Cloud & Service Management blog
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  itsmf tivoli service-management innovate-2011 ivor itil ibm itsm 1 Comment 2,560 Visits
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  service-management itil abc pulse itsm ivor 1 Comment 1,736 Visits
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 similarly.
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 difference.
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 session.
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.
Bryan Casey 270003BSJV BFCASEY@US.IBM.COM Tags:  application ibm security mainframe 1,290 Visits
Today's post comes from Anne Lescher, Product Marketing Manager, IBM Security.
Many enterprises run their mission critical application workloads on their mainframe systems. They would like to centralize their application security controls, security policy enforcement, data protection, auditing reporting and compliance management for a consolidated view of security. They are looking for smarter security intelligence that will help them leverage the mainframe as their enterprise security hub. IBM Security zSecure suite V1.13 consists of multiple individual components designed to help you administer your mainframe security server, monitor for threats, enforce policy compliance, audit usage and configurations, and assist in compliance management and audit reporting.
• IBM Security zSecure Admin, Visual, and CICS Toolkit provide administrative, provisioning, and management components that can significantly reduce administration time, effort, and costs, and help improve productivity and response time, as well as help reduce training time for new administrators.
• IBM Security zSecure Audit, Alert, and Command Verifier provide security policy enforcement, audit, monitoring and compliance management components. These offerings help ease the burden of compliance audits, can improve security and incident handling, and can increase overall operational effectiveness.
New Security zSecure suite V1.13 capabilities offer enhancements for DB2, CICS, and IMS application security auditing that:
• Automates security analysis of CICS and IMS transactions and programs
• Provides automated determination of which System Authorization Facility (SAF) classes are being used by each active IBM DB2, IBM CICS, or IBM IMS subsystem
• Enhances Access Monitor and allows you to improve data consolidation
• Allows annotating userid displays with data from external human resource files such as department and employee number
• Adds globalization enhancements to support international language support and auditing
• Allows addition of your own sensitivity classification, audit concern, and priority to data set names and general resources
• Supports currency with z/OS V1R13, ACF2 R14 and R15, CICS V4R2, and Top Secret R12, R14, and R15
• Extends integration with Communications Server and provides various interface improvements
For more information on the functions available in the new version of IBM Security zSecure suite V1.13 visit our announcement letter and our zSecure product website.
Noah Kuttler 110000SVNJ firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  system-p system-z service-management enterprise-systems system-storage entsys storage 1 Comment 2,398 Visits
This blog post was written by George Mina
Earlier today, IBM shared its point of view on the future of the data center with Smarter Computing V3 (press release). A central focus is IBM Enterprise Systems (zEnterprise EC12 and Power) and their ability to deliver exceptional value through a private Cloud. We've seen how organizations have been able to leverage IBM Enterprise Systems to achieve significant benefits. Take the City of Honolulu for example which was able to lower its licensing costs by 68% while increasing tax revenue by $1.4M USD in just three months.
By adding Tivoli software to their current IT environment, organizations can advance their enterprise-class Cloud environment while protecting their existing IT investment. How? IBM SmartCloud Foundation software is deeply rooted in openess - an open standards approach and common management tools that are platform agnostic. Essentially, you pick the platform(s) that best meets your business goals and we deliver a set of interoperable Cloud management tools across your heterogeneous environment. Of course, there are intrinsic benefits to building a Cloud management stack on top of IBM Enterprise Systems given the tight integration between hardware and software. OMEGAMON for example leverages a deep integration with zEnterprise systems to deliver advanced monitoring that reduces typical time to resolution from 90 minutes to 2 minutes.
Whether your starting to consider virtualizing your IT environment or deep into your Cloud journey, we have open Cloud management tools that help you expand your Cloud footprint without fear of vendor "lock-in". Learn more about the latest announcement and our Cloud solutions by visiting this site and attending the System z webcast on October 17.
Noah Kuttler 110000SVNJ email@example.com Tags:  conference prague tivoli technical europe 2,056 Visits
Are you in or near Prague?
Do you have plans from June 6 - 10?
Here's the deal.
The European Tivoli Technical Conference is 6-10 June 2011 in Prague, CZ and we would love to see you there.
This technical conference is focused on the era of Smarter Computing. We will be talking about how you can build your organization’s skills with IBM Training and build a Smarter Planet.
