Mapping service enables businesses to view essential infrastructure as a single entity, providing an end-to-end view of services and supporting rapid response to outages. However, mapping service can be difficult to execute well in practice and requires extensive documentation. Capturing this information in a way that is easily understood, with clear processes for maintaining and managing maps is vital to success.
There are many different kinds of maps that can be created, and the type of map that is most appropriate for a particular purpose depends on how it will be used. For example, user journey or customer experience mapping is likely to start with a storyboard. Other maps that are more complex or technical in detail, such as a service blueprint or system map will begin with a design or architecture diagram.
These different maps are intended to be used in different ways, and a map’s purpose will influence its style and format. It is important that teams find the right balance between simplicity, expressiveness and timeliness of a map with the efficiency with which it can be maintained.
In the early stages of service mapping, it is important to identify who will be assigned ownership for the process and ensure that this individual has the subject matter expertise to understand the infrastructure, applications, and entry points that make up a business service. This person will also be the primary contact to answer technical questions and verify the discovery results that are provided to the mapping team.
Once the initial map has been verified and signed off, an ongoing process will be required to maintain it. It is important that there is an agreed mapping process in place to support this, with a clear process for how to capture changes and the underlying metadata that will be required to keep the map up to date.
The most effective mapping process will also be collaborative, bringing together a cross-functional team that can include representatives from business analysis, design and product management. This can help to bring a different perspective to the process, and improve the quality of the final result.
An example of a collaborative mapping tool is ServiceNow. This allows multiple users to access and update a map, and it also supports the ability to customize what is displayed by using either the query bar or environment selector. This can be useful for limiting the display to specific environments, such as dev or production. This enables faster resolution of outage issues and reduces the risk of data duplication between different environments. It also improves consistency of the mapping across all environments. Creating and implementing this kind of process will take time, but it is worth the effort to reap the benefits. In the longer term, it is likely to reduce costs by reducing the number of calls to infrastructure support teams and improving the speed at which outages are resolved. It will also allow business to become more service-aware and better able to respond to unexpected change.