I have some big news to share. You thought world tours were only reserved for the Stones, Springsteen and other big-name acts? Well, I guess service management has hit the big time, because the IBM Service Management World Tour kicks off in mid-August with gigs across the U.S., Europe and Asia.
I think this is a perfect follow-on to Pulse a merry band of IBM experts comes to a town near you (hopefully) and delivers in-depth presentations on the latest IBM solutions and approaches in service management, storage management, enterprise asset management, and System z. Its a series of hard-hitting one-day events held in smaller settings where you can get some serious face-to-face time with service management gurus. Im helping one such expert with his presentations on the Tivoli Service Management Center for z and consolidating Linux workloads on z (no snappy title yet), and Im impressed with his focus and clarity.Even I get it!By the way, if you missed my profile, thats what I do, write presentations, podcasts and website stories for Tivoli.
Anyway, the tour begins in Boston on August 12, with events in 13 more US cities; the Europe and Asia schedules are being finalized now. You can check out what we have so far and even register for the road show at the World Tour page. You can always ping your favorite IBM sales rep, who is sitting by his/her laptop yearning to hear from you, or ping me, Bob Pickard. In any event, I'll be blogging new news on the tour as it comes along. Party on, Garth.
It almost goes without saying, but, hey, I'll say it anyway...Security is top of mind for everyone these days, no matter your industry, no matter the size of your organization - and even on a personal level, too. You certainly don't have to be a security manager to be concerned about security, particularly internet security.
Case in point: Which of the following internet vulnerabilities is keeping you up at night these days?
Perhaps a more precise answer would be "All of the above plus a few more."
So, how can you stay ahead of these types of threats - understanding what the most critical and recurrent vulnerabilities are and what you can do to prevent them? One excellent source of emerging information is the IBM X-Force Research and Development team. For more than a dozen years, these security specialists have tracked well over 40,000 different vulnerabilities, from Trojan horses to malware to Web spoofing, and documented them in the world's largest and most comprehensive threat database.
The IBM X-Force researches and monitors the latest internet threat trends, develops security content for IBM customers, and helps advise customers and the general public on how to respond to emerging and critical threats. Twice a year, the team releases a detailed report discussing the latest security complexities. These reports are far more than just abstract information. They are actionable intelligence, designed to lead to more comprehensive security and a better business outcome. Take a look at the latest report.
For more information about how the IBM X-Force research can help your organization (and perhaps even keep you from losing sleep worrying about security threats), check out this Service Management in Action article.
Signing off for this week,
Your friendly roving Integrated Service Management reporter
IBM will be showcasing many of its innovative security solutions at RSA conference and hosting many keynote sessions, pedestals, demos, customer appreciation events, and more. You can find out more in the following ways:
Welcome to the IBM Service Management blog.A variety of authors who represent different
parts of IBM will discuss a range of Service Management topics such as service
availability and performance, green IT, IT asset and financial management, IT
governance, service delivery and process, storage management, SOA management,
enterprise asset management, and service assurance for service providers.
We'll discuss industry trends and happenings, analyst
perspectives, new product and solution announcements, support and services
offerings, upcoming events, helpful resources, and heroes in the broader IBM
Service Management network. This blog provides multi-directional communication
with the public, and we encourage and look forward to your feedback, thoughts,
and questions. For extended sharing, check out our new IBM Service Management community.
I'm Tiffany Winman, the
IBM Service Management community and social media program manager, and my blog
topics tend to focus on communities, people, companies, heroes, and stories in
the broader Service Management and Tivoli "ecosystem" and the use of innovative social
technologies to facilitate online social networking and collaboration. When I'm
not blogging on group blogs such as Service Management, Tivoli, Pulse, and Web 2.0 Goes to Work,
you can join me in riveting conversation ;) on my individual blog.
us know if you have any questions or we can assist in any way.
Two great IBM
conferences were held in Las Vegas this year--IBM Pulse and IBM Impact.
However, I have to say that I truly envy the IBM
Rational Software Conference taking place from May 31-June 4,
since it will be at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida (where Pulse 2008 was held).
The effervescent ambience in the air is unparalleled. The awseome fountains are
a key contributor.
