What I am about to share here is a true story about Integrated Service Management. I changed the name of the customer to Customer because I didn’t ask permission to use Customer’s real name. So you’ll just have to believe me :oD
Oh, What a Better Web We Need
Once upon a time, Customer needed to test the interoperability of hardware, software, operating systems and customer solution stacks for new product releases. Customer needed to coordinate multiple global teams working on an abundance of machines. With thousands of operating system instances in test, Customer faced an enormous management challenge. Growth over time resulted in homegrown tools from many teams that did not interoperate, making data collection difficult. Visibility into tasks assigned to global teams was limited, and often resulted in duplicate testing and lost productivity. In addition to standardizing tools and improving workload tracking and visibility, Customer sought to automate as many repetitive processes as possible, improving productivity and freeing up engineers for more complex testing work.
Integrated Service Management to the Rescue!
The solution for Customer included a RaTivo integration of Rational Quality Manager (RQM) and Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM) to allow automatic provision of test machines with the required test configuration, saving Customer manual work and time from request to provision. Additionally, Customer applied Rational Test Lab Manager and Tivoli Application Discovery and Dependency Manager (TADDM) to discover available test lab machines and display the list in RQM, saving Customer test time as all the information is displayed one tool.
All’s Well that Ends Well
You can’t argue with these results. Customer directly benefited from Integrated Service Management by:
Eliminating an estimated 20 percent of testing duplication
Increasing visibility and automation allows better allocation of shared equipment, reducing hardware requests
Locating available test machines for testing without the need to learn a new tool or collaborate with the operation teams.
Automating provisioning of new test configurations on available machines, speeding the test cycle.
Enabling managers to pull their own custom reports, thereby improving visibility and coordination.
What is IBM Tivoli Software? We know you want the short version. Steven Wright of Tivoli Software breaks it all down for us in less than 7 minutes on a white grease board. Check it out while you have your morning coffee, afternoon tea, or while you get your miles in on the treadmill or trail with your smart phone. Then visit ibm.com/software/tivoli for more details on how IBM Tivoli Software can help you run a smarter business. .
Yes, I love being one of
the ambassadors for IBM’s Client Reference Program, a structured platform that
gives our valued Clients many opportunities to promote their unique
capabilities and stand tall in the, otherwise very competitive, market. IT
revolution, ease of internet, change in consumer behavior etc have all added to
While I write this blog, the
two things that I had studied, during school days in Biology, are shouting
aloud from my mind; one, Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and two,
‘legume-rhizobial symbiosis’. Interestingly, these biological phenomenon do
have real examples in economics too. A symbiotic relationship with clients/peers,
thus, is ‘very’ crucial in surviving the Darwinian marketplace. And, what
better way than registering for IBM’s Client Reference Program? :-)
For me, it’s great being a
Client Reference Specialist for Tivoli. Working in collaboration to create
Reference Profiles for our Clients has brought in a lot of advantages. Networking
opportunities with my fellow IBMers, Business Partners and Clients from across
industries is just a ‘cake’, but the real ‘icing’ is my continuous learning
about IBM’s Tivoli software for 'Integrated Service Management' that “provides
smarter solutions and the expertise you need to design, build and manage a
dynamic infrastructure that enables you to improve service, reduce cost and
manage risk.” Yes, I’m always in an awe of how IBM’s Tivoli solutions have
helped our Clients overcome their challenges.
PS: Rebecca Wissinger in
her blog ‘IBM Client Activities at Pulse 2011’ talks about the ways IBM is
saying THANK YOU to our immensely valued, extraordinary Clients at Pulse
2011. If you are attending Pulse 2011 then you will not give her blog a
During the late 90's, I worked for a company that sold Java components and had the opportunity to do a demo in front of a sea of developers at a large Java conference in New York city.
I must have tested my demo about 20 times the night before and everything worked perfectly before I put my head on the pillow.
You can see where this is going, right? The next day, in front of at least 70 people, my demo crashed so hard that I might as well have been wearing a nametag that said "Colt Seavers."
I can't tell you what happened between my brother's apartment and the Javits Center.
Gremlins? Maybe. All I know is, one minute the thing was working. The next, it wasn't.
It's the same thing with many of our customers. They develop products and services and test the heck out of them, then deploy and those darn gremlins seem to just spout up out of nowhere.
With Integrated Service Management, IBM provides customers with a means to address their pain points with regard to the service lifecycle. Specifically, Integrated Service Management for Design & Delivery is about the design, delivery and management of software engineered into intelligent devices and services.
It's the alignment of information, processes and workflow across architecture, development, testing and operations teams.
From brainstorming the service or product, to development, testing, to deployment and maintenance and rolling out future features - it's about breaking down the silos between development and operations. And yes, it includes new technologies like Cloud computing.
