There have been a lot of good discussions
on Back2ITSM recently. I find the site a wonderful reminder of the two
universal constant truths: ‘everything changes’ and ‘there is noting new under
the sun’. They might seem contradictions at first, yet the older I get the more
both seem true.
Firstly, if you aren’t looking at the
Back2ITSM group on facebook then you are missing out - go sign up, now! Let me
explain what it is and how it is brand new and full of ITSM tradition at the
Secondly, it is about people talking with
each other. That’s the bit that is the same as it’s always been. The
willingness to share ideas, help others – even those in competing organisations
– is just exactly like many itSMF regional meetings I have been to, in UK,
Canada and New Zealand; except that now we are all in three at the same time.
Of course, social media isn’t new, and
facebook is not the newest kid in town. But what is 21st century
about this kind of group are the immediacy of comment and dialogue and the wide
spectrum of simultaneous participants it allows. Since it has active members
from all across the world, there is constant input and comment.
OK, so we have all know that the technology
for this has been around a while. After all it is ‘just’ about real time input
to a forum – and we now have about 20 or 30 people across the world presenting
their opinions to an audience of 500+ (lurking is positively encouraged). For
me what is important is precisely that I am not aware of the clever technology
or feel all the time that I am using a novel means of communicating or even
just how damned clever the whole thing is. With this group I have reached stage
three in my own ‘using technology’ scale: comfort and taking for granted.
Stage 1 is when
you are using some new way of doing things just because you can. This isn’t
just about IT of course, many of us may recall how such things have affected
our choice of travel (my
example is choosing an airline because they had A380s
on the route, and even if a bit dearer I had never been on one of them before
Stage 2 is when
the mean is no longer overwhelming the ends – you’re using it now because it is
logical to do so, and it is delivering value. But, you are still very aware of
how cool it is. And you probably keep telling other people how cool it is too.
Stage 3 is when
your focus is totally on what you are doing. I can now just read what is written, comment
if I have something to say. You know it’s a normal conversation because it goes
off at tangents, people get flippant, say daft things, agree, argue, make
subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) digs at each and launch jokes that no-one
else notices. In short, it’s normal human conversation, without thinking about
how you are achieving it nor where all the people are, or what time it is there.
And to me this is a good motif for
successful technology. It isn’t when it is there and running that the implementation
part is properly over. Real success is when people don’t notice it any more,
but just get on with using it, unconsciously – as part of their everyday lives.
It’s one more example of how success is
about being invisible. First time I flew in an A380 I was excited about it –
last time I was watching a movie before we reached the runway. That’s success.
(Ok, so there was a little re-attention on the technology after the Qantas 380
had an engine explode but I am back to ignoring it again now.)
So the important lesson and message that I
see is how we need a customer perspective on the introduction of new
technology. And maybe what you actually want is people to stop telling you how
impressed they are, because then they are getting on with using it, which was,
after all, the real point of the exercise, wasn’t it?
The following article was written by Cameron Allen, Pierre Coyne and Beth Sarnie and is the second in our OSLC series.
In fact, if you were at Pulse 2012...you heard how IBM Watson will be used to help doctors diagnose medical conditions and improve patient care at WellPoint.
For those of you, like myself, that don’t have a Watson-like recollection, here’s a quick flashback detailing a millisecond in Watson's brain on a sample patient:
Watson is given specific information on a patient’s symptoms, and makes a preliminary diagnosis of the flu as the most likely illness.
Based on the unique patient's name, Watson looks up records of the patient's history for the past few years, providing new insights that point to the better possible cause of, for example, a Urinary Tract Infection.
Based on the patient's family connections, Watson is able to use the family history to derive that the mostly likely cause is now diabetes.
And finally, Watson is able to access a patient’s latest tests to derive a final diagnosis.
If you're in the business of IT, this may sound a lot like incident management. And as any level 1 support person can attest, diagnosing the root cause of an incident is much like diagnosing a patient's condition. You need information from multiple sources (e.g. service desk, license, CMDB, monitoring, and asset management systems), but more importantly, it has to be in context, up to date, and delivered in a timely basis to make an accurate diagnosis of the root cause.
The problem has always been that an incident manager, like a doctor, has to jump between tools, entering requests in each system for the right information...and that is time consuming. In some cases, information isn't readily available and must be requested from other sources, not under their direct control.
One of the ways Watson is able to be such a great diagnostician (and incident manager) is through "linked data," which allows it to seek out and find related information on the patient from multiple sources in a fraction of a second to facilitate faster, more accurate patient diagnosis.
Until now, an incident manager did not have this same luxury.
That's where Jazz for Service Management comes in. Jazz is IBM's realtime platform for integrating management across multivendor tools, and across service lifecycle processes and functions. Like Watson, Jazz for service management uses principles of linked data, along with community standards (including OSLC) to support Watson-like service management decisions, regardless of what vendor tools you have in place.
A while back I wrote a blog just mentioning
devops, and what a sensible idea it seemed – certainly the word ‘devops’ hit
some bells and I got 3 times my normal hits in the first day. At the beginning
of this year (2012 in case you got here late) I wrote a blog inspired by a
discussion with a TOGAF fan; I felt we in parts of the IT world need to talk to
our neighbours a lot more.
I was reminded of these by seeing several
devops write-ups recently (separate articles in itSMF UK and US
magazines in the same month). Both are encouraging and make the unavoidable
point: what devops suggests as a matter of principle is clearly something to
be supported like the proverbial apple pie. It is just so obvious, it has to be right - why would
you not use the people who built and know a new piece of software (or anything
else for that matter) to get it in place and working, and as first point of
call should anything not work as expected?
Both articles argue that ITSM people should embrace
the ideas rather than rush to defend their empires. Devops is not the only
example, but it seems to me that what we might be faced with is set of
driven from disparate firm foundations in our vast ocean of IT
In fact the commonality between the
approaches is massive, especially once you get past a temptation to overly
rigorous application. It amazes me that the same IT people who would never
dream of reading the instructions before using their new technology toys insist
on applying every word of best practice.
If you want an example of how ITIL®
overlaps the base devops concept look at section 6.7, page 236 of Stuart
Rance’s Service Transition book in ITIL 2011.
The point I really wanted to make is that
we need to get above the point of origin and see identification, creation
delivery and operation of service as the real goal and the subject of some
integrated guidance. Everything we have so far shows its origins.
ITIL comes from operations, for all its gallant attempts to
preach service strategy it is not really getting to the people who
should be doing so because they originate from other parts of IT/business
Devops is coming from the development community and so
reflects their take on life.Things
like OSLC that will help smooth some of the boundaries are also being
pitched – so far – from the development side
All of the stuff that I see is coming out of parts of IT, when
to me IT is only a part (albeit a big and important part most times).
I started my career helping organisations
establish and improve services, I got sidetracked into IT and oft-times I miss
that bigger image. I still find it hard to think only of IT aspects and
solutions, but I find I am often talking with people – suppliers and customers
– who are content to be restricted to IT aspects.
In the short term I think what we need is
more selling of the neighbour’s ideas. I want to see devops being evangelised
by someone from the ITSM community, and we need the converse too. Otherwise it
can feel like the recommendations for apple pie are coming exclusively from the
apple marketing board; doesn’t mean they are wrong but they can less thanconvincing, especially to a cynical audience or to one that has something they feel they must defend. Maybe I have stumbled onto my
subject for next year’s conferences – anyone interested in inviting me?
 You call them methodologies, frameworks, revelations, best
practices or whatever – I was searching for a generic term, if you have a
better one let me know.
 In case you don't like what is there, I should point out the
content of that section comes from the 2007 version, which was not written by
Stuart. There is simple diagram here that makes the point, but it is Crown
Copyright so I dare not use it here, so please o look if you are interested.
As the Western Hemisphere was slumbering, news from Singapore was lighting up Twitter as our senior executives took the stage at the IBM InterConnect conference to talk about some of the latest announcements from the IBM corporation on innovation and a Smarter Planet.
Much of the reporting has been done on Twitter (hashtag #IBMInterConnect) and these keynotes are available on the LiveStream including an amazing speech by Dr. Michio Kaku about the future of computers ("everywhere and nowhere").*
These are supplemented by interviews conducted by Todd "Turbo Todd" Watson, also on the LiveStream.
Since this event was focused on a Smarter Planet (the entire IBM portfolio), we covered a lot of ground. Big Data. Social. Mobility. And, of course, cloud.
For SmartCloud Foundation, the Tivoli organization has a number of exciting solutions that are designed to help you increase the levels of innovation you provide to your clients.
For this blog, I thought it'd be good to focus on three of the new solutions you might not have seen before that are going to help you in building out your private cloud.
IBM SmartCloud Cost Management is one of the key components in transforming IT from a "cost center" to an innovation center by providing levels of visibility, and transparency, to the IT costs associated with your cloud. Measure, analyze, report, and invoice the utilization and costs of physical, virtualized, and cloud computing resources, storage and network resources, applications, and other non-IT cost drivers.
IBM SmartCloud Patch Management combines the benefits of two solutions, IBM Endpoint Manager for Patch Management and IBM SmartCloud Provisioning, to provide an effective entry point that delivers lower costs and improves the visibility and control of physical, virtual, and cloud environments.
Finally, the IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center is a solution that you might have seen us talk about at Pulse 2012 and it's now an exciting addition to the portfolio. This solution helps IT storage managers migrate to an agile cloud-based storage environment and manage it effectively without having to replace existing storage systems. If you're looking to increase your storage efficiency in cloud, but don't have the checkbook to do a "rip and replace" of your entire infrastructure, you need to be looking at this solution.
There's more going on in Singapore over the next two days, and more discussion of SmartCloud Foundation and IBM Smarter Planet. Stay tuned to Twitter and the LiveStream and feel free to post comments below.
* I have to confess that this blog was delayed because I got sucked into watching the keynotes.
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.
I went to an itSMF UK regional
meeting last week. I haven’t managed to get to our local meeting for a while
and I found I was being introduced to new members as someone who has been
around ‘since the beginning of ITL’.
Now that kind of thing, apart from making
me feel old (which is, admittedly, a fair enough feeling at my age) also made
me look back and think on where we (the ITIL community) have come from and
where we are now.
The first thing that occurs to me in
thinking back to the early days of ITIL is that we now find ourselves in a
place that none of us imagined we would. Don’t get me wrong, the original
inventors and drivers of the
ITIL idea were not short on confidence or vision, nor in seeing the benefits
that documenting this aspect of best practice would bring. But I suspect that
world domination of this industry sector by the word ‘ITIL’ was beyond even
their best possible visions.
The key to the expansion of ITIL was that
it quickly became about more than just the books. The ITIL advertising leaflets
produced in the mid 90s coined the term ‘ITIL philosophy’ to represent this
scope of ITIL. I suppose I should confess that I invented that phrase
and also the diagram that went with it – a version from about 1997 is shown
here. The accompanying words suggested that, even back then, less than 1% of
‘ITIL-related sales’ were about the actual ITIL books, and the rest were
The fact that I couldn’t even hazard a
guess at what that percentage might be today indicates a few, pretty
When I was writing those things in 1996-1998, I felt I could
pretty much ‘take-in’ what was going on related to ITIL, and even know
most of the people developing and delivering new ideas. Nowadays no-one
can honestly claim to be able to do that.
What is ‘ITIL-related’ has become a much more debatable
concept. Whatever its faults might have been (and there were many) ITIL
was just about alone in its market space. The initiatives kicked-off by
ITIL have spawned fellow travellers, such as COBIT, ISO20000 and others.
The fact that I could easily start a long running – and probably vitriolic
– debate on
the social media pages by asserting which are and which are not ITIL
derived, ITIL alternatives etc indicates that this is now a loosely
bounded region. That makes any assessment of its scale, scope and success
Some other things have changed too.
Nowadays the maturity of the ITIL ideas
means most players are focused on market share rather than growing the sector
itself. That means more competition than there used to be. Nonetheless there
are still lots of examples of that collaboration still easily found. Probably
the best example is the ‘Back2ITSM’ facebook group – a place where free advice,
constructive debate and openly shared thoughts are still the norm.
The itSMF was born in 1991, and played –
probably – the major coordinating role is promoting the idea, importance and
approaches of service management. Like ITIL, itSMF predates the term ‘service management’,
having started as the ITIMF. Even here we have seen a lot more competition
during the last third of its lifetime: both competition from other community
organisations and also considerable internal competition. I hope itSMF will
evolve form this to carry on delivering benefit to its members. I am a bit too
frightened to work out what percentage of my time has been given to itSMF over
the last 17 years – or at least frightened what my employers over that period
might think. But that commitment does make me wish hard for its future health.
So, looking back should makes us appreciate
where we are now – nostalgia can be deceptive for usually the past wasn’t
better; because progress is exactly that – going forward and getting more. And
wherever ITIL is now, IT Service management has come a wondrous way in the last
20 years. Global technology changes have made a difference to that journey;
we’ve seen personal computing and the internet make all but unbelievable levels
of change. We may well see Cloud do the same; personally I think cloud might do
that by freeing us from some of the technical baggage and letting us see and
address real service management issues, without the obfuscation of technology
issues or the opportunity to hide behind them any more.
We’ve seen a move from books being the
go-to source of wisdom when ITIL started to an amazing range of information
sources. Nowadays your typical service management will expect their influences
to come via social media, electronically delivered white papers and the like.
Interestingly, in many cases, they would also expect them to come for free, and
that throws a real challenge on the thought leadership business. If ITIL 4 ever
happens I think it will be a radically different entity from versions1-3.
Where I want to see ITSM going is towards
SM. IT is now so pervasive that it is everywhere, which to me means that ITSM
cannot be a subsection of overall SM anymore because it logically applies to
everything, since all services now depend on IT. Nevertheless, IT has treated
SM well, and – after some effort –has taken it seriously. I hope those lessons
will work their way into broader adoption and we will see an improved – and
critically an integrated – approach to service management across enterprises
because of that. I am driven to optimism in this (not my natural state you
understand so it is noteworthy) by the fact that, alongside this blog, I am
involved just in this same month in a webinar and an article for IBM’s SMIA
series on the idea that IT is now spreading its ideas – and delivering its
technology and specifically its evolved software solutions – to the broader
I wonder what we will be saying in another
20 years looking back – maybe ITIL will survive another 20 years, maybe not,
but I am certain service management will progress and improve.
 And the top two names I would put here are Pete Skinner and John
Stewart – perhaps our least sung heroes, especially the late Mr Skinner – but
pivotal all the same.
 I don’t plan to, and hope no-one else is tempted – there are far
more constructive things for intelligent service management practitioners to
progress knowledge about.
 And if you are interested (sad?) enough to be reading this then you
should be part of that group if you aren’t already.
The following article was written by Cameron Allen, Pierre Coyne and Beth Sarnie and is the second in our OSLC series.
In non-acronym speak, what I'm saying is that the future of service management has arrived in the form of Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration.
