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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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Comments by Bill Moran and Rich Ptak


A little 'off-topic' from BSM per se, put we think it's worth a look at what's happening as Larry Ellison and his Oracle team try to move from software giant to full system solution provider.

The recently announced 5% drop in Oracle's HW revenues (continuing a drop that began with the Sun acquisition) once again casts doubts on its future as a hardware vendor. Before acquiring Sun, Oracle claimed the hardware division would be profitable in a very short time. We're still waiting.

 

Oracle executives (Safra Catz and Mark Hurd) insist the drop is a result of efforts to increase the profitability and margin in hardware sales. To be honest, the margins did improve. And, Ellison continues to insist they will make no attempt to hang onto unprofitable business segments - hence, his comments about exiting the high-volume x86 server market. (Ellison's stated goal is the get operating margins to around 46% where it was before the Sun acquisition. This is up from the last reported 42 %.)

 

These comments are consistent with what you would expect from executives in the midst of trying to execute a turn-around in a very tough market. None of the statements are a surprise. None appear outrageous. Vendors unwilling to surrender a costly, barely profitable attachment to a hardware platform or even a software product - tend to end up at the side of the road. Turning away customers, deteriorating sales numbers are not obviously great strategies for the long term. Let's see how this might play out.

 

In our view, once customers begin to hold back on their purchases of hardware (as they tend to do when the platform future appears shaky); the downward trend is likely to continue and expand. At the very least, until the customer perception of the prospects for the hardware division turns positive. This holds doubly true when a company, like Oracle, is moving into a totally new market space. There's uncertainty in spades when a software company attempts to become a full service solution vendor, no matter what the quality of new executives or past performance. The problem is compounded when the acquired company seemed to be having problems prior to its purchase. No one wants to invest in dead-end hardware, which is why it is most companies avoid talking of 'end-of-life' until the replacement product is available and accepted.

 

In the case of Oracle/Sun such a change in perspective will take time. It's not good when customers start publicly raising questions about the future of SPARC/Solaris. The risk increases when the platform was positioned as THE critical technology for the division. Restoring confidence will take time and money.


Oracle will have to demonstrate its commitment and willingness to make the necessary investment to restore confidence in SPARC with a detailed roadmap of its future. In concert, Oracle has to execute a credible and successful campaign to increase SPARC penetration and position not simply as a place holder for Exadata-like appliances.

 

Yes, Exadata is x86-based running Linux. But, it is a clear winner for Oracle today, with a promising future. That makes Exadata a strategic platform. The question that follows is: can Oracle be a hardware powerhouse without SPARC? We believe they need SPARC, IF they are to deliver to Larry's vision of offering a system with a fully integrated stack. The question then becomes can Oracle afford a dual-platform strategy? And, will Oracle be able to convince customers of the validity of their commitment to a multi-platform solution as other vendors have done? Both questions are quite reasonable and must be convincingly answered by Oracle.

 

When customers are convinced of the commitment and the success at execution, then they will reevaluate SPARC as a solution. We expect this process will take some time and see no obvious way to short circuit or jump start the process. Oracle needs to make a major SPARC announcement this year. (Larry Ellison announced the intention to do that at Oracle Open World this fall.) It remains to be seen how its performance improvements compare to competitor products from IBM and others. Assuming ORACLE can pull all these things together, it is possible that some time in 2012, the prospects for Sun's success will begin a recognizable turn around.

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.

 

An recent article at CIO.com entitled "How to Argue with the CEO - and Win" offers 13 tips, culled from current and former CIOs and communication consultants ...with the goal to get the CEO to see the CIO's perspective when arguments about IT spending ensue.

All 13 tips are relevant to BSM, but the one that sticks out to us is #3 -- CIO must Speak in Business Terms. We have heard this loud and clear from CIO's who fought for, and succeeded at getting a seat at the table with the CEO. To succeed at this level, the CIO must be respected for his knowledge and ability to contribute to the discussion about business strategy and operational excellence.

Our interview with Robert Urwiler, CIO at Vail Reports, brought this to the forefront very early on in our discussion. In the interview, Robert demonstrated a deep understanding of the business and discusses the collaborative role of IT regarding resort operations. Robert's story is a great example of the benefits of alignment, but not all CIO's can make that transition.

