Cloud & Service Management blog
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  tivoli ibm pulse itsmf ivor service-management itil 2 Comments 1,356 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.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ibm service-management itil itsmf devops ivor 1 Comment 1,298 Visits
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 another day.
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 perspective.
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 optimistic).
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 options.
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?
 OK, I am joking a tiny bit here.
 That is a deliberate singular, not a typo!
 If you don’t know about devops – I mentioned it months back in this blog https://www-304.ibm.com/connections/blogs/59c1123b-0353-458e-a719-b002d84108d5/entry/devops_should_i_have_known_what_that_is1?lang=en_us
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  service ivor empowerment ibm service-management itsm tivoli itil 1,220 Visits
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 expectation.
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
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
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 of forms.
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?
Noah Kuttler 110000SVNJ email@example.com Tags:  woz pulse gradybooch service-management pulse2012 innovation 1,198 Visits
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.
I tell you that, to tell you this.
Pulse 2012. It's right around the corner.
We announced that Woz is one of our keynote speakers.
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.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  itil ibm ivor pulse service-management itsm 1,099 Visits
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