Here's a good example: customers developing and testing new applications built on SOA need a way to simplify the process of troublshooting (and resolving) issues once this application is deployed into production.
One way that IBM is able to address these problems is with integration of solutions such as IBM Rational Performance Tester and IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM).
ITCAM is a tool that can be used in both the test lab and production environments to isolate the root cause of the problem, right down to the specific code, and feed that information back to Rational Performance Tester.
By doing this, the testing staff can replicate both the test lab scenario and the production problems and if it takes more than just a configuration change they can feed those details back into the development tools and correct the problem at the code-level based on what has been identified.
In a nutshell, we describe it as, "Service lifecycle integration that links data and work flows."
It's good stuff and this is only one example (out of quite a bunch) where we have service lifecyle integrations across Rational, WebSphere and Tivoli software that enable organizations to bust the gremlins that inhibit continual service improvement across the end-to-end service chain.
Speaking of busting gremlins, a guy who saw a gremlin back in the day was William Shatner; star of "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet" (Twilight Zone) and former conference speaker for Rational's big customer event.
So it shouldn't surprise you that I'm gonna bring this back around IBM's (and Rational's) premier software and product delivery event; Innovate 2010.
If you were at Pulse 2010, then you know that we've been talking about Integrated Service Management for much of this year and it's going to continue this weekend at Innovate 2010.
Keep an eye on our next blog post where we'll have all the details of where you can expect to see Integrated Service Management at Innovate 2010.
And if you're not attending, not to worry. The Rational team are putting a ton of the information (including live streaming for Keynote sessions) on the website
Learn all about the latest strategies and smarter software for design and development innovation through next generation service delivery from the Integrated Service Management track at Innovate 2010, June 6-10. The Integrated Service Management track at Innovate is a continuation of the discussion and training of the Software Delivery Lifecycle Management stream at Pulse 2010, which showcased how clients, IBM and IBM Business Partners use software delivery lifecycle management solutions to help realize greater value from software investments and optimize business outcomes at reduced cost and risk.
The Integrated Service Management track kickoff will be hosted by Jamie Thomas, Vice President of Tivoli Strategy and Development, formerly of worldwide development, client support and product management for the Rational software brand. Jamie will be joined by Bala Rajaraman, Distinguished Engineer, IBM Software, Tivoli and John Wiegand, Distinguished Engineer, Rational Analysis, Design and Construction.
At Innovate 2010, IBM clients and partners will learn innovative approaches to optimizing the service lifecycle, driving better efficiencies and lowering their TCO. Attendees of the Integrated Service Management track will also learn how to leverage the existing tight integrations with Rational solutions. Specifically, clients can find out how to:
Speed up the deployment processes and maximize resource utilization with automation solutions
Reduce cost and improve efficiency with Visibility and Automation brought about by the integration of Rational and Tivoli
Fully realize the benefits of newer technologies such as virtualization, cloud etc in the dev and test processes that will improve TCO and efficiency
Create a robust dev and test processes that will have minimal chances of failure and cause an outage
Increasingly, physical assets are being transformed into digitally aware, smart assets that can receive and emit data and connect with one another, allowing people, systems and objects to communicate and interact with each other in entirely new ways creating opportunities for smarter, differentiated services and products.
As the world becomes more intelligent, instrumented and interconnected, designing and delivering the systems and application software for innovative new products and services becomes more and more complex.
For example, today’s cars contain a 100 million lines of code that are connected to the dealer, to a smart traffic system, to an insurance provider, and to a smartphone, which alone could run 100,000s of new applications.
The complexity of these systems of systems has exploded overnight as every single service and interaction between the multiple systems needs to be managed, monitored, and maintained across the entire service lifecycle.
Current models of design, development, operations, and deployment do not scale and are not cost effective. In addition, there is a huge gap between design, delivery, and operations, inhibiting the efficient delivery of services.
Both development and operations see a number of challenges in their IT and product delivery organizations:
70% of budget locked in maintenance
50% of applications rolled back
30% of project costs due to rework
85% of computing capacity idling
Integrated Service Management—which includes Rational and Tivoli software--helps bridge the gap between software development and operations teams. It provides integration of data and workflows across architecture, development, testing and operations software. It integrates best practices including ITIL and IBM assets for SOA, Development and IT Operations to accelerate time to value. Integrated Service Management helps organizations:
Identify required changes and resolve customer issues in less time
Reduce system downtime and repair costs
Limit risk exposure by providing better visibility to change impact
Featured products include: Federated asset management.IBM Rational Asset Manager helps architects and operations with fast problem resolution as the single catalog of known software assets, such as patterns, past change requests, and in-production services and products. Federation with IBM Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database simplifies deployment with automated synchronization and reduces data duplication, allowing only secure proven assets and services into production environments.