But, what is OSLC and what does it have to do with you?
If you are a user of service management tools of any kind, or rely on information from tools to do your job, then you probably know that finding the right information is half the battle, and getting realtime access to that information when it is not under your direct control can feel next to impossible.
OSLC means you can now leverage the simplicity and ease of web links to both find and share information across your management tools (be they IBM, or any vendor tools).
Just as web pages can be linked on the Internet, data can be linked together from one application to another – creating an application ecosystem where applications don't care what vendor they're from. They look up who has the data in a directory, and jump right to it.
OSLC is not something new, and Tivoli is not the first to adopt it for integration. If you're an IBM Rational user, you may already be a believer. IBM Rational, its users, and an extensive ecosystem of partners have been using OSLC to successfully interconnect the application lifecycle for years.
In fact, Rational Jazz is the realization of OSLC community specifications and shared services in an open platform that anyone can use to interconnect the application lifecycle. Rational just delivered their 4th incarnation of the integrated product offering called Collaborative Lifecycle Management based on Jazz.
Tivoli is now leveraging these same principles to help break down silos of information across the end-to-end service lifecycle. That means expanding the notions behind Jazz from service design and development to now include service delivery and management. We call this Jazz for Service Management.
Take for example, problem management. In order to diagnose and resolve a given trouble ticket, the problem information must be gathered and aggregated from multiple sources. We may need information pertaining to the application topology, the health of a system within that topology, outages or events that may be affecting the application, the CPU utilization, the versions and configurations of the hardware and software that this application is dependent upon. I could go on...
The problem is that all of this information lives in different places. You can either call around to the various owners of that information, or you pay a business partner to learn the API of the tool in order to get to the data, or you can have a highly skilled, in-house resource write the integration. These options require extensive expertise in vendor-specific APIs and lots of maintenance to keep them current.
OSLC utilizes community defined specifications for sharing and linking data applied to specific service management scenarios so that in a critical outage scenario, all relevant information relating to that outage can be accessed in real time from any number of sources, displayed in the context of that problem, in a single integrated view, with related actions that can be taken.
The difference is simplicity. You might be able to do this this now with a lot of experts and time but OSLC delivers simplicity.
And, most importantly, because OSLC uses community specifications for service management scenarios, integrations can be built once and applied across multiple 'related' OSLC-enabled tools. "Write-once, Apply-many."
For more information, listen to this podcast on the Tivoli User Community. This podcast provides a deeper insight into the next generation of service management built using linked data.
Also, at Pulse 2012 (video link), developerWorks' Scott Laningham is joined by Don Cronin, program director, Tivoli Technical Strategy and Architecture; and Mike Kaczmarski, IBM Fellow and Tivoli Chief Integration Architect to discuss the Magic of linked data.
Leave your comments on how you are using OSLC in your organization below and don't forget to follow us on Twitter @servicemgmt and be sure to bookmark our OSLC story on Storify.
Give it a read and let us know how you are using APM in your organization in the comments section below.
PS I recognize that the 1300 has nothing to do with this blog post. I just felt the need to post pictures of classic IBM hardware...
* Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose
The following article was written with significant contributions from Cameron Allen, Pierre Coyne and Beth Sarnie
Question of the day: why is IT agility so darn elusive?
Follow up question: after spending multiple millions in technology to improve service delivery, quality, and productivity, why do so many line of business executives perceive that IT is still not moving "fast enough?"
Silo'd information presents a big speedbump to agility. According to the 2012 IBM study of CEOs, high performing organizations are able to access data 108% more, draw insights from that data 110% more, and act on that data 86% more, than their underperforming peers.
Which brings us back to the specific problem: Information exists, but it is not shared. Information remains trapped in silo'd tools and departmental applications. It's not only not moving "fast enough," it's not moving at all.
If you agree with ITIL and related methodologies, agility is directly linked to your IT processes. So while we can improve process methodology and connections across roles and functions, and within specific technology siloes with tools, if the data and resources can not be freely shared across process-enabling tools, then its all for not.
Going one level deeper, what is the cause of this 'information black hole', where data enters tools, and is never seen again? Your reality is that you probably rely on a mix of multi-vendor tools. Those vendor tools rely on proprietary APIs for integration and trying to make tools with different APIs communicate requires the IT equivalent of a team of United Nations translators, where each is an expert in their applications main language (API). Once successful, the herculean effort can create a constant maintenance cost, and might not work well in the end - things will be lost in translation. That said, even single vendor tool suites are notoriously difficult to integrate.
So what can be done?
Stop for a moment and consider the best example that demonstrates simplicity of integration on a massive scale. It's the Internet. With the Internet, you can get information from millions of different web sites and all you need is a browser.
So for argument's sake, if tools are the equivalent of web sites, then all we need are links to connect two tools. We can take that one step further, borrowing principles from social networks like LinkedIn or IBM Connections, where we can search for one person, and see relationships to other people (making searching for data across tools much easier).
That in essence is OSLC (Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration): A set of open, community agreed upon specifications for linking tools using web technology. (And before you ask, no. It's not a standard, because apparently standards alone have not done the job)
Data from any vendor tool is registered in a directory like a search engine, where other tools can find it, its relationship to other data, and access it via simple web link technology. Not similar to the Internet, but exactly like the Internet.
What that means is you can easily interconnect tools and processes. You can even replace tools with competitive tools - eliminating vendor lock in. It also means you can re-purpose one integration across a series of 'like' tools. "Write once, reuse-many" inherently applies here. All of this translates into simpler and faster access to information by people and tools, better analytics leading to better decisions, and better automation of workflow.
One of the coolest things about working at IBM is the global nature of our company.
Which is why the announcement of the new IBM Research - Africa (press release) is so cool. Of note is their focus on Smarter Cities. Specifically:
Smarter Cities – with initial focus on water and transportation: Rates of urbanization in Africa are the highest in the world. The single biggest challenge facing African cities is improving access to and quality of city services such as water and transportation. IBM, in collaboration with government, industry and academia, plans to develop Intelligent Operation Centers for African cities – integrated command centers – that can encompass social and mobile computing, geo-spatial and visual analytics, and information models to enable smarter ways of managing city services. The initial focus will be on smarter water systems and traffic management solutions for the region.
I'm looking forward to seeing the work that our African IBM team is going to do in this space and can't wait to work with them on future projects.
Today we trust computers – literally and
unconsciously with our very lives. I was reflecting on this level of trust when
I got £50 of cash out from my local ATM and declined the offer of a receipt.
Seems I now have total faith the computer systems will ‘get it right’. I’ve
come a long way from keeping all my own cheque books to cross check against
later bank statements.
Now, combining that faith with a little
healthy British cynicism, and triggered by watching the Olympics tennis finals on
TV, a mischievous but irresistible thought came to my mind.
It used to be that when a ball hit the
ground near the line we relied on the human eye to say whether it was ‘in’ or
‘out’. That caused disagreements and discussion – and - in tennis often -
sulking, swearing and the full range of petulant behaviour.
Nowadays that is all replaced by
referencing the technology. When there is doubt – or one of the players
questions a call - then we simply ask the computers. What we get then is a neat
little picture representing the appropriate lines on the court and a blob
showing where the ball had hit. So, problem solved: disappointment still for
one player but, so it seems, total acceptance that the computer is right. After
all it is an expensive system working away inside a very expensive box – must
be right, mustn’t it. Or to put it another way ‘computer says in’, who would
But what occurred to me is this. All we can
actually see is some boxes around the court, and a stylised display with a blob
on it. That could be delivered by one person with a tablet showing the court
lines and them touching the screen where they think it landed. Very cheap and
still solves all the arguments because – naturally – everyone trusts technology
Now – of course, and before anyone calls
their lawyers – I am not suggesting for the merest moment that there is the
slightest possibility of such a thing happening. But it’s fun to think it might
be possible. There is little public awareness of what accuracy the system – and
here I presume it does really exist – works to. If you dig around on the web
you can find out (the answer by the way for tennis is 3.6mm). You also find out
there is some very minor grumbling and questioning going on. But that seem at
geek level – in everyday use the audience stands instantly convinced.
So, thinking it through there are a couple
of interesting consequences to real IT life:
Once you realise that trust depends on quality of presentation
at least as much as on accuracy, should you focus more on that? Certainly
you have to take presentation seriously, because the corollary is that if you
deliver perfection but don’t make it look good, then no-one will believe
it even though you are right.
Whose responsibility is it to check – and is it even possible? I
suspect this discussion will take us into the territory of ‘governance’. But
even before we get there it implies that User Acceptance Testing needs to
do more than look at things. Of course yours does, doesn’t it?
I guess my big issue is to wonder how
comfortable we are – as the deliverers of the technological solutions for our
customers – and especially our users - to have such blind faith. Of course,
people being the irrational things they undoubtedly are, that blind faith in
the detail is often accompanied by a cynical disregard for overall competence –
think faith in ATMs and on-line bank account figures with the apparent level of
trust in the banking industry as a whole.
As a little codicil to the story, I registered
with anew doctor yesterday – the nurse asked me questions, took blood pressure
etc and loaded all the data she collected into a computer. The system was
clearly ancient, with a display synthesising what you typically got on a DOS3.0
system. First thought: ‘OMG why are they using such old software, that can’t be
good? Second thought: ‘They’ve obviously been using it for years, so they
really understand it, have ironed out all the bugs and it does what they need. It
ain’t broke so they aren’t fixing it’. But my instinctive reaction of suspicion
of it for not being pretty was there and I had to consciously correct myself.
Would you as a service provider prefer more
questioning of what you package up and present to your customers and users, or
are you happy to have that faith? My own view is that the more blind faith they
have in you, the more the retribution will hurt if things do go wrong. Or
perhaps that’s just me being cynical again?
I’ve had a recent burst of situations where things just seem to be difficult for no obvious reason, and maybe that has made me even more cynical than usual - yes, it is, just about, possible. My first assumption – of course – is that these are yet more examples of bad service management. Each is one more case of services not being matched to customer requirements, but then maybe a sneaking suspicion creeps in: are they really deliberately designed to deliver what the real customer wants, rather than the apparent one (or user as ITIL might call them).
Of course we have all experienced this to some extent: the complaints department that is very hard to contact, with a premium rate phone number and an interminable set of IVR choices before you can get anywhere near a real person – all costing you £1.75 a minute to listen to. Typically we give up in disgust just after we have spent more on the phone call than we spent on the product we are trying to complain about. While the first thought is that the supplier hasn’t thought through how they need to be contactable, second thought makes you realise that they don't want people being able to complain easily. And if you have an angry customer who is unlikely to buy more from you, then you might as well make what money you can out of them calling you to complain and tell you they won’t buy any more. So maybe this is actually clever design – to meet the primary customer’s requirement?
Sometimes you just aren’t sure – I was also watching someone applying for a visa – for a well known country in North America. It reminded me very much of the classic customer complaints system I just outlined. Rather confusing instructions, no web-based option to book an appointment – only telephone at £1.23 per minute (plus ‘network extras’ whatever they might be), and then surprise, surprise a computerised voice – talking slowly - offers you some options. Appointments are issued, it seems ‘en block’ and you are warned you must queue outside, whatever the weather. Oh, and no mobile phones or any other electrical items can be taken into the building, and, no, there is no facility to leave them anywhere safe while you go in.
So, is this bad service build, or is it carefully designed to reduce the number of applicants? After all, the people who need visa are – by and large – from less affluent countries, and won’t spend that much when they get there. Could be the whole service was carefully designed to discourage.
Now I suspect the real truth is a perfectly justifiable need for security and a sensible imperative to reduce costs. But it does perhaps make you realise that it is oh so easy to get sidetracked and judge things only by what are actually the second level measures and deliverables, rather than being sure we tie everything back to our organisation’s overall visions and objectives.
It is not always as easy as it sounds – especially in large companies where day-to-day operations can be a long way from corporate targets. For example, focusing on selling widgets that work, continue to work and get fixed quickly should they fail means that you probably just focus on ensuring your direct customers are happy widgetters. Yet if the profit margin on widgets is low, the market difficult and competitive and your widgets do tend to break more often than other manufacturers’…well then the best contribution to your corporate objective of maximising shareholder return is, quite correctly, to get out of supplying widgets altogether. Even if that means abandoning your long time faithful widget customers, well, if you have got your overall prime objective right, then abandoning them is right for the company.
We see the same thing with internal services, is that travel booking service there to make it easier for you to spend the company money on travel, or is it there to make sure you only go through with it if you really need to go? If reducing costs is what the owners of that service want, then ease of use is a bad thing.
Secretly though, I suspect a lot of bad service really is just that. But – it can be a fun game to play next time you get bad service. Is it really bad, or is it targeted to drive you away because that’s what they want? Is it hard to buy something because of incompetence or because the profit margin is too low?
Next time you get awful service, maybe it is worth congratulating the service provider about their commitment to higher objectives, maybe even ask them if they would be so kind as to tell you the corporate objectives they are rigorously pursuing; so you can write to their CEO and congratulate them too on how well their staff strives to reduce unhelpful customer satisfaction. Or then again, they may not be so pleased to hear from you after all, and just leave you with an expensive IVR system to listen to.
Over 51 million tourists travel to Orlando, Florida every year, but only the cool ones go to attend IBM Edge and IBM Innovate.
As I type this, so many of our customers, partners and my colleagues are in the "brutal" 88°F* weather learning more about storage and software & system innovation.
Since much of my focus is around product announcements, I wanted to point folks to the IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center V5.1 announcement that happened yesterday (Announcement Letter 212-189).
For content coming from the conference, a number of the marketing team are on the ground at Edge and tweeting. Be sure to follow Maria, Martha and Branavan (and of course, @ibmstorage) as well as the hashtag #ibmedge.
The Rational team have a number of exciting new announcements around Jazz and they will be talking quite a bit about mobile, cloud, industry solutions and a few other things including DevOps.
For us service management folks, DevOps translates into tangible benefits we can bring back to the business; like fewer errors and faster time to resolving errors if they do occur.
Back at Pulse 2012, we announced, among other things, the Beta for IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery (see the blog post and press release).
Along with IBM SmartCloud Control Desk and IBM SmartCloud Provisioning Manager (among others), it's about developers and testers having access to the same tools, data and information that operations uses and leveraging them to fix problems before they occur. And if problems do occur, the linkages with tools like Rational Application Developer and Rational Performance Tester allow the developers and testers to quickly resolve these issues as everyone and everything is connected.
As stated before, fewer errors and faster time to resolving errors if they do occur. This translates into using time to be productive and being innovative. Innovation is what provides value back to the business.
For most of last week I was attending and –
I hope – contributing to itSMF’s international publishing meeting. This was
held in Warsaw in beautiful spring weather, while
was being blasted by wind and rain. That was nice but nowhere the most
important or most pleasurable thing that the week had to offer.
