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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
This week IBM kicked off the Impact conference from May 3 - 8 in Las Vegas at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. In addition to focusing on Smart SOA and WebSphere, themes will concentrate on Smart, Economic Climate, Cost Optimization & Agility, Cloud computing, and Service Management.
The Impact conference is using social media in some of the most creative ways I’ve seen at IBM yet! They have a cool social media game where you can earn points for participating in Twitter, blogs, videos, etc. Hmm, I wonder how many points I can earn? Check out these links to learn more:
IBM Service Management is a big theme at the conference since Smart SOA makes business processes easy to change, but those changes create the demand for a Dynamic Infrastructure to be adaptive and support those business processes. IBM Service Management anticipates how business processes shift their pressures on the infrastructure, enabling the infrastructure to adapt quickly while enabling smart choices for a smarter world.
As Robert LeBlanc said at Pulse 2008, you can have Service Management without SOA, but you can’t have SOA without Service Management. Al Zollar, IBM General Manager of Tivoli Software, will give a keynote on May 5 during the Impact general session, discussing how a smarter planet requires a dynamic infrastructure based on IBM Service Management capabilities.Expect to hear announcements on ServiceManagementCenter for Cloud Computing, ITCAM for SOA Platform, and IBM Service Management for Healthcare.
IBM Service Management has the following activities at Impact:
18 IBM Service Management experts and executives will be available for one-on-one meetings with clients.
Smart SOA Service Management in the IBMSOAFitnessCenter.
Two pedestals in the Expo:
-Service Management (ITCAM for Transactions | OMEGAMON XE for Messaging, TBSM | ITCAM for SOA Platform, TUAM, ITCAM for WebSphere)
-Security Management (TSPM/TFIM)
Service Management speaking sessions include:
TSM - Managing the Virtual Enterprise
Rob Goodling, IBM
Venetian - Murano 3305
TSM - SOA Management on IBM System z®,
Divyesh Vaidya, IBM
Venetian - Murano 3203
BIA - The Last Mile to SOA Success: Service Management,
Casey Plunkett, IBM
Venetian - Galileo 1003
BID - Transforming Your Business Through BPM - Four Primary Use-Cases ,
Janelle Hill, Gartner, Inc , Kramer Reeves, IBM
Venetian - Galileo 904
TMC - Managing your IBM WebSphere MQ and IBM WebSphere Message Broker Environment
Jim Palistrant, IBM
Venetian - Delfino 4105
TSM - Lab: Monitoring Transactions in SOA Infrastructure,
Pradeep Nambiar, IBM, Jim Palistrant, IBM
Venetian - Marcello 4403
TMC - Meet the Experts and Demo for WebSphere MQ and Message Broker management
Divyesh Vaidya, IBM
Venetian - Tech Zone – Messaging
TSM - Manage your SOA Environment with IBM Tivoli
Todd Kindsfather, IBM and Jim Palistrant, IBM
Venetian - Palazzo D
BIS - Extending SOA Principles to the Infrastructure for Greater Flexibility and Cost Effectiveness
Kristin Hansen, IBM and Bruce Otte, IBM
Venetian - Galileo 907
BIS - Creating Secure and Compliant SOA Environments
Casey Plunkett, IBM and Ravi Srinivasan, IBM
Venetian - Galileo 906
TSM - Service Automation: Key To Exploiting and Managing the Virtual Enterprise
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.
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.
Recent IBM news on “Smarter Cities” is invoking fond
memories of one of my favorite courses at Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute: Politics
of design taught by Professor
Langdon Winner. Some of my favorite discussions during this course focused
on urban theory and planning and environmentally and ethically responsible
innovations. A few of my favorite personal readings included:
While innovations and technologies always fascinate
me, personally I’m most interested in the political, socio-cultural aspects of
Palmisano’s statement below:
“All the ways in which the world
works come together in our cities. They are the proverbial melting pot -- not
only for immigrants, but for systems, blending them together to engender new
forms of commerce, of culture, of science, of life and of society. Which is why
cities -- more than states, provinces or even nations -- are likely to be the
crucible for human progress and evolution in the coming century.”
Smart cities require smart people and deliberate thinking. How will SmarterCity designs and innovations enable and constrain our attempts
to build ethical, sustainable, humane systems and relationships? What are key
philosophical and socio-cultural issues to consider in this endeavor?
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...
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
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’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.