In just a few days, members
of the energy industry will have an opportunity to come together to discuss
intelligent energy initiatives and the keys to accelerating their
Join IBM at the SPE Intelligent Energy Event, to be held in Utrecht, The
Netherlands from 27-29 March, 2012. This international event marks a milestone
on the oil and gas industry’s roadmap toward fully integrated operations and
IBM will have a strong presence showcasing a variety of capabilities for the
oil and gas industry.
In the area of Smarter Asset
Management, event attendees will have an opportunity to investigate IBM’s
innovative approach toward implementing intelligent energy initiatives such as Enterprise Asset Management and Turnaround
Optimization.Also on display will be
IBM’s Service Management for Chemicals and Petroleum which features
state-of-the-art products such as Maximo for Oil & Gas which helps companies
optimize operational intelligence through standardization, convergence,
collaboration, and the adoption of better operational practices.
Additional oil and gas
capabilities from IBM will be featured at the SPE Intelligent Energy Event in
the areas of Integrated Operations and the Value of Smarter Oil and Gas
Fields.IBM will also demonstrate its
expertise around the Health, Safety & Environment area through Asset
Tracking & Personal Safety and Integrated Environmental Monitoring solutions. IBMers will also
be presenting papers on topics such as Predictive Asset Maintenance and
Optimization of Smarter Oilfields among others.
We hope to see you at this
year’s conference and look forward to discussing these and many other areas of
mutual interest with you.
If you weren't at Pulse 2012, I won't sugarcoat it. It was another successful event and the customers I spoke to got a lot of value out of the conference.
If you were not there (and even if you were), don't forget about our regional "Pulse Comes To You" (PCTY) events in your country. It's another way for you to meet with us and get the information you need about our service management solutions.
One of the things that makes IBM...well, IBM is that we have excellent business partners like Cisco.
I was able to get some time with David Flesh (Director of Marketing, Cisco Network Management Technology Group) to talk about the partnership that Cisco has with their Cisco Prime solutions and our IBM Netcool solutions.
This will be the first of several videos we'll be posting on the blog. More to come...
The video, which you really need to watch on the Livestream, showcases our "5 in 5" (five technology innovations that will occur in the next five years).
Energy: People power will come to life
Security: You will never need a password again
Mind reading: no longer science fiction
Mobile: The digital divide will cease to exist
Analytics: Junk mail will become priority mail
Today's keynote are about the future of innovation (and BTW, Visibility. Control. Automation (VCA)™ provides that innovation).
First to the stage was Erich Clementi (Sr. Vice President, IBM Global Technology Services) to talk about service aggregation.
Smarter Computing is offering new opportunities that will impact the infrastructure due to the unprecedented scale in everything and the way consumability (everything everywhere every time) is changing how IT needs to respond and react.
The boundaries of IT are changing, the infrastructure is changing. Anywhere. Anytime and any device is the new reality.
Erich remarked that the industrializatin of IT supported services (think Ford assembly line) will open up new options in sourcing services. This will reinvent all sorts of services born on the cloud to be more complex and with richer options.
The hybrid cloud will be critical because customers are going to run workloads where it meets the best fit. So these hybrid clouds need to be interconnected, integrated, seamless, secure, auditable and dependable.
This is changing the role of the CIO.
There was an interesting comment Erich made that James Governor (@monkchips) and I were talking about on Twitter. "We are confronted by the infrastructures our clients have, not the ones we wish they have." James responded (and I tend to agree), "make them change. the status quo is not acceptable."
Erich showed how CAPEX utilization is actually a minor benefit of going to the cloud whereas things like the standardization from being on the cloud provide the greater value to customers and it's in OPEX where the bigger savings come in.
There is an existing world that will need to be re-factored and re-thought out to get to the cloud.
Erich left the audience with three interesting thoughts:
Cloud is easy for consumption, but it requires a different delivery model
Changes in the role of IT will allow them to get closer to the business
you need a partner that gives you the choice and will get you there (like IBM)
Helene Armitage (GM of IBM System Software and Systems Growth) was next to present on innovations and Smarter Computing.
(I worked with Helene when she was in charge of AIX development it was her leadership with AIX, in my opinion, that helped get us back in the game in the early 00's with pSeries).
Helene did a very nice transition from Erich's keynote to talk about how these are the systems that are powering the things Erich discussed previously.
Consumer behavior is what is driving what happens in the IT data center and influencing hardware design. Consumers are creating data that is being captured and driven and running in the back-end systems in these data centers.
We need to evolve what is there today, but the rate and pace of change will continue to grow and the requirements for hardware will be driven by consumers. Where the consumers go, the IT department has to follow.
Smarter Computing systems are designed for data, delivered in the cloud and tuned to task. Helene used a good healthcare example. The data explosion in general, let alone healthcare (which Manoj will discuss), is phenomenal.
Everything is instrumented and capturing data. Data growth will be at 50x by 2020. An estimated 80% of the world's population will have a mobile device in the coming years.
The social implications of this data explosion will affect how hardware requirements are written. Enterprise systems with performance, scalability, reliability and availability will be critical.
Flexible systems to manage the data and remain secure will be important (and Helene gave a mention of RAS in this instance).
Helene also left the audience with three things (it's a day for lists):
The "consumerization" of IT
Data without limits
Partners who can do this (like IBM)
Helene handed the stage to Manoj Saxena (GM of IBM Watson, @manojsaxena).
(I call IBM Watson "he," though I was corrected on Twitter and IBM Watson could very well be "she")
Jeopardy was not the end, it was just the beginning of putting IBM Watson to work.
IBM Watson is currently focused on Healthcare (and now) Financial Services Sector jobs and is a key enabler for Smarter Planet and the new problem of data explosion.
Consider that 90% of data was generated over the past 2 years. 80% is unstructured and only 20% of it is used by traditional systems.
Those companies that can effectively use this "Big Data" are more successful.
Manoj is breaking down how IBM Watson does its magic. It not only reads Big Data, it understands it. IBM Watson is a filter, that's what makes it so good
Healthcare is a great place to start with IBM Watson because of the data explosion. Doctors can not keep up with this explosion and as a result, 1 in 5 diagnosis in the US are incorrect.
Between 44,000 - 98,000 people die every year because of being misdiagnosised, so it is crucial to get this right. (another sobering thought about how what we do impacts lives).
1 in 4 people will die of cancer and 20-44% of errors occure in the first diagnosis. So better diagnosis and treatment is far more complex than Jeopardy answers, but IBM Watson is learning about what it needs to do.
IBM Watson is going after cancer as a medical assistant. It's being packaged with "adviser cartridges" for different areas of different industries and will be in the cloud (public, private or hybrid - whatever works for the customer).
IBM Watson is about selling business outcomes.
The keynote sessions concluded with Grady Booch (IBM Fellow) interviewing The Woz.
Better than Frost/Nixon if you ask me! Here are some of the highlights (and it's all on the Livestream).
>Woz talked about how he built floppy drive support for the Apple so he could get to go to Las Vegas (and did it in two weeks!)
His proudest moment in his life was when he graduated (and education was a running theme).
Think out new answers that are better and not just taking what is already out there.
Woz offered HP the personal computer five times. They turned it down. (and they woulda done it wrong he says)
Woz thought everyone would become a programmer. But apps changed that (like spreadsheet).