Now, first a little background, just in case
there is anyone who does not know what the itSMF is. The letters stand for IT
Service Management Forum – and that sums it up quite well: a place for those
interested in ITSM to talk, learn, teach, compare and discuss. Part of that communication
naturally involves publication – and our group focuses on that – from reviewing
others’ books through translation and dissemination to encouraging authoring
and publishing books. Crucial to its attitudes and success, itSMF is a
non-profit organisation, owned by its members.
OK, as you may imagine it is – as well as serious
working meeting – a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues of the ITSM
global village. And the active ITSM community really is like a village, except
that it spread across some 50 countries – we have all the relationships that
you would expect: friends, enemies and lots in between.
All of us have our day jobs, many of us
working for cut-throat competitors but that all gets set aside and we settle
back into our ‘all in this together’ mode. One of things that I came back from Warsaw thinking about was
that different set of attitudes we have while focused on itSMF business. Some
of that rests upon the different nature of not for profit organisations – at least
compared to the more usual owned by shareholder companies. It is hard sometimes
to make the switch, but a good lesson for anyone in the service management business
to realise the differences that do exist. Probably the best description I know
is this one: ‘Commercial companies need to do things to in order to make money;
not-for-profit organisations need to make money in order to do things’.
That makes the non-profit member owned
organisations a lot like government – and like governments today we are strapped
for cash. These are hard times and no-one has much in the way of spare money.
But we still strive to fight against what would be a sensible approach for an
organisation focused on shareholder value. We still need to deliver what the ‘right
things’. From our publishing perspective it would be tempting to look only at
safe books – rearranging established best practice into easier, shorter or
simpler reads. Instead though, everyone at our meeting sees that we need a
focus on innovation and stretching our industry.
Of course we need to be financially successful
with enough of our projects, and we have work to do on building a firm base to
take ourselves – and our industry – forwards. But I am proud that the books we
have already managed to publish contain real industry innovations and new
perspectives – both on service management as you would expect but also into wider
topics such as organisational change.
So, I came back feeling the need to write
down how much work people put in – for nothing – last week. I’m not claiming I did
that much, but lots of work was put in, and even more commitments made to keep
the momentum going and I felt that it was a few day’s work I was proud to have
been a part of and an effort worth recording
here. In some later blogs I might relate more about other aspects of the trip - like using budget airlines and the change in perspective of value that goes with that.
So – please go read about what we have
already managed (6 books published, quarterly magazine, whitepaper competition
etc.). You can find out about the books are – and read the magazines for free
by going to http://www.itsmfi.org/content/publications.
If that gets you interested in how you can get your ideas written up and out
there then get in touch. My portfolio responsibility is ‘Authoring’, so I would
love to hear from you. We are keen to find new authors, for whitepapers, books
or articles – and happy to offer any level of support you might need – from
final review through mentoring and even to co-authoring or ghost writing.
By my next blog, I will be back in successful
company mode, but it is good to remember that the commercial companies also
live in and benefit from the wider community. It is good to see that being
recognised through sponsorship and support. IBM sponsored the meeting last year - this time we had support from TSO and BTC. massive thanks to those companies. With more support next year we should have more people and achieve even more.
No trouble spotting the biggest news in
service management this week – with COBIT 5 available. I guess with both ITIL
and COBIT having released new versions over the last 12 months, that should
tell us something about the SM industry. Mostly, I think it tells us that as a
concept and topic to take seriously, service management is not going away any
But I suspect we might reading more in the
next few weeks of the ‘should I do ITIL or COBIT’ type of question. That’s a
shame, because it is still not a sensible question. Both ITIL and COBIT are
expanding their scope of course and that means more and more overlap, but I
can’t – admittedly after quick glance through only –see where any real
Of course COBIT is still a product of ISACA
and it builds upon a philosophy of control and governance. ITIL initially came from
a team set up to advise on approach rather than massive detail and that still
shows even in the 2011 version I think. And I do still believe any serious SM
profession would have both on their (electronic) bookshelf, the way a good cook
will have books by more than one cookery author on their kitchen bookshelf.
Analysing the content, requirements and
fine print can come later – and will open us up to all sorts of interpretation
and contextual adjustment. But some things hit you straight away. The core
COBIT product is available for free and takes up 685k of pdf file. The core
ITIL books cost around £300, weigh five kilos and/or take up 77.4MB of my hard
drive inside a fancy secure Adobe reader to make sure I don't pass them on to anyone
who hasn’t paid their £300. Now I know that there are lots more books around
the COBIT 5 core than give you more detail – and ISACA charges for those - but
still I must confess to liking the idea of free entry to the gig even if it
doesn’t get you that near the stage.
Putting a positive spin on the size
differential and the lack of real conflict, you can see that it shows how the
two products can be seen as complementary: COBIT’s distillation of what should
be done and structure with ITIL’s more wordy guidance.
And COBIT’s heritage shows through with several
pages on maturity assessment – great stuff for the ‘give me a number’ crew.
But maybe the most encouraging thing is the
differences that exist – the pretty clear realisation that frameworks aren’t competition
but different perspectives. Everyone in this business is really concentrating
on helping each other get better at delivering value to the customer. COBIT 5
will help so this is a good week.
Now all I need is a long flight somewhere to
give me peace and quiet to read it carefully.
It's not hardware. It's not software. It's a new category of solution; expert integrated systems.
It's one of the "game changer" solutions that our customers have come to expect from IBM (and that our partners love). It's solving very specific problems that customers have on their road to innovation.
One of those problems is built-in expertise. This is a hardware and software solution that is integrated at levels you've not seen before on a solution; giving customers and partners a simplified user experience for implementation and maangement.
IBM SmartCloud & Tivoli
To that point, you'll notice IBM PureSystems has it's own end-to-end management capabilities specific to the solution.
It does. But, for broader management challenges, IBM SmartCloud and Tivoli software will extend the investment in that IBM PureSystems solution by providing Visibility. Control. Automation(tm) across the entire IT infrastructure.
Together with IBM SmartCloud and Tivoli software, IBM PureSystems will push customers to higher levels of efficiency with their service management practice.
As you talk to your IBM sales rep or your business partner, ask them about IBM SmartCloud & Tivoli software with IBM PureSystems for your entire infrastructure and service management.
As you know, the team held a Cloud Service Management Simulator Workshop at Pulse 2012 and I was in the room for a portion of the session (look for me in the background at 1:03) and I know that the attendees had their eyes opened.
The team cut together a pretty cool trailer to give you an idea of what goes on at one of these simulator sessions.
If it looks like chaos, that's because there is a good bit of chaos in the process of role-playing the real-world interaction between IT and business when they are not aligned properly.
The goal is to keep the company profitable. That lasts for about 3 minutes...
But here's the thing. As the workshop progresses, the transformation occurs and balance is achieved (and money starts to be made).
Every service management practitioner should bring their co-workers to this workshop. It is an experience that will help drive your company towards innovation.
Watch the video to see what I mean, and for more information on the simulator, send an email to tivmktg [at] us [dot] ibm [dot] com.
I was driving back from Heathrow on a recent Saturday – having gone there to collect a visitor. On the overhead information signs on the motorway was an illuminated warning sign. I had never seen this sign before, but immediately clear that this was warning me that there was an accident ahead. This exploration of graphics rather than words seems a very sensible step for a country that welcomes foreign visitors – and more so in the run up to the impending Olympics.
I have been (thanks to my work) to many countries. Some (like Brasil and Egypt) I would not dare to drive in, some (like China) I am not even allowed to drive in – but in many
I have rented cars and driven without significant mishap. But always when driving I am grateful for intuitive signage – and also very appreciative of the standard road signs across Europe. In fact it wasn’t till I got to Quebec and saw my first ‘Arête’ sign that I fully realised how much I had taken for granted the standardisation in road signs across the language range of Europe. (For those not familiar with European road signs – they say ‘Stop’ in all the EU countries, even France.)
The places I find it hardest to drive around are the ones that rely on long wordy description to convey messages to drivers. Now when this happens somewhere like Poland, I have no chance and just have to guess – or more often follow they guy in front and hope that they know what they are doing. But even in the US, where they seem committed to this kind of thing, where the language is similar to English, I find it very difficult to get the message quickly without being distracted. By the time I have read all the words I have often missed the chance to do what it was telling me.
The need for intuitive communication has been around for a long while – a great example of somewhere that has seen the need and met it well for many years is Amsterdam airport, as a transfer hub, it is specifically targeted at delivering services to the widest range of languages. Their use of intuitive graphics has been impressive for over 20 years. And of course it has to be because people transferring planes at Schipol do not have the opportunity to attend a training course on how to navigate the airport.
Nowadays that luxury of training people in how to use things is getting rarer and rarer – we have to be able to use things we have never seen before, most notably things appearing on our PCs when we use services over the internet. But also those PCs themselves and the services we use at work – I don't know the figure but it sure feels like there is much less user training than there used to be.
So – great to see the UK government getting on board with intuitive communication; surely as service managers we all need to think of how to get messages across to our customers and our users quickly and reliably. Oh, and cheaply too, your CFO will love the reduced need for training – and pretty soon are likely to be questioning the need for expensive training for something that doesn’t deliver immediate intuition.
For those new to the blog, IBM SmartCloud Control Desk was one of the new announcements made at Pulse. It is a service catalog/service desk based on IT Infrastructure Library™ (ITIL™) V3 and ideal for streamlining 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.
The announcement letter (212-051) was published on March 13 and we now have a very cool demo that showcases the solution.
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.
* 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Last week the IBM attended the UKI itSM Forum and what a
great event it was! Some really thought provoking and motivating sessions, as
well as some truly interesting conversations with our clients and
Below are a few of the highlights from the sessions attended
- would be great to hear anyone else’s thoughts on what their key take-home
messages were from the event.
Session 1 – Introduction by Barry Coreless – Chairman of the
Barry talked about how he sees the future of ITSM – the
growing automated and ever more complex tool sets, and an ever increasing
bewildering array of devices. The main
take home message for me was that he believed that organisations that linked
best practices and industry disciplines are the ones that will truly succeed.
Session 2 – Keynote from Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson DBE
A fantastic motivational speech from Tanni – including memorial
statements like “if you are going to spend time thinking... then think BIG!” She spoke about why it is important to think
about how you can be the best you can be and how individual success if not
always about the individuals themselves, but about the team they have around
them. Tough times call for tough
choices, she continued, and it is how you deal with these, improve and move on
that is what will make you successful.
Session 3 – our own Ivor Macfarlane – Can IT people be
Ivor was introduced as a man whose middle name was “ITIL”
and clearly his reputation preceded him, as we had a full house with over 60 of
the 300 delegates in the room. Ivor spoke
about how Service Managers generally have a low profile, and are orientated to
achieving another person’s hopes and desires.
He carried on the debate by saying that the best attribute a Service
Manager can have is to be invisible! Continuing
that if management don’t empower you as a Service Manager then your stuffed! A final take key message was then given, “Go
to the board – change the change process!”
Session 4 – An interactive panel session hosted by Don Page
Some really interesting stats came up in this session to the
questions asked to the delegate audience my favourite 3 below:
1. 1. Cloud Computing is here to stay – what effect
will it have on ITSM?
Major – 43%, A
bit – 36%, A little – 17%, No Opinion – 4%
2. 2. Your business now understands and is taking
seriously the importance of ITSM as an essential business enabler?
Very Seriously – 12%, Lip Service
– 42%, We don’t talk to them and they don’t take us seriously -20%, Don’t Know–
9%, Don’t Care – 17%
3. 3. Should organisations encourage Social Media to
facilitate communication between IT and end users?
Actively encourage and support –
45%, Natural Course – 37%, No -13%, Don’t Know – 2%, No Opinion – 4%
Session 5 – Stephan Mann – Forrester Research - “Anyone
questioning your value?”
One of my favourite sessions from the event, very
interesting to hear an analysts point of view. He started by stating that
Service Managers can’t deal with the value because we don’t understand the
cost, there is little transparency IT costs and the value it brings. He continued saying that costs are
continually being cut, whilst the demand for IT continues to grow. He told
delegates to take an honest look at their ITSM capabilities and short comings,
in context of what business needs, then link IT services to business
outcomes. Final message for me was “Cost
is important but value is more important... if we could demonstrate the value
they would be encouraging us to spend more”.
Session 6 – Martin Neville – Flattening the Curve
In the last session of the day, Martin discussed what companies
should be looking for from their tool providers, and that the best tool providers
are proactive not reactive. He set out ground rules for both sides – be honest
from the start, early efforts pay interest in the long term, perception is reality – stats do not lie, the
time to innovate is at the start – not when things are looking desperate, short term contractual wrangling will damage
the relationship long term and most importantly KEEP talking!
Session 1- Nigel Mear –Solid Air Consulting - Answers on a postcode
Nigel spoke about how vision is our most valuable asset and leadership
is an act, rather than a position. We
need to show up and engage! It needs to be a progressive improvement, baby
steps are ok, and it needs to be realistic, achievable and practical – don’t
aim for perfection, do something practical.
His take home message for me really was for success, we have to
acknowledge the reality of uncertainty.
Session 2 – Christian F Nissen – CRN People, Denmark –
Acquisition and Implementation of ITSM Tools
Another really interesting session, starting with the
question should organisations use a SM suite of tools from one vendor, or best
of breed tools from various vendors and attempt to integrate them. The answer is not as simple as it seems! He
emphasised the importance of running a Proof of Concept before ever fully
implementing a new tool. Organisations
need to ask themselves, is this vendor that is sleeping or evolving and
Session 3 – Dennis Shields - The 2010 Machine
My final session of the day, Dennis opened the session by
explaining people like direction, but believe their managers are out of touch. Bad
management however means the unit will not function properly. People need to be
given clear and fair directives, otherwise efficiency plummets and costs
escalates, we need to take a long term perspective if the company and its
infrastructure is going to be successful.
In summary, fantastic event, and can’t wait till next year!
IOD 2011 is just around the corner, and it should be no surprise that I was psyched to learn that Washington correspondent and anchor for BBC News Katty Kay is hosting the conference.
Full disclosure: I drive a Mini Cooper, I watch Doctor Who and I follow Neil Gaiman on Twitter.
So, yeah. I was also excited to see that she's going to be on stage with great IBM speakers like Jeff Jonas, Robert LeBlanc, Mike Rhodin and Steve Mills.
As if that wasn't enough (and there are a bunch of other IBM speakers not listed), guest speakers Mike Lewis and Billy Beane will also be there. Mike Lewis wrote the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game and Billy Beane is the VP and General Manager of the Oakland Athletics (the subject of the book).
I know, right? It's a pretty great group of speakers.
Having attended IOD in the past, it's a great show that I know that customers and business partners are going to get a lot of value out of.