According to a number of sources, the argument between the CIO and CEO often are a result of poor business communication skills of the CIO. Another CIO,com article entitled "10 Communication Mistakes CIOs Still Make" highlight these communication challenges.

We have been discussing this communication gap at BSMReview for some time. We think there needs to be a new vocabulary that serves as the  bridge for this communication gap. Some people think the responsibility lies solely with the CIO ...that the CIO should develop the business skills required to learn the business.  I disagree in that I think the business also needs to learn something about IT, not at the level of the CIO, but certainly enough to know what IT services and trends directly affect business operations and competitive differentiation. Perhaps an IT 101 course for the CEO and line-of-business executives, and the equivalent course for the CIO on the dynamics of the business.

I have often thought that a set of business-oriented key performance indicators (KPIs) would be a step in the right direction -- linking IT investment and performance to business performance. Sounds a bit like Business Service Management.

At any rate, I wanted to bring this CIO article to your attention. It is well worth reading if you are interested in aligning your IT investment with your business strategy.

Finally, another must read that is related to this entry is the recent interview with Mark Settle, CIO of BMC Software.
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.

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.

Watch:



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.

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.

Sorry, I have been very quiet on here for a while. Combination of a big birthday (numbers wise), and the fact that I am writing a book for BMC - more about that when it is ready to be published.

The interesting thing is that not much has annoyed me recently - normally the reason for my blogging! Could this be due to the fact that we now have a Government, which is saying sensible things like 

  • Cut the ridiculous amounts of spending in the public sector, which we can't afford (stop stupid IT projects that don't bring any benefit)
  • Stop wasting time and money on ridiculous Health and Safety measures (sensible ones yes, unnecessary compliance no)
  • Allow teachers to bring back discipline at school (don't start me on unregulated projects)
  • Ignore overpaid idiots in the European Parliament, who come up with fatuous suggestions on how to waste more of our money (the latest was buying eggs by weight rather than half a dozen - dooh!)
  • Sort out the pension debacle / stop paying welfare to those who don't need it / deserve it   
  • etc.
Life is by no means perfect here in the UK, and we have an incredibly long way to go, due to the uncontrolled profligacy of twelve years of Blair and Brown, but I see light at the end of the tunnel. What we all have learnt (I believe) in recent times, is that you can't have everything you want, just because you'd like it. If you can't afford it and you don't need it, then tough. I'd like an Aston Martin DBS, but I can't afford it and I don't really need it.

Unfortunately today's society (here in the UK) is almost entirely driven by "what's in it for me?"  Not very helpful when you are trying to get an economy back off its knees, or trying to design the systems required to get your company through these miserable times.

Reminds me of JFK - "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." BSM should make you ask what's in it for the company, not what's in it for me?

Reading through the articles on BSMReview.com, I started to wonder: "what is the problem?". Is IT really thàt disconnected from the business? Looking around in my living room and at the office, I can harldy imagine how life would be without any Information Technology to support me. And all of this is provided to me by companies in the form of products and/or services. Would I buy and/or use them if I didn't know what value they bring to me? No, of course not. Given that IT has penetrated already so much into my life, these "IT companies" must be connected to (or better say integrated within) "my business".

Interestingly some time ago I delivered an ITIL v3 based Service Portfolio Management workshop within a large Financial Institution. In preparing for this workshop we agreed to first focus on the question: "what is a service?". So I started by presenting the ITIL v3 definition of a service: "A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.". So far, so good. Then we looked at how to define a service and -more specifically- on how to define the business value of a service. Now when I asked the question "what is the busines value of your e-mail service?" the answer I got is "The e-mail service provides message traffic and storage of e-mail and e-calendaring". Does this describe a business value? Don't think so.