VisiCalc on the Apple ][ changed the world. The first "killer app."
The differentiator in the Mac (over the PC) was in the software.
Linking personal relationships to the work people are doing spawns innovation. Give workers more meaning in their work and that will spawn innovation and make them productive.
His pre-Apple routine was: work at HP making calculators, go home. Watch Star Trek. Work on personal projects.
Woz delivered a working prototype of Breakout to Atari in 4 days!
Woz and Steve Jobs used a Blue Box to phone the Pope (something I was telling @mhuntalas about yesterday)
Woz believes the brain is computable (which he didn't in prior years).
Woz was expecting programming to be taught in the schools. They taught typing instead.
Woz says we might stumble upon consciousness in computing, much like created brain inadvertently through Internet.
The Woz Bucket List: Ayers Rock, Tasmania and to get 750,000 on Gameboy Tetris.
Every week in the Homebrew Computing club, the world was changed forever (and that was in the 70's).
The iPhone has human senses like sight, speech, hearing and touch. And one we don't have (GPS).
Answer engines. Not search engines will be important in the future.
Woz recognizes the importance of marketing as key to Apple's success (and watching IBM's use of it back in the day he said was impressive).
Advice on business: be a marketing driven company. Innovation needs to go from the top all the way down.
So day 2 of the main event was kicked off with yet another
great general session, with the opening act being the amazing Americas Got
Talent act Iilluminate dance team. My favorite section
of the session was given by Steve Mills, IBM VP, as he gave some astounding
facts about how IBM has used its own products, one being that we have been able
to reduction our app portfolio from 15000 in 1997, to only 45000 today, stating
“you save a LOT of money in software when you begin to consolidate”. He talked about how since IBM has implemented
Tivoli Endpoint Manager (AKA BigFix) on 550K endpoints, IBM has seen a 78%
reduction in the number of work station issues, and support costs have been
reduced by an unbelievable $10 million! He wrapped up by saying that the time
has come for a new breed of systems – with integrated expertise, with unique
In the afternoon I attended a great round table, where the UKI marketing team
where able to talk to some of our WW experts about how we see the year ahead
progressing, and talked about some great new content coming out from IBM
marketing – so look out for that!
In the evening I first stopped by the Women’s networking
reception, which was kicked off by one of IBMs most inspiring women, Jamie
Thomas. It was great to network with a few old colleagues and make some new
connections. I then went over to a
special marketing reception, hosted by Scott Hebner, where I was able to talk
to some of my WW Tririga and BigFix colleagues, who have been helping me with
my product marketing in the UKI.
Then the highlight of the evening was the Pulse Palooza,
where Maroon 5 absolutely rocked the stage, although he did say we were the
quietest and most polite audience they have ever played to!
Please follow me on Twitter @RSwindell and go to the
ibm.com/pulse or the Pulse YouTube channel to view the live stream and download
Come back in the next couple of days for my day 3 thoughts
on Pulse and my overall conference highlights.
* this is the third day of Pulse, but the second day of general sessions.
As a reminder, all of the general sessions (as well as a bunch of other programming) can be found on the Livestream site, including myself and Derek Botti talking about Smarter Hospitals in Healthcare.
Today's general session keynotes started with an excellent video with our Business Partners. Business Partners are one of the biggest value that IBM has as a vendor in the market. They are what make IBM who we are (them, and our customers).
Scott made mention, and this is pretty cool, that we have co-founded cloud-council.org/, a cloud open standards customer council.
Steve Mills (Senior Vice President for Group Exec for SW IBM Software & Systems) started with some excellent discussion about how Smarter Planet solutions are increasing demands on IT, but IT budgets are growing less than .8% per year.
The rate and pace of change and complexity is increasing, not decreasing. The stats Steve showed on his chart were mind boggling.
Steve then made a very interesting move and used a chart from last year that shows IT operating costs are greater than the asset costs themselves. So much of that money goes into labor and physical infrastructure.
Sprawl is driving cost and IBM is actually at the forefront of doing massive consolidations for our own data centers.
We're still on the journey, which consists of virtualiztion, consolidation, service management (W00T!) and of course cloud.
Some of the numbers that Steve showed: 5,700+ servers consolidated. 15,000 applications reduced to 4,500. IBM has 110 pedabytes of operational data and 92% of our servers are now virtualized in strategic hosting environments.
Much of this was accomplished with System z and Linux (mainframe, ftw!).
The IBM Integrated Service Management Program used by our team led us to better VCA in our own data centers (hint, hint).
To quote Steve, "Linux runs like a 'scalded dog' on the IBM mainframe."
IBM uses Tivoli for our own data center consolidation and it's working quite well. Linking back to some of the thoughts yesterday, cloud is about better economics and that's achieved through sharing.
Steve is a fan of Business Analytics - one version of the truth and finding the problem quicker and information-centric decision making (360 degree view of our clients) thru master data management (System z plays a key role here). System z - tuned to task, designed for data and managed with cloud tech! Cost reduction, new service delivery with hybrid cloud.
He also posted quite a few client references. Like Nationwide Insurance who consolidated and run 680 Linux system images with $15M cost savings over 3 years with 85-9% server utilization.
It's worth checking out the Livestream to see some of these amazing client references (like how 75% of data stored is duplicative and how HealthNow is saving $5M per year by eliminating duplicate/incorrect mailings).
Next up, Bob Picciano (General Manager, Software Sales for IBM Software Group) and he was joined with some of our customers for a round table discussion. With him were:
David Konra from GE discussing smarter physical infrastructure and real estate management (they manage 190 million square feet of real estate and have saved $1 billion with efficiencies in this area)
Jill Holbrook from Erie 1 BOCES talking about endpoint management
Tony Spinelli from Equifax talking about security and compliance
For Rogers, cloud meant accelerating time to market to get services to their customers (which is important since they try to be the first to market with new services). It has also increased productivity and has made the QA process more efficient with standardization playing a key role.
Key risks as they moved to the cloud were the unknown effect of migration. What changes would need to be made once they migrated? How would legacy environments be taken into account. Also, the "hype curve" and the negativity associated with cloud (with security in particular) was something that they had to work through. But as much of a challenge as the cultural shift was, at the end of the day it's about results from the people and processes. Not the technology used to get there (like Steve Mills talked about).
With GE, they're trying to consolidate and optimize their office campuses and the challenge there is keeping up with the business units.
At GE - if you're not with me, you gotta catch up.
The team that works on their smarter physical infrastructure needs to make sur that they're in-line with the business needs but they're also managing the risk. Financial risk, environmental risk as well as ensuring that they can accommodate growth.
At Erie 1 BOCES, endpoint management with "bring your own device" (BYOD) has turned their job into the wild wild west. Even worse, with the economic crisis in education, there are changes that are being forced that haven't happened before in their industry.
Sharing, for example (which Steve talked about) has become the norm. Because they share, they now have a more robust network and are trying to consolidate to use the resources to collectively find solutions.
Jill and her team are trying to manage the endpoints consistently and effectively and keep the teachers in the classrooms (which was an extremely sobering point).
Not to be outdone, Tony from Equifax started with a very real fact. "We have everyone in this room's data."
So, security is pretty important to them since their business about all the data that they have (and bringing greater analytics to this data).