Tivoli will be at IOD, and we're looking to meet customers such as yourself who are attending the conference. Here's a list of where you can find us:
IBM Tivoli Ped (Booth 101-04): IBM Tivoli/Predictive Analytics for IT and Service Management
IBM System z Software (aka, System z Zone): OMEGAMON for z/OS Management Suite (Booth 105-05) and System z as Enterprise Security Hub (Booth 105-06)
Smarter Computing Zone (Booth 101 and Booth 515)
IBM Expo Theater (Booth 001): October 24, 05:30 - 06:00 - Consolidated Data and Application Security Management (Session: ISA-4198A)
October 25, 11:15-12:15: Securing Your Mainframe Virtual and Cloud Services With Enhanced IBM zSecure Suite (Session 4153A - Mandalay Bay North Convention Center - Mariners B)
October 25, 2:30-5:45: Predictive Business Service Management Leveraging Performance & Capacity (Session 4142A - Mandalay Bay South Convention Center - South Seas D)
October 25, 4:30-5:45: Security & zSecure at Mariners B – Mandalay Bay North Convention Center (Session #4097A)
We have a website with more details and of course you can follow the conversation on Twitter #iod11 and watch the general sessions on the Livestream.
...and speaking of Las Vegas and IBM Conferences. The Pulse 2012 call for speakers deadline is fast approaching (November 7). See Jen's Pulse blog for the details on how you can submit a session proposal.
Today, IBM has a number of exciting announcements around SmartCloud. It's such a big announcement that we might have to turn it into a national holiday (which wouldn't be cool for the one dude waiting by the mailboxes for his copy of Zookeeper on BluRay).
Why Cloud? Why Now?
When we listen to customers across industries, we hear them tell us about the bold moves they must make to stay ahead of their competition. They tell us about how they need to quickly and efficiently provide new and innovative services to their customers.
Speed to market. Efficiency. Reducing costs.
These are their watch words and they look at cloud computing as a technology that offers these advantages.
That said, there's also a requirement to ensure the same levels of governance they currently have set in place. They also want to ensure that they are reducing (not increasing) their level of risk. And, of course, it has to be done securely.
Can all of this be done with cloud computing?
I would not joke about delaying that dude's copy of Zookeeper if it wasn't.
In all seriousness, yes it can and IBM has been helping customers do this for a while now. We've been successful with a large number of customers already and these new announcements build upon our previous success and really enforce our message: "Rethink IT. Reinvent Business."
IBM offers clients the freedom of choice to find solutions that meet their business requirements ranging from a portfolio of cloud solutions targeted directly at the enterprise to a choice of delivery models (public, private and hybrid) as well as expertise and service management capabilities.
There are a number of announcements in this launch across every brand in IBM (all of which are on the website).
For this blog post, I'm going to focus on IBM SmartCloud Foundation.
IBM SmartCloud Foundation
There's a full press release on this, but basically the SmartCloud Foundation family of private cloud solutions help companies quickly design and deploy private cloud environments with a new level of control over cloud service delivery and management.
As organizations take the next step beyond virtualized data center and begin to expand their cloud environments, they are concerned with managing what has become known as "image sprawl."
The SmartCloud Foundation portfolio contains these offerings:
A new cloud ‘starter kit’ - IBM SmartCloud Entry is prepackaged, private-cloud software that provides simplified cloud administration, standardization of virtual machines and improved operations productivity with an easy-to-use, self-service interface (highly optimized for IBM Power and System x hardware).
A new powerful provisioning engine and image management system – At the heart of cloud computing is the ability to dynamically create or "provision" virtual machines. Called IBM SmartCloud Provisioning, the software can create hundreds of virtual machines in less than a minutes and scale to more than 4,000 virtual machines in less than an hour.
New cloud-based monitoring software – IBM has applied its industry-leading monitoring expertise to create cloud-specific software called IBM SmartCloud Monitoring. It provides greater visibility into the performance of virtual and physical environments: storage, network and server resources.
Good news from the Application Portfolio Monitoring (APM) team.
The 2011 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM) has been released, Gartner has identified IBM as a leader.
I think I speak for everyone at IBM when I say, "W00T!" (which is leet, for "awesome!")
Talking to customers, this is no surprise. The APM portfolio is a "fan favorite" among companies worldwide and IBM is delivering solutions built on innovative technologies that provide superior value for our customers and their business.
For folks familiar with our APM portfolio and for new readers (welcome), I recommend getting your hands on a copy of the Garnter Magic Quadrant for APM and see what they have to say.
Next, there a number of useful pages about IBM Tivoli monitoring solutions on ibm.com.
And, of course, contact your IBM sales rep or one of our Business Partners using the Business Partner Locator website to talk about the Magic Quadrant and how the product portfolio can meet your business needs.
In the comments section below, please feel free to talk about the APM portfolio and how you are using the products in the portfolio.
I am going to tell you a story, and the truth is it's probably pretty familiar to you already.
Here goes: in today's competitive market, your services are what make your organization innovative. They are what set you apart from your competition.
They are what have taken your IT from being seen as a "cost center" to playing a role as one of the most crucial parts of your organization's success (or failure).
The services you provide are what make your organization innovative. Failure on the part of IT can mean failure for everyone.
(No pressure. Am I right?)
By definition, a competitive market is one that is in constant states of change. New customer demands. Competitive maneuvers. New service offerings. Industry or government regulations.
Speed is of the essence. But, of course there's the need to ensure that everything stays within the governance you've put in place, your security policies and of course you're trying to be as risk adverse as possible.
Doing all of this while navigating the complexity of your IT.
(Like I said. No pressure.)
This is the story you already are pretty familiar with. So now, let's talk about what we do about this.
Today, Tivoli along with Rational and WebSphere are a part of a larger IBM Software Group launch around Business Agility.
There are a number of announcements around Business Agility - about providing you with "business agility levers" that assist with combinations of technology capabilities that accelerate the path to agility with reduced cost and greater efficiency.
This is the start of a series of blogs where we'll be discussing a number of the business agility levers. Today, I'm going to talk about one; Predictive Business Service Management. My next blog will focus on Collaborative Development & Operations.
Predictive Business Service Management
With Business Service Management solutions from IBM, organizations are able to put services in the proper business context so that both IT and the business teams can accurately see the complex relationships their services and supporting technology infrastructure have with each other.
On Tuesday, IBM announced a new version of the Tivoli Business Service Manager solution. Key to this new version (Announcement 211-444) are role-based dashboards with easy self-service, drag & drop capabilities to customize a user’s visibility into key service health indicators, KPIs, and business or IT detail required for their role or tackling a current issue.
That level of "Visibility" can be taken to a new level when organizations leverage Predictive Analytics.
Business service disruptions and outages cost organizations millions of dollars per year. Even with existing investments in infrastructure monitoring and performance management solutions, organizations are often unaware of an impending service issue…until it is too late.
Predictive Business Service Management identifies performance issues in an organization's IT and network infrastructure prior to these costly service disruptions or outages. With this type of early warning system, detection is done early enough that mitigating steps can be taken to stop the issue from ever negatively impacting critical application or business services. Put simply: it finds problems before the organization knows to look for them.
Also on Tuesday, IBM previewed a new solution for predictive business service management that will address predictive business service management (Announcement 211-468).
For more information around everything that is happening around the Business Agility launch contact your IBM sales rep or one of our Business Partners using the Business Partner Locator website.
Also, we're doing something a bit new with this announcement. The IBM Software Group Blog, Impact Blog, Rational Blog and this blog are all telling the story together. You'll be able to click across the different blogs and get more information about all aspects of this launch.
Rod Atkins (my General Manager back when I worked in pSeries and now Senior Vice President, IBM Systems and Technology Group) has been using the term "tune to task" in place of "fit for purpose."
In her guest blog post on the Mainframe Zone, Mary Shacklett does an excellent job in explaining why words do matter.
What I took away from this is that, either way, it speaks to the need for Visibility, Control and Automation™ (VCA).
The realities of the business today are based on heterogenous environments that continue to transform and evolve and becoming increasingly complex as you start to build private clouds and then as you start to pull public cloud resources into your organization to then create a "hybrid" cloud environment.
Much like what we discussed in the security video, the fundamentals are still the same. This becomes a conversation multiple platforms. "Tuned to task." Requiring the same levels of VCA as you use to maintain the levels of governance and reduce risk and for your business before you embarked on this journey.
"Have it to you by lunch, boss!" I'm sure is not the answer that you give. Right?
Here's the thing: it's not all doom and gloom. By any means.
Bowman Hall and Barbara Korte are back to talk about some of the challenges our customers are facing managing heterogeneous and hybrid environments in the Cloud, and what IBM can do to assist.
They discuss a broad range of questions you might be thinking about (like managing multiple hypervisors) but more importantly they discuss the approach that only IBM has for providing VCA as the cornerstone for your service management practice.
As a marketing guy, I can tell you that we planned it so that VCA was the central theme for all of our videos (YouTube playlist).
Take time to watch the video (and the others in our playlist) and contact your IBM sales rep or one of our Business Partners using the Business Partner Locator website to talk about VCA and what you're doing with cloud in your organization and get cloud ready!.
A few years ago, I worked on organizing an analyst summit for IBM where we announced the (then new) IBM Security Framework.*
Cut to today and the IBM Security Framework is still at the foundation of Smarter security solutions from IBM.
The IBM Security Framework. Visibility, Control and Automation.™
when we talk to customers about how to address their business pains, the fundamentals remain the same even though the technology continues to advance in new directions.
With Cloud and Virtualization in particular, the technology is certainly changing at a pretty fast clip.
Take a look at the fourth video in our series, "Cloud Enabling Your Data Center: Security and the Cloud" where Joe Anthony, IBM Director, Security, Risk & Compliance Product Management, talks about the IBM Security Framework and how it addresses the Cloud and business pains our customers are trying ot address.
The message and the focus of security and the Cloud is still very much rooted in the IBM Security Framework.
As a reminder, the entire video series can be seen using the YouTube Playlist (Get Cloud Ready).
* To be clear, I had nothing to do with building the IBM Security Framework. I was just the project manager for the event. Like Jarvis in the Avengers. (as a side note: one thing I learned about event planning - coffee, coffee, coffee!)
A few years ago, IBM began talking about Visibility, Control and Automation™ (VCA).
VCA is the cornerstone of Integrated Service Management. It's how we help clients achieve success.
VCA is not only critical for optimizing return on Virtualization and Cloud, it also applied to end-to-end business services.
To steal a phrase: it's about the service.
The third video in our series is "Cloud Enabling Your Data Center: The Importance of Integrated Service Management In The Cloud" and it is presented once again by Bowman Hall and Barbara Korte.
Bowman and Barbara do two things in this video: they give a great overview of Integrated Service Management and its concepts as well as talk to how that aligns with technologies such as Virtualization and Cloud.
Achieving world-class business services for your organization does not mean abandoning the tenants of your service management practice.
Visibility, Control and Automation™. In a cloud computing environment.
One of the advantages of virtualization is the ability to "grow" the data center without having to constnatly add new hardware. That said, those virtualized servers need to be managed efficiently, or the benefits are quickly lost.
Watch this video featuring IBM Senior Product Manager Robin Hernandez and learn how IBM tackles the complex problem of image management and how it impacts the business.
My bosses gave me a very simple task, "Solve the confusion surrounding some of the questions our customers have around cloud computing and service management."
I told them I'd have it done before lunch.
And if you believe that, you have way too much faith in my marketing abilities (hi, mom!).
In all seriousness, you have questions about cloud computing. Lots of questions.
Cloud is everywhere and there's a lot of information that our customers are having to sift and sort through.
Which is why back in May, I assembled a group of sales leads, marketing peers, development executives...literaly a "who's who" of cloud computing at IBM and asked them this:
What are the questions our customers have around cloud?
That started a series of conversations that led us to several core questions, and we got to work.
We enlisted some of our top people working on cloud and we asked them to get in front of a video camera and talk directly to you about these questions.
The result is a video series we call, "Cloud Enabling Your Data Center."
Today, we are releasing the first video: "Achieving Greater Efficiencies With Virtualization And Cloud Computing (Service Management Across The Entire Infrastructure)"
This video features two of our top sales executives; Bowman Hall and Barbara Korte. Barbara is a sales executive for Integrated Service Management and you might remember Bowman Hall from the Cloud demo during the Pulse General Session.
As I said, this is the first of the video series. Future videos will be released in the next few weeks.
We also have a short URL that goes to a landing page we've put togther with additional cloud materials and (most importantly) a full list of Pulse Comes To You and Impact Comes To You events that are happening in your area.
Even if you went to Pulse or Impact in Las Vegas this past year, these local events are great opportunities to deep-dive into a topic like cloud computing as well as meet your peers and local subject matter experts.
More to come and please feel free to comment below about your thoughts on Cloud.
PS also this week, we announced a new version of IBM Tivoli Service Automation Manager (Announcement Letter 211-256). The new release allows IT service providers to onboard multiple customers, deploy IT services very quickly across multiple platforms and hypervisors, maximize resource utilization and drive cloud operations effectiveness and efficiency by adding storage support and expanding on network integration. Learn more about the new features and the product on the product page.
I am just back from a week working in Tokyo. For someone who
writes as much as I do about the need to understand customer culture and how
that affects expectations, it is always a good lesson to visit Japan, where the
culture is about as different (from where I normally work) as you get within
the service management world. (Of course culture does get even more different in,
say, certain Amazonian tribes or a primary school playground, but with little
formal ITIL adoption there as yet, Tokyo
is my extreme of difference.)
Although the shadow of the tsunami and very
real loss to the community endures, the human spirit carries on and people
still laugh and enjoy life. One of the pleasant surprises is how universal
humour can be. It is also easy to forget how quickly people’s behaviour adapts
and copies from those around them. You really only notice the extent to which
you adapt when you get back home. For example it took me a while to stop bowing
to people and also to stop smiling at people in the street, restaurants etc –
or certainly to stop expecting them to smile back.
I also got used to things that I would
expect not to cope with easily. Specifically after the first day or so I was no
longer bothered by how much my room on the 16th floor shook when one
of the steady stream of aftershocks wobbled Tokyo. That reminded me of how worryingly
quickly I had got used to seeing young men with machine gums patrolling the
streets while working in Belfast
in 1992. Seems we absorb new technology just as quickly, and it takes very
little time for what seemed new and so different to become everyday life.
People as old as me can remember life without a mobile phone, but already I
find it hard to recall how it felt to be out of contact whenever out of the house or office, let alone that it didn’t bother me to be unreachable.
But coping without things you have got used
to does happen – and it is clear there are some very direct lessons for service
management in Tokyo
today. Obviously in the light of their unfortunate experience and need for disaster
recovery and business continuity they are well placed to be the source of most
of the case studies for the next few years. It may well be a long time before
even the immediate effects stop being so visible – there is an obligation for a
15% reduction in electricity consumption that looks set to last a long while.