You'll have access to best practices and a number of subject matter experts and learn more about new delivery models like Cloud and how they can accelerate service innovation.
The focus will be on Integrated Service Management and the Tivoli solutions at the heart of the IBM Smarter Planet intiative.
In addition to our deep technical sessions we will focus on some actual projects, and related technologies including best practices on comprehensive Tivoli implementation projects.
Here are some of the Tivoli highlights:
You can register here (and see the full agenda) and we look forward to seeing you there.
Noah Kuttler 110000SVNJ firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  software smarter-planet article ibm 1,057 Visits
Writer Darryl K. Taft does a good job of providing an overview of IBM's software business in this interesting eWeek article, "Software: The Driving Force Behind IBM's Business Transformation"
While this article has been posted numerous times on Twitter and the like, I felt it was worth a post here on the Service Management blog in case folks missed it.
In particular, it's worth noting how IBM Software Group follows the Glengarry Glen Ross (IMDB) mantra of, "Always be closing."
By that, I mean that we continue to look at the market and the requirements of our customers, and we continue to innovate how we build our products, how we manage internally and how we do business.
We rest. But not much... :-P
Senior Vice President and Group Executive Steve Mills said it best in this article:
Later in the article, Stephen Stokes an analyst at AMR Research said:
Our customers and the market will ultimately decide the outcome, but I would agree with Stephen and think we're positioned FTW on this one.
Kathleen Holm 2700009BHX KHOLM@US.IBM.COM Tags:  al_zollar service_management ciosynergy 1 Comment 1,132 Visits
Al Zollar, General Manager of Tivoli Software, will be attending CIOsynergy,
Some of the insights Mr. Zollar will be sharing come from the CIO study
The CIO study underscores the fact that the role of the Chief Information Officer is changing dramatically. In addition to being IT experts, today’s most successful CIO’s are also business leaders who are actively engaged in setting strategy, enabling flexibility and change, and solving business problems, not just IT problems.
As the lines between business and IT blur, CIO’s recognize the critical role service delivery plays in how their companies do business and generate revenue. And, as the world becomes more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent, the way services are designed, delivered and managed is rapidly changing too.
Physical assets are being transformed into smart, digitally-aware assets that can receive and emit data and connect with one another, allowing people, systems and objects to communicate and interact in entirely new ways.
As a result of the interconnection of these instrumented and intelligent devices, great breakthroughs in service innovation are creating new opportunities for people and businesses worldwide.
With these new opportunities also comes increased complexity and risk. And this puts new requirements on our business and technology infrastructures.
CIOs are faced with important objectives that often seem to clash: How can we support the introduction of new services while avoiding the disruption of existing services? How can I reduce costs while improving services? How will I balance the need to influence business strategy with the need to provide top-notch IT support? To respond to these conflicting objectives, successful CIO’s are blending three pairs of roles that seem contradictory, but are actually complimentary. At any given time, a CIO is:
Integrated Service Management can help CIO’s achieve their dual focus of IT expert and business leader. Integrated Service Management helps the:
Find out more about the changing role of the CIO.
Read the CIO Study.
Learn more about Integrated Service Management and how it can help CIO’s excel as business leaders and IT experts.
I'm on my way home from my first Pulse event in Slots Vegas, the people watching capital of the solar system. It was an extremely productive five days on many levels, but that's another blog post for another day.
For now, I wanted to offer my belated perspective on the IBM vs Jeopardy challenge.
Two weeks ago, as I was walking down the sleepy hallways of the IBM Southbury facility, I noticed a small flyer hanging on the wall near the cafeteria. As I got closer to it, the familiar JEOPARDY logo caught my eye. The flyer was promoting the Watson Jeopardy challenge, and encouraged employees and their families to watch it live in the IBM auditorium later that week.
My immediate thought was that it had been at least five years since I had been invited to an after-hours IBM function in the building. I then realized that this would be a great and increasingly rare opportunity to gather my wife and two kids together for an impromptu "family night" activity . (Now that my kids are getting older, and are more and more immersed in the social and sports scenes around town, I recognize how special and valuable these little family outings can be).