Security is a race. Nobody can do everything first. So the key is having a plan. IBM has been a key partner for Equifax in putting this plan together.
Tony talked about what David discussed; bringing the business into the conversation early. Asking them first - what do you want from your security?
As the transformational journey of security occurs, it's important to know what to expect: that there will be a massive increase in security getting worse.
Greater visibility means that you start to see everything (which is ultimately a good thing).
For 2012, Equifax is looking for real-time proactive intelligence with security. Security Intelligence facts Tony gave: past breaches are usually found 60% found months, years after they occurred. 86% of breaches are not found by the company. In the case of 100% of breaches the information about the attack vector was in the logs.
IBM Security is helping Equifax get the real-time/gamechanging security intelligence they need and the Security Intelligence that understands and changes baselines.
Then Bob asked about what next year's key topics might be. Here were some of what was mentioned:
Analytics. Global complexity of doing business around the world and impacting how we deliver services.
Capability to get the data to the place where it's useable. And mobility (which is huge this year - BYOD trend).
Mobility and BYOD (and it's not just Erie 1 BOCES that discussed this, Rogers of course is in that device world).
(our customers are awesome!)
Jamie Thomas (VP of Strategy and Development, IBM Tivoli) was the third speaker.
Jamie reiterated what a number of the keynotes talked about with regard to the market transformations happening around IT. Cloud. Smarter Physical Infrastructure. Mobile. Security.
IBM SmartCloud Foundation, which is our portfolio for cloud, has the levels of Visibility. Control. Automation™ (TM). to create "clouds done right."
Jamie started to talk about the product portfolio and the new announcements specifically:
IBM SmartCloud Control Desk which is reducing the complexities around end-to-end processes for service desk and providing a holistic view to the complexities of service desk and smarter physical infrastructures (bringing together the front-office with the back-office).
IBM SmartCloud Provisioning and IBM SmartCloud Monitoring have both been key offerings for our cloud portfolio and they are working together (see "Service Health for IBM SmartCloud Provisioning" on the ISM Library) to effectively manage the complexities of virtualization.
The bringing together of development and operations is also an important part of the portfolio and the plans to provide a beta of the IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery (and some useful workload patterns) and given emphasis with this thought - Infrastructure as code.
One of the announcements that is sure to be important for storage managers is the IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center. It integrates with TSM and is a crucial part of making storage more cost effective.
The hybrid cloud support that we talked about at Pulse 2012 is now part of our portfolio as well as the IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices.
Q1 Labs, and the recent QRadar integration with our security portfolio was discussed and it is sure to help address some of the issues brought up during the customer roundtable.
A plug was given to the 3 million interactions happening on Service Management Connect and it is becoming the place to stay updated on the latest development plans.
Jamie focused on our IBM Smarter Buildings solutions and the power of the Maximo and TRIRIGA portfolioS (which was also reinforced during so many of the sessions discussing smarter physical infrastructure).
Finally, Jamie gave an update on the cows in Brazil (from last year's general session keynote). 2 million more cows are being tracked with Maximo, though there might have been a bit of turnover...
IBMers are hyper-aware of our clients and the issues that they address when they're on the job. So much so, that I've said in past blogs that the majority of conversations I have with my colleagues start with, "How does [blank] beneift our customers?"
To that end, everything we do revolves around questions like - how can we give our customers what they need to get their job done and stay innovative in their industry?
Questions like that get answered at conferences like Pulse 2012. It's where we continue to deliver value to our customers.
And, as mentioned in yesterday's blog about the general session keynotes from Danny Sabbah, not technology just for technology's sake. Providing real business value.
This particular blog is going to focus on the specific announcements we made around cloud, starting with SmartCloud Foundation.
IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center
Storage is "the next big line item" for IT, which is why the idea of improving storage efficiency has always been a hot topic.
Storage virtualization brings the promise of not only improving efficiency, but also providing levels of data mobility that are crucial to delivering modern services to customers.
The ideal solution for storage virtualization should be able to do both the virtualization/provisioning as well as the actual management.
And IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center does both and it's one of the most impressive things being shown on the Expo Center floor here at Pulse 2012. Not to worry though, the team has information on the website and the team talks about this as well as all storage information on our @ibmstorage Twitter account and the Storage blog.
IBM SmartCloud Monitoring and IBM SmartCloud Provisioning
If you were following our SmartCloud announcements last year, you saw these two solutions make a big splash in the market and we're continuing to add value to both of these solutions.
Today. As in right this second, you can go to the ISM Library and download the "Service Health for IBM SmartCloud Provisioning" that will integrate provisioning and monitoring so that you easily monitor what you've provisioned and be able to identify and react to issues in your environment.
To help further simplify how you provision, we've released a statement of direction for SmartCloud Provisioning that may provide enhancements with image lifecycle management.
New features that may provide the ability to control image sprawl, an Image Construction and Composition Tool as well as highly automated self-service deployment of virtual machines.
All of which translate into spending less time wrestling your virtualization and cloud environments to ground and more time working on innovation.
IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices (New)
Yesterday's general session keynote emphasized mobile.
Between "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) and organizations embracing using their own mobile devices for their employees, mobile is the new platform of choice. (which means it's probably time to ditch my IBM 5100)
As you know, our IBM Endpoint Manager solution is built on BigFix technology and it's been invaluable to our overall service management strategy for Visibility. Control. Automation.(TM) (VCA)
On January 31, we announced an update to one of the key pieces of this portfolio; IBM Security Identity and Access Assurance 1.2.
Security was one of the three areas of focus with regard to increasing complexity and new features deliver improved identity and access governance with open authentication standards, role modeling and lifecycle management, and a virtual appliance delivery method all simplify deployment and provides faster time to value for security while reducing risk.
IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery
Continuous Delivery is a topic that we have discussed quite a bit on this blog (it has also been known as "collaborative development and operations" or "DevOps").
The challenge of getting services to users is balanced by ensuring that speed does not come at the expense of governance and increased risk.
The strategy to bring development and operations teams together is often stalled when the tools each team are using don't work well together.
Per the announcement letter, "IBM plans to provide an extensible architecture for delivering and managing the entire application lifecycle, creating an environment that brings development and operation teams together with collaboration, automation, and analysis."
IBM SmartCloud Control Desk
With IBM SmartCloud Control Desk, IBM plans to deliver a solution for service catalog, service desk, and IT Infrastructure Library™ (ITIL™) V3 based processes for incident, problem, change, configuration, release, and IT asset management.
This service desk offering will assist customers in process control center for managing change & configuration, assets, incidents/problems, service requests, SW licenses and more.
Software As A Service (SaaS) - IBM SmartCloud Solutions
The innovations happening with Smarter Planet, are quite simply staggering. One of the most interesting, and most visible, areas is in the Intelligent City solutions.
You've seen these solutions in market and in any number of places in the past, but now Intelligent Operations, Intelligent Transportation and Intelligent Water also have SaaS offerings that allow customers to quickly get started, since there is no hardware to procure or installation services to contract.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - IBM SmartCloud Enterprise - Object Storage
Last quarter, we announced SmartCloud Enterprise, and this quarter we have added a very compelling new feature; object storage.
Object storage enables you to upload and share files of any size from anywhere in the world; supporting millions of users, billions of objects, and exabytes of data.
