architecture (SOA) has emerged as a strategy many organizations are adopting in
order to respond more quickly and cost-effectively to customer needs, I really
wanted to understand what it was all about.
After reading many articles and talking with a number
of subject matter experts from IBM
Tivoli and WebSphere, here’s the information I pulled together.
Definition of SOA: Service Oriented Architecture
(SOA) is a method for breaking down large applications and business processes
into smaller “services” and a system for linking them on demand so they can be
reused to create new applications and business processes.
While not elegant or profound, this definition helped
me understand how SOA
with a dynamic infrastructure that allows them to break down large applications
and business processes into smaller, loosely-coupled “services” that can be reused
to create new applications and respond quickly to customer needs. The result is
a simplified, more powerful infrastructure in which services can dynamically
scale to meet changing organizational needs or workloads, while reducing cost
and management complexity.
With the tremendous value
SOA provides also come new challenges. Some of the challenges include managing
the complexity of deploying interdependent services, ensuring compliance with
multiple service level agreements for the same service, checking for the
proliferation of duplicate or overlapping services, and protecting a SOA
application and data from unauthorized access to name just a few. Meeting
operational goals in a SOA environment requires a new approach.
That’s where IBM
Service Management comes in. IBM
delivers offerings and services that span the entire service mangement lifecycle,
providing the visibility, control and automation needed to
effectively manage a SOA environment. IBM
Service Management solutions help organizations ensure compliance with multiple
service level agreements for the same service and track the interconnectivity
of loosely-coupled services to manage performance & availability.
Every day, the world is becoming more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. Infrastructures and assets across the globe are rapidly being digitized, turning physical assets into smart assets that allow people, systems, and objects to communicate and interact with each other in entirely new ways. This “smarter planet” is creating opportunities for new, smarter, differentiated services and products. Organizations that can rapidly adapt and innovate to meet or exceed customer expectations for new services and products will be in a position to accelerate growth and gain competitive edge.
Watch this video to see how smart meters have made a significant impact on Portland General Electric’s business.
Business and operational audiences often lack the visibility they need to more effectively manage their business objectives. They frequently have an obscured view of their business and IT assets and how they come together to support services.In addition, processes and workflow are often disconnected across organizational boundaries.
The result is lost opportunities and an inability to meet or exceed critical business objectives.If you cannot see your assets, and their relationship to the service you are delivering, you cannot respond quickly to new opportunities or to problems when they arise.The lack of adequate governance across asset types (business & IT, People, Information) leads to unnecessary risk and an inability to effectively meet compliance and audit requirements.Further, if you cannot manage assets effectively across organizational boundaries, it’s difficult to lower the return on those assets, information and people and effectively manage operational expense.
IBM service management provides targeted real-time business, compliance, and operational dashboards.
Business dashboards display service performance in a business context showing KPIs that include transactions, customer activity, and other key metrics. Dashboards pull information from both business sources and IT sources, then connect and display the information to show not only how IT is performing but how that performance is impacting these key services.
In addition, operational dashboards show the technical status of business services and the supporting infrastructure. These dashboards can be used to visualize emerging technical problems, and business impact—in many cases, prior to customers even becoming aware that a problem exists.
Subsequently, they can isolate service root cause, identify problem owners and guide them through resolution.
See the results of improved visibility. Watch this video to find out how Star Technology used IBM Service Management to manage and monitor their IT systems—servers and network—and their non-IT systems—air conditioning units, UPS, chillers, interfacing with their building management system for alerts.
Every day, the world is becoming more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. Infrastructures and assets across the globe are rapidly being digitized, turning physical assets into smart assets that allow people, systems, and objects to communicate and interact with each other in entirely new ways.
This “smarter planet” is creating opportunities for new, smarter, differentiated services and products. Organizations that can rapidly adapt and innovate to meet or exceed customer expectations for new services and products will be in a position to accelerate growth and gain competitive edge.