Lifecycle process automation. Accelerate the development, test, and deployment cycles; reduce operational risk; and improve audit posture. Rational Asset Manager catalogs templates and deployment reference architectures tailored by industry, which invoke the build-test-deploy workflows resulting in greater consistency, predictability, and faster time to market. IBM Rational Build Forge®, IBM Rational Automation Framework for WebSphere®, and IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager provide an automated test and deployment workflow reusable across application and data center provisioning environments significantly reducing the manual effort in test and build set up and tear down.
Attend Innovate2010 and to learn more about Integrated Service Management for Design and Delivery. Register today.
Last week, I attended my first IBM Pulse conference. I really enjoyed the sights and sounds of Vegas, and met many of my Tivoli colleagues for the first time. I also probably walked the equivalent of 15 miles over the five days within the mammoth MGM facility. But what I found most valuable over the five days were my interactions with our customers and business partners.
On Day 1 of the conference, my focus was the ISM Simulator workshop that I helped coordinate. Given that the workshop was: a) taking place prior to any other Pulse activities, b) located in the bowels of the MGM hotel, and
c) three hours in duration...
...I was a bit apprehensive that all the customers and business partners who had RSVP'd would actually show up. But when people started rolling in 30 minutes before the start time, I was confident that this workshop was going to be a success.
When we got started, we had 21 participants sitting around four tables, which is all but ideal for this role playing workshop. Like other simulator workshops that I have attended, it started out a bit chaotic, as participants tried to process the firehose of information that was being thrust upon them. By the end of the three hours, they had come full circle, and were effectively working together to the tune of a $5 million profit for their hypothetical shipping company.
As I chatted with some of them after the session, and listened in on some of their video testimonials, the words I heard most often were "eye-opening", "outstanding" and "insightful".
On Monday and Tuesday, I worked on the expo floor and showed off our cool new ISM Simulator video game. The game allowed users to experience various issues affecting service management and corporate profitability in a simulated organization. At the ped, I got great feedback from customers and partners, who, by virtue of playing the game, were able to get a better grasp of the sometimes abstract concepts of service management.
You can play the IBM Service Management Mission game here.
All in all, it was a great conference, and stay tuned for the video from the workshop!
We didn't waste too much time with closing the deal on July 20th, 2010 and then cut to January 25th of this year and we announced Tivoli EndPoint Manager, built on BigFix technology (Announcement Letter: 211-048) would be electronically available on February 01.
There's a great press release that gives a high-level view of what this offering is all about (also on PRNewswire) and Angela Reese wrote a great blog about it as well.
Basically, this solution allows customers to manage and secure physical and virtual endpoints.
IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager solution is positioned as the endpoint lifecycle management engine for integrated solutions that enforce efficient configuration compliance, optimize change management processes, and enable a self-request software management service for the end users.
IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager solution monitors and enforces security and compliance at the enterprise endpoints, providing a single management platform for endpoint security and compliance.
Together with other IBM security offerings such as the Tivoli Access Manager for Enterprise Single Sign On, the IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager solution provides comprehensive endpoint management and access control.
If you're coming to Pulse (and if you're reading this blog, you really should be coming to Pulse), you'll hear about this solution in a few of our sessions as well as be able to see it in the expo center.
And if you can't wait, here's a good whitepaper with more information.
All you have to do is create an original video that describes how your Tivoli software products have helped your company solve a problem, improve performance or deliver business value.
No, you won't be eligible for the 2011 Academy Award nominations (not even for documentaries), but you will be eligible to win an Apple iPad, iTouch, iPod Nano, $100 gift check, or $50 gift check.
Get started today - the deadline for contest submissions is August 16th. Winners will be announced on September 21st. (You may want to start thinking about what you're gonna wear). In the meantime, you'll want to read this article with the contest details.
But be forewarned - Hollywood may come a-callin'...you may need to get yourself an agent.
Signing off for now, Your friendly roving Integrated Service Management Reporter
As businesses and governments continue to develop and design products and services that are increasingly interconnected, IBM is working with clients to help them build the competencies to manage these products in smarter ways. This week at Innovate, the Tivoli and Rational teams, delivered several sessions to the agenda that demonstrated to the software developers, clients, and business partners how to design develop, deploy an manage smarter products by linking development and operations using Cloud technology. I was thrilled to see the level of interest and enthusiasm from the audience for Integrated Service Management. Many of the sessions were standing room only, including the track kickoff, which had to be moved to a larger room! Sessions that were not SRO were also very popular with nearly full rooms.
We were lucky to capture Bala Rajararaman, Tivoli Distinguished Engineer and Top Gremlin-Buster, along with Moe Abdula from Tivoli Development, who shared their passion for Smarter Products and Services by integrating the tools, processes and data of development and operations.
Today's software architects must do so much more than just build, deliver and manage...they must innovate. Increasingly, IT is charged with enabling business and seizing new opportunities to create unique, competitive advantages for the business through a more responsive and cost-effective delivery of IT services.