It's a nice bookend to the SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center in that it gives customers options on how to solve their storage issues.
Back To Visibility. Control. Automation.™ (VCA)
This is a lot of "stuff" with regard to features and functions. But what does it mean for you, as a customer?
I keep going back to the Danny Sabbah general session keynote because it really hit home the message so well.
"Providing information on all platforms is table stakes these days."
Cloud done right is about mobile + cloud. The infrastructure must deliver value back to the business. We must simplify, standardize and automate.
Cloud done right is about delivering VCA:
Visibility - see and understand your business in real time.
Control - transform and adapt .while limiting risks.
Automation - achieve greater efficiency by standardizing best practices.
Cloud computing and VCA means less time (and resources and money) working on your infrastructure issues and more time being innovative.
To find out more about any of these solutions, contact your IBM sales rep contact your IBM sales rep or one of our Business Partners using the Business Partner Locator website.
* some of the new announcements are statements of direction and they are noted as such here and in the announcement letter. (and see the announcement letter and the bottom of this blog as the standard disclaimers apply).
Statement of direction disclaimer
IBM's statements regarding its plans, directions, and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice at IBM's sole discretion. Information regarding potential future products is intended to outline our general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information mentioned regarding potential future products is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code or functionality. Information about potential future products may not be incorporated into any contract. The development, release, and timing of any future features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion.
So we are now half way through my first IBM Pulse conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and what a great week it has been so far, despite the jet lag! Below are just a few of my many highlights so far.
I met the social media team on Sunday and got myself orientated with the venue – realising quickly that there would be hours of walking involved! I spent the afternoon at the live stream stage, and was able to watch Wing To talking about the new Mobility offering from IBM, which was really interesting and hoping that we can use the video to promote the new offering to our customers in the UK when we get back.
Later in the afternoon I went to the International Reception and talked to my colleagues and their customers about what they were looking forward to during the next three days of sessions, personally I am most looking to the Steve Wozniak session, as having seen him speak in London last year, I know it will be an interesting and fun session.
The general session on Monday was great, with Scott Hebner telling us that there were 8000 attendees from 79 countries! He talked about how the planet is becoming smarter, and as a result productivity is sky rocketing. But unfortunately 1 in 10 developing countries are still harmed by their health care and incorrect diagnosis. Robert LeBlanc then spoke about the recent CIO study, explaining that technology has gone from priority 6 to 2 in the last year and there is no part of ANY industry that will not be affected by the shifts in technology currently occurring. He urged the audience to take a step back, think about where they are, be honest about what you DO have and think about an end to end play. He spoke about how the value of a conference like Pulse is for people to talk to their peers, as between the 8000 attendees there are best of breed ideas in every area, every person should take away at least 3 things they are going to change/implement when they return to their businesses.
I was also able to attend the Smarter Physical Infrastructure keynote, which was a great learning opportunity as I have just been made the UKI Tririga & Maximo marketing manager. George Ahn was first up, and began by stating despite more and more limited resources, better and better return on assests are expected, IBM wants to help their customers with this, and that was one of the reasons IBM acquired Tririga. He said that without IBM technologies - in utilities power is less reliable, in manufacturing productions lines would fail and in buildings energy would go unmanaged. David Kontra from GE also spoke at the session, explaining that thanks to implementing Tririga, they have been able to consolidate from 75000 facilities down to just 45000!
Later in the day I went to a session led by Dave Gasdia, on the Maximo and Tririga roadmap, which was very informative, and we are hoping that he will be able to come over to the UK and speak at our next Maximo User Group on the 2nd May in London.
In the evening we hosted our UKI networking reception at the Hard Rock Cafe on the strip, and it was great to see so many customer and IBMers talking about the day’s sessions and what they are looking forward to hearing about during the rest of the conference.
Please follow me on Twitter @RSwindell and go to the ibm.com/pulse site to view the live stream and read the presentations.
Come back tomorrow for my highlights from day 2 of the conference!
As a reminder, all of the general session keynotes (and more!) can be found on the Livestream site.
This morning was kicked off with the band Naturally 7, who were amazing. During one of the speaker changes, they did "In The Air Tonight" and rocked the drum solo.
The opening video (which was pretty awesome) started with the fact that we have 8,000 attendees from 79 countries and then talked about how one of the things that is affecting all of us is that lower cost technologies are literally changing the planet we live on.
This is leading to a Smarter Planet where infrastructure is everywhere.
Our first customer speaker from WellPoint echoed this sentiment and both he and Scott Hebner (VP of Marketing for IBM Tivoli Software) how Visibility. Control. Automation™. (VCA) is critical to turning this "infrastructure is everywhere" reality into a successful future of innovation
Robert LeBlanc (Senior Vice President, IBM Software Middleware Group) continued this conversation about VCA.
He had a great line from one of our customers, "If you can't get excited about the change and challenges of this industry, I don't know what you're doing here."
The three things driving business imperatives are dexterity, reinventing customer relationships and uncovering new profit opportunities. Analytics followed by mobility, virtualization, cloud and then security are keys to driving these technology shifts.
Achieving desired business outcomes is about VCA.
One thing that you'll hear a lot about at Pulse is that cloud is about more than virtualization. You'll hear that message a lot, because it's true.
Technology for technology's sake doesn't work. It has to impact the business. Cloud computing has the potential to add that value. As does mobile.
Mobile + Cloud (which Danny Sabbah talked in detail about) will have the biggest impact on our customers. Two statistics that Robert gave were the fact that data has surpassed voice and that last year more smartphones shipped than PCs.
How do you manage and secure all of those devices? VCA. Specific to security, it's about security and compliance; people, data, applications and infrastructure.
And, of course, assets and facilities (smarter physical infrastructures) will play a critical role as everything becomes interconnected, intelligent and instrumented.
Robert closed out with an interesting comment - data for data's sake isn't important. It's what you do with it. It's ensuring Visibility. Control. Automation.
Applying analytics is one of the ways IBM does this across VCA:
Visibility - to see and understand your business in real-time business
Control - to transform and adapt while limiting risk & cost
Automation - to achieve greater efficiency & agility by standardizing processes
Applying IT analytics to improve business outcomes. Taking an Open/integrated approach to service management and leveraging the cloud to unify the service value chain.
Next up was Dr. Danny Sabbah (General Manager, IBM Tivoli Software) and he put cloud and mobile into context.
Danny hit the ground running, talking about the three dominant transformations happening in technology; Smarter Physical Infrastructure. Mobility. Security.
The intersection of these three has caused a lot of complexity (and confusion) for our clients.
The way to tame that complexity is Visibility. Control. Automation.
The lines of business are doing what they need to so they can compete which means that our clients must simplify, standardize and automate to get this to work efficiently and add value back to the business.
It's about going beyond virtualization. It's about Mobile + Cloud. Together.
Tennis Australia built a smarter physical infrastructure capturing and using the data in real-time. This helped build out the relationship with their customers (in this case, tennis fans).
The video (included in the Livestream) with Tennis Australia is great and the nice thing about them is that what they did is applicable to any industry. In fact, the best comment they made in the video was that, "Providing information on all platforms is table stakes these days."
Danny let that sit for a minute. Table stakes. Meaning that you need to go beyond just offering up the data and provide value at levels that won't happen with just virtualization.
