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Next Practices in Business Service Management



Getting Started With Business Service Management: An IT Operations Centric Approach
by Doug McClure

bsm start

Keyworth’s (Editorial) Note: With this first article in a series addressing how to get started with BSM, we welcome Doug McClure to our cadre of BSMreview experts.  Doug advocates a vendor independent roadmap for BSM and highlights the foundational requirement for IT personnel to package their technology contribution in the business context. Take advantage of Doug’s enlightening BSM blog.

I am constantly asked by potential clients, practitioners and consultants globally how to get started with Business Service Management (BSM). While my answer is always "it depends"; there are numerous "getting started" patterns that have been identified that fit a large number of IT Operations organizations globally. I'm going to be specifically talking about an IT Operations approach for BSM here, not a corporate approach or broad based IT initiative for BSM, which are ultimately the goal for broad based BSM success and value. I'm talking about BSM for those front line roles found in the IT Operations Center (NOC, SOC, Command Center), tier I/II support groups, mainframe operations, distributed operations, network operations, service desk, etc. It's in these groups where the fundamental BSM benefits and value can be quickly realized with long term success and tangible benefit to the business.

One of the biggest challenges I've seen across the industry over the past few years is the lack of a clear and independent roadmap for BSM success regardless of what vendors or other organizations are touting within their BSM messaging, product portfolios or best practices guidelines. We've all heard that "BSM is a Journey", what we need now is the map to get us from point A to point Z. What the lack of such a neutral roadmap has led to is much confusion or "FUD" that BSM benefits and value can never be realized. Let's face it, broad based BSM success and value is difficult to achieve. It doesn't occur overnight. There's no "magic BSM solution" available from any vendor that does all of this for you. BSM must absolutely incorporate fundamental change and transformation within IT and LoB organizations, people and processes. The role of vendors in the BSM space is to simply provide enabling technologies. When BSM enabling technologies are deployed in conjunction with tough and often painful organizational, people and process transformations, only then will the broader based benefits from BSM have the potential to be realized.

I have always been a proponent of the "K.I.S.S" approach for BSM. This is clearly evident in the way that I describe and discuss what BSM is.

Business Service Management enables people to "Think, Operate and Respond Different" than they would have before because they now have additional contextual information and understanding about how technologies, services, systems, applications, transactions or any other IT, non-IT, business component, facility, process, activity, etc. supports, enables and impacts business goals, objectives and outcomes. That's it.

That's all BSM is. Simply stated, this is fundamental and foundational BSM!!

Let’s apply this simple concept of what BSM is to an ideal IT Operations scenario. Each and every person within IT Operations must understand their role and the bigger picture purpose for the things they support and maintain in that role. Most importantly they must intimately understand how these things support and enable business goals, objectives and outcomes to be met. With this new understanding, and the organizational, people and process transformations that have occurred, they respond differently when incidents or problems arise. They prioritize their response differently. They communicate fluently with both technology and business understanding. They are focused on mitigating the impact of the incident or problem because they understand exactly how it's impacting businesses goals, objectives and outcomes. This is the complete fundamental BSM foundation that we're missing in the industry today and most clients struggle to ever realize.

With this simple understanding of just what BSM is, practitioners, consultants and IT operations organizations are equipped to chart the path towards a BSM Strategy that can be successfully implemented and maintained over the course of time. While incorporating BSM into broader corporate initiatives such as ITSM/ITIL, Governance, Compliance, etc. is a good thing, there's no need to wait to start reaping the near term benefits from what BSM can offer a typical IT Operations organization. BSM's initial benefits can be realized without the need for significant investments beyond what you may already have in place today. Do you know a vendor that sells "Think, Operate and Respond Different"? They don't. This doesn't speak to a hot new product on the market. This speaks to knowledge, information, understanding, people, process, culture, behavior, etc. That's why you can start with BSM using the existing investments in IT management and monitoring tools, service desks, CMDBs, etc. that are in place today, because we’re not focused on new tools and solutions as pre-requisites.

Sure, there may be investments needed over time. Your existing tools and solutions may not be flexible enough to implement your BSM Strategy. Your IT environment may be too big or complex that attempting to understand 100K systems and applications is impossible. Yes, you probably should have a CMDB/CMS, SKMS, Service Catalog, etc. at some point but the typical IT Operations organizations are experiencing a "death from 1000 cuts" and are constantly bombarded to improve the availability, performance, quality, user experience, etc. There's no better time than now to take a “K.I.S.S.” approach and start transforming your IT Operations organization, people, processes and IT management and monitoring architecture. Before you know it you can "Think, Operate and Respond Different" because you now have the right knowledge about how IT Operations supports the businesses goals, objectives and outcomes.

Through this series on "Getting Started with Business Service Management: An IT Operations Centric Approach", I'll introduce concepts that can be applied today within a typical IT Operations organization to begin this transformation towards achieving value from BSM. My current series outline is shown below:

  • BSM Strategies for IT Operations
  • What Is Your IT Management and Monitoring Foundation Build Upon?
  • Consolidated Event Driven BSM
  • Discovery Driven BSM
  • Transaction and User Experience Driven BSM
  • Transformation for BSM: An IT Operations Perspective
  • Broadening BSM Value beyond IT Operations

If you have a specific topic that you'd like me to talk about, feel free to leave comments. If you’re interested in discussing these topics or others that you have used as they relate to your IT Operations organization in a podcast, Q&A posting, etc. let me know as well.

































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