Watch this video to see how smart meters have made a significant impact on Portland General Electrics business.
Tivoli Foundations Application Manager offers turn-key performance and availability monitoring for mid-market companies. It allows them to restore a service that is experiencing performance and/or availability problems with the shortest mean time to recovery possible.
Tivoli Foundations Application Manager also delivers real-time information allows an organization to visualize service performance and health across their network, server, middleware and application components enabling them to effectively manage risk and improve service quality.
Tivoli Foundations Application Manager helps clients optimize their resource allocation and reduce cost by giving them the ability to identify underutilized resources and reallocate them to support new business operations. At the same time, risk is reduced by anticipating resource over-utilization and generating proactive events and reports against resources that do not have the capacity to address growing business needs.
Tivoli Foundations Application Manager comes with out-of-the box best practice monitoring policies that track IT Infrastructure health against pre-defined thresholds. This allows organizations to quickly and proactively identify and respond to problems and issues before critical applications and customers are impacted. Overall service is improved by restoring the service or application that is experiencing performance problems with the shortest mean time to recovery possible using autonomic capabilities to fix problems before human intervention is even needed. Reducing problem determination time decreases cost and allows organizations to spend more resources focusing on business innovation and creating competitive advantage.
IBM Tivoli Foundations Service Manager
Tivoli Foundations Service Manager provides service desk capabilities that allow mid-size companies to handle help desk calls, track problems, and make changes that prevent existing problems without creating new ones. It also provides a self-service, searchable knowledge base that delivers fast answers to common IT problems.
In addition, Tivoli Foundations Service Manager delivers dashboards that provide real-time performance views and out-of-the box content including workflows, templates, key performance indicators (KPIs), queries and reports targeted for mid-size clients.
The Tivoli Foundations Service Manager appliance-based service desk solution helps mid-market clients reduce their costs by optimizing the productivity of operations personnel through its built-in problem solving tools, providing operations a way to increase the efficiency of its service support functions. The robust self-help portal which is populated with best practice resolutions to common problems, gives end-users a way to quickly resolve problems on their own without having to involve any additional personnel.
Managing risk is key to small and mid-market clients that have extremely limited IT skills in-house. The Tivoli Foundations Service Management solution ensures process compliance by integrating standards-based incident and problem management processes resulting in a repeatable and consistent service support process.
Tivoli Foundations Service Manager delivers streamlined standards-based incident and problem management processes that enable rapid service restoration and improved overall service quality. It provides real-time visibility to end users on priority, urgency, and impact of problems, incidents, and service requests. These built-in survey capabilities allow organizations to track and trend overall end-user satisfaction with their operations and creates a closed loop environment where overall service quality can continually be improved.
Mid-sized organizations will benefit from the IBM Tivoli Foundations offerings - service management solutions designed and priced to meet the needs of mid-sized organizations. You can learn more at:
Businesses around the globe are facing many of the same challenges:
rising customer expectations for quality service, pressures to control costs,
and requirements to manage the complexity of converging IT and business
While their overall challenges are similar, the types of
services, assets and infrastructures used across industries can vary
tremendously. This is why IBM offers
industry-specific solutions to help create and manage unique business and IT
infrastructure, services and products.
IBM Service Management Industry
Reduce costs, respond to new/expanding regulations, implement
consolidations, and minimize operational risk.
& Petroleum: Manage end-to-end operations more efficiently,
preserve existing infrastructure investments, safeguard knowledge and
expertise, and manage risk and compliance.
Establish a platform for rapid deployment of new capabilities and
customer-focused strategies, integrate processes and systems to drive
operational excellence, monitor and protect assets to minimize
disruptions, and facilitate compliance with industry regulations.
Service Providers: Improve the service quality of next-generation
content and application-based services, while reducing operational costs
and the risks associated with today’s more open networks.
Drive continuous improvement in time to market, product quality and
development productivity while building responsiveness, agility and
efficiencies into business operations through higher asset performance,
availability and utilization rates.