It's about mobile + cloud. The infrastructure must deliver value back to the business.
CIOs are the key to driving this innovation. Technology is about real outcomes and not just playing with the latest toys.
We must simplify, standardize and automate.
Danny mentioned the over 3,000 customers we have helped with this type of transformation and one of the best examples was helping an infrastructure delivery that used to take 40 days reduce to just 20 minutes.
Our customers (you) need to be resilient to velocity of change. Have security intelligence. Be able to have the choice/flexibility (mobile, hybrid) to be workload aware and utlitize analytics.
Danny took the time to talk about the Worklight acquisition and more specifically the big announcements we made with the integration of Q1 Labs and QRadar into our security portfolio (see the press release from Feb 22).
He concluded with discussion around OSLC as a specifcation to simplify integrations and increase agility. Development and Operations (Dev/Ops) continuing to be an important aspect of how we turn isolation into integration! He also mentioned the IBM SmartCloud Control Desk (mentioned in the announcement letter from Feb 28).
Danny concluded by saying that if you wanted hype and marketing. Go somewhere else. This is about cloud done right.
And with that. We're off to the stream kickoffs and a full say of sessions.
Stay tuned for a wrap-up of tomorrow's general session keynotes, right here on the blog.
In the meantime, use the links below to stay connected to everything happening at Pulse.
David has written about the Cloud Service Management Simulator Workshop in a previous blog and things are heating up as we get closer to Pulse.
In addition to the Sunday workshop we have a few extra seats left on Saturday for business partners and customers who wish to attend. If you are interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Both workshops (Saturday and Sunday) are from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm.
And for more information, watch developerWorks' Scott Laningham interview Ivor MacFarlane on what to expect in the room.
Do not miss the Healthcare Information and Management Systems
Society (HIMSS) event, being held in Las Vegas February 20th-24th, 2012.
HIMSS 2012 is the largest healthcare IT conference in the world
and the annual show this year in Las Vegas will once again have a strong
presence from IBM highlighting our commitment to healthcare.
Service Management solutions from IBM for healthcare provide the visibility,
control and automation that can help healthcare organizations build sustainable
systems, and collaborate across the organization to improve care and outcomes.
At HIMSS, IBM will be featuring the latest technology initiatives where Smarter
Physical Infrastructures will offer healthcare providers new insights into how
their buildings can impact the bottom line, improve clinical efficiency and
increase patient satisfaction.
In focus will be IBM Intelligent Building Management and how it
applies specifically to hospitals and hospital systems. Participating in two
pedestals as part of the twelve pedestal IBM booth in the HIMSS 2012 Exposition
Center, the IBM Intelligent Building Management for Hospitals discussion and
demonstration will show customers how they can leverage their building
management systems and the real-time monitoring of environmental data to
improve their operations overall.The
solution provides many capabilities and pre-integrated tools in an offering
that allows hospitals to immediately see results from the start of the
by the IBM booth at HIMSS this year and take a look at how improving your
building IQ will improve your hospital’s bottom line. You will get a chance to
know more about IBM’s innovative solutions for healthcare by talking to Derek
Botti, IBM Tivoli Architect, who will be present at the booth during the event
Just about my very first experience in IT –
brought onto a project as a customer ‘expert’ – was listening to the IT guys
debating how to make use of the data we already had on the old system. In my naivety
at the time I had thought computers used ‘computer language’. Quickly I
realised they were more like people than I had suspected – that there were lots
of computer languages, and each computer spoke only one of them, and could make
no sense of the others.
Now, in the interceding years (some 27 of
them L) great progress has been made – we expect computers to talk to each
other. This almost universal technological communication ability sometimes
blinds IT people to the fact that human communication has not evolved
Until we perfect direct thought
transference, all the communication we do, whether written or spoken, texted,
tweeted or painted on the walls, relies on a two stage process. First you put
your ideas into words (usually words and sometimes also gestures or pictures –
or a combination of all three). Then someone else has to take those words etc
and turn them into thoughts inside their head. There is always an ‘encrypt/decrypt’
section to human communication.
Now that can get messy, confusing and
create all sorts of mistakes in delivering the message. You probably wouldn’t
design it that way. In fact in a pure IT context we would be looking at ways to
deliver direct communication in a standard format from one system to the other.
But people don’t work that way; it is what we have and we need to work with it.
Communication isn’t just about being accurate;
I think it is better measured by whether it is useful. In IT, people still manage
to get the communication spectacularly wrong by not thinking about the whether
the customer (or client or user) is equipped to decrypt the message. As one
example, here is an error message I got on my screen the other day, apparently
intended to inform me why the software couldn’t do what I had asked it to do: “Unable to contact the target back-end forwarding host (proxy target)”. I presume that made perfect sense to the person who set the
software up to deliver that. They were maybe a great programmer, but evidently
not a human communications specialist.
It’s easy enough just to dismiss this as
one more version of ‘Computer says no’, but why is it no surprise? Maybe it’s because
we still seem to think it OK to throw our jargon at others who don’t share it.
Or maybe we forget they don't know what we do. Actually, to be fair this is not
only an IT thing – ask anyone who has been caught on a French train having
failed to quite understand the printed message exhorting them “composter votre
billet”. (And if you don't already know but intend to travel on a French train,
trust me, you need to find out what it means, but it isn’t a French word that
they usually teach you in basic language classes. A classic case of
encrypt/decrypt failure in a service management situation that has nothing to
do with IT.)
The technologists amongst us love the
challenge of integration, communication across platforms etc. but there is
recognition that this is expensive and should be unnecessary – an area where
standards and commonality help everyone. Why do we forget our most common
encrypt/decrypt situation – getting a message from one mind to another.
I hope that the irresistible tide of
universal cloud adoption and pervasive social media communication will solve
all these troubles – and allow us to concentrate on the people issues more. But
so far the social media snowball doesn’t seemed to have reduced jargon – quite
the opposite. Those of at a certain age are now totally incapable of
understanding what are children are saying, even when they give us access to
their on-line worlds.
Actually, this is fresh in my mind now
because it forms a little game we will play during my talk at Monday 5th
March at Pulse – our big SM event in Vegas next month. I plan to have people
encrypting and decrypting during that session. I am interested to see how they
get on, and hopefully to make them realise there are some simple tools we can
use to make things better. Nothing magic, and the same techniques we
demonstrate in the simulator. Mostly they rely on establishing common ground –
establishing communication channels and learning what will work, by finding
shared understandings, and by relying on more than words alone when it makes a
The best part about all that is that from
the outside it might look like gossip and drinking at the bar – but we realise
it is building business critical communicating platforms and channels. The message
that things can be both fun and relevant at the same time is also part of the
So, if you are at Pulse maybe you will be
able to come along at 6pm on Monday. If not I hope to get the chance to
encrypt/decrypt with you at another event this year. And thank you for your
efforts in decrypting this message, I hope it wasn’t too difficult – and I hope
it has some resemblance inside your head to the one that was in mine.
Guess who's going to be making a guest special appearance at the Solution Expo at Pulse?
No, not Maroon 5. (though they will be performing at Pulse on the Tuesday night in the Grand Garden Arena)
The answer is Watson!
The Watson Experience is a demonstration that illustrates how managing big data and applying analytics can help businesses gain meaningful insights. Watson shows how we can confidently make decisions through ranking answers, and handle structured and unstructured data by running hundreds of different kinds of analytical queries across all different kinds of information.