After a quick trip over to Subway for a couple of $5 footlongs, we headed up to the sprawling IBM campus. As we strolled through the darkened hallways, my wife and I got my kids up to speed on what they were about to witness. In order to make it even more of a tangible experience for them, we took a quick detour past the enormous server farms in the "B" building. Once there, we peeked through the small glass pane at the top of door, and I pointed to a cluster of servers that was similar in stature to Watson. My 10 year old son stared at the large black mass of iron, which was as tall and wide as about 10 refrigerators, and asked where the monitor was.
When we arrived outside the auditorium, I was surprised at how many other IBMers (and THEIR families) had also heeded the call to attend this event. However, I was even more surprised at the spread of food that was laid out by the catering staff: everything from crudite to mini-quiches, to swedish style meatballs and chicken skewers (why did I eat that entire footlong!!).
As we entered the near full auditorium, one of the engineers from the Watson project was providing some history of the supercomputer that was about to challenge the two most successful Jeopardy contestants in the history of the show. Despite the extremely reader-unfriendly powerpoint charts that our host was speaking to (he should have had marketing create them!), my son and 14 year old daughter seemed highly engaged in the presentation and discussion. Of course, their enthusiasm was soon severely dampened when the host asked if there were any questions, and their inquisitive dad quickly raised his hand.
When the game started, my 10 year old (who had never seen Jeopardy before) was clearly engaged, and was openly rooting for the smart planet placard with the funny robotic voice in the middle slot. My daughter was thrilled to see a category on fashion, and was nearly elated to actually answer two of those questions correctly!
As the game progressed, nearly everyone in the room began to cheer Watson on. We all laughed out loud when Watson wagered odd amounts of money, and groaned as one when Watson missed a question that WE all knew the answer to.
When Watson answered his Double Jeopardy question correctly, a loud roar emanated from the home crowd. Machine had bested man, and my kids were clapping as loud as anyone in the room.
It was a historic night for IBM, a fun family night for my wife and I, and an evening that I'm betting my kids will remember for a long time.
...Oh and by the way, as a result of asking a question during the pre-screening, I received a cool mustard colored IBM t-shirt with the old school logo, which my daughter quickly adopted and inserted into the top of her pajama rotation.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  tivoli ibm pulse itsmf ivor service-management itil 2 Comments 1,360 Visits
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.
Bryan Casey 270003BSJV BFCASEY@US.IBM.COM Tags:  financial services security ibm finance 1 Comment 1,556 Visits
Today's post comes from Perry Swenson, Market Manager, IBM Security Solutions.
IT departments at financial services firms are under tremendous pressure to ensure servers, desktops, mobile devices and other endpoints are secure and compliant. At the same time, they’re continually looking for ways to save time and resources in areas like software licensing, patch management, asset inventory and security configuration. IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager, built on BigFix technology, is helping these firms better understand and manage the status of their endpoints, regardless of where they’re located.
In the below video of Nate Howe, VP of Risk Management at Western Federal Credit Union talks about how Tivoli Endpoint Manager provides real-time patching for operating systems and third party applications and utilities. With over $1.4 billion in assets and 32 branches in 10 states serving more than 120,000 members nationwide, Western Federal Credit Union is one of the leading credit unions in the United States. Nate explains that they now have a single view into all aspects of the systems and security for their 400 employees, 100 servers and 2 data centers, including a better inventory of installed software. And, they can do more with fewer people, which enables them to focus less on infrastructure and more on business applications and enabling business automation.
Another customer that’s realizing benefits from Tivoli Endpoint Manager is SunTrust Banks, Inc. Based in Atlanta, SunTrust enjoys leading market positions in some of the highest growth markets in the United States and also serves clients in selected markets nationally. SunTrust has a highly distributed environment with nearly 1,800 branch locations and no local IT resources at most of those locations. Using Tivoli Endpoint Manager, SunTrust now maintains a 98.5 percent patch and update compliance rate. They’ve also decreased update and patch cycle times from 2-3 weeks to 2-3 days while increasing productivity through automation. Read the SunTrust case study here.
By enabling improved endpoint visibility and new levels of automation, Tivoli Endpoint Manager is a powerful solution to help financial services firms enhance their security and compliance.
If you’d like to learn more about Tivoli Endpoint Manager, please visit ibm.com/tivoli/endpoint