That kind of thing has so many knock-on effects you quickly realise how
dependent we are on technology. Not only because it is a shock to go back to
old ways – and waving a fan may be an ancient Japanese tradition but it much less
effective than air conditioning; but because we depend on so much that cannot
function without the technological infrastructure. The power reduction of 15%
has to applied carefully, because so many things – like data centre power –
must be maintained. So the power for things that drive mere comfort is hit very
hard – very little cooling in offices and, for example, my hotel had turned off
That made me think of just how complex our
everyday infrastructures have become, with so much more than electricity on our
critical list. It perhaps should be acompulsory occasional exercise to think through just how many things we
presume will be available – not just the obvious (utilities, access, people etc).
I am sure we would all be surprised at some of the things we tacitly depend on –
and equally sure there are good stories to be told about some of them – any offers?.
New z114 designed to consolidate workloads from hundreds of x86 servers
Costs 25% less and offers up to 25% performance improvements over IBM z10 BC Servers
High-end mainframe features now available at entry level price of $75,000
Ability to manage workloads on select System x blades now available
Designed to deliver Smarter Computing capabilities
Many of the analysts have focused on the $75,000 entry price point. And that's cool.
There are customers who on Monday didn't think that they could afford a mainframe and are today putting it on their short list. What they will find is a platform that is highly reliable and will help them achieve the levels of innovation needed to drive their business.
Of course, I'm an Integrated Service Management guy and at the end of the day it's all about the service.
Which is why the good news is that we provide a Integrated Service Management capabilities and portfolio solutions for the mainframe.
Fill Bowen wrote up a good blog on the subject and we published a statement of direction* (Announcement Letter: 211-271) to support the announcement.
For more information contact your IBM sales rep or one of our Business Partners using the Business Partner Locator website and feel free to leave comments below about your positive experiences with the mainframe.
* Statement of direction is intended to provide insight into IBM plans and direction. Availability, prices, ordering information, and terms and conditions will be provided when the product is announced.
All statements regarding IBM's plans, directions, and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice
After my last blog – asking what devops was
– the idea of collaboration across the whole life of service has been in the
forefront of my mind. From that wider perspective I was musing around one of my
frequent topics – how we fail to get the service right because we don't
understand how it is being used, or what the customer really cares about.
Actually the simple picture of supplier and
customer doesn’t really describe the world most of us have to live in. If we go
with the ITIL concept of a customer (someone who has financial influence or
authority) then we also need to worry about what our users think. In other
frameworks you might hear a more general concern about taking the whole range
of stakeholders into consideration. Doesn’t matter which recipe you follow –
does matter that you see the complexity.
Some of the problems come from being so
close to how things are done (rather than why they are being done), and by
being so close to what you think matters that you don't spot what matters to
those receiving the service. Sometime it is the silliest things that make the
customers and users unhappy and reject a service. Maybe that is an example of the
‘One Bad Apple’ syndrome – something firmly embedded in the human condition
seems to be our ability to allow one bad aspect to overbalance a dozen good
I had my own version this week, when I
found myself refusing to continue with an online application for a new bank
account because the software insisted on spelling my name incorrectly. (For
reasons I cannot fathom, it seems to have decided that any name starting with
‘Mac’ must have a capital afterwards – so it turns ‘Macfarlane’ to ‘MacFarlane’
without giving me the chance to turn it back.) I didn’t stay around to see what
else the service offered, I just closed the web page and got my new account
somewhere else that will let me spell my name properly.
But there is also the positive face of the
same coin – the power of ‘cool’. Imagine you have found the perfect shoes for
your child – scientifically designed to protect their feet while supporting
their bones and they are even waterproof. As a caring parent these are the only
pair of shoes you want your child to be running about in (see IKB later in this
blog). As it happens your dreams have come true because your child loves them.
Is it because they are good for them, and will help their feet develop properly
– no, they agree to wear them because the heels light up with each step. They
will wear them – and save their feet – but only because they are ‘cool’ –
according to rules you will never understand. By the way, don’t think the
illogical ‘cool’ factor only applies to children, it is there in just about
every service you deliver or use – at work or at home. If you look for it then
you will see it. I don’t want to make this posting too long or I could list
dozens – but just imagine trying to sell powerful and effective software
products against others with less relevant features at higher cost – but with a
fancy graphical interface – sound familiar to anyone?
If you think about these two situations –
where apparently less important elements disproportionately affect decisions -
I am sure you will find many examples of the two extremes; like the fast-food restaurant
that you still avoid because of one bad burger or one element of bad service,
hundreds of miles away and several years back.
Those issues tend to come from how the
service is delivered, yet the same problem can easily come from how it is built
(like my name issue). But one of the differences is getting the message back to where it might make a difference,
because at best the complaints go to the operations side of the house, and this
does not get fed back, maybe because it is dismissed as trivial – because it
doesn’t seem important to whoever received the message.
It isn’t just about hiding complaints
though, we also have the ability not to pass the cool factors back. Do we
always find out why people really like something? It seems to me that we don’t often
ask the right people the right questions. And it also seems there are simple
reasons why we do that:
We presume that what is important to us is what is important to
our customers, users or others that matter. Is this a common manifestation
of IKB (the ‘I know better’ syndrome)? Most of suffer this from our parents,
then grow up and do it other people.
We don’t know who to ask – and we don't know what to ask them.
Both of these situations are understandable
– after all, we are human so of course we see things first and best from our own perspective, and without being forced out into another’s environment then why
should we have the ability to understand people we have never met? The second
is also inevitable in the complicated amalgams of customers, users, services
and suppliers we exist within. Never mind the neat little service chain
pictures you get in the books – it doesn’t really look that simple, it looks
complicated, and mostly because it is complicated.
We can do something about these
difficulties – but they require addressing the way we – and our colleagues –
think, and that takes time and effort.
There are other causes and factors – and
maybe there is one we could do something about, and it is something that would
magnify the beneficial effects when you finally get around to addressing the two points I
listed above: when we do find things out we don’t tell the people who could do
something about it. And the very best way to get that wrong is to build silos
within your supplier organisation and stop people sharing ideas and
After that last blog on devops, I was
thinking about that particular kind of communication issue. There is something deep
rooted in the human psyche that needs to dismantle their immediate environment
into teams (or
groups, or departments or silos or tribes – call them what you will). IT
organisations are perfect examples – with high level internal teams always
emerging once they gets past a certain size. And if you separate into teams that feel the need to compete, then helpful messages will not be fed across between them. So what was built wrong and delivers the wrong thing stays there and will be wrong in the next version too. That is
the inertial element of behaviour that initiatives like devops and whole
service lifecycle approaches have to contend with. We shouldn’t think it can be
as easy as just telling people to collaborate and communicate. Like all
challenges we need to recognise what we are fighting – and to fight back.
So – what are good ways to start? Perhaps
as simply as recognising that while we might bond comfortably into (say) a
‘development’ team or an ‘operations’ team (or any one of a dozen more) – that
doesn’t make the other team the opposition – I think that would be a good first
step, if we can finally realise that – by and large – what benefits one team
also benefits the other.
 For once this isn’t just me making ideas up. I wrote a psychology
essay on this topic at University – way back towards the middle of the last
 This was discussed in the ITIL books for Small Organisations –
versions 1, 2 and 3.
One statement: simultaneously reassuring and terrifying.
Firstly it’s reassuring because anything that works towards the realisation that development and operation are not really separated by any kind of wall has to be a good thing. Of course there are different areas of focus at different times in the life of a service but they all should have the same aim – delivering what is needed in best possible way. We already all knew that, it is so obviously sensible that who would vote against it? The equally obvious fact that we then don’t do it is one for the psychologists and later blogs, but does lead me into my other reaction:-
The horror that we should be 50+ years into IT services before this seems important to enough for people to give a trendy name. How on earth have we survived this long without a “collaborative and productive relationship” between the people who build something and the people who operate it? And bear in mind both those groups are doing it for the same customer (in theory anyway).
To be fair to IT people though, perhaps this is an obligatory engineering practice we have picked up. Who remembers the days when getting your car repaired was unrelated to buying it? You bought it in the clean and shiny showroom at the front of the dealer, took it to the oily shed around the back if it broke. One of the things that has seen a step-change in the car industry – and is also changing ours and most others – is the realisation that we are now all delivering services and not products. So we are finally realising that long term usability and value is what defines success, not a shiny new – but fragile – toy. In fact, thinking of toys we all recall the gap between expectation and delivery of our childhood toys – the fancy and expensively engineered product that broke by Christmas evening compared to the cheap and solid – be it doll or push along car – that lasted until we outgrew it.
The car industry saw that happen – and we now have companies leading their adverts with a promise of lifetime car driving with their latest vehicles – with the mould really having been broken by Asian manufacturers offering 5 year unlimited mileage warranties. That was about selling a self-controlled transport service instead of a car – and really that is what most of us want. Amazing strides taking place on that front, of course, being taken by companies like Zipcar who have thought simply enough to see there is no absolute link between that service (self controlled transport) and car ownership. (Some of us want other things from a car of course – but that just leads us into the key first step of any successful service, know what your customer(s) want.)
Why I get so interested in all this is its basically what I’ve been saying for the last 20 years – my big advantage is that I came into IT from a services environment (I worked in a part of our organisation called ‘services group’) – and I never really understood why IT needed such a large and artificial wall between build and do. ITIL was (in large part) set up to try and break down the walls – initially an attempt to set up serious best practices and methodologies within operations to match what was already alive and well in development (hence the original name of the project – GITIMM, to mirror SSADM).
So … what am I saying? Please take devops seriously if that is what is needed to get better services. The complexity we need to address now means we have to stop maintaining any practices that prevent good ongoing service design and delivery. If giving it a name and a structure helps then let’s go there.
One of the things I am most proud about in the books I have contributed to is that we made up a fancy name for something good people already did (in our case early Life Support) – the intention was to give it profile and then people would add it to job roles and actually start to plan for it and then, finally, do it better.
Of course that brings with it the chance of looking like the emperor in his new clothes once you examine the detail and originality too carefully. But that’s good too – clever and original usually = doesn’t work too well at first. Solid old common sense (eventually) seems to me to offer a much firmer foundation to build on.
We need good foundations because the situation is actually a lot more complicated than we pretend – multiple customers, other stakeholders, users, operations as users – enough for a dozen more blogs, a handful of articles and a book. So … I’d better get on writing – and maybe so should you?
 Seems so to me anyway – the Delphic oracle was widely believed, responsibility free and most of those who used it didn’t understand where the knowledge came from.
Are you interested in learning more about Cloud Computing and Virtualization? Be sure to register and attend these two community webcasts happening this week on June 8th and 9th. These promise to be very informative events you don’t want to miss!
WEBCAST on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 11:00AM Eastern USA Webcast title: Get your image sprawl monster under control – secrets to image management from an expert Sign up for this webcast here
Description: Companies have embraced virtualization primarily to impro! ve utilization of hardware and save costs. However, virtualization especially on x86, has led to significant growth in management costs. Much of this increased cost stems from growth in images. We will discuss some of the key challenges around managing images and how IBM is taking a holistic approach to solving these pain points and restoring control.
Speaker: Ruth Willenborg, IBM Distinguished Engineer in IBM Software Group, Tivoli
WEBCAST on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 11:00AM Eastern USA Cloud - Extending your virtualization into the cloud Sign up for this webcast here
Description: The benefits from cloud computing seem clear: cost reduction, better flexibility, scale to meet business demands, etc. However, getting to cloud involves a lot of decisions Learn how some of your colleagues are leveraging Tivoli solutions to automate virtualized environments and move to private clouds.
Speaker: Mohamed Abdula, IBM Director, Service Automation and Cloud Solutions Product Management and Bowman Hall, IBM Director, Cloud Computing Client Engagements, IBM Software Group
I was teaching an ITIL course last week –
with the managers’ bridge route to the ITIL expert about to close, there was a
sudden need for a trainer and I got the chance to pick up a training gig in Dublin. Well, on the edge
actually – in Blanchardstown. Turns out that is place to make you question your
presumptions about a country – the view from the hotel window (as you can see)
could at first glance have been most any mall in any US town. And after being used to
seeing an Irish Bar in every town I go, this time I spent 4 days without even
seeing a pub! So, not your typical Irish trip, but both pleasant and useful
For all its economic challenges it is good
to see Ireland
still as friendly as ever – a modern multi-cultural EU country now, certainly
more expensive than ever before, but still they understand the craic. It is nice
to be in one of those towns where you are expected to sit in the front seat of
the taxi and talk about life and its meaning and pleasures – and even though my
drivers were from Hong Kong, Africa and Ulster
rather than Dublin,
still it all felt very Irish and human sized.
But I had a great time work wise too, a
rare opportunity to focus again on the ITIL material, a reminder of some parts
I had all but forgotten – including some it seems I wrote myself. Most
important though was the chance to talk with the others on the course, getting
an insight again into how this stuff works in the real world – the delegates
all being part of our managed service accounts and delivering real service
management to real customers on a day-to-day basis.
I guess I need that reminder now and again:
writing, talking – even thinking – about things is good and important stuff,
but if we lose sight and touch with actually doing the things we talk about
then inevitably we will get that writing and thinking and planning wrong. I was
lucky enough to visit some real service management workers the week before
also. That was in Abu Dhabi – a different
culture from Ireland
for sure but mostly the same issues that people in our industry face like
resistance to change and even more resistance to change management; where to
start, how to measure, the need to derive pragmatism and realism from the
theory in the best practice books.
So - a couple of weeks of good lessons for
me, and I hope for my students also. I had a good reminder of the need to keep
real, to encourage reality above ideals. I learned not to presume how a place
will be, nor to be too concerned if it looks a little different to begin with. Despite
appearances, service management issues have more in common than you might think
– across counties, cultures and industries – which gives us all a large
community of colleagues to discuss matters with and to exchange ideas and
conversation. I guess that is what we look to organisations like itSMF to
facilitate in the widest sense: service management craic.
Anyway – I am looking forward to keeping in
touch with service management reality – through talking to and working with
people in real service management jobs, be that through training, conference
discussion or more directly. We all need that good mix of ideas and
 Go ask an Irish friend if you don’t know the word: you will know
the concept because good conversation and pleasure in good company is not an
Irish preserve, although they are especially good at it – and one of the few to
have coined a word for it.
As may have been noticed from recent blogs I
spent most of the last month travelling. Actually thinking about it, most of my
last 33 years has been travelling for work. So while I might spend much of my
time talking about service with IT professionals; the services that most impact
my life tend to be related to the travel industry. Seems to me that service is
service, and many of the lessons learned in travelling – and watching people
while travelling – are very relevant in all aspects of service delivery, IT
related or not.
What has really impressed itself upon my
mind recently is how receiving services – of whatever kind – can so often make
you feel offended, insulted, slighted or just plain angry. Objective thought
makes it pretty obvious that the intention was actually to deliver good
service, but somehow it can be hard to believe that when you see some of the
symptoms of not thinking things through.
Let’s start with a fairly innocuous and
almost silly example from the Dubai
metro system. This metro is brand new, really impressive, fast, clean
comfortable – and cheap. I can forgive its rather early closing time (11pm) and
late start on the weekend as a necessary acknowledgement of how many taxis and
especially taxi drivers need to continue to make a living – and how much they
may have felt threatened by the new metro.