And then on Day 3, Manoj Saxena, General Manager of IBM Watson Solutions, will provide a glimpse into the innovations of the future with a talk on how IBM and leading clients are "Putting IBM Watson to Work." This keynote will offer insight into how the advanced analytics used in Watson are being put to work in businesses around the world to solve some of the industries biggest challenges, leveraging Cloud Computing. Manoj will highlight IBM’s strategy to commercialize the Watson technology with embedded industry content and how it complements an optimized, integrated cloud-based IT environment.
So be sure to pay an up close and personal visit with IBM's most famous game show contestant, and learn how it can help businesses prosper!
That’s a paraphrase of many quotes – but
whichever famous quote peddler you choose, it is surely a mantra of sorts for
successful service management. To me it
neatly addresses two key points:
It is no good meeting all the metrics that you set for yourself
if that only makes your performance look good to you – it’s the customers’
opinion that matters because they are the ones providing the money to make
it happen – and they may well stop doing that if they aren’t impressed
What people perceive is based upon their situation and
knowledge as well as your facts.
I had some first-hand instruction on this
recently that helped my understanding. Both were a little funny at the time but
maybe with some serious messages.
Firstly two different perceptions of what
must have looked very similar situations to a detached observer – driving last
year down a fast dual-carriageway road.
Both times I was on my way to my father.
First time an ordinary sunny day. I am driving at ‘about’ the
speed limit of 70 miles per hour – and a car comes hurtling up behind me
and sits a few metres behind me with the driver clearly impatient that I
am holding him up. I ventured an opinion as to his personality –
considering him less than sensible, some pushy-salesman type, and
certainly not deserving of my moving quickly out of his way
Two months later I am driving down the same road – only this
time I have been summoned to my father’s hospital bedside by medical staff
with the line ‘I think you should get here as soon as you can’. Now I am
doing a lot more than 70mph, and find myself slowing down to 75 and
hanging on other cars’ back bumpers amazed at why people can’t simply get
out of the way – surely they can see I have to go quicker than that.
So – good guy or bad guy? Depends on what
you know, and that depends on what you are and what has happened somewhere
The other one, I feel the need to share all
hinges around those daily gifts we get form our dogs. Each day I take our dog
for a walk in the field behind the house. The field is just the other side of
the fence and hedge around the back garden, but to get there you have to go out
the front, down the road through the alley and back – about 300 metres or so.
Now dogs, being dogs, use the daily walk for relieving themselves and people,
being only people, are left to pick it up in plastic bags and carry it. But
since our walk takes us back down the other side of that garden fence, rather
than carry the little bags round the field, I toss them over the fence and into
our garden, to pick up and dispose of when I get back. So, I am doing this when
I realise I am being watched, by another man out walking his dog. Thinking
about it afterwards he just sees someone flinging doggy doo over a fence into someone’s
garden. He did not speak, but did manage a look that clearly had me well below
pond-scum in any kind of social acceptability league table.
OK, so some examples of skewed judgement
based on incomplete knowledge, we all have lots of them – and please feel free
to send in any good ones that have happened to you.
Very few of these matter in everyday life –
we shrug and move on and usually never see the misunderstanding or
misunderstood person again. But when it matters we need to establish
communication to get some idea of the events that drive perceptions of those
who we will interact with long term. This is why we know things about those we
live with and care about – their favourite colours, the foods they like and
dislike, which football teams they support and lots more. That is worth doing
because these people matter to us, and because this makes both their life and
ours more pleasant.
So apply this to work, how much more
pleasant – and easier – will your life be if your customers are happy with you,
if they understand what you are doing and you understand what they care about.
That simple idea is at the core of a lot of my work these days – in the
simulation games and the presentation at events. It certainly underpins the
talks I am slated to do at IBM’s Pulse and itSMF Norway in March.
If I go back to the first set of two
bullets I wrote at the start of this piece, they are trying to say that you
need to know how your customers – and maybe other stakeholders – are feeling today. This will drive how you address
things. So customer perceptions influence prioritisation – standard best
practice stuff. What I was trying to point out in my driving example was that
those perceptions and attitudes are anything but fixed. Just because you know
what mattered yesterday, doesn’t mean you know what will matter today or
tomorrow. There are clues and signs you can look for – find out what things
affect your customers attitude and monitor those yourself. Again that is
something we can do fine at home – we are aware of some of the influences that
change attitudes and perceptions on our loved ones – be that exams the next
day, football on the TV tonight, or a fight with a friend.
Maybe what we need is more formalised
gossip at work – because it is often the conversations that don't seem to be
about work that tell us most about how our customers will react – and more
importantly how they want us to react. One thing the 21st century
has brought us – big time – is new ways to gossip, or should that be freely and
rapidly exchange more information than we ever dreamed was possible. So, maybe
this is just one more business benefit of social media, one that delivers its
success by not being so obvious?
Actually, I don't care how you gather more
understanding of your customers concerns and perception influencers use every
means you can. You could do worse than simply going to visit them, talking and
listening. Set yourself a target perhaps – name one thing that would change
your customer’s priorities, and then ask them if you are right.
This year at Pulse, we will be running another Cloud Service Management Simulator Workshop. If you are interested in attending, please send an email to email@example.com
What is it? -The
IBM Cloud Service Management Simulator Workshop is a hands-on,
interactive simulation game which focuses on the challenges and business
value of implementing service management best practices in the context
of a realistic scenario. -During the workshop, you'll use
gaming and role-playing dynamics to mirror the real-world interaction
between IT and the business, from both a strategic and operational
-Over the course of the session, you will
experience a transformation from chaos to order, and learn how the
right balance of speed, accuracy, and prioritization in problem solving
can translate into a superior business outcome.
What's in it for you? -Accelerated
and breakthrough understanding of ITSM and ITIL best practices, which
you can take back to your company to assess how these can contribute to
your organization. -Better understanding of how the effectiveness of IT processes impacts the business.
-A fun interactive experience!
When is it? -Sunday, March 4th, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, -MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas - Room 306 (Level 3 of the hotel conference center)
-We deliberately chose this day and time, as it does NOT conflict with any other sessions.
We live – more and more – in a world where everything that matters can be done on line, where we see and hear better on screen than for real.
You can now take an active part in the world – and potentially run a successful business - without ever leaving your home, possibly without getting out of bed.
And even when we do turn up for real we spend a lot of our time watching things on a screen – be that the presenter or performer in a large hall or the action reply on the giant screens at a football match
You will have seen in the promotions and advertising, that the key presentations from IBM’s show-piece service management event – Pulse – running on 4-7 March in Las Vegas will be streamed live on the web to the warm and cosy comfort of your home.
Despite how easy and good the virtual feed of sessions, chat and information were, 7000 people did get out of their beds in 2011 to travel to Las Vegasand actually be at Pulse, just as thousands turn out weekly to watch football at the stadium when they might have had a better view of the action by staying at home. And even formula one motor racing gets sold out attendance when you can never hope to see much of the race in person compared to what the TV coverage offers.