Looking at this sample, one might see it as a proof point that IT is really disconnected from the business and use it to justify a Business Service Management approach. Personally I wouldn't go that far. The only thing that it shows to me in this particular case is that IT is not able to articulate the business value of a service, but that doesn't mean the service doesn't have value or is not being used. On the contrary, the e-mail service sample above is one of the most used and appreciated service in the Financial Institute with an implicit value. Nevertheless and ultimately as one of the results of the workshop we came up with the following definition:

E-mail services provide value to the business when cooperative business communications are conducted without the constraints of location, device or time-zone. Value is created when IT operates for the business a store-and-forward messaging system, so that business employees can compose, send, store and receive e-mails with peers both inside as well as outside the business and in a manner that

  • Is accessible 24 x 7 x 365 across the globe
  • Allows only one outage of max. 5 min per 3 months
  • Enables messages up to 45Mb and mailboxes up to 100Mb
  • Supports protection of business confidential information
  • Ensures data availability and archiving within business policies

Similarly and on a bigger scale, I recently met with another customer (read: a service catalog manager within IT) who asked me to review his service catalog and provide feedback. Of course I accepted this and then found myself reading through a 193 pages thick service catalog printed on paper. When the guy returned after a few days and asked me for my opinion, I said: "Imagine that you are entering a restaurant and ask for a menu card. And when the waiter returns he delivers to you the cookbook of the chef. How would you feel?". He immediately got the point that the service catalog contained way too much information for their business customers. In addition I showed him that there was also information missing in the service catalog. And you probably have guessed this one already: it contained no descriptions of business value whatsoever.

Again also in this situation the reality was that all services in the catalog already existed and were actively being used by the business customers. So why then create a service catalog? Good question. In this particular case the main driver for producing a service catalog was IT's desire to explain what they deliver, however the business didn't ask for a service catalog and also was not involved in the creation. And like Bill Keyworth rightfully stated in The Why & What of Business Service Management: "BSM success is entirely dependent upon the willingness and skill of both IT and business to have an effective two way conversation ...one party without the other is doomed to failure.".

Reading through my samples above and several articles on BSMReview.com, I see a number of very specific issues and symptoms, but am still not sure what the main problem or need is for which we are trying to find a solution under the name of Business Service Management. When we define BSM as "the discipline that aligns the deliverables of IT to the enterprise's business goals" then I wonder what's the value in doing this? And isn't this already happening implicitly ? Is it really possible to define the package of whatever it takes to deliver the expected service to the business community ...in a way that they can understand and appreciate that delivery? To me this sounds a little bit similar like designing the perfect organizational structure, while we all know that this does not exist (otherwise everybody would have it by now...).

I realize that my statements are provocative, however I believe that a good understanding of and interactive discussion around the fundamental problem we are trying to solve should be the starting point for (m)any article(s) on BSM(Review.com). So let's first address the question: "Business Service Management: what's the problem?".

Looking forward to your comments.
bsm ibm


Richard L. Ptak, Bill Keyworth and Audrey Rasmussen believe that IBM's strategic focus on Integrated Service Management (ISM) and the application of IBM solutions under the Smarter Planet theme marks a milestone achievement in linking business and IT resources and assets for business success. Not the least because Integrated Service Management, in our opinion, leads directly to the broader message of how IT can effectively leverage and link together all enterprise assets and resources to achieve the goals of the business. ISM closely aligns with the Business Service Management (BSM) concepts that are being unnecessarily limited to discussions of just leveraging IT infrastructure. 

Learn how IBM illustrates and documents enterprise-wide benefits to be realized from BSM.  Read the article »

cloud 
migration

IT leaders must learn the necessity, value and process behind the development of a "Business Impact Statement" and the importance of crafting this statement in terms and metrics that are meaningful to the business community. Bob Multhaup & Ken Turbitt highlight its critical role in initiating business-oriented service management.

Read the article »

agileWhy would a business executive be interested in Agile software development? 

Why is Agile a topic of interest to the Business-oriented Service Management community? The answer involves strengthening the connection between the developer (...who provides software capabilities for business use) and the business entity (...who uses software technology for critical business functions.)  These two groups are frequently bridged (...successfully or unsuccessfully) by IT operations, adding complexity and increased business frustration to the BSM process of aligning business with IT (...both operations and development or DevOps.)

Read Bill Keyworth's book review >>
Well, here it is: "Why Doesn't the Business Drive BSM? A Value-Driven Business Service Management Maturity Model" >>

BSMReview's Bill Keyworth and Rick Berzle evaluate the management of IT services from the perspective of the business, a.k.a. "business service management."

The negative impact of IT organizations being culturally and functionally disconnected from their business community is escalating, explain the authors.  As evidenced by the push to bypass traditional IT options through Cloud and SaaS initiatives, IT must enhance how technology is provisioned for the business.

