Is domain separation the right choice?
Let’s say your company just completed an acquisition and you need to figure out what to do with your new entity’s data. Or maybe you need to separate data sets for different groups. Whatever the reason, should you consider domain separation? What exactly is it and would it work for your company?
Domain Separation allows organisations to separate application data, processes, and administrative tasks into logical groupings called “domains.” It’s beneficial for companies who:
- Need to enforce data segregation between business entities
- Need data separation between service providers, customers, partners, or departments within their organisation
- Have different business process definitions and user interfaces within the same organisation
- As a parent company, want to maintain global processes and global reporting in a single instance
- Have minor process differences among affiliates
To better understand Domain Separation, let’s look at what happened with a leading healthcare data centre hosting services company that was struggling with a lack of unified business processes across its affiliates. This was causing data redundancies, as well as scattering of data across multiple systems.
On top of that, these systems had no proper security controls. In addition, the affiliates were using various IT service management (ITSM) tools that were not integrated with each other, resulting in delayed approvals and request fulfillments. Costs and support needs increased, and there was a lack of ownership and accountability when it came to outages.
To address this dilemma, the company teamed with Trianz to implement Domain Separation using ServiceNow, to:
- Implement domain hierarchy with data access security controls
- Develop and implement a change and configuration management process based on ITIL best practices
- Configure workflows to define a cross-domain approval process
- Implement automations through orchestration
As a result, the company realised its vision of streamlining and delivering consistent processes across all affiliates by maintaining data separation between the different business entities with shared infrastructure services support. The transformation:
- Established business processes with global UI for better manageability and easy maintenance
- Enabled a transparent approval process and allowed users to track the progress of their own requests
- Increased the speed of onboarding of affiliates with prebuilt processes and core capabilities
- Decreased the license and support cost
- Strengthened internal controls with full audit capabilities
- Resulted in seamless and effective audit practices with minimal or zero non-compliances
- Improved data centre efficiencies through automation
What to consider
Before deciding on domain separation, companies should ask:
- Do customers have a moderate alignment of processes and general platform requirements?
- Do customers have a contractual agreement that requires data to be isolated?
- Do the instance owners have entire entities that operate as physically separate organisations that do not share data but do have a requirement for full reporting?
In addition, companies need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks. Domain separation will increase service providers’ employee productivity; speed up customer onboarding; drive efficient administration; and instate common processes across affiliates and domains. On the other hand, domain separation adds administration overhead. Also, it can be disabled, but it can’t be removed from an instance.
What are the alternatives?
If domain separation isn’t the right choice for your company, you could consider separate instances or a single instance without a domain.
The separate instances option provides flexibility with meeting requirements for customers without having an impact on others. You can build it to suit each customer or organisation; minimise the impact of customisation on others; have a clean separation of data; and release-schedule coordination. The downsides include cost, having to align instances, testing effort for upgrades, duplication of efforts, and required integrations.
A single instance without a domain separation could cost less and it may be enough to address simple scenarios. However, it would require extensive modifications to the baseline code—which would be skipped during upgrades—and broad testing. Also, you would have to address all secondary and supporting tables.
Taking the next step
If domain separation is the right fit for your situation, incorporating ServiceNow’s ITSM platform into your business will change the way many things are done for the better. These adjustments will help streamline both IT and business systems to provide the maximum return on investment for all IT expenses.
People Moves: John Gould joins nDivision board
This week, IT and automation startup nDivision signed John Gould to its board of directors. It’s an undeniable win for the relatively small Texan tech firm, as Gould brings a degree of pedigree and experience to the small firm, and will undoubtedly open doors to new partnerships and commercial opportunities as a result.
Recently, Gould served as the CMO and member of the executive team at CyrusOne. During his tenure at the leading data centre firm, he is credited with generating market-leading sales growth to the tune of $1bn between 2016 and last year - representing a CAGR of about 20%. He left the company in September of last year, since taking over as the Chief Revenue Officer at Enchanted Rock, an IT and data centre power support and resilliency firm also based in Dallas.
Before joining CyrusOne, Gould worked as the President of Stratasys, a 3D printing firm, as well as the Chief Revenue Officer at ReachLocal, and spent 14 years in various roles at Dell - working largely on the sales side of the tech giant’s managed IT services and digital transformation business.
"We are incredibly excited and honored to have John join the nDivision board. John is an extremely accomplished business executive and respected corporate leader who brings a wealth of experience to nDivision,” commented nDivision’s CEO, Alan Hixon.
“His business savvy as well as his relationships immediately makes him a valuable board member and advocate for nDivision."
nDivision’s business model - using proprietary, AIdriven automation to replace human workers - is a new direction for Gould, but his career in the data centre and cloud industries has already been diverse enough.
In a statement to the press, he commented that, “nDivision has a disruptive IT Managed Services solution due to its high degree of Intelligent Automation technologies, which drives both cost savings and dramatically improved service levels for its customers. I see huge potential for the nDivision platform and am excited to join its board and look forward to working with Alan and the entire nDivision board and management team in driving shareholder value."