Cloud & Service Management blog
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  service pulse cloud simulator management 2,070 Visits
This year at Pulse, we will be running another Cloud Service Management Simulator Workshop.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  pulse itil service-management ivor itsm 4,793 Visits
Perception is the only truth you believe
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:
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.
So – good guy or bad guy? Depends on what you know, and that depends on what you are and what has happened somewhere else.
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
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.
 = ‘divided highway’ in American.
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!
There is still time to register for Pulse.
We look forward to seeing you there!
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  service-management itil abc itsm pulse ivor 1 Comment 3,969 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.
Yuri Konwar 270004R7NW firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  ibm-solutions himss smarter-healthcare infrastructures it vegas heathcare datacenters 1,510 Visits
Join IBM at HIMSS 2012!
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 implementation process.
Stop 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
We look forward to seeing you at HIMSS 2012!
Noah Kuttler 110000SVNJ email@example.com Tags:  workshop service-management simulator cloud pulse service-management-simula... 2,263 Visits
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.