The BSM Maturity Model described in this ground-breaking paper covers 5 levels:

bsm levekls

You can download it here for free (registration required) and let us know what you think >>
Every once in awhile, something nice happens.  I was referred to Jeff Cerny of TechRepublic for an interview re: my passion and background for business service management.  Jeff did a great job of capturing the core of why I believe the time for BSM has arrived, and why it is a critical consideration in moving IT out of the geek house and into the business partner role.  He's added a few things associated with high tech marketing and presentation skills, but the essence of this interview deals with the importance of BSM moving forward.
For those of you who live on another planet, e.g. Venus, or in another country, which has no interest in what goes on here in the UK, e.g. most of you, we are going to have a General Election soon. This means we get to choose who is going to make a complete hash of running the place for the next five years, whilst they line their pockets with our hard-earned cash. (If you think that's cynical, you should have seen my initial version!)

The UK used to be a superpower. When I went to school, most of the world was coloured pink on my school atlas, which made geography pretty easy. However, things have changed dramatically, although a lot of people here don't seem to have realised that. No, they still think we should be poking our noses into places we don't belong and throwing our (light) weight around. To quote the youth of today - get real.

So it is also with computer systems. You may dearly love the one you built 30 years ago and think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You may think the new technology from WhizBang Inc. is fantastic. In some cases, you will be totally right; in others sadly wrong. Being able to stand back and look at things objectively, and with an open mind is very difficult, but I believe it is vital if we are going to squeeze the optimum results out of the limited resources we have available. Always ask yourself "Why?", and "What is it worth?"

I just hope our next government thinks the same way.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Urwiler, the SVP and CIO at Vail Resorts Inc.  Yes, this is the Vail ski resport in Colorado. They also own and manage 5 other mountains, resort hotels and more. It is rougly a $1 billion business. As a side note, I would highly recommend visiting a few of their websites for the experience alone -- I wouldn't be surprised if they win a few design awards. In particular, drop by the Keystone Resort site and check out the immersive video of Prospector run.

I wanted to share a project that was driven by IT initially which resulted in a BSM initiative that has become a significant differentiator for their highly competitive business. The approach landed Vail Reports on the list of CIO's 22nd annual CIO Awards and resulted with Robert on the cover of CIO Magazine.

Tactically Vail Inc. needed to replace an old fleet of bar code scanners that are used to validate guests at lift gates on the mountain. RFID was the natural replacement technology for bar codes and had been used successfully in Europe. It would have been easy to just use what others had already done. But the leadership at Vail wanted to differentiate the guest experience and learn more about guest patterns on the mountain.

The CIO made the case for investing in UHF RFID, which was higher risk and more costly, but met the requirements of the business. What looked like a tactical move to replace older technology resulted in a strategic decision for the business. This is a great example of how BSM principles lead to strategic business advantage. 

Utilizing UHF RFID and Wi-Fi infrastructure, Vail has been able to deliver a unique guest experience at the lift gate and can track guest patterns across the mountain which was not possible before. Knowing where the guests are skiing allows them to execute highly targeted marketing programs to promote offers on and off the mountain. 

For the details on the story see the article in the RFID Journal. 

A February 2nd 8-K filing by BMC http://tinyurl.com/yax23u3 indicates the Dev Ittycheria is out. Bob Beauchamp will again take up the task of leading the Enterprise Service Management (ESM) side of the business, i.e. all non-mainframe-focused products. We're assuming Dev will return to the entrepreneurial roots where he performed so well.

There are a number of conclusions that could be drawn from this change ranging from the fate of the Cisco partnership to, well, just think of the rumors that have swirled around BMC over the last 2 years.
Speculation on internal politics is risky and ultimately pointless. We'll stick to conclusions based on our own experiences with and knowledge of the company.

For our part, we anticipate a return to aggressive support and advancement of BSM. We think that BMC will move away from concentrating on BSM as strictly a marketing concept. It presages a return to the aggressive thought and product leadership in defining and implementing BSM that has been historically demonstrated by BMC. The result will be increased competition that will benefit both customers and IT.

Personally,
we're happy to see this change. We think the coming year will prove to be much more interesting and action filled as a result. 

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