What I couldn’t help but notice, and that
stuck in my mind more than anything else, were the local information maps displayed
– a good and helpful feature that shows important buildings near enough to walk
to from each station. They show where places are using colour-coded dots, for
example pink dots show hotels. At my local station there were three hotel dots
– so I which hotels were served by that metro stop. But it didn’t tell me which
hotels they were – just that they are
hotels – how much more effort would it have taken to write the names on? And
how much would that final piece of data been worth? I think that’s what bothers
me – when suppliers seem to do 90% of the work right but that missing 10%
destroys 90% of the value.
But OK, I am sure that will be remedied -
eventually. There is, however, a characteristic of physically delivered
services that I see so often – and bothers people so much – that I have tried
to give it a name. Best I have so far is VNS,
Non-Service.I am sure you have
seen it – travellers will see it at airline travel desks and immigration
counters, but all of us see it almost daily at banks, post offices and shops.
Let me set out a typical scenario - one I saw last week (and most times I
travel). There are 5 or 6 customer service desks; two of them have staff
serving the waiting line of customers, one by one. At another desk are two of
the airline or airport staff – every now and then a customer in a hurry goes up
to them, only to be turned away. These people are not attending to customers.
No, it might be that they are doing some critically important task, vital
filing, discussing long term business strategy etc. But why do they do it in
font of the customers? We can see only paid supplier staff NOT helping us, and
apparently not caring. Actually, I think banks are amongst the worse offenders,
frequently seating staff at customer facing positions to do non-customer facing
It seems to me that this is a failure to
think through how customers perceive things. Of course it might make perfect
sense to the planners and HR people – making best use of physical space, having
managers where they can see staff working etc. But – if you feel tempted to do
this, or anything else that customers will see - please think through how it
will look and feel to someone who was NOT there when you planned it.
In fact VNS and other ways to disregard customer
perception – once you think it through – have significant implication and
consequences: whether that is IT applications that decide to archive your
records when at times apparently selected to annoy you the most, scheduled
maintenance that seems to target your busy periods or supervisory staff walking
around apparently doing nothing helpful while customers wait in long lines. The
more complex our world gets, the easier it is to get things wrong. Like the maintenance
slot that is obviously good to the planner in New York but which hits the
obvious usage slot in Dubai (where Sunday is the first working day of the week,
and you want your administration services – like expense reporting – up and
running at the start of the week – which is when business travellers typically
do their expenses.
So if you are planning services that a
customer will see, please do me a favour: try and think how it will be seen and
perceived, putting aside how logical YOU already know it is. As the man said –
perception is reality, try to make your customers’ perception into your
Final story, about how it is possible to
get it right. Many years back, when I worked for the UK Forestry Commission, I
recall talking with our Recreation Planning Officer. He had just designed and
constructed some way-marked walks through a forest he personally knew very well.
Before he allowed them to be opened to the public, he brought his children in,
and walked behind them on the route – noting down everywhere they had trouble
seeing the right way – and then he corrected those faults. I believe that
nowadays this might be called ‘User Acceptance Testing’ – and what it needs is
users, not suppliers pretending they can see it from a user perspective.
I set out do this blog as a pretty
shameless advert for my article in the latest issue of the itSMF International
magazine. So let’s get that bit out of the way first – it is here
– read it soon!
But actually thinking about the itSMF magazine leads naturally
on to talk about the itSMF International publishing and the recent success
stories – and success stories should be talked about, so I’ll do that now. It has been a while since the international
publishing committee of itSMF (IPESC) faded out – but while IPESC may be
dead, I felt its spirit, innovation and enthusiasm resurrected at our recent
chapter publishing meeting. IPESC was always full of good intentions, but the
difference now is the ability to take ideas forward to our itSMF’s own
publications – and to produce good things.
The magazine is one of those things. It may
not be exactly War and Peace – but it is the kind of things that professional
service managers might read, enjoy and then look for the next issue coming out
– exactly the positive reinforcement cycle we need to create a tipping point. Actually,
the meeting itself was another great thing. So far as we can tell this was the most
chapters ever represented at any kind of itSMF meeting – including all previous
IBM – along with TSO – sponsored the
meeting, and we also hosted it at the IBM Amsterdam office. That sponsorship
gave me the right (and from my management’s perspective, the obligation) to a
10 minute agenda item to address the meeting. Now, those of you who know me
will realise I don’t usually need the justification of an agenda item to talk.
But, given the nature of my audience, I wondered what to talk about in that
formal situation. The obligatory ‘IBM has something you might be interested in
seeing’ bit was easy – a quick demo of our new G2G3 developed virtual
simulators – plenty about those in other blogs on this site so go read them I won’t
repeat it here.
My main message – and one I feel strong
enough about that I want to repeat it here – was how important sponsorship like
itSMF is (also rightly) proud of its ‘owned
by the members’ and ‘not for profit’ nature – and so it shapes the community more
than any other organisation – or more accurately it helps its members shape and
develop that community. But being not for profit doesn’t stop there being bills.
We all share in this service management
community, and it seems to me both right and necessary that the key players in the
industry take seriously the need to also be key supporters of that community.
For many sponsorship is seen as a way to
keep conference prices low, or just about advertising leverage. The sponsorship
of meetings like the publications gathering in Amsterdam makes a real difference to itSMF
being able to work on initiatives (in this case publications initiatives) that
push the boundaries and develop our community – things that can take us all
forwards. That kind of innovation – like ITIL itself 22 years ago – cannot be proprietary.
Like ITIL though the proprietary players stand to benefit from the evolution
and development of the non-proprietary guidance.
So what I spoke about in Amsterdam, and what seems important enough
for me to say again, is that the community needs its big players to put enough
back in. IBM sponsored that event, I hope IBM will sponsor again – but I would
like it even more if we have serious competition from some other big names to
get the good sponsorship.
itSMFI is producing important parts of our professional future, and
there is the chance for all players in this community to support - big companies with big sponsorship through
to individuals getting involved and active. So get on board - please.
If I had one take away from Pulse, it would be that the community is the key to IBM's success in all of our endeavors.
Our customers (you: the community) are the ones who help us with ensuring that we're giving you the tools to do your jobs and make it home in time to watch Justified (or whatever it is you do when you get home).
Events like Pulse illustrate that one of the ways a community is at its finest is when the members are interacting with each other and helping one another.
Reading, writing and sharing content is one of the ways that communities create ties and these ties tend to be strongest in the technical community.
Service Management Connect will provide a direct path to IBM service management experts and promote fast effective two-way communications between customers and IBM on a variety of service management topics.
The first sub-community to go live will be Business Service Management and these sub-communities will compliment the Tivoli User Groups and ISM Library.
Start by going to the site today and taking a look. We will be talking about it more in the weeks to come as well as be adding new categories soon.
See below for a video that Denny and I shot on the show floor at Pulse 2011. (YouTube link)
Dateline: Boca Raton, Florida - February 28, 2011 - 11:00 am
The MGM Grand Garden Arena darkens, the roar of the crowd softens to a buzz, the orchestra appears on stage, dramatic music accompanying the video montage of customers telling their service management success stories... So far, this Pulse 2011 Day One General Session rivals what I saw from the Academy Awards last night (absent the evening gowns and tuxes, of course).
And I'm seeing this all from the comfort of my home office!
I was not one of the lucky 7000 people to attend Pulse 2011 in Las Vegas in person, but, for the first time, I can tune into Pulse as it is happening. So, I did just that - I tuned into the Pulse Day One General Session via Livestream...and it seems there were about 400 people doing that right along with me.
I won't go into each element of the Day One General Session in detail, but I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts and takeaways:
One of IBM's clients, Bill Broughton, from Amtrak, kicked off the conference today, telling the crowd of clients, business partners (and yes, a few IBMers), this is "OUR conference."
Our event host, Scott Hebner, Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, IBM Software - Tivoli, reiterated that thought, but from the opposite perspective, telling the crowd that "this is YOUR conference." 85% of the sessions at Pulse 2011 feature client speakers, and the ability to network and share best practices is more important than ever. "It's not just about technology any more...it's about the economic value that technology brings."
Next came Madge Meyer, from State Street, who talked about the importance of innovating - and of executing flawlessly. She even quoted Charles Darwin, which I thought was particularly apropos: "It is not the strongest that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one who is the most responsive to change."
Madge was followed by Dr. Danny Sabbah, General Manager, IBM Tivoli, who talked about how the world (business, government, society) is facing an unparalleled rate of change. Companies need the velocity and agility to adapt quickly - and the basis of this will be producing honest data that is transformed by predictive analytics to produce smarter outcomes. And he reminded the crowd that IBM needs to move as fast as they do.
Steve Mills, Senior VP and Group Executive Software & Systems, IBM, introduced the crowd - and the rest of the world - to the new era of Smarter Computing. He reminded us that IT operating costs is the core issue faced by clients around the world...and although there's significant increase on IT demands, IT budgets are flat. We need to fundamentally transform the economics of IT...and that is Smarter Computing. A couple of straight talk points: IT consolidation is pretty much a given. Get rid of excess IT Now. And he offered arguably the best quote of the morning: "People say stupid crap every day...you have to decide what to listen to."
And finally, Dean Kamen, Innovator and Entrepreneur, wowed the crowd with his talk about innovation and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Technology). He described innovation as being failure, failure, failure...followed by surprise after surprise (mostly bad)...but every once in a while, you get a good surprise in there, too. I really enjoyed his story about Chuck and the DARPA prosthetic arm (got a little misty eyed, I must admit). And I was especially moved by his FIRST initiative and his absolute passion for turning science/math into a sport - making it something that you have passion for, that is aspirational, and that you want to participate in. Being a female and being a computer science major (and still often being the only female in a room of techies), that hit home with me. I was also proud to see my alma mater, Georgia Tech, was a sponsor of FIRST. Again, as he talked about the success of FIRST through the years, the eyes got a little teary.
Whew! What a great way to start! I encourage you to watch the Day One General Session in its entirety at your convenience - and to tune into the Day Two General Session tomorrow morning. My experience with Livestream is that that the technology was practically flawless (I only had one minor audio glitch when Dean Kamen was showing the Stephen Colbert video). Otherwise, the livestreaming went along perfectly. And it will well be worth your while to watch the whole session. It will get your mind thinking, and it will inspire you at the same time. Plus, it's like having a front-row seat!
In Ivor Macfarlane's most recent article, he (rightfully) points out that we should look beyond cost to improve service management. Cost used to be the major (if not only) factor in making IT decisions, but it isn't any more, especially when it comes to service management. IT services deliver a lot more than economic savings. They create new possibilities, generate new business advantages, empower new services and strategies, connect organizations with new customers and markets, and much more.
Ivor explains it much more eloquently than I, but here are a few things I took away from his article:
The concept of "cost" as a way of assessing IT services should transform to "value," which is fundamental to ITIL at its core. Take these definitions straight from ITIL:
"A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific cost and risks."
"Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services."
Instead of talking about TCO (Total Costs of Ownership), we should talk about CCO (Complete Consequences of Operation). As IT services become more and more pervasive, the consequences of problematic IT service management become more and more significant.
There are other factors that should be considered as well,such as energy management/sustainability, public relations, human resource allocation and more.
In a nutshell, IT service management should address costs, value, consequences and benefits. Definitely food for thought. (Perhaps Curry in a Hurry?)
And just what are Proven Practice Workshops? First of all, they're new to Pulse 2011 - reason enough to check them out. Second, in these workshops, you'll hear from leading Tivoli Services experts about their proven implementation best practices and guidance. Tivoli Services will lead 5 of these dynamic workshops:
Business Service Management
Integrated Service Management
Each workshop will provide real-world value, including best practices, reference architectures, solution optimization, cross-domain integration, effective rollout strategies and common myths and pitfalls. For hands-on, practical information on how to get better ROI from the infrastructure, it's hard to beat the Proven Practice Workshops at Pulse 2011. Learn more about these workshops in the article Pulse 2011: Proven Practice Workshops Maximize ROI.
Special Interest Areas
Pulse 2011 will deliver more information, in more ways, on more relevant subjects, than ever before. With such a rich array of information to choose from, some of you may be wondering: "How can I zero in on exactly the right sessions for me?"
Pulse has got this solved through Special Interest Areas, of which there are seven:
Best practices and implementation
Once you've registered for Pulse, you can begin using IBM's Pulse SmartSite to build your personalized agenda. From the Agenda Builder section, you can search for relevant sessions in several different ways—one of which is by Special Interest Area. You can see below the Virtualization Special Interest area:
I recently booked
my travel for a business trip to the US at the end of February. I will
be talking at several itSMF USA Local Interest Groups and – of course – be attending IBM’s big
service management spectacular – Pulse in Las
Vegas from 27th February. I’m looking
forward to the trip, and not just to escape the British winter weather. I am
delivering our simulation ‘game’ on the Sunday at Pulse and Atlanta in March - they are always fun, especially
our new one with added cloud features. But the best part is getting to meet
people, customers and suppliers, both at Pulse and in the itSMF meetings. There
really is no substitute for meetings with grassroots practitioners to keep up
to date. And always fun too, you do still meet such nice people in this
If there is
anyone out there actually reading this stuff, and is in Vegas for Pulse, or at
the LIG is San Francisco, Fort
Lauderdale or Atlanta
– do come and say hello. And if you would like to be part of our
cloud-flavoured SM simulation at Pulse please visit our landing page, and
then RSVP to email@example.com
But – not
unusually – I have distracted myself a little from where I thought I was going
when I started writing this. So … I booked some flights: from London
to Las Vegas and back to Europe from Atlanta about two weeks
later. As we all know, we live in the information age so immediately I started
to receive information. And I do admit it was information –I had booked a
flight to the US
and I got information about the situation in the country I was going to.
Let me divert
again a little bit and remind you – because you are all experts and know this
stuff – about a basic knowledge management concept; the spectrum that runs
data->information->knowledge->wisdom. At the beginning data is
extensive but not too helpful. If it ever reaches wisdom
it actually helps you survive and thrive.
But back to that
travel information I was getting. Remember I had booked a flight in late
February to the Nevada desert; what I received
by email was warning me about traffic disruption in downtown WashingtonDC
in late January. I have subsequently been advised of snow problems in New York.Now this has good conversational value,
allowing me to sound knowledgeable and sympathetic on calls with New Yorkers,
but I suspect that was not the intention.
