Recently in Business Service Management (BSM) Category

Product or Service? Does it really make any difference?

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What one customer sees as a service, another might see as a product.  As an example, a mobile phone company provides a phone, which could be seen by the customer as a product which allows them to make calls and send/receive text messages, and provides various other capabilities.  It could be regarded as a service - being able to make phone calls etc. which just happens to include the supply of a phone handset in order to use the service.  Whether the customer sees it as a Product or Service is subjective, and probably doesn't really matter all that much.  From a customer's perspective, it's what the Product or Service does for them, the value it provides, which is important.  The mobile phone Product or Service allows them to make calls and other tasks - the value is in achieving the outcome, not in buying the product or service.  If the customer didn't have the need, they probably wouldn't be buying.

 

Our industry can be guilty of spending too much time on semantics  - is it an 'incident', or should we call it something else?  There are an embarrassingly  large number of examples.

 

Surely any organization who wants to be successful, realizes the necessity for understanding this customer-centric perspective.  This awareness is absolutely necessary if we hope to design and deliver successful products and services.  Regardless of whether we're a commercial organization, charity, not-for-profit, public sector or private, isn't this completely critical?

 

People have different views, and why should we have the right to dictate how people should think, or the language they use?  I would argue this is a distraction, and not massively important.  The main point is that a good service provider, or any of us who believe they have any element of service management in what we do, should do everything we can to understand what the customer wants or needs to achieve, and how what we do makes that happen - that's what makes it a valuable service.

The first series of questions in the 2011 BSM Maturity Benchmark survey focused on evaluating BSM maturity.  The good news is there is growing clarity re: the definition/purpose of Business Service Management with movement away from the narrow focus on Application Performance and Running-IT-as-a-Business to a measurable activity for aligning IT with business goals.  The bad news is the noticeable gap identified by respondents between the perceived maturity of the "business" and the abilities of IT to support rapidly changing business needs.

There was almost universal agreement that technology is no longer an option but a critical requirement for business survival and growth ...particularly as it relates to customer relationships, profit margins, revenue growth, competitive advantage, product differentiation and time to market.  Three of the more interesting dichotomies of the benchmark related to:

1.      83% of business respondents affirmed that "technology provides us with a unique, sustained competitive advantage" while the IT view was significantly lower at 30%.    

2.      84% of business participants agreed that technology was used by their company "to create product and service leadership in our industry" while the IT view came in at 55%. 

3.      Only 42% of business users supported the idea that the company limited "the use of technology to basic business functions" while the IT view was much higher at 67%.

Why this discrepancy between the business and IT views?  Is it that business has a better perspective of how technology actually impacts business initiatives?  Is it that IT better understands what technology "could" do for the business, but isn't?   Fortunately these questions are explored in greater detail in subsequent sections of the 2011 BSM Maturity Benchmark report.  Click here to obtain a copy.

2011 BSM Benchmark Report

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We are delighted to announce the availability of the 2011 Business Service Management Benchmark Report.
 
The survey, which was conducted in the first half of this year, measures the maturity of BSM initiatives industry-wide. The report provides unique insight into the working relationship between IT and their business counterparts, across departments and roles. It measures the effectiveness of IT service support and identifies the current use and planned adoption of ITIL v2 and v3.
 
We believe you will find the benchmark report both intriguing and insightful.
 
A few key take-a-ways from the benchmark report include:

  • Both Business and IT personnel are approaching consensus on the high-level definition of Business Service Management
  • Businesses are maturing at a higher rate than IT and, as such, IT is struggling to keep pace with the business
  • There remains a significant "information" gap between business and IT regarding how technology could, or should be leveraged to support business growth and competitive differentiation
  • Nearly half of enterprises we surveyed have achieved fairly effective alignment with their business counterparts and are meeting expectations
  • Too many IT shops are in danger of being marginalized as the lack of investment in IT leads to less innovation and IT services that are inadequate to satisfy the longer term needs of the business
Click <here> to download the final report.

This quote by Audrey Rasmussen of Ptak/Noel and Associates does a nice job summing up the report.

"As is typical for major transformations such as BSM, progress never seems fast enough and accurately gauging progress is a continual challenge.  This BSM Maturity benchmark study provides a view of the current "state of BSM", giving BSM practitioners perspectives on their own "state of BSM" and how it compares with other BSM initiatives, as well as a benchmark to measure their progress."

Please don't hesitate to comment on the study in the BSMReview blog or send us e-mail at info@bsmreview.org.

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I would like to thank our sponsors for supporting the survey and promoting the final report.

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Exciting times

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Well, life has certainly been a bit different recently. I will ignore the week spent feeling half-dead as we caught a stomach bug, and talk about the more interesting parts of life.