It seems that there are still good reasons to actually be there – not to put down the value of connecting to the live web streams, but even in the 21stcentury, people learn from people. Pulse is a big and excellent example, but throughout our community we see conferences still being successful and drawing people together to share experiences in surroundings that the virtual world can’t quite match yet. As well as the formal sessions at conferences and events, the networking opportunities of being with others in similar circumstances delivers real benefits – comparing notes with our peers from across the world.
Technology is good – and joining conferences on line is way better than missing it altogether, but people-to-people still has a lot going for it. I’m looking forward to the combination – the atmosphere of really being there and mixing with everyone in the exhibition areas – and over a sociable beer or two at dinner. And of course the added value that streamed interviews and 'watch again on demand' that is available over the web.
This amalgam of real and virtual seems set to be the conference norm for a good few years still – 7000 people at pulse thought so last year, and thousands went to itSMF conferences around the world in 2011 too.
And Pulse is in Las Vegasof course – where could be more appropriate for the combination of real physical existence with technologically driven enhancement - a bit like Red Dwarf's famous 'better than life' game. J
Do you think virtuality will one day totally replace human gatherings? I guess eventually it might, but for now I intend to enjoy both at once and count myself lucky to be alive at the right time to do that.
You can find out all about Pulse – physical and virtual offerings at www.ibm.com/pulse.
See you there – for real, on line, facebook, twitter and more!
If you have spent five minutes with me, you have probably heard me rave about the "WTF" podcast from Marc Maron.
It is the first topic of discussion when I talk to a friend of mine (second being Doctor Who).
The reason WTF works is that you have a veteren comedian (Maron) who knows the questions to ask. Who understands the journey. Who can have the types of discussions that lead to places you and I wouldn't think to go.
Maron is on the short-list of great interviewers. His podcast is one of the few times where the word "fascinating" really applies.
There are a number of reasons to attend (and if you read the Pulse Blog or follow #ibmpulse, they're too numerous to list here).
We announced that Woz is one of our keynote speakers.
Well, the format for this keynote is going to be a little different. He is going to be interviewed by none other than IBM's very own; Grady Booch (@grady_booch).
Grady is an innovator in the same vein as Woz. He was one of three individuals who invented UML.
As someone who worked for a company that relied heavily on UML (which I'm sure is the same for many readers), it's like "Memphis" Raines meeting Henry Ford. He's pretty much the reason a number of us are where we are in this industry.
UML. The Apple computer.
Grady and Woz were not only on the ground floor of technology revolutions, but they both built most of the foundations.
Between the two of them, they personify the type of innovation that we promote at Pulse 2012.
I can not stress this enough: innovation is the differentiator. It's what puts our clients in the leadership position in their industry. It's the thing that organizations playing "catch up" are trying to chase down.
Pulse is about not only helping you find the solutions to drive your innovation, but it's also about mindset. It's about thinking like an innovator.
Thinking like Woz and Grady. Getting you there.
And a keynote like this, with a real in-depth discussion between two of the best in the business. It's gonna be fascinating and you need to be there.
As I wrote last week, I am looking forward to delivering more simulations over the next weeks and months, I always enjoy the buzz of working with people rather than sitting in a lonely room hitting keys and listening to the dog snore.
I went through my technologically savvy period some years ago (back in the horse-drawn computer age). For years now I’ve felt that the biggest scope for improvement in service management is through the people part of the famous trilogy of people, process and technology.
It’s important though to be sure that we don't forget it is a trilogy – in a recent presentation I used a picture of a milking stool to make the point: three legs, if you have problems in any one of them you will fall on the floor, spill the milk and fail to do your job.
So the emphasis on people is not because we don't need the technology – it’s because there have always been plenty of people selling the technology hard in our business. And it sometimes seems to me that there are people even keener and more excited to buy it – each one as much a fashion victim as the lady horrified she’ll be spotted in last year’s shoes. But – for sure – we do need good technology. Of course, I work for a software and technology company so I would say that, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
And process is still vital – that is the first level of learning that comes from our simulation games – not knowing what needs to be done usually means you don’t do what needs doing. I remember getting excited by process when I first understood how to see and then improve them. I remember also how much better ITIL V2 was than V1 when we went ‘process focused’ – and how modern and nifty we thought we were.
But again – there is no shortage of process champions, so forgive me if I keep harping on about the people. There are more of us than there used to be pushing the importance of people. Paul Wilksinson, of course, has been – and still is – a trailblazer, although he is still obliged to play the prophet because the vast majority of our industry still needs to be converted to the simple reality; that no matter how cool your IT gadgets and software and no matter how carefully researched your process, if you don't keep the third leg – people – strong and secure then things simply won’t work.
Successful politics is called ‘The art of the possible” and I am aware we – those who believe that people factors are the biggest stumbling block to successful service management – need to play that game too. No point (yet) trying to make everyone totally people focused – our efforts through the simulators and suchlike are to at least get IT managers to realise that the quality of the services they deliver does depend on people aspects. It’s simple stuff really, like people talking to each other, finding out what things matter to them.
Strangely enough, this is the kind of thing we do well and automatically outside work, but somehow it becomes so much harder when it gets all business related – maybe we like to take sides at work, or think the office is too important a place to act human in. What is about being in the office (or Datacentre or shop floor or whatever your work looks like) that strips us of some basic level of humanity? We seem able to talk to our colleagues at work about non-work things – last nights TV or football, fashions, music etc – but not about their work wants and needs.
Of course there are exceptions – we need to capture and promote these to help us get the message across. My favourite is a reversal of the norm I just described. It is from a UKgovernment department where a cricket match between IT and Finance was being played out one evening. Due to Finance’s excellent bowling there was a hiatus since the batsmen were being dismissed faster than the next one could get the equipment on. During this pause the non-striking batsmen (from IT) was chatting about work and they solved a issue that had turned into a long running fight between managers. The managers had stood on principles and formality instead of talking about what was actually wanted. The issue was solved by these real workers getting a mutual understanding through the revolutionary approach of talking and listening to each other.
That’s what we shall be trying to do with the delegates to our simulation sessions – and in other ‘take the people seriously’ initiatives. Do you have some good stories about how much difference it makes when your people are able to understand each other’s perspectives? Be great to hear them. Be even better to catch up at one of the forthcoming simulations, or to see you at Pulse in March and we can talk – and listen - over a beer. J
 Apparently coined by Bismark, but I first heard it used by Harold Wilson in the 1960s
Well, we are well into 2012 now and we have just about got though the ‘my predictions for 2012’ phase and in to ordinary routines again. Whatever the predictions, like with most years I predict that 2012 will look a lot like an older version of 2011.
There is still talk of recession, companies that struggled for funding in 2011 are no richer, Cloud is still talked about by a lot more people than understand it.
On a personal level 2012 has already delivered some of the improvements planned in 2011 – and I hope the same will happen workwise. Next major thing on my work horizon is IBM’s big service management show – Pulse. Back again at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas we are promised it will be bigger and better than ever. I understand that bigger is important in as Vegas but I am usually even keener on better. Actually though, to be fair I am delighted that ‘my bit’ at Pulse looks like being bigger this year – with not one but two chances to deliver the cloud-readiness simulator on the weekend before the show itself starts. In fact there will be a strong focus on simulator this year with our team being on the exhibition floor to explain what, why and how they can help you.