Tivoli fans will be pleased to know
that several Service
Management topics will be covered at the conference since the integration
of development and operational tools, data, and processes is essential to
improving the success rate of application deployments and improving service
quality. The topics will cover ways businesses can improve the integration of
development, test, and operations to simplify high-quality application
deployment, enhance provisioning, streamline problem diagnosis, and enable
effective service management. The
conference will include the following Service Management topics:
General Manager sessions
Al Zollar, General Manager of IBM Tivoli
Software, will participate in three executive sessions:
IBM Cloud Computing
Breaking down the barriers between development and operations
General Manager roundtable
Software Lifecycle Track
“Enhancing The Application Life Cycle with Tivoli
Composite Application Manger (ITCAM)”-- Todd Kindsfather
Abstract: Discover how IBM Rational and Tivoli's joint solution helps reduce development and
rollout costs, while increasing rollout success rates. This session will
Discussion of how to enhance testing with ITCAM performance data
Description of how to use Rational test scripts with ITCAM for
Overview of how to leverage the ITCAM products to help resolve
problems earlier in the application life cycle
Tivoli Birds of a Feather session
“Bridging the chasm between build,
deployment and production”--Rich Johnston
Abstract: Today’s IT departments have more
systems to manage, more locations to support and more mission-critical
applications to build, deploy and maintain than ever before. In many
organizations, the processes employed to move applications from build, to
deploy, to production phase can be manual, time-consuming and error-prone. The
data, tools, and workflows are not well integrated or automated resulting in
inefficient processes which inevitably lead to slower time to market, long
resolution cycles and even loss of revenue. This session offers a chance for
attendees to discuss issues, challenges and solutions for bridging development
and IT operations across different aspects of the application and service
Service Management pedestals
Ped 1: "Service Management with CCMDB, TSRM,
and RAM: Total
Application Lifecycle management"--Rich Johnston
Abstract: The inability to quickly
identify application performance bottlenecks can lead to system downtime and
unnecessary cycles spent firefighting defects. See how ITCAM
can provide monitoring data from operations needed to better understand
performance characteristics prior to relase and speed correction of defects.
Ped 2: "Integrating the Service
Management Lifecycle across Development & Operations: Optimize Application
Performance in Production"--Todd Kindsfather
Abstract: Integration across application
development and configuration management tools is critical for complete
component life-cycle managmenet. With a Tivoli/Rational integrated solution,
customers can experience total application management from development to
deploymentt to operation.
For those who can’t
attend the conference in Florida, check out http://www.remotersc.com for other
opportunities to participate in the Rational Software Software conference
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.
Yes. I used an exclamation point. Because this is that exciting! (there it is again)
The zEnterprise is, as we call it, a “smarter system.” It’s fast. It’s scalable. It’s efficient. It’s reliable. It’s secure. Most important, it’s highly manageable.
With that, IBM Service Management on System z is a single service management engine to give you the visibility, control, and automation needed to deliver quality services, manage risk and compliance, and accelerate business growth.
Together they will assist our customers in innovating their business; and that’s what it’s all about.
The road to a Smarter Planet is going to take systems and software that can be used to create a Smarter Data Center. It's worth your time to read more about it. There’s a ton of press coverage (point your favorite search engine at “zEnterprise” and it’s dealer’s choice on articles). Twitter is already trending with #zEnterprise from analysts, IBMers and customers. And, I’ve also put some ibm.com links below.
That said, in honor of the new announcement I give you a tribute to an old Jeff Foxworthy bit and a little something we like to call “You might be a not so Smarter Data Center.” (and feel free to add yours to the comments section).
If your data center has its own postal code, you might be a not so smart data center.
If your LOB signs their SLA with “no backsies,” you might be a not so smart data center.
If you count the number of forests it takes to print your server inventory, you might be a not so smart data center.
If your energy usage ever won you a free lunch from your power company, you might be a not so smart data center.
If your service management is done with a forklift, you might be a not so smart data center.
If scalability means renting more buildings, you might be a not so smart data center.
If your problem management is done with a game of pin the tail on the donkey, you might be a not so smart data center.
If your data center security is a bicycle lock and a hide-a-key, you might be a not so smart data center.
If your downtime is measured with a calendar, you might be a not so smart data center.
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.
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!
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.
In April 2010, IBM conducted an online survey of over 6400 adults working full- or part-time in office buildings in 16 major US cities. The survey showed that "US office buildings have failed to keep pace with the revolution in automation that pervades modern life. While cars, transportation systems, electrical grids and other systems are being instrumented and interconnected to be more efficient and user friendly, the majority of office buildings remain rooted in the past. As a result, this intelligence gap is taking a measurable toll in lost productivity and unnecessary spending."
So, how do you bridge this intelligence gap...or, in other words, how do you make buildings smarter?
It starts with a better way of managing those buildings: IBM Maximo Asset Management.
Maximo delivers holistic, end-to-end tracking and monitoring of all assets, at every point in their lifecycles. It helps make building facilities management simpler, faster and less expensive—thus essentially transforming buildings into smart buildings, capable of delivering their full potential to your organization. Specifically, Maximo can:
Establish contracts for labor and materials across the entire enterprise, allowing for better cost control.
Detect a shortfall in a cooling asset and automatically notify appropriate team members of the problem and create a prioritized schedule of corrective action.
Provide vendors direct access to Maximo, allowing them to view assigned work, request direct updates and provide real-time status. Notifications are generated by Maximo and are automatically distributed via e-mail to any device.
Manage vendor SLAs to monitor their overall performance. Should a vendor not be meeting specified service levels, Maximo can quantify the difference and initiate a suitable response.
Of course, there are many more examples of how Maximo can help you manage your facilities more efficiently and cost effectively, all of which enable a shift from facilities maintenance to facilities management, from a reactive stance to proactive stance, resulting in improved asset performance, longer asset life and ultimately more sustainable - and, dare I say - smarter buildings.
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!