First a bit of blatant self-advertising. As some of you may know I wrote a book (a modern-day thriller based round the world's energy problems) and published it on Amazon and Lulu

Well, I was feeling inquisitive so I wondered if could get it published as a Kindle book, because we both have Kindles now and think they are ace. Good news for those who want to try it, it is an easy process. (Yes, I know the links above are all UK ones, but I have also done it on Amazon in US, Germany and France). 

Having done that, I though I would also try it on smashwords, as they distribute to other channels like Barnes & Noble, Sony etc. Then the fun began as I had to fight Open Office to reproduce the already accepted and printed manuscript in epub format. The fact that the PDF I had already worked fine on my Kindle - I checked it - was immaterial, you have to rejig it and play around with paragraph spacing and different ISBN etc. etc. Anyway, got it to work eventually. Of course, just after I had finished that, the original online publisher I used (Lulu) sent me an email saying they were now offering a whole range of epub distributions - was I interested?!?!

OK, so the good news is that having gone through all the rigmarole with smashbooks I now had a version that worked on lulu, and I have blasted it all over the place!!!!

Now, why am I boring you with all this? Well, there is always the vague hope that one or two of you might buy a copy as it's nice and cheap, but a lot of you will probably say "I haven't got a Kindle, or I've got an iPad or whatever." So here's the good news:

  1. Yes, it works on all sorts of devices. Of course, being run by computer people they are all different formats so we authors have to go through the tedium of converting it multiple ways!!
  2. You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books - there is a free Kindle reader app for the PC, the Mac, iPhone, Blackberry (handy when you can't do anything else with it as the server's down?), the Android etc. There is also a free Adobe Digital Editions app for epubs. So you can read lots of cheap / free books on your laptop / pad / whatever.
  3. My apologies if the price keeps changing - the one part of the Kindle process that doesn't seem to work the way I expect is the pricing. I tried to make it about a quid (UK one pound) everywhere, as I didn't want to stretch anyone in these hard times!   

Now the other half of my life! 

I got stung by a wasp a couple of weeks ago. I've been stung before and not had any great problems beyond a bit of pain and a secret desire to eradicate all wasps worldwide. This time, however, I reacted quite violently and came out with a mega rash over my chest and arms so off we go to hospital.

Being a sad old computer process man, it was interesting to watch the stages:
  • Initial diagnosis / triage where the most important question was asked, namely was my breathing affected, fortunately no
  • See doctor, get treatment confirmed - some injections
  • Injections with check that they were correct ones
  • Check to see all is ok and explain about medication to be taken at home
  • Controlled emergency reaction as I suddenly collapse and my wife is somewhat worried by call of "he's not breathing"
  • Come round a few seconds later to find team of specialists doing what is needed - oxygen, drip etc.
  • Constant vigilance of blood pressure, which apparently dropped off edge of cliff earlier
  • Tests to see if I can talk, sit, stand, walk
  • Revisit by doctor to see all has been resolved
  • Close of trouble ticket and my wife drives me home
Now, if you can't see the parallels to an ITIL/CobIT scenario there I will be very surprised. Thank you hospital for having the right processes and the right controls.

Companies that pay attention to emerging trends and adapt quickly are most likely to succeed, while laggards suffer the consequences of latecomers and miss business opportunities. The DevOps movement is one of these emerging trends that companies should be taking seriously despite numerous failures by vendors to jump start this area in the past. However, in our opinion, DevOps appears to already be taking root this time and for several very good reasons.

Why is it different this time?

The impermeable wall between IT development and operations is legendary. Despite numerous past efforts to encourage development and operations organizations to work together, "the wall" still exists in most IT organizations today. With this historical record of failure, is the current DevOps movement also doomed to inevitable failure? As an industry watcher who witnessed the past failed attempts to breach the wall, we believe there is something very different about today's DevOps movement that sets it up for potential success.

Past efforts were driven primarily by vendors who were trying to create a market for selling more software. Development, operations teams and their leaders were less than enthusiastic when vendors presented them with weak value propositions, telling them that development and operations teams "should" collaborate, and it was a good thing to do. It's no wonder that IT organizations chose to invest in other areas with more pressing needs, and left the wall between development and operations still standing.
 

So what's different about today's DevOps movement? One major difference is a combination of driving forces that reinforce the need for today's DevOps movement, which present strong and compelling reasons for both development and operations to work together. The main driving force comes from business leaders faced with the need to innovate and respond quickly to increasing competitive pressures. This, in turn, puts increased pressure on IT development and operations teams to deliver new services more quickly.

