After a year of unexpected expenses, extreme pressure, and a lot of fast thinking, anything that can ease the burden and reduce waste is, to us, a worthwhile endeavour. It was with this experience fresh in my mind that I presented our reinvented Lifecycle 360 (previously known as the Data#3 Hub) for this year’s JuiceIT Digital event.
While we provide dedicated resources, it is really our customer community that deserves to take a bow, because their ideas and feedback were the driving force for something with real-world application. They told us what would be useful to know about their technology environment, what would save them time, reduce stress, or just make the day-to-day run a little more smoothly. The result is something special – Lifecycle 360 enhances visibility, allows easier access to support, and provides insights around the lifecycle of business-critical infrastructure.
My JuiceIT presentation took the form of a guided tour – you can access it here, or we are always happy to give you a personal guided tour of the platform, and discuss how you might make best use of it. Here’s a quick rundown, to give you a taste of what to expect.
The dashboard is your command centre, giving a high-level view of your overall environment, where you can get a quick look at your vendor, device, maintenance, and support situation. Using graphics that you can interpret at-a-glance, the dashboard is your starting point as you delve deeper into your organisation’s unique infrastructure situation.
Lifecycle 360 draws on data supplied by your devices, our own systems of record, and your vendors, to give you a 360-degree view of your situation. This enables deep insights into your situation, and supports strategic decision making around future IT direction. It all happens without the lengthy research and guesswork that many organisations depend on.
Scratch beneath the surface, and you can see your top 10 technologies in use, matched to a breakdown of your support coverage – so you will know instantly whether your maintenance contracts are active or expired, and whether there are upcoming changes. Anything needing imminent attention is flagged clearly. Nobody likes to get an unexpected maintenance renewal just after they balanced the budget.
In the My Devices section, you can explore further breakdown of each category of technology you own. Additionally, you can search here for devices by criteria such as serial number, manufacturer, maintenance vendor, asset tags, or even address. When you locate the asset, a click gives you all relevant information about it, including age, end-of-life details, software version, and whether updates are available.
Our customer success managers add valuable expertise, mapping device categories from technical codes to more useful, human readable categories that will help you to best manage your infrastructure. You can also message your account manager with questions about specific infrastructure, direct from the app. It saves time, and there’s no need to look up their contact details or wait until your next meeting.
For Cisco users, we provide a suite of rich insights into key lifecycle dates, known bugs, support coverage confirmations, and recommended firmware versions. Lifecycle 360 integrates directly with Cisco’s own systems, so you can get handy, up-to-date information effortlessly. This is especially helpful for live maintenance information, as well as mapping where a device sits currently in its lifecycle. Using Asset 360 (the details page), you can find the critical information you need about a particular piece of infrastructure, including support history, so you will know if an individual or category of devices is either draining too much support time, or performing exceptionally well. If a device is heading towards its end of life, you can see the recommended upgrade path, helping you to prepare for any adjustments.
A considerable amount of the ideas submitted by customers for Lifecycle 360 related to support. That is hardly surprising – submitting and tracking support requests can be time-consuming and confusing, with different processes for different vendors, and for the varied types of support offered by that vendor. We knew this was an area where we could make a massive difference to our customers.
Making a support request using Lifecycle 360 means the issue is lodged directly with the right team, bypassing the initial triage system, and avoiding the need to explain the same thing to a series of people. You select the priority level, and choose from a menu of issue categories, include any relevant information, and even attach crash logs as needed. All information about the device that the engineers will need is automatically added by the app, and just cutting out the back and forth to establish these details is a real time saver.
Of course, in any busy IT team, it is likely that more than one person needs to check status of any support request. You can look at all requests logged by your team, and view status, as well as reading any notes added by the support engineers. If you’re taking a day off, your colleagues won’t need to call you during your well-earned break.
As with other Lifecycle 360 sections, we applied some powerful analytics tools to support data. You can get a quick 12-month view of requests by category, priority, and a host of other measures. You can even see which technologies cost your team the most time and money to support.
All the data collected can deliver infrastructure-wide insights, and the Key Dates page is where you can get a picture of your timeline of due maintenance contracts, end of warranty, and other relevant timing.
Aside from helping with budget predictions, you can also use Lifecycle 360 to identify opportunities to consolidate contracts, which will make it easier to manage renewals and keep costs to a minimum. It turns out that a pet hate of many IT professionals is digging for contract information, so we made it easy to find. You can get an overall picture of active and expired support contracts, then drill down to what is covered in each individual plan. Whether you want to know how many licences in a subscription, the identity of a product covered, or a comprehensive list from major items to a single power cord, you’ll find it here.
While that’s a brief overview of Lifecycle 360, our team is on hand to guide you through each page, and help you to identify how to get the most from the app. Everything we demonstrated in the JuiceIT session about Lifecycle 360 is free to Data#3 customers, making it even easier to get started. If you’re keen to get a clear view of your IT environment and reduce time to resolution for your support requests, contact us.