

IBM’s IT Service Management solution gives j2 Global the stable, user-friendly platform, Web-based environment and flexibility it required to manage its global infrastructure effectively. Transitioning from a client-based platform to a Web-based platform allowed the IT operation team to quickly gain a global view of IT assets and effectively manage them. “The move to IBM Tivoli software allowed our team to address problems before they seriously impacted availability meaning our customers can access the mission critical applications they need to use on our network to accomplish their jobs,” says j2’s Director of Corporate Systems. “Replacing our legacy solution with IBM software reduced downtime because our IT team now has real-time information about the infrastructure’s performance so we can identify and fix problems before they affect productivity.”