As a result of the changing business needs, development teams are feeling increasing pressure to create new, innovative solutions rapidly and to respond quickly to changing requirements. This is one of the reasons why development organizations are beginning to adopt Agile development methods, which increase the speed and velocity of software development and changes. It also shortens the development cycle. The velocity of software changes that must be deployed into production pose serious challenges for development and operational hand-off processes that are manual and ill-equipped to handle the frequency of new software releases. 

On the other side of "The Wall", businesses are also exerting pressure on IT operations teams to deploy new, innovative solutions and respond quickly to business needs. This is in addition to meeting existing high expectations that applications run smoothly, and are always available. This further challenges the delicate balancing act for Business Service Management, speeding innovation delivery while maintaining stability and minimizing risk to business services.

So operations and development teams are looking to cloud computing as one alternative for fast delivery of infrastructure and application deployment. Many IT operations teams are already in the process of doing the necessary leg work for cloud computing, which requires standardization, processes, and automation. This preparation work will also help move DevOps initiatives forward because manual deployment methods that worked for waterfall development schedules, with well-spaced periodic deployments, will fail to keep up with the constant and rapid arrival of agile software updates.

Telltale Cracks in "The Wall"

Cracks already appear in "The Wall", which may be a harbinger of success for the current DevOps' movement. Several IT organizations have deployed their first cloud initiatives in development test environment deployment. They have chosen the development test environment because it is a low risk, quick return project. But what is most significant about this choice is that it opens the dialog and collaboration between IT operations and development test teams. In my opinion, this demonstrates that "The Wall" is no longer impermeable.

Another indicator of significant cracks appearing in "The Wall" comes from cloud computing early adopters. The development organizations from several early adopter cloud customers saw the pressing need to streamline their service delivery processes in order to speed their time to market and to increase their efficiency.  As vendor integrations between the tools did not exist, they launched internal projects to re-engineer and integrate their service delivery processes. These efforts included integrating selected development and IT operational tools, as well as standardizing and employing automation. Through such initiatives, the companies managed to knock down substantial portions of "The Wall". What is significant about these examples is that development teams were the driving force behind the initiatives. This contrasts markedly with the past, where development teams were typically the ones resisting the change. The resulting payoff for these early adopter companies was faster, more efficient delivery of new business services.

And finally, development tool vendors and operations tool vendors are increasingly delivering capabilities to enable improved collaboration between development and operations teams. In addition, IBM is proposing the adoption of Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) integration and data exchange standards to enable easier integration across disparate tools. If integration standards are adopted, paving the way for easier integration of disparate development and operations tools, the result would be a significant step forward for the potential success of DevOps' integration.   

The Final Word

There are early indications that DevOps may be taking root this time. Several market forces are at work that place collaboration between development and operations at a critical juncture. Today's DevOps value proposition is much stronger because of the importance to the business, which moves it from a "nice to do" to a "must do".

DevOps is not a power struggle to see who wins between development and IT operations. It should be a collaborative effort between development and operations to deliver what the business needs, as quickly and efficiently as possible, as it enables the company to beat its competition.

Our friends at BrightTALK are hosting a BSM Summit on August 10th.

The summit is featuring two of our BSMReview experts, Bill Keyworth and Ken Turbit.

Bill's session entitled "Can BSM Navigate the Turbulent Air Currents of Cloud Computing" is focused on the widening gap between IT and Business as more services are pushed out to the cloud and provisioned by business.

Ken's session entitled "Five Steps to Ensure BSM Works in the Cloud" describes what he believes are the 5 critical capabilities required to effectively support BSM in the cloud which are aligned with ITIL best practices.

The virtual summit features 5 additional industry experts that discuss how cloud computing is affecting BSM and ITSM strategies and processes. A few of the thought provoking session titles include:

How to Take the BS out of BSM?
How to Catalog your Cloud?
Can 140 Characters or Less Really Impact IT and the Business?


I think you will find this summit worth your time and it may, in fact, be quite entertaining.

I would also like to point you to a BSMReview article entitled "A Service Model for Cloud Computing" that is a worthwhile read as you prepare for the BSM Summit.

Cheers.

At a vendor-sponsored event earlier this year, I spent some time with IT and business managers that had participated in a simulation workshop. The object was to help managers and operation staffs become familiar with a private Cloud operating environment, ITIL v3 best practices and a new set of integrated management solutions. It was an interesting and informative experience in and of itself. Reviewing the lessons learned during the workshop, it occurred to me that there were some too often overlooked insights that apply to organizations and enterprises pursuing a BSM operational environment.   