A tall order, for sure, but have no fear! Your ticket to learning just how you can do this is at Innovate 2010 - the premier software systems and services event; specifically, by attending the Integrated Service Management track. This track will demonstrate how you can effectively utilize information, assets and technology across the service lifecycle by integrating tools, processes and functions across enterprise architecture, development, testing and IT operations teams.
This track will also shine the spotlight on how IBM Rational, the platform for software delivery, is linked with IBM Tivoli, the platform for service management...and how organizations can incorporate Integrated Service Management throughout all phases of the service lifecycle, creating robust processes for producing innovative products and services and making those processes as efficient and cost-efficient as possible.
Hmmm...sounds like a can't miss event to me! Check out this article to learn more about Integrated Service Management at Innovate 2010 - and how linking IT development and IT operations can help drive down costs and drive up efficiency in exactly the ways organizations need most - to innovate best. Register today!
Signing off for this week, Your friendly roving Integrated Service Management reporter
Brian Bryson is the lead for Pulse 2010 track, Quality Management for Applications & Services. I talked with him to find out what kind of proposals he is hoping to see and I’ve included his comments below.
Re: Content Any type of content that addresses the federation or unification of development and operations teams would be great. We want to hear about what organizations have done to bridge the gap between these teams.
We believe there are great gains to be had in better aligning development, testing and operations i.e. better quality and faster delivery of new products and services, faster problem resolution and improved business flexibility. We’re interested in presentations that talk about:
Product integrations and how to streamline the workflow between test inventory, discovery, and provisioning
Tools and processes to accelerate testing--Development has depended more on manual processes while operations has been using automated tools and processes. We hope to see presentations that talk about how clients have automated or plan to automate processes in order to get software and services out faster, resolve problems faster and get operations to work better with development—anything that automates, improves, and accelerates the process from build and testing to running and managing applications.
Technologies, strategies, tips and best practices that help development and operations work together to deliver services and resolve problems faster
This is the first time Rational has had significant presence at Pulse, so we’re looking for a broad array of development topics—case studies, tips and tricks, process and strategy, and overview presentations—that will help operations professionals better understand and appreciate the challenges of software and service development. This kind of understanding will help create tighter integration across teams which will result in faster repair and replacement cycles, higher quality services, and faster delivery time.
Re: Who are good candidates for submitting abstracts? We are looking for a good mixture of customer presentations. That’s our number one priority. The customers are living with and addressing the daily challenges of service delivery and upkeep and we would like to hear how they have tackled those challenges.
Business partners also are great candidates. They are out there working with the tools and forming the bridge between IBM and the customer. They have a great depth of experience and a unique perspective. We would like to hear more about the challenges they have addressed.
We would also like to hear from the developers behind the tools. This is a great opportunity to connect the customers with the people building the tools to share information and ideas that will help make the tools better.
Re: What makes a good presentation What I think makes a great proposal is being able to say up front, “At the end of this presentation, the audience will walk away knowing this.”
A gold star presentation tells the before and after--here was our situation, here’s what didn’t work, here’s what we did, here are the measured net results. It wraps the story up with quantifiable proof i.e. it took two weeks less to produce a patch fix, or the cycle time for new applications was reduced by 20%.
A short, well structured presentation with a clearly stated purpose or exit criteria is what we’re looking for.
Re: Benefits of submitting an abstract for Pulse Just being present in community of practitioners-- developers, partners, clients, people using the tools—is a huge benefit. Speaking invites collaboration. When you present, you get a seat at the table. It improves your stature in the community and you get feedback from your peers, industry experts and the developers behind the tools—and, as you all know, it never hurts to have the Email address for the guy who developed the tool you are using!
For MSP's, IBM is providing a bundle of services and support in the way of marketing skills, technical expertise and financing options. On the marketing side, MSP's will have the ability to better target their customers and generate demand for their services through IBM education that includes topics such as developing effective marketing plans and exploiting the burgeoning social media space. Additionally, MSP's can sell IBM SmartCloud services under their own brand names. On the technical side, MSP's will have access to four new "Centers of Excellence" (located in China, Japan, Germany; and New York City) where they can collaborate with IBM technical experts to build their cloud services, and connect with other IBM ISV's. In terms of funding their efforts, IBM announced a financing offer which includes 12-month, 0% loans for IBM Systems, Storage and Software, and allows MSP's to defer payments for up to 90 days.
For end-users in the SMB space who often lack the necessary IT skills, this is a great opportunity to leverage local technology providers and take advantage of a cost effective "pay-as-you-go" model that cloud computing affords them. In addition, end-users will have the confidence of knowing that the services provided were built on an IBM platform.
Finally, for IBM, this is a great opportunity to expand its cloud ecosystem, and leverage the growing population of MSP's, who are continuing to gain traction in the cloud computing space for SMB's.