& Utilities: Build and manage a common service management platform
for the Intelligent Utility Network with advanced meter management (AMM),
electric transmission and distribution device automation and analytics,
and enterprise asset management (EAM), including meter asset management.
Accelerate and optimize high-quality product development and introduction,
while extending the benefits of product lifecycle management (PLM)
to the entire value chain.
Streamline operations and meet regulatory compliance objectives by
minimizing security and IT operations risk while controlling data center
Optimize the operational performance of business and IT assets
-ensuring high reliability and availability of assets, achieving a greater
level of customer service, and driving value for the enterprise.
Enhance dynamic infrastructure capabilities for defense agencies by
providing solutions that reduce the cost of operations, improve the
services delivered and help manage the risks.
Provide patients with the services they need, when they need them, and
at a competitive cost.
Each week, we will feature a closer look at one of the
industries highlighted above. Talk to us!What industry-specific challenges are you facing? What kind of
industry-specific information and resources would you like to hear more about?
Send us your thoughts.
Industry Solutions: Communication Sector Blog By Scott Sobers, Program director, Communications sector- Tivoli Software, IBM
Conventional wisdom tells us that the telecom industry is generally safe from fluctuating consumer demand, but with this current recession, we may have to rethink this rule of thumb.
This popular notion was initially supported by stating that the wireless data market experienced 7.3 percent quarter-over-quarter growth in the fourth quarter of 2008, an overall 38.7 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2007. However, according to Chetan Sharma Consulting, this growth cannot be sustained in a continually deteriorating economy.
During these times, both businesses and consumers are scrutinizing costs, which leaves telecom service providers vulnerable to losing customers looking to cut household and business spending. Customers will be quick to drop services that don’t meet their standards, so providers need to go above and beyond to prove their value. Subscribers have many carriers to choose from, and for some customers, the deal-breaker may be differing qualities of service, both at the network layer and call center level. According to Stratecast analyst Karl Whitelock, service providers lose a large percentage of customers because of service issues. For some carriers, the number of lost customers exceeded 10 percent of their customer base.
Proper customer care is positioned to be a game-changer for wireless providers as it builds trust and drives satisfaction. Service providers are aware that maintaining a high quality of customer service is a key factor in customer retention, but reaching this metric is always a challenge. The inhibitors to superior customer care include weak communication between call centers and network operations and poor network intelligence. By being more proactive about identifying service issues, service providers can empower their customer care representatives with the tools to improve customer experience and help grow business.
Providers can employ a number of best practices to improve customer service. These relate to boosting visibility across the network, monitoring communications capabilities and prioritizing problem resolution.
Visualizing service quality Understanding when a service impact occurs, determining who it affects and how it impacts the business enables providers to pinpoint and resolve those issues before a customer has a chance to complain about them. This can be done by collecting key data from different systems and from multiple vendors, which can then be used to simulate relationships across the network, applications and databases in order to determine which factors are most critical to the service. With this information, service providers can more effectively oversee the health, quality and availability of their networks and, when issues do occur, providers can quickly identify the problem, its cause and easily “link” the service to the system running the affected components. By streamlining end-to-end network management, service providers can prioritize their responses and communicate the relevant information to all parties.
Monitoring the customer experience Besides keeping their eyes on the internal network, service providers will benefit from maintaining a real-time view into customers’ experiences. For example, being aware of how many customers are using a particular service lets service providers see how many subscribers are being impacted by service issues, which is valuable during the trouble reporting process.
Improving internal communications Improving communications between customer care and network operations also helps providers solve network issues faster and more strategically. By providing the right intelligence to those who need it – operations, IT and customer care – snags can be resolved faster and with minimal impact to customers. For example, if a network supervisor can recognize an issue’s root cause, customer care can be better prepared by knowing why a customer is calling even before they describe the problem, thereby having a solution ready for the customer when she calls.