In any simulations involving multiple different groups, one of more effective lessons learned is about gaining new perspectives. This workshop took place in a room-sized environment that meant all of the participants could witness how different groups in the "company" were affected by different events, as well as where each group focused their attentions. In this case, IT operations staff were 'shoulder-to-shoulder' with service desk staff, business and IT managers. Unlike the 'real world', the efforts, interaction, inefficiencies and the impact of decisions made by each group were visible to all parties very quickly. When a newly introduced service failed, the disruption was compounded by the fact that no one had told the Service Desk that the new service existed. Both business and IT management knew about the new service, and IT operations implemented it. But no one thought to notify the Service Desk. The importance of a communications process was immediately apparent.

 

Each round brought new insight into the interdependencies, interactions and need for well-defined processes to make sure things were done that needed to be done and that communications between the group was open, effective and complete. Business managers gain insight into just what IT does along with a better understanding of their fundamental value and contribution to business performance. IT staff gain an understanding of how their business counterparts' focus on revenue, cost and profitability is central to the operation and success of the business.

 

It becomes clear that realizing the potential to positively impact business performance requires IT managers to understand and focus on business priorities, in order to make the right decisions for the business. Both functions need a better understanding and appreciation of their colleagues' perspectives and the metrics by which their colleagues are measured if they are to successfully work together to maximize business performance.

 

A major tenant of BSM it facilitate and accelerate a shift in IT focus from simply providing access to and maintaining the infrastructure (essentially 'fixing things when they break and managing to operational performance goals)' to an environment where IT promotes and orchestrates the application of the infrastructure in support of business (whatever the business is - education, retail, government, etc.) goals. The shift is from monitoring to assure things are up and running to creatively managing and applying IT infrastructure to assure that business goals are met.

 

If IT is to focus solving the problems and delivering services that advance and facilitate business success they must understand the metrics for success. They have to know what it takes for their business user/client to be successful - then focus on providing the IT and technology services that contribute to that success. 

Another lesson learned, that applies to BSM, is the need for well-defined processes. Operational efficiency and effectiveness  result from  following and taking action based on well-defined processes and having defined and documented those processes  a head of time makes all the difference when operating under pressure. However, don't let consistency become a trap - review and update to eliminate what's not needed. During one session, a manual process introduced during an earlier round - almost sunk the revenue stream because it interfered with a newly defined automated process. Review, evaluate, communicate - all applicable in implementing any BSM program.

 

In short, if BSM is to pay off, it is important that IT and business works as teams. Today, emerging technologies in IT are more likely to penetrate the consumer space before they hit the enterprise (think iPads, Smart phones, etc.)  As this consumerization of IT continues, business staff will demand more from IT operations. IT needs to be pro-active in identifying where and how they can contribute to business success. In commercial enterprises, this requires being knowledgeable about how, when, why of how revenue (or the major success metric) is earned. Be and act as a part of a team that includes both business and IT personal. Know and understand the relationship, interaction and interdependencies between IT and business operations, that is the path to successful Business Service Management.

 

Vance Brown, CEO of Cherwell Software, makes the case for changes IT organizations must make to survive in the new economy in a recent BSMReview article.

But change is hard -- it requires people to alter their behavior, processes to be reinvented and technology to support the new business process. Vance states that "the cornerstone to effective change in information technology is to harness the necessary information to proactively make the right business decisions-at anytime from anywhere-and thereby truly aligning IT with business objectives."

With today's technology, business unit managers can utilize an iPhone or PDA device to proactively receive, and then act upon, the right information-at anytime, from anywhere. This enables people with sound processes to make the right business decisions. In order to make right, or "RITE" decisions, management must have data and information that is:

  1. Relevant to the mission, strategies, and objectives of the organization
  2. Integrated across all department "silos" and geographic locations
  3. Timely, so that the issues can be addressed and resolved before they become crises and
  4. Efficient, so that with the mounds of data, organizations can "manage by exception" and the automated best business processes can be enforced
What we all know is that Change is Inevitable .. How you control and manage it is optional.

More >>

Fit for purpose, fit for use.

When ITIL v3 came out, so did some industry terms that really made sense and needed to be fully understood and taken on-board. "fit for purpose and fit for use" is one of those terms.

So often people just focus all their energy and attention on the "fit for use" element and ignore, at their peril, the fit for purpose factor. Let me give you some simple example to highlight the point.

