February 2011 Archives

BSMReview is a Media Sponsor for the Pink Elephant conference and expo being held in Las Vegas this week. As a media sponsor, we promoted the event on BSMReview and are covering BSM newsworthy items at the event. BSMReview is well represented at the event and we are holding down a spot on the expo floor.

As you probably know, Pink Elephant is a professional services organization that provides consulting, education and tools to assess ITIL and IT service management competency. The Las Vegas conference is their 15th international event, has 1600+ attendees, and offers a solid program of educational sessions that features ITIL experts and customer presenters. The event is well run and sessions that I attended are content rich and well attended.

As a side note, I loved the opening video they produced and recommend watching it -- it is both entertaining and insightful.

We are launching the 2011 BSM Maturity Survey at the event. We are finding a high level of interest in both the BSM Maturity Model we developed last year and the survey instrument. Nearly everyone we have spoken to recognizes the alignment gap between IT and the business, but few know how to deal with the issue. They see the maturity model as a good way to start a dialog and the survey as a way to measure where they stand as compared to other companies their size and within their industry.

Many of the presenters at the event are real customers who are sharing their experiences -- lesson learned and best practices. Many view the CIOs role as the indicator for BSM maturity. Many see their CIO focused exclusively on IT operations (keeping the lights on), others see the CIO as transforming IT (to run IT like a business) and a fewer number see the CIO as strategic to the business. There was a healthy discussion about how IT leadership transitions though these phases, what leadership characteristics are key and if multiple roles are necessary to do it all. It is worth reading the 2011 State of the CIO survey by CIO.com to see how CIOs see their priorities changing this year.

We didn't spend a lot of time with vendors and won't be blogging about any new BSM related announcements. However, we spoke to a number of vendors who have agreed to promote the BSM Maturity Survey to their customers and prospects to support the benchmark study.

Finally, we made some great connections with customers at the event and have a half dozen or so lined up for interviews, so be on the lookout for that.

The Pink Elephant event is 100% relevant to BSM, offers insightful content and is run professionally. We will be back there next year and hope to see you there.

We just posted a case study in correlating IT service management maturity with business maturity ...and presenting an example of how BSM maturity can actually assist IT organizations in understanding potential causes in the ongoing disconnect between IT and their business customers.  What was interesting about this case was the recognition that this IT shop has received from their business counterparts in automating so many functions within their energy utility company ...yet the difficulty the IT organization was having with fundamental IT initiatives such as a "production oriented service desk" and a 24/7 network operations center.  This company was great with in-house development and struggling with IT operations ...charting a course to a disintegrating IT-business alignment at some point in the future. 

Recently I watched the TV program with Michel Roux (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00xjzml/Michel_Rouxs_Service_Episode_1/) where he takes a dozen people, mostly without any job or experience at all, and over a course of several weeks will transform them (he hopes)into waiters, maitre D's, sommeliers etc  for his Michelin star restaurants. Well last night was the first episode and it was amusing and cringe worthy at the same time. Some of them had never opened a bottle of wine with a cork and had to be taught. When they came at the end of the 1st programme they were made responsible for the "front of house" within a ZiZZi restaurant here in the UK's docklands. It was fascinating.

Customer service, in fact "customer-oriented service management" (BSM?), was so un-natural to them, that the inevitable happened. They worked in silo's, they focused on their tasks and not on the customer, SLA's were not understood and ignored if they were, some stuck to process regardless of the bad impact on the customer (business). For example they were told not to take the food order until the drinks had arrived (they must take the drinks order first and process it). So when the bar was really busy and could not provide the drinks for over 20-25mins, the customer had to complain that not only did they have no drinks, not no-one came to take their order, and worse, when the customer asked them to take the order, they were informed by the waiter that they cannot until your drinks have arrived!!!!! Unbelievable, but it does show that sticking to the "letter of the law" on the process and not being flexible can adversely impact your customers (businesses).

The correlation to ITSM and BSM was all too apparent to me. The "greeter" would be the service desk, the interface between the waiting staff and the customers. They would greet the customer, take some details (how many in the party etc) and place them in the appropriate area of the restaurant and allocate to the appropriate waiter (even introducing the waiter to them). All this allocation was based on demand management, capacity management, priority (had they booked, or just a "walk-in").

The waiter was the support staff, managed and controlled by the Maitre 'd (service manager) who is responsible for the entire front of office experience and the customer (business) service. The sommelier being a specialist support person interacting and delivering a solution appropriate to the meal and the customers taste, but the waiter is still the "single point of contact" for all the interactions with the table and the customer. 

It will be interesting to see how they develop their (business-oriented) service management stills.

Today, I was visiting a London financial services organisation who are seeking to implement an organisation cultural change for IT to be less technology focused and move to a customer (business) centric focus. The examples they gave were so mirrored by the experiences shown on the TV programme and prove that Service Management fits across all markets and perhaps we need to drop the IT prefix and simply focus on the customers. Often the best way, I've found, is to imagine you are the customer and how would you like to be served or be treated in the circumstances you are in right now!

Looking forward to seeing how Michael Roux and his students progress.

Chris Bruzzo, the CTO of Starbucks, and Narinder Singh, the founder of Appirio, demonstrate Starbucks Pledge 5 application, built on the force.com platform.

They did it in 21 days.  That’s the real value of the cloud.