One statement: simultaneously reassuring and terrifying.
Firstly it’s reassuring because anything that works towards the realisation that development and operation are not really separated by any kind of wall has to be a good thing. Of course there are different areas of focus at different times in the life of a service but they all should have the same aim – delivering what is needed in best possible way. We already all knew that, it is so obviously sensible that who would vote against it? The equally obvious fact that we then don’t do it is one for the psychologists and later blogs, but does lead me into my other reaction:-
The horror that we should be 50+ years into IT services before this seems important to enough for people to give a trendy name. How on earth have we survived this long without a “collaborative and productive relationship” between the people who build something and the people who operate it? And bear in mind both those groups are doing it for the same customer (in theory anyway).
To be fair to IT people though, perhaps this is an obligatory engineering practice we have picked up. Who remembers the days when getting your car repaired was unrelated to buying it? You bought it in the clean and shiny showroom at the front of the dealer, took it to the oily shed around the back if it broke. One of the things that has seen a step-change in the car industry – and is also changing ours and most others – is the realisation that we are now all delivering services and not products. So we are finally realising that long term usability and value is what defines success, not a shiny new – but fragile – toy. In fact, thinking of toys we all recall the gap between expectation and delivery of our childhood toys – the fancy and expensively engineered product that broke by Christmas evening compared to the cheap and solid – be it doll or push along car – that lasted until we outgrew it.
The car industry saw that happen – and we now have companies leading their adverts with a promise of lifetime car driving with their latest vehicles – with the mould really having been broken by Asian manufacturers offering 5 year unlimited mileage warranties. That was about selling a self-controlled transport service instead of a car – and really that is what most of us want. Amazing strides taking place on that front, of course, being taken by companies like Zipcar who have thought simply enough to see there is no absolute link between that service (self controlled transport) and car ownership. (Some of us want other things from a car of course – but that just leads us into the key first step of any successful service, know what your customer(s) want.)
Why I get so interested in all this is its basically what I’ve been saying for the last 20 years – my big advantage is that I came into IT from a services environment (I worked in a part of our organisation called ‘services group’) – and I never really understood why IT needed such a large and artificial wall between build and do. ITIL was (in large part) set up to try and break down the walls – initially an attempt to set up serious best practices and methodologies within operations to match what was already alive and well in development (hence the original name of the project – GITIMM, to mirror SSADM).
So … what am I saying? Please take devops seriously if that is what is needed to get better services. The complexity we need to address now means we have to stop maintaining any practices that prevent good ongoing service design and delivery. If giving it a name and a structure helps then let’s go there.
One of the things I am most proud about in the books I have contributed to is that we made up a fancy name for something good people already did (in our case early Life Support) – the intention was to give it profile and then people would add it to job roles and actually start to plan for it and then, finally, do it better.
Of course that brings with it the chance of looking like the emperor in his new clothes once you examine the detail and originality too carefully. But that’s good too – clever and original usually = doesn’t work too well at first. Solid old common sense (eventually) seems to me to offer a much firmer foundation to build on.
We need good foundations because the situation is actually a lot more complicated than we pretend – multiple customers, other stakeholders, users, operations as users – enough for a dozen more blogs, a handful of articles and a book. So … I’d better get on writing – and maybe so should you?
 Seems so to me anyway – the Delphic oracle was widely believed, responsibility free and most of those who used it didn’t understand where the knowledge came from.
Would be something not called "RFE." Why? Where'd you think I was going with that?"
Seriously. The Request For Enhancements (RFE) is a new thing we're doing with some of our Tivoli products where not only can you create your own RFE, but you can comment on ones submitted by other customers.
You'll notice a trend of all sorts of new stuff we're announcing that are centered around building our community up with you; our customers.
It started out a bit frenetic and confusing. Nobody knew what to do or where to go, and panic seemed to set in every time the loud horn blared, indicating another failure had occurred.
No, I wasn't attending a Green Mountain Derby Dames roller derby tournament.
Rather, I was present at an ISM Simulator Workshop session in Washington DC.
My role was to videotape the workshop, with the intent of scaling it down into a 2-3 minute snippet that captures the essence of the session. And as I observed the 16 participants in 'Round 1', it all started to make sense.
The participants were playing the roles of employees at a hypothetical shipping company. They were broken out into four teams, representing four different parts of the company - senior management, line of business owners, service desk personnel
and technical services.
On the screen at the front of the room was a birds-eye projection of the company, including a series of dashboards and schedules, which provided the participants with essential real-time information such as service level data, shipments completed, locations where outages were occurring, and the amount of money that the company was making (or losing!) at any given moment.
The goal of the 'game' was to maximize profits for the company in the face of systems that were continuously breaking down. To do so, each team had to establish its own processes, and effectively collaborate with the other teams so as to create an efficient overall system.