Over the past few weeks I've been involved in the planning (and expense) of refurbishing a house I purchase as a "buy to let" investment and some of the team have focussed too much on the fit for use factor and ignore the fit for purpose.  Downstairs the house already had a cloakroom with a small wash-hand basin and lavatory. The room was large enough to allow me to add a shower cubicle in and change the "purpose" of the room from a guest facility to a tenant shower room facility. The builders changed the existing Loo and basin to new ones, but the basin was tiny, just about large enough to get one hand in to wash! So it was "fit for use", one could wash your hand in it, but it was not fit for the new purpose of a shower-room. It was too small for someone to wash their face in, or to be used for a man shaving etc, it was not fit for purpose and so I got it changed to one 3 times the size. Now it was fit for use and purpose. Something the designers should have got right from the initial briefing.

The second example is the opposite. My car. Now I've had the car for 5 years and when I purchased it I was still with BMC and travelling the world, so it was a car for fun, not for trying to collect and move furniture around from one house to another! It was fit for use and purpose at the time. It took me from A to B, it had 4 doors and a boot (trunk) it was large (16 feet long) and wide. So, on paper it was ideal for using. However it was designed as a four door coupe and had very sloping roof and narrow doors and windows, making it impossible to get solid things into, only flexible people! It is no longer fit for the purpose I now require.

Things do change and over time what was right for one period in time is not longer right for the existing environment and tasks at hand. This is so true in the Service Management world too. Too many organisations keep trying to "shoe-horn" existing software, applications, servers, desktops, laptops and even processes into doing things they are not made for. They take the view that it was fit for use and initially fit for purpose, therefore they believe it must still be still for purpose, yet our purpose changes over time. We need to constantly review our Asset base and ensure we use them, at the right time, in the right place, for the right tasks and the right usage. This is utility. Something that can be fully utilised, unlike my nice car! Don't complain to Service Management if you're using assets Fit for one element and not the other, review and get the Utility right.

Back in 2007, Gartner released the statistic that IT was responsible for 2% of global CO2 emissions. This puts IT on a par with the aviation industry. Yes, really! We all focus on the airlines, because they are big and obvious, we can even pay an off-set charge to "feel better", but we need to start and focus on things we can more directly impact on our own doorstep, the IT we use. The carbon footprint of PCs and monitors is expected to triple by 2020 - a growth rate of 5% per annum. The global data centre carbon footprint is expected to triple by 2020 - a growth of 7% per annum.

We've all heard about global warming and the impact we hungry consumers are having on the planet. It's something we need to address, especially as we begin to see the impact it's having on our weather patterns. Severe floods in South America, Australia, heavy snow in the UK and East coast of the USA. These conditions are impacting our lives and businesses and are projected to continue unless we all start to turn the tide and think of ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Many governments and businesses have Green policies and set targets as part of their corporate governance responsibilities ...perhaps your own organisation has such a policy. If so, do you know its content and how you can contribute towards it? We need to start adding Green IT thinking into all that we do, particularly in the business/IT (BSM) relationship, before it's too late.

What can we do about this? There are simple things to make a positive start, such as archive unused data, power off idle Desktops, printers etc. We need to bring this thinking into our Service Strategy and Design initiatives ready for the transitioning into live operations. We need to bring Green IT into the business-oriented service management discussion. 

Recently I came across a great article by Karen Ferris from a consulting company in Australia, Macanta Consulting, who looked into Service Management and in particular ITIL as a way of understanding, controlling and reducing a Businesses CO2 impact. I hope you'll find it of interest and useful in your Green IT efforts.

The pendulum swings...

The longer you live the more you recognise the patterns and trends in everything: styles, trends, governments, policies, and on and on. The pendulum tends to swing from one position and sometimes extreme to another position and extreme. Think of the "bell bottom" trousers, or modern day boot leg, and then the "drain pipes"  for jeans, the far left Labour governments, to the far right Labour governments, and on into the Right Conservatives to left wing Conservatives. Over time we can see it all, the pendulum tends to fly through the middle ground and never stay there long.

Well it's the same with the quality of services, from business to IT ...including business service management (BSM). We all know what good service is, and from time to time we have all experienced it, although it appears to be less common these days. Something I think is odd in these difficult times. It's at times like these that service needs to be superb and enable you to retain your clients and stand out from the crowd to obtain new clients. People are looking now for more value for the spending of their hard earned money and the quality of the product and service becomes the main differentiator, as opposed to Brand of the previous affluent years. Why would services offered by IT to their business end users be any different?

The problem with service quality being eroded over time is that we slowly become immune to it and are more and more prepared to accept lesser services because it's the norm, especially in this country. Recently I've been investing in a property to rent out and engaged a building company to carry out the renovation works. When I review the handywork I notice what I feel is poor quality, with simple things like some areas not painted just because they are not visible from ground level (but when up a ladder, to hang curtains you can see everything!), or when they carry out the finishing touches (like painting missed areas) you discover that the shading is now different. When I highlight these things I get told that I'm being "too particular" and I'm expecting too high a level of quality.