Of course – like I implied above – this isn’t exactly new, but it is proven. Of course there will be lots of new stuff available – geeks welcomed and catered for. The technologists will – of course – be well catered for with lots of ‘future possibles’ and indeed a vision of some possible futures too. But service management’s primary focus is not on what might happen next year; it has always been about delivering value this year. In fact one of my favourite aspects of service management is how it rests on widely applicable principles, even though how they are applied might alter. For example, while change management processes in a cloud environment might need different considerations to make them most effective –the basics remain. I was working in service management long before I ever touched a computer. I remain constantly delighted to discover that lessons learned 30 years ago in supply and transport are still relevant to the 21stcentury IT based services we manage today.
So, if you are going to be at Pulse come along and tell me whether you agree that old-fashioned service concepts are still valuable – or come and explain why dinosaurs like me should be swept away by the meteor strike that is cloud. Either way – at Pulse or elsewhere – I look forward to good, informed and enjoyable debates. Good to think of the new year building on the successes of the old – at home and at work.
 If you follow me on twitter - @ivormacf - you will know where and when I will be in terms of events. Useful, whether you want to know how to find or to avoid me – same thing works both ways.
Over the recent Christmas break, I found
myself at lunch with an Enterprise Architect and the
conversation turned – as it does - to the future of the IT industry.
we agreed on the
topic of what IT jobs and attitudes should be over the next 10 years – others at the table disagreed with us – but that’s a topic for another blog
Now I live in a Service Management space, and so clearly I
know that everything – at least everything about creating and delivering IT
services – is wholly contained within a complete picture of service management: because
everything flows from the need for the service – in terms of value conceived,
engineered and then delivered to the customer.
So, imagine my surprise when the enterprise
architect (let’s call him Kevin J) came out
with the phrase – introduced as though it were universally accepted knowledge –
that everything is contained within the concept of enterprise architecture and all other things fit inside that. Well, you would think that one of us has
to be wrong – but maybe not?
Seriously though, I do realise that each
of us has a coloured view of the world. But even when you know you might be, if not actually biased, at least running along familiar tracks rather than striving for
objectivity, it can still be a surprise when you run into what seems a different
Of course – in this instance it isn’t
really a different perspective at all. Human Beings to tend to fit external
matters into handy pigeon holes – and those pigeon holes are inside our own
pigeon house – service for me, EA for Kevin.
Maybe we just need to get all these
different perspectives in one room and get them to agree on which view is
right? I suspect, however, that this has been tried – and failed. Because it
isn’t conflicting theories we are dealing with here. Instead it is that
familiar old chaos machine – people and perceptions. They are all right (and
all wrong too of course, but this early in a new year let’s try and be
Trying to look at the situation
simplistically, it seems to me that we have had lots of good idea over the last
20 years or so that have been helpful – but we live in a complex interrelated world and each
successful approach brings you to an edge or interface where you are dependent
for further success on the neighbours. Human nature makes us jump to the
conclusion that if the neighbours used my approach then they would do better.
Maybe it’s true but maybe it’s not – maybe we have as much to learn from the
neighbours as they have from us?
Let’s analogise that to real neighbourhoods. Is there anyone who doesn’t think things would be better if their neighbours
behaved more like them and adopted their processes,and practices – especially
things like where it is OK to park and when it is OK to be loud? But actually
they have slightly different needs (maybe because of things we don’t have like kids and dogs or a job that requires shift working)
and so they do need to do things differently. But still there is much to learn from
each other; simple stuff like where did you get your fence fixed etc and more
strategic stuff like comparing mortgage plans or discussing the best school
Within our IT/services/architecture kind of
world we have
the same chance to benefit from discussions with our neighbours. And just like
with our domestic neighbours, the best way to get along and help each other is
by accepting others’ perspectives as equally valid. It is good to see
initiatives like devops starting
to encourage this. My major familiarity over the past 20 years has been service
management but I can see both lots to learn from our neighbours like EA and
development and also lots we can help with too.
Have you spoke to your neighbours recently?
And if so was it with a predisposition to teach or to learn?
I recently had some first hand experience –
from the receiving end – how much of an effect genuinely good customer service
can have. The experience started in dismay but was recovered well beyond
Anyway, to start at the beginning ….
I had to go and ‘swear an affidavit’ –
which for those of you not into the jargon of jurisprudence means to formally
promise what you are saying on a form is true. In England you can either pay a
solicitor for this service, or you can get it for free at the county court. So,
of course, I went off to the County Court.
Now, it started, I admit, with me failing in my responsibility to be a proactive customer. I did not think
through what I knew. County Courts in England are where the most
serious crimes are tried, so it is where the most dangerous criminals would be.
A moment’s thought, therefore, would make it obvious that there will be fairly
impressive security. But of course I was just thinking about delivering a form
so the metal scanner and request to empty my pockets took me by surprise. And
my producing my Swiss Army penknife from my pocket sent the security man into
action. The knife was confiscated – suggestions that I wasn’t even in the
building yet and could just go back, leave offending items in the car and start
again, were not allowed to be considered. I was told that I could not get my
knife back when I left but instead I needed to write in to the court manager
asking for it to be returned by post.
So, I had a perfect example of a ‘Moment of
Truth’; putting me instantly, and very extremely, ‘anti’ the staff and the
processes. It seemed obviously the staff are required to leave common-sense at
home and not bring it to work with them.
And thus, in a bad mood I reached the court
officer with whom I was to sign and swear that my forms told the truth. She
spots my mood, finds out why and explains that the rules are for protection and
cannot be altered – causing no improvement in my mood. She then looks at my
forms and points out that I have not brought all the right documents – and then
throws in for good measure that my solicitor has supplied my with the wrong set
So … it is now clear to me that I have
driven into town, paid for my car parking, lost my knife for the duration and
all for nothing because my paperwork is wrong. But fear not – after this it
gets better. I had been expecting a businesslike word or two of sympathy and if
I allowed myself a glimmer of optimism then maybe even an explanation of what I
needed to go back and fetch, so that it would work when I came back.
Instead the lady reacted very differently.
She pointed out that the forms I have forgotten are copies of documents they
already have lodged with them, and that they have blank forms of the right
kind. She fetches the missing forms, lends me a pen and helps me understand
what is needed on the right form, checks it through, makes corrections and then
duly witnesses it and formally logs it in the system as sworn and correct. As she
put it “Well the purpose is to get your stuff recorded, if I can make that
happen then why wouldn’t I help?”
Of course she was perfectly right, her job
is to help get these things done, and so thinking for herself and helping
people get there is an obviously correct attitude. Isn’t that exactly how
everyone in service delivery sees it?
Well, of course we all know that it isn’t –
not yet! The sad aspect of this kind of story
is how surprised we all are by them – that they are worthy or repeating
because this quality of service is still unusual.’
The key aspect of this story – with its two
different approaches to dealing with the customers - is how much good service
experience depends on customer facing staff that are knowledgeable of the
customer’s context and goals. But more than that even, the management trusted
and empowered (at least some of) their staff to use common sense and do what
was right – maybe even if it didn’t follow exact procedures.
Are the customer-facing staff in your
organisation trusted and empowered? If not, is it because they can’t be
trusted, or because they have been given the knowledge? Or is it just that
no-one has ever thought it would be a good idea to trust and empower them? What
happens in your organisation – do you get good service or do you a strict
process delivered, whether or not it is appropriate?