I interpret it
–this may be grossly unfair of me, but I am the customer and customer
perception is what matters – like this: travel advice is being planned and
delivered by someone who goes to the same desk in the same office everyday, and
rarely puts foot on an airplane. Of course the real culprit behind this is ease
of programming – data is cheap and plentiful, applying some basic ideas to turn
that into information is quite fun, sounds good and means you can despatch all
sorts of travel notice updates to people who will be travelling sometime in the
future. But it is – sorry but it really is – just using data because you have
it. Maybe they bill on the number of messages? Maybe they really think I want
to know? The real consequence is that I delete these emails unread now – so if
they were by some miracle to send me something useful, I would miss it
last year this system showed the kind of silo thinking that comes from not
knowing the customer’s environment – the kind you often see in service
management reporting. I spoke for itSMF Sweden
in Malmo, getting to Malmo is really easy – you fly to the nearest
airport and take the train direct from airport to town centre. But two factors
combined to deliver me information even less useful then usual. One, the system
thinks only in terms of flights and rental cars – I think it rather looks down
on train travel as a bit common. Those of us who use trains mostly have to buy
the ticket when we get to the station. Second factor is that the nearest
airport to Malmo is Copenhagen
– a lovely and convenient airport with great direct train services – but it
just happens to be in Denmark.
So, yes you guessed it, I got lots of travel advice about visiting Denmark, there could have been civil
insurrection and rioting in the streets in Malmo and they wouldn’t have told me – why
that’s a whole different country!
Now of course Sweden doesn’t
do insurrection, I travelled easily and had a good time at an excellent event
without any issues. But all this useless information I get seems symptomatic to
me of measuring the wrong things – probably something we are all guilty of,
because – as I have said before in these blogs – measuring the right things is
harder, but if we can manage it then it drives us into doing the right things.
Maybe at the real heart of this though is the simple statement, if you don’t
know what you are aiming at, you are unlikely to hit it.
I suppose if
somebody were to ask me what I want notifications about, I would be happy to
work with them, and set up delivering something that goes beyond information,
starts delivering knowledge and gets me the wisdom I need to make the right
But if that is actually
ever to happen then those of us receiving all this useless information need to
realise it is – mostly – our fault. I could have responded offering to help
them improve, I could proactively tell them what I need – I could offer some of
my time as an investment in my own future knowledge and wisdom deliverables. But
It is easier (and more fun?) to carp and whinge – so maybe my New Year’s
resolution should have been around practising what I preach – doing what I
talked about in my itSMF conference presentations last year – and to start
being a good, committed constructive customer because it won’t get better
OK – I’m off to
find the ‘help us improve our service’ button on the web site. See you at Pulse?
 Best explanation of the step from knowledge
to wisdom is one I stole from my daughter, Rosie and it goes ‘Knowledge tells
you a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable; wisdom is knowing that but also
knowing not to put it in a fruit salad’.
It probably goes without saying, but service management means different things in different industries: Service management can help banks improve customer service, drive business model efficiency and manage operational risk. Service management can help government agencies reduce complexity and waste and deliver services more effectively to the citizens who rely on them. And communications service providers need innovative service management solutions to address the limits of the backbone, a highly competitive environment and customer loyalty.
The list goes on, but in all cases, rendering better service management in any given industry means weighing and balancing different complexities—as well as the leading solutions and strategies best suited to address them.
Pulse 2011 provides the perfect venue for you to not only learn about service management for your industry - but to actually see it. And seeing is believing, after all. The Pulse Expo Center will offer demos in groups, designed to explore the most pressing needs service management professionals face in six different industries:
Intelligent Site Operations
Communications Service Providers
Smarter Energy & Utilities
Integrated Service Management for Banking/Insurance
In addition to these clusters of industry demos, you'll also have access to industry-centric demos taking place elsewhere in the event. Not to mention tons of industry-specific sessions and activities - Check out the Pulse 2011 Sample Agenda Builder and see for yourself. Choose "Search by Industry" and select your industry.
If you're new to zEnterprise or even if you've had your system for a while, this is a great opportunity to listen to speaker Randy Scott discuss this topic (and there will be a live question-and-answer session as well as a future replay).
Here's a brief description of the webcast and we look forward to you attending:
This in-depth look at Tivoli Application Management for zEnterprise can help you:
Integrate end-to-end active and passive monitoring
View and monitor workloads for composite applications, physical and virtual machines, groups and response times
Use alerting capabilities for early detection of costly performance problems and outages
Ok, so I'm not really a Luddite in the original sense of the word...but I fully admit that I prefer handwritten notes to emails and texts, hardcover books to paperback or eBooks, buying the full CD (AKA the album to us old-timers) rather than downloading a single tune...and just don't get me started on the term "my bad..."
Being a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech, a Computer Science major and working for a technology company, I can assure you that I appreciate innovation and the value that technology brings to the the world as much as anyone, perhaps even more. I had one of the first Sony Discman CD players, my husband and I were very early adopters of satellite TV, I use an insulin pump to manage my diabetes and, of course, I have an iPhone. But sometimes I need to sit back and think about what all this really means...and thinking about it NOT in terms of the technology itself, but in terms of everyday life makes me appreciate it even more.
Which is why I am truly excited about - and looking forward to future installations - of the Service Management in Action feature articles by Ivor Macfarlane, our resident Service Management expert/evangelist/all around good guy. Check out his first article...Real-World Service Management: Ivor Macfarlane on Service Management Dynamics and see what I mean. In this article, Ivor uses a food court in Hong Kong to show how service management is everywhere, not just in the IT department, and it isn't something you do and forget about. It requires ongoing optimization over time—a continuous re-evaluation and improvement of the customer experience.
Hmmm...makes perfect sense to me. I think we all know this instinctively, but hearing it explained in this context, the light bulbs start going off. (Not to mention that I've had a wild craving for curry lately)!
Ivor will be contributing his perspective, insights and experiences from the real world to Service Management in Action on a regular basis...to help you understand what service management truly means and how it can ultimately help you get a better business outcome—and a better experience for your customers. Stay tuned for more!
Signing off for now, Your friendly roving Integrated Service Management Reporter
P.S. I learned what the word "Luddite" meant only this year, after hearing my favorite British singer refer to himself as such during an interview. And when my favorite British IT Service Management expert used the word in conversation recently, I figured I must use it, too! ;-)
I’ve done a few talks to camera recently –
interviews at the itSMF Spain
conference and a mock programme at the UK. The UK thought I was perfect for
‘Antiques Roadshow’ and I have to admit I fit the title’s parameters. I watched
the people using modern video equipment and it did make me feel old. Nearly 40
years ago I was editor of the student TV society at University and I was
recalling how many of us it took to deliver 30 minutes worth of black
& white programme onto 2 inch wide reel-to-reel video tape. It seems all but
unbelievable watching the kids now (the age I was then) record it in perfectly balanced
colour on something the size of a small book – when our kit weighed more than
the library. But the whole situation is another example of getting focused on
the changes and missing what stays the same.
While the television technology has changed
beyond recognition, the basics of interviewing haven’t.So hopefully I helped by trying to follow
those basic rules for an interviewee – ignore the camera, keep talking, try to
say something interesting. You can judge for yourself at http://www.best-management-practice.tv/best-management-practice-at-the-itsmf-uk-conference-2010.
(Actually if you are sad enough to be interested in the earlier ITIL days, I
shall be writing an article on that next year.)
So, this TV stuff is like most services
these days – the technology bit keeps changing, using new ideas – basically
becoming far more complex to understand whilst at the same time becoming ever
easier to use. That means customer expectations keep increasing (you don’t find
many people content with black & white TV any more) but at the real core,
the prime deliverables remain the same. We might talk more and more about
plasma vs LCD, 3D, surround sound, HD and all the rest; but the real
satisfaction comes from watching people be clever, funny, informative etc in a
way that holds our attention and entertains us.
And there is the heart of most of what I
have been talking about at conferences for the past few years. It is easy to
measure things like pixels and screen size and the number of channels and hours
of programming available, but so much harder to measure what we actually want from
a TV service.
Keeping that old television link, last week
was the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder: a sad time for anyone
of my age and background. So I found myself watching old clips of Lennon on a
programme recalling his life. Now the man was clearly an extremist with
impossible dreams – and I may well return to my belief that we need some
extremists to make the majority move at all, but that’s another blog. One of
his lines, though, did trigger the realisation that this need for real
measurement isn’t a new idea. He was ranting about governments (as usual) and
said “If anybody can put on paper what our government, and the American
government etc., and the Russian, Chinese, what they are actually trying to do,
you know, and what they think they're doing, I'd be very pleased to know what
they think they're doing”. Now he followed that with “I think they're all
insane!” which perhaps is more about presumed results than objective
measurement, but nonetheless the basic concept is interesting.
We want to know what is at the heart of
our and others’ behaviour but it is very difficult to express that. It is hard
even to ask sometimes in a way that doesn’t sound as if you have failed to pick
up the social or business norms; because often we just presume there is a
reason and take the usual comfort in things ‘that have always been done like
that’. Maybe it is just easier to hide behind the numbers and the detail of how
you are doing things rather than making it all that clear what it is you are
trying to do, why you are doing it or even who you think you are doing it for.
One last seasonal example maybe, since it
is mid-December as I write this. Many of us will get back to work in January to
be greeted by the question ‘Did you have a good Christmas?’ For those who did,
you will know without recourse to precise measurements – it isn’t based on the
number of presents you received, how many carols you sang or how much turkey
you ate. Unless the biggest fun you have is skiing, it probably won’t have
mattered that much if it snowed. But if you had a good Christmas then you will
know – but my, isn’t it hard to set genuinely accurate measures beforehand?
And what can we learn from that, or at
least set out to do better? Maybe if we are buying or delivering any kind of
service we should at least try to be aware of – if not the ultimate – then at
least a higher level goal. And don’t be surprised or disappointed if your
expensive new TV might not affect the entertainment value, although it will help
you see the ball better in the cricket, and that might be an important factor.
And at work, a new finance package won’t make your profit margins higher – but
it might tell you faster what they are, and perhaps that makes an important
difference. Just be sure that’s important enough for what it is costing you,
and that you know the knock-on effect onto the higher level measure.
In every walk of life we see the components in things:
In football it is - Strikers, defenders, midfield (some of you may need to translate from the English: ‘football’to ‘soccer’ to understand that one)
With vehicles it might be - Engine, transmission, chassis
Service management is held to be - People, process, technology
Wherever we are we, we break thing up into components.
Take the first two and it’s clear – however good the parts are – if they aren’t integrated then it isn’t going to deliver what you need and excellence in just one area is all but useless as far as the required end product is concerned
In real life the secret is delivering value because value is what makes it a service – without value it is just a way to pass the time, not a service.
In soccer the benefits of interaction of the parts is important and very visible – and many years ago the Dutch showed the world it could go to a higher level with what they called ‘total Football’. I think a better name – for the generic concept at least – is ‘Integration’. Seeing the parts and getting each as good as possible is important – seeing the synergies between the parts and making them all fit is the differentiator.
In service management terms, it seems to me, the differentiating piece of integration is the one that marries a customer need (some kind of value that is wanted) with the ability to deliver it. Now writing that down, it seems trivial, obvious and simple. As is often the case it seems to be harder in practice – perhaps because the customer need is something that has to exist when the delivery is possible – and indeed one may create the other. By that I mean that many of the most impressive pieces of service delivery we see in this rapidly changing 21st century are about seeing what value new technological possibilities could deliver. You might even call it creating a requirement that the customers hadn’t dreamed they needed until it became available.
One of the advantages of working for a big company – like IBM – is that you get to find out about some of the really smart stuff our customers are doing – and so it was exciting to read an inside view on GM’s new Volt electric car. You can read elsewhere about the car itself and of course from an IBM perspective the favourite focus is on how they have used IBM products to help it all happen.Now I am sure similar things are happening throughout many industries but this one was in front of me and it illustrates nicely something I have been talking about for so long. Although IT underpins this innovation – the integration is everything.
Of course there is GM’s clever recognition of the ever increasing green agenda and spotting – in time to actually create it – the demand for a kind of car that would have been unwanted in earlier times.
But there is another integration going on too – apparently the Volt carries with it some 10 million lines of code that are all invisible to the driver – it might have more IT than most IT projects but – apparently – it feels like a car. So it is a great example of integration all round. It relies on software – its own software, the software it was developed on (Rational of course J) and because it is also an engineering programme the reality of delivery rests upon asset management and coordination. So – a wonderful instance of what I keep saying – integration is everything – getting the components working together to deliver the whole. That is true within service management – where things like people, process and technology ALL have to work and work with each other.
It is also true about integrated service management as one part of a bigger whole – with integration layer upon integration layer – and all integrated together. Manage it and you get services delivering real value – often a value that the customers didn’t even imagine they would need before it became possible – that they consider worth paying for. Get the integration wrong and you have impressive parts - of interest only to a very few.
I am writing this on a plane back to England from Madrid, at the end of a pretty hectic few weeks that involved speaking at five itSMF events in five different countries – from Finland to Spain. There has to be a good joke somewhere in a run of 5 events that started with the Finnish – but I’ll let you work that that one out for yourselves.
Anyway, I already wrote about how good the Finnish conference had been, and the Spanish one matched it with all the simple things done really well: good venue, lots of people (all friendly). As well as getting the basics dead right there were one or two minor excursions into the unusual, with a plate spinning performer on the opening morning, (who was upstaged as a professional juggler by the itSMF chair) and a conference dinner in a restaurant with opera singing waiters (all of which somehow felt quite normal).
Attending a range of events in a row like this really brings to mind how there is a common thread throughout them all – clearly the main one is our common focus on service management. Also, many of the same people are at each event including several representatives of our little mutual admiration society of regular speakers at such things Perhaps because of that common theme though, there is an appreciation of the differences – still quite noticeable across so small a place as Western Europe.
That hits you immediately on arrival at a new conference when you run until a long term acquaintance of the opposite sex and prepare yourself for the welcoming hug and kiss on the cheek. As the travelers among you likely already know, you have to perform a quick mental calculation based on where your fellow hugger and kisser is from, and then make an assumption as to whether they will follow their national rules or be adapting to the local ones. It can be an embarrassing moment when your Dutch friend goes to offer that third kiss to the cheek of a man who is in Spanish greetings mode and has turned away after two. Many of the experienced Southern Europeans seem to have little concern over simply asking the lady beforehand how many are expected. But the more staid British and American folks can find themselves out of synchrony and not sure why - helping them find out that European Union, Schengen open borders and pervasive English notwithstanding, there are still many cultures packed into a small space and the variation between (and even within) countries is so much more than between US or Australian states.
None of this is serious stuff of course – all part of life’s rich pattern and a source of fun and laughter when accompanied by a glass of wine. But the conversation it generated turned quickly into broader cultural differences – a subject I was interested in since it formed an element of my talk at most of these events. How many times do we say the wrong thing to our customers or fail to understand what they really mean because we fail to establish common understanding and expectations? Some cultures are reluctant to complain about bad service – be that in a restaurant or in the work environment, while others believe they should always comment with an aspect that could be improved, even when the service is very good. Fail to understand what kind of customer you are dealing with and you can be unnecessarily worried or totally surprised when a contract is not renewed.
For many multinational companies this is everyday business and they put significant effort into understanding and training their people to see through cultural variations. But as mobility and the intermingling of cultures accelerates so rapidly, with even small companies using offshored supply and almost everyone receiving service from other cultures it is something perhaps we all need to focus more effort on.