The Two Key Roles for IT In Social Media are Business Service Enablement and Digital Asset Guardianship

What a great day we had at the Pink Elephant Social Media Event this week in Toronto! David Ratcliffe, Chris Dancy and I presented a full day agenda of topical sessions related to the opportunities and risks stemming from the tidal wave adoption of social media in both the private and commercial sectors. The attendees were very engaged and were almost to a person asking the same questions.

Q: What is the relevance of Social Media to IT Groups and what do we do with it?

This is the same question I hear over and over again from the various IT leaders and organizations we work with. For many Social Media is largely a problem, something to control or block from within company firewalls and network perimeters.

In other words Social Media is a nuisance they would rather not bother with and is getting in the way of their real work of managing the organization's technology environment.

This was certainly the perception of several of the event attendees who came looking for ways to control, limit or completely block the business users from social media sites during work hours or on company devices. "We certainly wouldn't want employees wasting company time in non-productive activities!" From that point of view Social Media is only something of interest and value to individuals for personal use. However, many organizations and IT Leaders have not understood that there is more to this topic then they might think.

What our industry is just beginning to realize is that Social Media is also an extension of our customer's business service strategy.  Business customers are hungry for ways to innovate, differentiate and improve their value proposition to the market. The world is "Literally" connecting from a variety of technology devices in unprecedented ways on these emerging networking platforms.  Millions of people globally are talking about and commenting on pretty much everything under the sun including your companies' products and services. The fact of the mater is that if an organization wishes to reach and communicate with their clients, constituents and citizens they must go where the people are!

At the Pink event we impressed upon the attendees the Tsunami speed of adoption to raise the urgency of this topic.

  • Social Media adoption has surged to staggering heights. While Facebook has over 618 million users (As of Today) 100 Million new users added in the last 6 months
  • LinkedIn has over 75 million worldwide.
  • Twitter, 105,779,710 registered users account for approximately 750 tweets each second
  • Facebook platform houses over 550,000 active applications and is integrated with more than one million websites

With recent technology advancements such as access to the web via high speed connections, the proliferation of mobile computing devices we have had years to adjust and establish methodologies and approaches. In the case of Social Media we are seeing massive change in the matter of months if not weeks.

A recent Burson-Marsteller study shows that, "of the Fortune Global 100 companies, 65% have active Twitter accounts, 54% have Facebook fan pages, 50% have YouTube video channels and 33% have corporate blogs" 

For these compelling reasons Businesses, Non-Profits, and Government Agencies are rushing to extend their existing web strategies to include and incorporate social media functionality and feeds into their service lines. Business customers of IT such as Marketing, Sales, HR, Research and Development, Product Support are engaging "NOW" in the Social Media and cloud activities.  Albeit many organizations are doing so in an uncoordinated, un- planned and ill advised manner.

The problem is that they are not necessarily working with the IT Leadership to do this! Why should they? (Sarcasm)

  • They don't need IT's permission
  • They don't need new technology (At a pinch a browser will do)
  • They are not exactly getting an enthusiastic response from us if they actually ask for help
  • They believe IT is not agile enough and are focused more on controlling and limiting their goals versus enabling them

Not surprising then why many of our business customers take a "don't ask don't tell approach" to their social media activities!

Consider for the moment the ITIL Definition of a Service: "A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific cost and risks.

So if Social Media is something the "Customer Wants" then we should be stepping up to the plate and helping them achieve the expected value by applying good practices to manage risk and costs.

In short we should be Enabling Business Service Outcomes by working this requirement through a well thought out Service Life Cycle Strategy, Design, Transition, Operations and CSI process. (Sound Familiar) We should participate in this activity as a Partner versus a Road Block

This is one of the topics I addressed in my session on Monday and will speaking to again at the Pink conference in Vegas in a couple of weeks.


Of course with opportunity and reward comes risk!

It is our job in IT to also be the Guardian of our customer's Digital Assets. Our customers look to IT leadership to help establish technology and policy controls that will mitigate the very real risks that engaging in social media or general online activities presents.

Cyber criminals are like sharks which cluster where the action is, and the action is certainly happening on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc.

The key consideration here is that we must stop thinking that the digital security perimeter exists only inside the company's network firewall.  Consider the following quotes from the Annual CISCO Security Report:

  • Consider social media. Its impact on computer security cannot be overstated, It is common for workers to blend business and personal communications on these social networks, further blurring the network perimeter
  • The high levels of trust that users place in social networks - that is, users' willingness to respond to information appearing within these networks - has provided ample opportunity for new and more effective scams. Instead of searching out technical vulnerabilities to exploit, criminals merely need a good lure to hook new victims
  • No longer does business take place solely behind network walls. The critical work of an organization is happening increasingly on social networks, on handheld devices, on Internet kiosks at airports, and at local cafes
  • Social Media "Were The Problem" Social media users believe there is protection in being part of a community of people they know. Criminals are happy to prove this notion wrong

The key point to consider is that we need to understand and effectively manage risks related to web and social media activity. IT leadership needs to open their eyes to the business opportunity as well as the risk and actively engage our customers in helping them to achieve their goals. Focusing our security efforts only on blocking URL's and domains from within company firewalls is too narrow minded, short sited, doomed to failure and like the story of the little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the leaky dam. Being an effective Guardian of our Customer's Digital Assets means taking a holistic and people centric approach to managing both technical and social engineering attacks from within and outside our firewalls.

Troy's Thoughts What Are Yours?

Blog: http://blogs.pinkelephant.com/troy

Quote: "If you don't like change your going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki Chief of Staff US Army

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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