Prioritizing problem resolution In the event that glitches occur, service providers have to make strategic decisions – which will they respond to first? What will each issue’s financial impact be? By linking their network and customer intelligence, providers can identify which issues affect the business most and respond to those calls accordingly. As a result, companies can prioritize efforts that offer the greatest value to the business and customer.
Final thoughts Beyond resolving service issues, managing the customer experience provides other assets beyond consistent customer satisfaction. By studying the data collected day-to-day during the experience monitoring process, providers gain knowledge about how customers use different offerings, which will be useful during business planning.
We are witnessing the telecommunications market migrate from a strictly voice-based industry to one that sells Web access, rich media content and business applications on cell phones. As this evolution continues, service providers will have to deal with the added responsibility of fielding service questions about data issues, which according to Stratecast take three times longer to resolve than regular voice service issues. Faced with this challenge, customer experience management is a valuable tool that providers can use to deliver positive customer satisfaction, high service quality and gain competitive advantage.
Scott Sobers is the program director for the communications sector for Tivoli Software at IBM. In this role, he manages the strategy and planning for IBM's solutions for communications service providers.
Cloud and Service Management: What an excellent topic! :)
Does Bruce Otte have a presentation or white paper he can share on this?
I'd love to see a future blog entry highlighting some of they key points of his talk at the itSMF eSymposium.
IBM Survey Results: Financial Services IT Service Management Strong in an Uncertain Economy
Industry Solutions: Financial Services Sector Blog By Mike Zelle, Market Segment Manager, Financial Services Sector - Tivoli Software, IBM
IBM conducted a global survey of CIOs and other IT investment owners during December 2008 and January 2009. In these ‘uncertain economic times’ the results are very interesting from a Financial Services IT point of view.
Key survey results The current economic and market conditions these organizations face have had a significant negative impact on enterprise budgets. But IBM’s survey showed the opposite to be the case for IT budgets. • The vast majority of IT decision makers (85 percent), in financial services and across all industries, reported budgets remaining flat or changing only slightly • 9 percent of those in financial services reported significant budget reductions • 21 percent indicated that they were increasing their investment in IT • 6 percent of financial services organizations indicated they would be significantly increasing their IT budgets in response to current economic and market conditions.
IBM believes that these IT investments are continuing because these companies recognize that IT services can not only help the enterprise as a whole to operate more effectively and efficiently but also provide competitive advantage. These businesses have realized that just cutting costs within IT has limited business benefit and introduces unacceptable levels of risk to the entire organization that depends on the quality and reliability of IT services for efficiency, compliance, security and even competitive differentiation. If IT is 10 percent of the operational expense of a financial services business, cutting IT by 50 percent will yield only a 5 percent reduction in business operational expense, but will most likely unacceptably expose the other 90 percent of the business to significant new problems, risks and competitive disadvantage.
Financial services organizations were also disproportionately more likely than other industries to also expect IT to be an innovator, to research and recommend enterprise strategic objectives, to identify opportunities for innovation and to develop new business areas or services.
Financial Services IT priorities to support business requirements The most commonly reported financial services priorities impacting IT investment plans were: • Improving access to and leveraging customer information • Improving efficiency / reducing costs of business activities • Increasing customer retention. Mandatory programs / projects that must take precedence: • Compliance is a more pressing concern for financial services than it is for any other industry, with 88 percent of projects in this area continuing, expanding or being initiated. • Systems management ranks as high as compliance, which is understandable given that the business infrastructure that is required to enable market survival for today's financial services company is increasingly an integrated digital platform of IT-enabled business services. • These activities also explain why technology virtualization and storage consolidation, at 78 percent and 72 percent, are also high on the list, coming only after security. A scalable and manageable IT infrastructure is required to provide the resilient basis for quality services.