The consequences of not doing might well be more serious than a failed kiss on an unexpectedly absent cheek.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock the last couple of months, you know that Pulse 2011 is coming to Las Vegas February 27-March 2, 2011. And you know that the Premier Service Management Event will bring together 6000 attendees, focusing on the best practices, solutions and expertise needed to help organizations design, deliver and manage new, innovative business services.
Do you also know that Pulse 2011 promises to be bigger, better and more informative yet? With two days of general session keynotes and over 350 client sessions, Pulse 2011 will demonstrate how Integrated Service Management can help organizations design, deliver, and manage innovative services across business and IT boundaries. The event's five streams have carefully been designed to reflect the ongoing evolution of service management over the last year: Service Management for the Data Center, Enterprise Asset Management, Service Assurance for Service Providers, Security and Compliance and Service Management Beyond the Data Center. Learn more about the Pulse agenda by reading the article Pulse 2011: A Wealth of Service Management Insights.
Pulse 2011 provides unlimited opportunities to hear from industry experts and network with attendees to gain the techniques and insight you need to optimize your service management strategy. Get maximum value from your Pulse 2011 experience by participating in the following additional attractions:
Birds of a Feather Sessions
Business Partner Café
Business Partner Summit
Client hospitality lounge in the Solution Expo
Service Management Simulator
Meet the Experts
Pulse Expo Theaters
User Community Networking Area
Women's Networking Reception
Post Conference Sessions and Workshops
So, lest I leave you with a bland blog post...If you're a service management sage, it's thyme for you to submit your proposal to speak at Pulse. Call for speakers ends November 23rd.
You must(ard) register before December 1st to take advantage of the early bird registration rate.
Be sure to pepper your agenda with sessions that not only interest you but benefit your organization.
And remember, Pulse is held in Las Vegas, where it's sure not to be chili in February.
You'll curry the favor of your colleagues and bosses when you bring back so much service management knowledge and best practices.
Your attendance at Pulse 2011 is, therefore, mint to be.
(I know, these spice puns were bad beyond bay leaf. Ba-dum-bum...my brother would be so proud).
Signing off for now, Your friendly roving Integrated Service Management reporter
I forget how this project got started, but when I heard about it I was pretty excited.
This trailer is the perfect setup to talk about Integrated Service Management. It drives home our message around Visibility. Control. Automation.™ and uses several real industry examples including Healthcare, Financial Services and Travel.
The real power of the trailer is that it gives the necessary time to explain Integrated Service Management and drive home its value. (it's short, promise)
Innovation happens with Integrated Service Management, and this trailer shows you how IBM can assist you in getting there.
Click on the link below to watch. And I promise, this is 100% safe for work (SFW).
I have been in Helsinki all this week, combining something rare for me - real work at a customer – with the itSMF Finland annual conference.
It’s always nice to be in Helsinki; maybe I’ve just been lucky – and maybe this is the best time of year – but it seems that every time I come here the weather is wonderful with clear skies, crisp clean air that you can feel making you healthier.
And in a world of ever increasing homogeneity, Finland has managed to retain enough of itself to still feel interestingly different – just foreign enough to feel like a little adventure.
Amongst the ongoing doom and gloom of slow and painful recovery from recession around the world, I hadn’t really noticed how much I missed success and optimism within an itSMF conference. itSMF Finland is doing very well – with a healthy bank account and a large and enthusiastic membership.Attendance at the conference is over 300 – and if that doesn’t sound too impressive straight off, let me put it in a little perspective. Finland has a population of around 5 million people; if the UK matched that (0.006% of population by the way) at their itSMF conference they would be hosting around 5000, and the US would need to find a venue that could accommodate nearly 19000. And pretty much all those delegates were domestic Finnish customers – no point in them targeting itSMF members in other countries since they the neighbours are also very successful. (itSMF Norway got similar attendance figures from a slightly smaller population at their conference in March). Plus of course when most of your programme is presented in Finnish you aren’t going to appeal too much to other nationalities.
As I said, Finland is very much its own place – the people are very friendly, and - both at conference and customer – they obviously care about being good hosts and delivering services that meet customer wants. As a nation they are usually very quiet and reserved but they open up considerably with the application of wine or beer – so while the conference sessions do not generate many questions the evening discussion is much more lively.
One of the fun things about most itSMF events is that the exhibition usually generates only limited direct sales opportunities – instead it is more a case of just being there is important because it keeps you in the customers’ minds. So that means you get the chance on the stand to talk to people around service management in general and exchange ideas. That – in turn – gives a good idea of the approach to service management in the country and we had lots of articulate and clearly customer motivated people stopping by and talking with us on the IBM stand – plus one or two competitors wanting to play golf on our Wii.
Actually, talking of our competitors, it was surprising that in such an enthusiastic marketplace – where service management has such a wide take up and is followed with such enthusiasm – so many of our usual co-exhibitors were not represented. Many of the industry big names seem to be less than interested in the Finnish market. I’m glad because it means there is even more chance I will get back to Helsinki soon – and that is always a treat.
Overall, I think the best lesson from Finland is that there is so much to learn locally – and I suspect that applies all over the world. Go get active in your local itSMF event – whether that is a Local Interest Group or regional meeting in a larger country or – like the Finns – the national event in a smaller (but perfectly formed) country
Pulse will return to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas February 27 through March 2, 2011, and over 300 client presentations will demonstrate how Integrated Service Management helped their organizations gain an end-to-end view of business services across boundaries to effectively manage risk and compliance, change the economics of delivering service and achieve common business objectives.
Will you be one of those 300? You should be!
Businesses in every industry can transform business models, increase innovation and exceed client expectations through integrated service management, and what better way to learn than through example? Share your company's story - and leadership - with your peers at Pulse 2011!
"You are never going to get past the complexity and risk you deal with on a daily basis, unless you are driving and enabling change. Someone needs to be the thought leader - and that someone is you!" - Al Zollar, Tivoli General Manager
And here's some of the benefits you'll receive if your proposal is accepted:
One full conference pass - a $1995 value!*
Use of our exclusive Client Speaker VIP Lounge
Networking opportunities with over 6000 industry experts, press, and analysts
A profile of your success story in the Pulse online agenda builder
EAM papers are eligible for the Maximo® Best Practices Award
To top it off, the first 50 clients to submit a proposal will receive a FREE hotel upgrade to a Celebrity Spa Suite at the MGM Grand if their proposal is accepted. (*Qualifying clients must pay the basic room rate)
For each customer, at the head of these efforts is the CIO. She or he is the person leading the way and I can say that the CIOs that I have been fortunate enough to work with are clear thinkers and they get it. They are aware of what they need to do, and when they are not they work to educate themselves and are quick to build a strategy.
When they know what to do, the question then becomes getting there.
The "how," for lack of a better term. And it's this "how" which is where it gets tricky and it's also where IBM has always come in to assist.
We have a unique relationship with the CIOs of the world. One where we work in a close partnership to assist them in...I hate to sound lofty about this, but it's true...changing the world.
Back to the tricky part. With so many new innovations happening at IBM (we continue to lead the industry in patents year-to-year) it's important to continue the dialogue with our customers so that they know about all we have to offer them.
This two-way conversation with our customers is essential to their success and it is why we do things like the IBM CIO Conference.
On October 17th, an invitation-only list of customers will join IBM for a meeting in Dubai to hear about "a decade of smart." and one of the items on the agenda is, "From virtualization to cloud computing with integrated service management."
If your CIO is attending, you might want to ask them to sit in on this session.
If she or he is not attending, you do have some options.
You can contact your IBM sales rep and/or Business Partner (Business Partner Locator Site) and have them sit down with you now to discuss Integrated Service Management and be sure to ask them about conducting a whiteboarding session.
Also, and in addition to that, you can register for Pulse 2011, the premiere service management event.
And, as always, you can leave comments on this blog.
*today's title is a play on the Paul Thomas Anderson film "There Will Be Blood" and yes I do get bonus points for the number of movie references I work into my blogs.
If there is one webcast about service management that you listen to this year...well, I guess the first question I'd ask is why you're limiting yourself to one...but if there was just one, this would be it.
We love our planet, Mother
Earth. Don’t we? As for me, having been born and brought up in a place so close
to nature, away from bustle of city, and having studied ‘Environment and
Resource Economics’ as one of the subjects in my Post Grad, these things have
always been the driving forces behind my love and fascination towards Mother
Earth. And, since Mother Earth is inseparable from the technological revolution
and innovations happening around us, it gives me a proud feeling to be an IBMer
who works towards Big Blue’s mission of a Smarter Planet.
Visibility, Control and Automation™ is how
IBM defines service management which, when obtained for the smarter business infrastructures and end-to-end service
chain, can take any business to its zenith and contribute in making our
Mother Earth a Smarter Planet.
IBM’s Tivoli® Software places
IBM in a unique position to help the clients provide smarter solutions and the
expertise needed to design, build and manage a infrastructure that enables them
to improve service, reduce cost and manage risk.
Not long ago, while surfing
through our case study database, I stumbled upon a Tivoli success story that
caught my attention and I’m happy to share the same with our readers here.“Schweizerische
Bundesbahnen (SBB) Leverages rail system and network transparency to keep
trains on schedule”. Wow, the title looked so fascinating to me and that might
be because I’ve had many not-so-good-train-experiences, delay in arrival or
departure and the likes (which I always dislike).
(SBB), or Swiss Federal Railways, is Switzerland’s leading transportation
company.SBB transports over 800,000
passengers and more than 220,000 tons of cargo each day, maintains 3,011
kilometers of track that connects more than 800 rail stations and also a large
construction organization that engages in roughly 5,000 construction programs
each year. However, due to inefficient monitoring systems, a one day system
problem in 2005 had stranded nearly 200,000 passengers, costing almost US$5
million. Hence, SBB was looking for a more aggressive service management
strategy to prevent future events of this type and operate 9000 trains a day
without any hassles.
customizable user interfaces that increase network transparency, and helps
support staff to be better informed about infrastructure health. 2.Leverages proactive management and automated
alert systems to recognize and repair more than 50 percent of issues before
they can impact operations. 3.Increases the availability of SBB’s train
network by approximately 2,000 minutes per month - therefore saving
approximately US$2.3 million each year.
Martin Schaeren, Head of BU
Service Management, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), is all praise for IBM, “Trying to manage 3,000 kilometers of track
is a particularly daunting task. But, by leveraging our new IBM solution, we’re
able to see our entire infrastructure clearly and respond to problems before
they can affect our operations.”
Well, a commendable success
story indeed. We, the IBMers, sincerely, wish that all the railway systems of
our world become ‘smarter’, sooner than later. What say?
The best part is that if you are selected to speak, you get a full conference pass ($1,995 value) not to mention the recognition of your peers (whom you'll be interacting with at the event) as well as a great resume builder.
What do you think? Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon!
I speak for everyone on the team when I say that we look forward to what you put together.
PS Obviously, you're not just limited to doing this on Friday. Every day is a good day to work on your abstract :-)
For us Americans, 4,000 km of track is about 2,485 miles. Which, as the crow flies*, is roughly the distance from New York city to San Francisco.
The thing that excites me about what KiwiRail is doing is that the management has an analytics portion to it with our Cognos business analytics software.
One of my previous roles at IBM was working on Business Intelligence marketing and I got to know the space pretty well. In talking with so many of our customers, it was the analytics that contributed to their ability to innovate and save time, money and reduce risk.
The combination of GBS services, Maximo software and Cognos for KiwiRail is going to be a huge win for the entire population of New Zealand considering how much of their economy is based on rail transport.
The take away here for our non-rail customers is to look at the Smarter Planet solutions that match your industry.
We cover a lot of ground with KiwiRail and their requirements. If we can do that for them, what can we do for you?
IBM is striving to develop solutions based around your industry and provide things, like Integrated Service Management in this case, to match your business objectives and help you achieve success in your industry.
The average IT infrastructure is a lot like Stonehenge.
Few people can tell you when it was built.
Even fewer people can explain exactly what it's function is.
But everybody agrees that it is immovable.
That sucker is not going anywhere. Comedian Eddie Izzard has a bit about how the Druids flippantly ask the henge builders, "That stone and this stone. Can we swap them around?"
Outside of its original (and intended use), the immovable structure of Stonehenge makes for a great tourist attraction; but that's about it.
The immovable architecture severely limits its functionality.
Fast forward to today. The head Druid (or your CEO...depends on where you work, I suppose) asks you, "This workload and that workload. Can we swap them around?"
Is your infrastructure a Stonehenge? Or is it a Virtualized henge?
Horrible pun aside, I'm serious. Can you move those workloads around? Can you automate business priorities? How agile is your infrastructure?
Take a moment to think about that. Is innovating your business a button punching task, or is it rolling rocks across the highlands?
Virtualization is a key technology enabler for Integrated Service Management and it's something IBM has a long and successful track record implementing with our customers.
I've been working with IBM products that have utilized Virtualization of some sort going all the way back to LPAR with the p630, and this video is one of the best things I've seen on communicating IBM's value with Virtualization.
Take the eight minutes to watch it and post comments below or reach out to your IBM sales rep and/or Business Partner (use the Business Partner Locator) and ask them to sit down and talk about it with you.
Last week, IBM made an historic announcement with the introduction of the highly anticipated zEnterprise - a first of a kind technology representing a new dimension in computing. zEnterprise integrates IBM's leading technologies to dramatically improve the productivity of today's multi-architecture data centers and tomorrow's private clouds. Truly, a smarter system for a smarter data center.
Smarter data centers also require smarter software. With this announcement, IBM delivers both in a way that will revolutionize the industry. And when you consider the potential of zEnterprise to act as a platform for service management, things get really interesting. To that end, IBM unveiled 4 new service management offerings for zEnterprise (draw the curtains and drum roll, please):
IBM Tivoli Application Management for zEnterprise
IBM Tivoli Application Resilience for zEnterprise
IBM Asset and Financial Management for zEnteprise
IBM Security for zEnterprise
These offerings provide a central hub - a single point of control - to oversee and govern IT services that are cross-domain, cross-OS, cross-application, cross-resource and cross-service - across the organization.
That was a cheap ploy for me to work in a comment about how excited I am that Austin is well on it's way to getting a Formula 1 track (Statesman).
Shameless? Or brilliant? You make the call
Anyhow, the title is a pun on the Random Access Compression Engine™ (RACE) architecture that is a part of the Storwize offering that IBM recently acquired.
I want to welcome all the Storwize employees to IBM (hello!) and let our customers know that this is some pretty tight technology and it's worth reaching out to your IBM sales rep or business partner to learn more about it.
Storwize provides real-time data compression technology to help clients reduce physical storage requirements by up to 80%*, which improves efficiency and lowers the cost of making data available for analytics and other applications.
Here are three good links for more details on the aquisition as well as a quick video featuring Doug Balog, Vice President of IBM Storage.