Chris Bruzzo, the CTO of Starbucks, and Narinder Singh, the founder of
Appirio, demonstrate Starbucks Pledge 5 application, built on the
They did it in 21 days. That’s the real value of the cloud.
Chris Bruzzo, the CTO of Starbucks, and Narinder Singh, the founder of
Appirio, demonstrate Starbucks Pledge 5 application, built on the
They did it in 21 days. That’s the real value of the cloud.
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
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.
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
Is your company’s IT department passionate about their work?
If not, then perhaps you’re not letting them solve problems… Passionate IT solves problems - not just for IT, but for the business.
More from John Hagel on pursuing passion »
Colleague and friend Sebatian Hassinger sent me Jeff Dean's presentation Designs, Lessons and Advice from Building Large Distributed Systems. The presentation is fascinating in quite a few ways, not least of which is the (implied) statements it makes about requirements for business service management at large scale. For example, here is an excerpt from the slide entitled The Joys of Real Hardware:
Typical first year for a new cluster:
~0.5 overheating (power down most machines in <5 mins, ~1-2 days to recover)
~1 PDU failure (~500-1000 machines suddenly disappear, ~6 hours to come back)
~1 rack-move (plenty of warning, ~500-1000 machines powered down, ~6 hours)
~1 network rewiring (rolling ~5% of machines down over 2-day span)
~20 rack failures (40-80 machines instantly disappear, 1-6 hours to get back)
~5 racks go wonky (40-80 machines see 50% packetloss)
~8 network maintenances (4 might cause ~30-minute random connectivity losses)
~12 router reloads (takes out DNS and external vips for a couple minutes)
~3 router failures (have to immediately pull traffic for an hour)
~dozens of minor 30-second blips for dns
~1000 individual machine failures
~thousands of hard drive failures, slow disks, bad memory, misconfigured machines, flaky machines, etc.
The bullets listed above resonate with my Agile Business Service Management thinking. They can simply be thought of as the reality underlying BSM at scale. The scale and scope of operating on top of such envirnments necessitate new techniques in BSM. For example, Jeff discusses Protocol Buffers as one such technique used by Google to attain the requisite efficiencies. Likewise, treating infrastructure as code is - as we say in chess - a practically forced variant. In both cases, the traditional wall between development and operations is moot.
The voice of the CIO is being heard in new ways--as CIOs are increasingly recognized as full-fledged members of the senior executive team. Successful CIOs are much more actively engaged in setting strategy, enabling flexibility and change, and solving business problems, not just IT problems.
Today's CIOs spend an impressive 55 percent of their time on activities that spur innovation. These activities include generating buy-in for innovative plans, implementing new technologies and managing non-technology business issues. The remaining 45 percent is spent on essential, more traditional CIO tasks related to managing the ongoing technology environment. This includes reducing IT costs, mitigating enterprise risks and leveraging automation to lower costs elsewhere in the business.
According to VG, "many organizations restrict their strategic thinking to Box 1. This tendency has been particularly acute in the past two to three years, as most leaders have emphasized reducing costs and improving margins in their current businesses."
That seems to square nicely with the IBM findings.
So it seems like the role of the CIO is largely determined by the culture and mindset of the executives running the company. It's pointless trying to be strategic or innovative in a company that focuses on Box 1.
Where does business service management fit into all of this? IMHO, the CIO who sits at the decision-making table (in boxes 2 and 3) is practicing BSM. The ones who are stuck in Box 1, not so much.
Once again, I suggest you find some time to read the report >>
Business Service Leadership: The Time is Now! [Part 1]
by Peter J. McGarahan
Business Service leadership is about doing the right thing for the right reasons and making fact-based decisions. It's about challenging conventional wisdom and having the moral backbone to stand up for doing the right thing for your customers and the people that serve them. »
Business demand is also a function of IT supply - low supply maturity will constrain business demand. For example, an IT infrastructure that is unreliable and hard to use will tend to dampen the business appetite to leverage IT for business innovation and for collaboration with customers and partners. Typically, if business demand gets too far ahead of IT supply, there will be a change of IT leadership. On the other hand, if IT supply gets too far ahead of business demand, IT will be seen to be overspending, resulting in a change of IT leadership. The most common patterns are that at Level 1, business demand leads IT supply; in Level 2, IT supply tends to 'catch up' with and overtake demand, and in Level 3, demand and supply are closely aligned. From the perspective of late 2007, we see the majority of companies at mid-Level 2, some at high Level 2, and a minority at either low Level 3 or high Level 1. Why are so many at mid-level 2, and seem to be struggling to get to the next level?Good question. Any ideas?
Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2010My two cents: Managing cloud services demands that companies must have a BSM strategy which can monitor and manage the physical datacenter, virtualization, and the cloud - whether it be public, private, or hybrid. We need ITIL in the Cloud and robust Cloud Service SLAs.
Cloud Computing. Cloud computing is a style of computing that characterizes a model in which providers deliver a variety of IT-enabled capabilities to consumers. Cloud-based services can be exploited in a variety of ways to develop an application or a solution. Using cloud resources does not eliminate the costs of IT solutions, but does re-arrange some and reduce others. In addition, consuming cloud services enterprises will increasingly act as cloud providers and deliver application, information or business process services to customers and business partners.
Advanced Analytics. Optimization and simulation is using analytical tools and models to maximize business process and decision effectiveness by examining alternative outcomes and scenarios, before, during and after process implementation and execution. This can be viewed as a third step in supporting operational business decisions. Fixed rules and prepared policies gave way to more informed decisions powered by the right information delivered at the right time, whether through customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) or other applications. The new step is to provide simulation, prediction, optimization and other analytics, not simply information, to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action. The new step looks into the future, predicting what can or will happen.
My two cents: OK, so now we know how to compete on analytics. But the decision-making process is much more complex than most people expected. Analytics are fine, but what we need is refined insight and critical understanding. The Big Shift Index tells us about what we haven't thought about measuring yet! Where's BSM in all of this? Well, if your CRM and yoru ERP systems are mission-critical, then BSM ensures they deliver on their promise when you need it.
Client Computing. Virtualization is bringing new ways of packaging client computing applications and capabilities. As a result, the choice of a particular PC hardware platform, and eventually the OS platform, becomes less critical. Enterprises should proactively build a five to eight year strategic client computing roadmap outlining an approach to device standards, ownership and support; operating system and application selection, deployment and update; and management and security plans to manage diversity.
My two cents: Anytime, anywhere, on any device. BSM must be an integral part of managing virtualization to avoid virtual sprawl, if nothing else. Of course there's the end-user experience that needs monitoring as well.
IT for Green. IT can enable many green initiatives. The use of IT, particularly among the white collar staff, can greatly enhance an enterprise's green credentials. Common green initiatives include the use of e-documents, reducing travel and teleworking. IT can also provide the analytic tools that others in the enterprise may use to reduce energy consumption in the transportation of goods or other carbon management activities.
My two cents: Virtualization and Cloud computing will help IT become greener faster, by reducing the datacenter footprint. And virtual collaboration can reduce carbon emissions. Isn't optimizing asset usage a BSM function?
Reshaping the Data Center. In the past, design principles for data centers were simple: Figure out what you have, estimate growth for 15 to 20 years, then build to suit. Newly-built data centers often opened with huge areas of white floor space, fully powered and backed by a uninterruptible power supply (UPS), water-and air-cooled and mostly empty. However, costs are actually lower if enterprises adopt a pod-based approach to data center construction and expansion. If 9,000 square feet is expected to be needed during the life of a data center, then design the site to support it, but only build what's needed for five to seven years. Cutting operating expenses, which are a nontrivial part of the overall IT spend for most clients, frees up money to apply to other projects or investments either in IT or in the business itself.
My two cents: See previous two cents <<
Social Computing. Workers do not want two distinct environments to support their work - one for their own work products (whether personal or group) and another for accessing "external" information. Enterprises must focus both on use of social software and social media in the enterprise and participation and integration with externally facing enterprise-sponsored and public communities. Do not ignore the role of the social profile to bring communities together.