The first round was anything but efficient, as the teams tried desperately to get their own houses in order while they watched all the missed shipments, unresolved outages, and lost revenue on the screen. The sense of frustration was obvious, but the group pressed on.
At the end of the round, the facilitator conducted an assessment of the business by reviewing bottom line data with the group, and discussed best and worst practices that the teams had implemented. Clearly, there was a better way to run this business, and the group was determined to figure it out in short order.
Somewhere in the middle of Round 2, I began to sense that the group was turning the corner. There were a lot more 'aha" moments, a lot less shouting across the room, flip charts were being utilized, and there seemed to be a great deal of relevant information being shared across the different teams.
After three hours and three rounds, the group was both exhausted and exhilarated. They were able to implement an efficient process that yielded a positive bottom line.
But more importantly, they now had a much more tangible understanding of the role that Service Management plays in aligning IT with the business.
I had a chance to interview several of the participants after the session, and they were all effusive in their praise for the workshop. Clearly, the workshop far exceeded their expectations, and they were anxious to share their experience, and apply some of the best practices at their own organizations.
As a new member of the ISM marketing team, the workshop was also a great experience for me. Besides meeting some very interesting IBM customers and partners, I now have a much firmer grasp of the value of Service Management.
Incidentally, we will be running a simulator workshop for customers at Pulse on Sunday, February 27th. If you are interested in attending, please contact David Ojalvo as soon as possible, because seating is limited to the first 20 respondents.
If you are not able to get with us at Pulse, fear not...the ISM Simulator Workshop is portable in nature, and can be hosted at any customer site for a group of your employees. It's a great educational and team building exercise! For more information on this, visit our web page, and contact your local sales rep.
Festive jingles of December are already
here reminding us how quickly the year 2010 has flown off, with 2011 being just
a few days away. As I leave behind 2010, I would like to label it as one of my
most memorable years, mainly, because I became one of the employees of IBM, the
company which I’ve always admired for its rich history, innovative present and
a smart future.
December is also a month to plan
New Year’s resolutions and start executing them from Jan 1st; some
work some fail. I would want my 2011 to be a year of success, happiness and
satisfaction so that when it ends I can proudly say, “Yes, I did it”.
This, however, is on a personal
level but when ‘I’ becomes ‘We’, as in Organizations, how do we work out our
resolutions? I guess the perfect management of
service/asset/resource/information/time in a smartest possible way would top
When I say this, I feel happy
that I’m associated with the Organization which is leading the world in
providing smarter solutions with its varied products.
To be precise, as a Client
Reference Specialist* for Tivoli, I feel
proud to be associated with Tivoli Software-the service management brand of IBM
software group without which IBM Smarter Planet
strategy is incomplete, as Tivoli provides much of the software to facilitate
the management of all the smart processes, networks and grids that will bring
the smart strategy to completion. Tivoli Case Studies for Smarter Planet give an interesting insight on how IBM is successfully
providing smarter solutions to various sectors of economy.
Well, I’m yet to put on my
thinking hat and zero in on some of the smartest possible resolutions for the New
Year. If you’ve already done yours, how smart are your New Year’s Resolutions? Let’s
Think and comment below :-)
Matt Holitza is managing the Pulse 2010 track--Change Management for Applications and Services. I talked with him about the kinds of proposals he would like to see and have included his comments below.
What are some hot topics in the area of Change Management for Applications and Services? We’re looking for presentations that show how consolidation of change management across development and operations can allow teams in both organizations to collaborate together to rapidly produce high quality products and services.
We’d also like to see stories about solutions that improve automation of application deployment to help support more rapid, less error-prone delivery of new applications.
In addition, we hope to include presentations that provide insights about application and service development. The Pulse audience will be primarily made up of operations professionals. The more we can educate and share information about development best practices, the easier it will be to build bridges with operations. We would like to see Pulse attendees go home and talk about how to improve alignment across development, test and operations to simplify the deployment of high-quality products, applications and services.
What are the benefits of speaking at Pulse? The benefits of speaking at Pulse are many. Sharing information with your peers is invaluable—not only will you enhance your profile with your fellow practitioners; you will also gain insights about changes processes and solutions that will help you more effectively react to customer needs and deliver better quality software. In addition, you will hear first hand how automation can help you improve the efficiency of team and speed time to market. You will also receive a full conference pass ($1,995 value).
Who would make a good candidate? We hope to hear from customers, partners, product managers, IBM Global Business Services, distinguished engineers, and anyone with cross product implementation stories. Presentations with documented benefits resonate well with our attendees.
What kinds of products will be featured? Some of the product pairings that will be highlighted in the Change Management for Applications and Services track include:
Rational Asset Manager and Tivoli Change and Configuration Manager (CCMDB)
Tivoli Service Request Management, Rational Team Concert, and Rational ClearQuest
Rational Test Lab Manager, Tivoli Provisioning Manager, and Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager
Rational Build Forge, Tivoli Provisioning Manager, and Rational Automation Framework for WebSphere
How can I learn more? Visit the Pulse 2010 Call for Papers page to learn more about proposal requirements and how to submit your proposal.