Well, I'm sorry, when I pay many thousands of my own hard earned money, I expect the professionals who sold me a quality service and finished product would deliver an excellent service to a high quality, not an average readily accepted quality that everyone tends to just accept. We become more and more accepting of lesser quality and so the supplier thinks it's sufficient and acceptable. The pendulum swings from high good quality to mediocre quality, simply because we resign to accept it. Well, we need to change things. We need to let it be known what is and what is not acceptable, especially now when things are more expensive and competition is greater and choice is wider than ever before.

Let's review our IT "business -oriented" services and see how we deliver these services to our customers and make every effort to improve the quality and standards to raise the bar and become more in demand as a result. If we don't we end up on the slippery slope down by permitting our services to slowly detereate bit by bit until it's the main reason we are losing clients and finding it more and more difficult to obtain new ones. It's not all down to cost, its quality and value. I'm pushing the pendulum over to the high quality swing, will you help me push it?

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.

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.

SMlifecyclesm.jpg

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



As a community of business and IT professionals, we're conducting our First Annual Survey to measure the maturity of BSM initiatives industry-wide.  Our goal is to benchmark the adoption, perceptions and expectations of aligning IT and business within a variety of industry segments.

In addition, the survey will help refine the definition of Business Service Management, quantify its value to the organization and provide the data necessary to measure IT and business alignment based on market and business maturity.

Each survey participant will be provided the resultant BSM Maturity report (complimentary), analyzed by BSMReview experts, and be invited to participate in a webinar that discusses the results. It is our intention that participants will learn:

1.    How other companies are assessing the value of BSM.
2.    How your BSM maturity and initiatives compare to others.
3.    What others are doing to better align business with IT.
4.    How others are measuring BSM effectiveness.
5.    The norms for BSM adoption within your industry segment.

The survey consists of 19 questions and the average time to complete the survey is 10 minutes. Survey participation is 100% anonymous.  Our goal is to obtain survey response from both IT and business personnel, so we strongly encourage forwarding the survey link to business colleagues who will benefit from participating.

2011 BSM Maturity Survey

BSM Definition

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A friend of mine just pointed me at this Wikipedia definition of BSM. Whilst I like some of the entry, I must admit that I'm not keen on the first couple of paragraphs, which seems to imply that BSM is a bunch of management tools you buy from one or more vendors.

As one of the people, who can actually claim to have been involved in the very early formulation of BSM (at BMC), can I please explain what we were trying to achieve and what I think BSM really is? It has grown and developed since then, but I think a few key points are getting lost in the plethora of tools.  

  • BSM is not a bunch of tools. You cannot buy it.
BSM is actually a mindset. Everything you do has to be from a business point of view. This is absolutely key. Once you get this, everything else flows on from here. Tools are pointless if you don't have the mindset and processes to exploit them.

For instance if I walk into a motor manufacturer IT department and ask an employee what he/she does, the correct answer is I sell cars - not I monitor Oracle.

Once you have this, then you look at things like ITIL and CoBIT to help you achieve your goals.

  • You don't need all of ITIL - choose the bits you need
My big hang-up with ITIL is that it demands you learn its grammar and syntax and vocabulary. Sorry, I know why I need a CAB, but I couldn't care less what the initials actually stand for. Use ITIL as a means to achieve the first bullet, not as a gospel that has to be followed blindly. 

  • BSM is two-way
Everyone loves to talk about the business impact of a failed router or whatever, but  that is only a small part of the story and an example of IT impact on the business. 

What most people forget or ignore is the other way - the impact of business on IT.  One of the definitions cited in the Wikipedia entry says that BSM is a 

"strategy and an approach for linking key IT components to the goals of the business. It enables you to understand and predict how technology impacts the business and how business impacts the IT infrastructure." 

I would actually say services rather than components, but I see too many people getting bogged down in the first half and forgetting the second. Actually you have to get the second half right before you can do the first. There is no way you can design an IT infrastructure if the business hasn't told you what their goals / budgets etc. are. I can design you a sub-second 24x7 system, but do you need it and can you afford it? It may be right for some business services , but not all etc. 

  • IT and business need to be co-joined.
If IT does not have a place on the board with equal or greater importance than other departments like manufacturing, sales etc. then get another job. BSM has no chance in a place like this, as IT will always play second fiddle. 

However, this also means that IT people have to learn to not  talk IT when they meet anyone from outside their department, and that business people have to say what they need rather than what they want.

  • Don't run stuff in-house that should be outsourced
BSM is not about protecting IT - it's about running IT in the most efficient and effective manner possible for the business. For example, if you know nothing about networks, get someone else to run them for you.