IT Service Management is the key priority Smarter management of IT services is the top business-driven priority for IT. Service management builds on foundational capabilities—security, compliance, managing IT systems, and virtualizing and consolidating the physical infrastructure—that provide the basis for the reliable IT services required by the business. Service management projects continued, expanded or initiated as a consequence of the economic and business environment was 68 percent—ahead of technology areas such as server deployment, mobility and network convergence.
Conclusion and recommendations According to the results of the IBM study, IT leaders in the financial services industry are reprioritizing IT projects to focus on optimizing IT-enabled business processes. Accordingly, once they have met urgent requirements in areas such as compliance, systems management, virtualization/consolidation and security, they are investing in smarter management.
This business-driven approach to service management emphasizes the role IT services can play in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization as a whole rather than on the type of cost-cutting within IT that can produce negative and unacceptable business risks.
The study results point to the following key recommendations: • Improve the quality and reliability of IT services that process financial transactions, provide integrated access to and leverage customer information, improve customer loyalty and retention, enable workforce productivity and support compliance. • Prioritize smarter ways of doing things through service management and technology consolidation. • Revise measurements and reporting to provide more visibility to process performance, quality of service, outcome metrics, costs, and business value. • Change the focus from technology and optimized subsystems to optimization of IT-enabled business activities. This includes building out the digital platform of the business and improving the ability to manage it as the new business infrastructure. • Apply some investments to tactical quick wins—but also work toward eliminating service-quality inhibitors through longer-term strategic initiatives.
Ivor, what a great read. We should send you to Hong Kong food courts more often! :) Love your lessons learned:
* Understand all the factors and concerns that affect your customers decisions and satisfaction
* Continual service improvement is for things that are working well – it isn’t just for things that are failing
* The level of your success in good times may not indicate how well you will do in bad times compared to others
* Collaborating with your competitors can sometimes make more sense than competing on everything.
Take advantage of this great opportunity to share your experiences with your peers, get feedback from the most influential industry experts and promote your organization by submitting an abstract to speak at Pulse 2010.
Accepted client speakers will have high profile exposure to over 5,000 industry experts, press and analysts. Approved client submissions will receive a full conference pass ($1,995 value) and admission to our on-site VIP client lounge. In addition, to your paper may be published in the Pulse 2010 proceedings.
I talked with Pete Marshall, the lead for the Pulse 2010 Hot Topics track, and he offered the following insights and suggestions on how to submit a winning proposal.
One definition of a hot topic, is something not covered at last years conference and something that might not be covered next year. We’re looking for breaking trends—a snapshot of the industry and challenges service management professionals are facing right now. Themes like cloud computing, or serving the real-time web are good examples. Security is a perennial issue that always presents new challenges: it’s a hot topic every year, but every year there’s something different at the forefront. Things in our industry keep evolving and in the Hot Topics track, we want to look at and share information and experiences about what is really happening in the bleeding edge of service management. Some possible topics include:
Integrated Service Management
Process management and integration
The Hot Topics track is aimed at business leaders, decision makers and strategists puzzling over things like how to integrate physical and digital assets, what process models to use, and what are the best approaches to managing in a rapidly changing business and IT environment. Pete said he would encourage anyone working to solve emerging challenges—industry experts who may have a wider purview across the industry and very specialized customers who have done these projects themselves--to submit an abstract so together, we can share best practices, insights and create effective solutions as we move into uncharted territory.
Pete described two key aspects of a winning proposal—relevance and real life experience.
Is the topic relevant to where the industry is today? Is it something new and ground breaking? If the answer to these questions is yes, your abstract is a good candidate for the Hot Topics track. Going back to the security example, an overview of security might not qualify as a hot topic, but some current trend or challenge in the security landscape most certainly would.
While there is always a place for theorizing, in the Hot Topic track, we are looking for people who have been there and done that. We want presenters to share how they have solved or are working to solve a challenge.
The benefits of participating as a speaker are huge. Speaking is a very different dynamic than just listening. Not only will you have the opportunity to share your experience and get feedback from your peers, you will receive a full conference pass and get to experience the conference in a deeper, more involved way.