Tivoli Foundations Application Manager offers turn-key performance and availability monitoring for mid-market companies. It allows them to restore a service that is experiencing performance and/or availability problems with the shortest mean time to recovery possible.
Tivoli Foundations Application Manager also delivers real-time information allows an organization to visualize service performance and health across their network, server, middleware and application components enabling them to effectively manage risk and improve service quality.
Tivoli Foundations Application Manager helps clients optimize their resource allocation and reduce cost by giving them the ability to identify underutilized resources and reallocate them to support new business operations. At the same time, risk is reduced by anticipating resource over-utilization and generating proactive events and reports against resources that do not have the capacity to address growing business needs.
Tivoli Foundations Application Manager comes with out-of-the box best practice monitoring policies that track IT Infrastructure health against pre-defined thresholds. This allows organizations to quickly and proactively identify and respond to problems and issues before critical applications and customers are impacted. Overall service is improved by restoring the service or application that is experiencing performance problems with the shortest mean time to recovery possible using autonomic capabilities to fix problems before human intervention is even needed. Reducing problem determination time decreases cost and allows organizations to spend more resources focusing on business innovation and creating competitive advantage.
IBM Tivoli Foundations Service Manager
Tivoli Foundations Service Manager provides service desk capabilities that allow mid-size companies to handle help desk calls, track problems, and make changes that prevent existing problems without creating new ones. It also provides a self-service, searchable knowledge base that delivers fast answers to common IT problems.
In addition, Tivoli Foundations Service Manager delivers dashboards that provide real-time performance views and out-of-the box content including workflows, templates, key performance indicators (KPIs), queries and reports targeted for mid-size clients.
The Tivoli Foundations Service Manager appliance-based service desk solution helps mid-market clients reduce their costs by optimizing the productivity of operations personnel through its built-in problem solving tools, providing operations a way to increase the efficiency of its service support functions. The robust self-help portal which is populated with best practice resolutions to common problems, gives end-users a way to quickly resolve problems on their own without having to involve any additional personnel.
Managing risk is key to small and mid-market clients that have extremely limited IT skills in-house. The Tivoli Foundations Service Management solution ensures process compliance by integrating standards-based incident and problem management processes resulting in a repeatable and consistent service support process.
Tivoli Foundations Service Manager delivers streamlined standards-based incident and problem management processes that enable rapid service restoration and improved overall service quality. It provides real-time visibility to end users on priority, urgency, and impact of problems, incidents, and service requests. These built-in survey capabilities allow organizations to track and trend overall end-user satisfaction with their operations and creates a closed loop environment where overall service quality can continually be improved.
Greetings! Today kicks off the series opener, Service Management in an Uncertain Economy with Gartner VP and ex-IBMer David Williams and Tivoli GM Al Zollar. 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. ET; 16:00 - 17:00 GMT Audience: service management and asset management practitioners Sign up by 11 a.m. ET:http://bit.ly/m5Uot
Outside-in-Design teams gotta love you: "Until we learn to manage the applications in the same way they are used, that is from the customer's perspective, we will continue to struggle with the reputation of IT as being a stumbling block to business instead of a driver of business."
So, how about Cloud computing? This is top of mind lately as I've been working on the launch of the new Cloud computing community
What role does something as historically old school as System z have to play in this big, bright new world?
The following article was written by Cameron Allen, Pierre Coyne and Beth Sarnie and is the second in our OSLC series.
In fact, if you were at Pulse 2012...you heard how IBM Watson will be used to help doctors diagnose medical conditions and improve patient care at WellPoint.
For those of you, like myself, that don’t have a Watson-like recollection, here’s a quick flashback detailing a millisecond in Watson's brain on a sample patient:
Watson is given specific information on a patient’s symptoms, and makes a preliminary diagnosis of the flu as the most likely illness.
Based on the unique patient's name, Watson looks up records of the patient's history for the past few years, providing new insights that point to the better possible cause of, for example, a Urinary Tract Infection.
Based on the patient's family connections, Watson is able to use the family history to derive that the mostly likely cause is now diabetes.
And finally, Watson is able to access a patient’s latest tests to derive a final diagnosis.
If you're in the business of IT, this may sound a lot like incident management. And as any level 1 support person can attest, diagnosing the root cause of an incident is much like diagnosing a patient's condition. You need information from multiple sources (e.g. service desk, license, CMDB, monitoring, and asset management systems), but more importantly, it has to be in context, up to date, and delivered in a timely basis to make an accurate diagnosis of the root cause.