  • Make your contracts business based, not component
Any contracts you have with service providers, or you have with someone outside your organisation should be based on the delivery of that service, not on the availability of server no. 843, which is meaningless.

This raises some very interesting questions on who measure the service and reports on it and with what regularity? Are they measuring it from your point of view or theirs? I don't care if the service provider uses carrier pigeons if the service meets my requirements. I have no interest in how they do it, I just need to know that it will work and how they will respond when it breaks? 

  • Don't run something just because someone else does or you read it somewhere
Every business is different. Your company goals are different. Your strategy is different. (If not, then merge and save some money). Ergo, your IT will be different.

There are many more examples I could quote, but I hope you agree that everything flows from the first bullet. If not, or you think I'm totally wrong, please let me know.

As an advocate of using "agile" principles to improve the alignment of business and IT, I'd encourage evaluation of the March, 2011 Agile Enterprise Forum 2011 ...which addresses how the CIO can effectively speed the development of business-oriented software. The need to restructure the process of developing new applications and modifying existing applications seems mandatory if IT is going to enable their users to stay ahead of the competitive curve.  Israel Gat's session on "Agile Governance: Tying Delivery to Value" is a business service management (BSM) approach to ensuing tangible value is delivered to IT's business customers by IT development ...cutting through traditional blockages.    

We are very excited to announce that Service-now.com, the pioneer in On-Demand IT Service Management, has agreed to become a sponsor of BSMReview.com.

As a sponsor, Service-now.com will receive brand recognition across the BSMReview community site and eNewsletter. Additional services include:

  1. Dedicated page in the BSMReview Vendor Zone to promote Service-now.com white papers and events
  2. Invitation to participate as a BSMReview Expert providing thought-leadership articles and blog entries
  3. A cadre of joint programs produced and promoted by BSMReview that include thought leading webinars, white papers and customer case studies.
Service-now.com will have the opportunity to participate in shaping the conversation of Business-Oriented Service Management and will gain insight into customer requirements through the use of surveys, polls, discussion groups, and other research instruments.

Service-now.com was one of several vendors to sponsor the BSM Maturity Model developed by BSMReview experts and recently participated in an interview with Bill Keyworth, editor-in-chief, entitled "Achieving BSM Maturity through Service-now.com".

About Service-now.com
The Service-now.com enterprise IT service management platform combines ITIL process support and SaaS delivery to provide a flexible, intuitive and self-managing, cloud-based application. Founded in 2004, Service-now.com uses a new business model and modern technologies to transform IT. According to the 2010 Inc. 500 list, Service-now.com is the fastest-growing IT management software company.

As a site sponsor, Service-now.com content is provided in the BSMReview Vendor Zone.

At the following blog post by Chris Curran in CIO Dashboard, he quotes Louie Ehrlich, CIO, Chevron Corp,

http://www.ciodashboard.com/leadership/closing-expectation-gap-business-stakeholders/#disqus_thread

It is a first person example of the CIO challenges of moving up the BSM maturity model, and the need to get your IT fundamentals in place prior to shaping IT deliverables in a business context ...which is needed prior to moving to the strategic business discussion of making technology a better enabler of effective business goals.

Mr. Ehrlich references the different types of business executives he has dealt with, and offers three requirements to becoming a "business strategist CIO."  I would offer that those requirements need to be done sequentially for best effectiveness.  Great insight on BSM from someone who has been there and done that.

"Standing On A Lean Scale Takes Discipline and Unusual Courage"

Lets face it sometimes ignorance is bliss!

One of the challenges related to effectively engaging in continual service improvement or even the initial task of documenting processes, policies and roles is that it forces us to take a long hard look at what we do today.

The desire not to acknowledge or confront what we know to be issues stems from the same irrational dislike we have for bathroom scales or even worse the annual fitness assessment at our family doctor. As long as we don't have the facts confronting us we can willfully ignore what we intrinsically understand to be true but do not have to will or desire to face.

This is where formal Improvement Models can be used effectively to move us into the discipline of self evaluation and prioritized improvements. This is the same reason we sign up at health clubs and work with expensive personal trainers or in our context consultants. It is not that we could not figure out what needs to be improved on our own, but somehow working within a structure and being held accountable gives us the discipline to get things done.

This is where Lean Principles can be used to drive a discipline of assessment and improvement.

First: We acknowledge that there are many things we do today that are not directly or indirectly beneficial to our goals or produce value. In short activities or actions in which we engage that are wasteful, redundant and provide zero to no value.

