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.