My two cents: Have you noticed that Twitter is having availability issues lately? I wonder if they use ITIL or BSM? Same story on Facebook. Maybe they use ITIL-Lite. There are unfortunately, some documented productivity issues with social computing, but we have an effective solution for improving knowledge-worker productivity.
Security - Activity Monitoring. Traditionally, security has focused on putting up a perimeter fence to keep others out, but it has evolved to monitoring activities and identifying patterns that would have been missed before. Information security professionals face the challenge of detecting malicious activity in a constant stream of discrete events that are usually associated with an authorized user and are generated from multiple network, system and application sources. At the same time, security departments are facing increasing demands for ever-greater log analysis and reporting to support audit requirements. A variety of complimentary (and sometimes overlapping) monitoring and analysis tools help enterprises better detect and investigate suspicious activity - often with real-time alerting or transaction intervention. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these tools, enterprises can better understand how to use them to defend the enterprise and meet audit requirements.
My two cents: See this survey on security management best practices.
Flash Memory. Flash memory is not new, but it is moving up to a new tier in the storage echelon. Flash memory is a semiconductor memory device, familiar from its use in USB memory sticks and digital camera cards. It is much faster than rotating disk, but considerably more expensive, however this differential is shrinking. At the rate of price declines, the technology will enjoy more than a 100 percent compound annual growth rate during the new few years and become strategic in many IT areas including consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems. In addition, it offers a new layer of the storage hierarchy in servers and client computers that has key advantages including space, heat, performance and ruggedness.
My two cents: Wrong? We're going to see cloud storage take over this area, and it may or may not use flash memory.
Virtualization for Availability. Virtualization has been on the list of top strategic technologies in previous years. It is on the list this year because Gartner emphases new elements such as live migration for availability that have longer term implications. Live migration is the movement of a running virtual machine (VM), while its operating system and other software continue to execute as if they remained on the original physical server. This takes place by replicating the state of physical memory between the source and destination VMs, then, at some instant in time, one instruction finishes execution on the source machine and the next instruction begins on the destination machine.
However, if replication of memory continues indefinitely, but execution of instructions remains on the source VM, and then the source VM fails the next instruction would now place on the destination machine. If the destination VM were to fail, just pick a new destination to start the indefinite migration, thus making very high availability possible.
The key value proposition is to displace a variety of separate mechanisms with a single "dial" that can be set to any level of availability from baseline to fault tolerance, all using a common mechanism and permitting the settings to be changed rapidly as needed. Expensive high-reliability hardware, with fail-over cluster software and perhaps even fault-tolerant hardware could be dispensed with, but still meet availability needs. This is key to cutting costs, lowering complexity, as well as increasing agility as needs shift.
My two cents: Now this is a BSM play if there ever was one!
Mobile Applications. By year-end 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry handsets capable of rich, mobile commerce providing a rich environment for the convergence of mobility and the Web. There are already many thousands of applications for platforms such as the Apple iPhone, in spite of the limited market and need for unique coding. It may take a newer version that is designed to flexibly operate on both full PC and miniature systems, but if the operating system interface and processor architecture were identical, that enabling factor would create a huge turn upwards in mobile application availability.
My two cents: Anytime, anywhere, on any device. Didn't I write about that a few seconds ago? And don't we need our CMDB to track all these diverse devices and apps?
As you can see, I've attached Business Service Management (BSM) as an enabling IT strategy for just about all ten of Gartner's Strategic Technologies for 2010. And of course if it's a service provided by IT or even an external service provider, we're still going to need a Service Catalog for 2010. More on that in a later post.
Israel, where do agile practices fit into this? Just about everywhere as well?
Malcolm Fry does a nice job with his parable of the “Keeper of the Forms.” It starts off a bit slowly, but really picks up around the 3:40 mark. And, as usual, with everything Malcolm says, there’s a real lesson to be learned for IT:
Reminds us of Peter McGarahan’s post just a few hours ago, doesn’t it? >>
More from Malcolm: How to Improve Productivity by 40%
Says Annie Shum:
IT professionals should underscore the critical roles played by integrated virtualized service oriented management, governance, performance assurance, and analytics-based feedback loops. Together, they can safeguard the successful adoption and, ultimately, the viability of Cloud Computing in enterprise IT.