This means we have to first understand which activities of a process are part of its "Value Stream" where process inputs are worked on and transformed into a valued output that meets a validated need. In light of this understanding we can assess all process activity in terms of:

Valued Activity: Actions, resources or activities which have a direct connection to producing the desired outcome

Non Value Activity: Actions, resources or activities that while not having a direct hand in producing outcome provide the necessary measurement and governance elements to keep the process intact. (The glue that holds the process together and executed as expected)

Waste Activity: Actions we take that neither support the outcome or have a hand in keeping it glued together

With these principles in mind the goal is to optimize the valued activity, minimize the necessary Non Value Activity and eliminate the waste. However the question is how do we identify the waste, trim the fat and make sure we are only doing things that produce value?

This is where the Lean waste categories come in; time to have your process measured on the Lean Scale!

Consider using the following categories to evaluate either your current "As Is" process or even your freshly minted "To Be" process design and face the unpleasant and sometimes downright ugly facts of process bulge that will likely require a lifestyle change to remove.

Overproduction--Too many steps, transactions, authorization requirements, cycles in the process

Lets face it sometimes our processes look like Mac Trucks when what we really need is a Honda Civic or a GM Vibe. The problem with some of us process geeks is that we can over engineer a process based on the goal of perfection versus fit for purpose. Sometimes good enough is good enough!

ƒƒOver processing--Too much Non Value-added activity

Yes measurement is good, and assessments have their place to keep an eye on quality and service improvement opportunities. However, maintaining a sane balance of reports, administration and process governance is key based on the complexity and risk required.

ƒƒWaiting Unnecessarily--Too much time between process activities

Since a process is at heart a series of dependant or parallel tasks which take inputs from the upstream activity and passes them downstream towards the eventual value based outcome there are many points of potential wait states where the flow of the value stream spends unnecessary time queuing. Making sure that these wait states are not unduly long or even necessary is a key part of finding opportunities for process improvement.

ƒƒOwnership Issues--When a single person cannot be identified as the single point of process accountability (The request "Take Me To Your Leader" produces a blank stare!)

Without clear ownership a lot of finger pointing and "Someone should really take care of that" type of statements are common. Just like having 25 priorities means you have no priorities, a process with out clear ownership suffers from benevolent neglect. The concept of we all own it is sure to lead to wasteful activity.

ƒƒUnnecessary Movement --Too much or redundant movement between value-added steps

A good example of this is an incorrectly designed Change Management process where all changes regardless of risk or size flow through a change advisory board for approval. This tends to bog a Change Process down to where it is deemed to be ineffective, bureaucratic and yes wasteful of people's time. The idea is that changes should have the right level of approval and release assurance based on the level of risk. To many approval cycles for a minor change is not beneficial.

ƒUnderutilization Of Human Resources and Talent -- We don't use the skills and talents that we have

We typically think of waste in regards to things we should not be doing. How about those things or people we should be using but do not due to political or lack of knowledge reasons. An example of these types of situations? How about not giving the Service Desk ownership of end to end incidents? Not utilizing your Quality Assurance folks as part of your production assurance steps of Release and Deployment Management Not tying your Architecture group into the process of defining IT Services (many of which they helped to design). Unfortunately we too often allow silo mentality block us from using the skills already inherent in our organizations.

Lets face it we could all loose a few pounds of inefficiency if we looked at our current practices through the pragmatic lense of value and waste.

Troy's Thoughts What Are Yours

"Regret for time wasted can become a power for good in the time that remains, if we will only stop the waste and the idle, useless regretting." 
~Arthur Brisbane

In a recent BSMReview blog note I recommended listening to EMA's (Enterprise Management Associates) webinar discussing Business Service Management. They were in the process of publishing a new EMA Radar Report on the 'service impact" of implementing BSM technologies.

After watching the Webinar this week, I was disappointed with the incompleteness of the analysis.  My primary concern is how the analyst can you claim accuracy and objectivity  when vendors that have been long time advocates and thought leaders for BSM are excluded?   Even if a vendor doesn't respond to the analyst inquiries, it seems prudent to reference that fact and comment on information that is in the public domain. 

For example, I don't understand how you can have a Business Service Management vendor discussion without BMC being mentioned. I can kind of understand not mentioning Service-Now.com, but frankly I think most customers would be highly interested in one of the fastest growing SaaS vendors in the space and how they are positioning their solution in the context of BSM.  This begs the question, what other vendors are missing?

The Radar report positions 14 vendors (some which I am just now hearing about) and provides some insights, but I'm hesitant about buying into the outcome.  This makes me wonder if the report is highly influenced by EMA's vendor clients and, as such, is it biased?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Business Service Management (BSM) category.

Book Reviews is the previous category.

Business Strategy is the next category.

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