The problem has always been that an incident manager, like a doctor, has to jump between tools, entering requests in each system for the right information...and that is time consuming. In some cases, information isn't readily available and must be requested from other sources, not under their direct control.
One of the ways Watson is able to be such a great diagnostician (and incident manager) is through "linked data," which allows it to seek out and find related information on the patient from multiple sources in a fraction of a second to facilitate faster, more accurate patient diagnosis.
Until now, an incident manager did not have this same luxury.
That's where Jazz for Service Management comes in. Jazz is IBM's realtime platform for integrating management across multivendor tools, and across service lifecycle processes and functions. Like Watson, Jazz for service management uses principles of linked data, along with community standards (including OSLC) to support Watson-like service management decisions, regardless of what vendor tools you have in place.
The following article was written by Cameron Allen, Pierre Coyne and Beth Sarnie and is the second in our OSLC series.
In non-acronym speak, what I'm saying is that the future of service management has arrived in the form of Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration.
But, what is OSLC and what does it have to do with you?
If you are a user of service management tools of any kind, or rely on information from tools to do your job, then you probably know that finding the right information is half the battle, and getting realtime access to that information when it is not under your direct control can feel next to impossible.
OSLC means you can now leverage the simplicity and ease of web links to both find and share information across your management tools (be they IBM, or any vendor tools).
Just as web pages can be linked on the Internet, data can be linked together from one application to another – creating an application ecosystem where applications don't care what vendor they're from. They look up who has the data in a directory, and jump right to it.
OSLC is not something new, and Tivoli is not the first to adopt it for integration. If you're an IBM Rational user, you may already be a believer. IBM Rational, its users, and an extensive ecosystem of partners have been using OSLC to successfully interconnect the application lifecycle for years.
In fact, Rational Jazz is the realization of OSLC community specifications and shared services in an open platform that anyone can use to interconnect the application lifecycle. Rational just delivered their 4th incarnation of the integrated product offering called Collaborative Lifecycle Management based on Jazz.
Tivoli is now leveraging these same principles to help break down silos of information across the end-to-end service lifecycle. That means expanding the notions behind Jazz from service design and development to now include service delivery and management. We call this Jazz for Service Management.
Take for example, problem management. In order to diagnose and resolve a given trouble ticket, the problem information must be gathered and aggregated from multiple sources. We may need information pertaining to the application topology, the health of a system within that topology, outages or events that may be affecting the application, the CPU utilization, the versions and configurations of the hardware and software that this application is dependent upon. I could go on...
The problem is that all of this information lives in different places. You can either call around to the various owners of that information, or you pay a business partner to learn the API of the tool in order to get to the data, or you can have a highly skilled, in-house resource write the integration. These options require extensive expertise in vendor-specific APIs and lots of maintenance to keep them current.
OSLC utilizes community defined specifications for sharing and linking data applied to specific service management scenarios so that in a critical outage scenario, all relevant information relating to that outage can be accessed in real time from any number of sources, displayed in the context of that problem, in a single integrated view, with related actions that can be taken.
The difference is simplicity. You might be able to do this this now with a lot of experts and time but OSLC delivers simplicity.
And, most importantly, because OSLC uses community specifications for service management scenarios, integrations can be built once and applied across multiple 'related' OSLC-enabled tools. "Write-once, Apply-many."
For more information, listen to this podcast on the Tivoli User Community. This podcast provides a deeper insight into the next generation of service management built using linked data.
Also, at Pulse 2012 (video link), developerWorks' Scott Laningham is joined by Don Cronin, program director, Tivoli Technical Strategy and Architecture; and Mike Kaczmarski, IBM Fellow and Tivoli Chief Integration Architect to discuss the Magic of linked data.
Leave your comments on how you are using OSLC in your organization below and don't forget to follow us on Twitter @servicemgmt and be sure to bookmark our OSLC story on Storify.
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.
I recently discovered ANOTHER great resource for IBM Business Partners. The IBM "Ready To Execute" initiative, which was originally launched internally to improve the quality of our marketing campaigns and drive higher quality leads, has been extended to Business Partners. In a nutshell, Ready to Execute is a web-based model that provides the foundation and all the elements for launching an effective marketing campaign, including multi-touch e-mails, telemarketing scripts, digital strategies, and compelling offers.
As I began researching all the specifics of the program for our Business Partners, I stumbled upon a blog post from one of my colleagues in Software Group, Jacqi Levy, who has done a fabulous job of summarizing the benefits of the program, as well as providing a great overview on how Business Partners can get started on launching a campaign. Nicely done, Jacqi!
Today we trust computers – literally and
unconsciously with our very lives. I was reflecting on this level of trust when
I got £50 of cash out from my local ATM and declined the offer of a receipt.
Seems I now have total faith the computer systems will ‘get it right’. I’ve
come a long way from keeping all my own cheque books to cross check against
later bank statements.
Now, combining that faith with a little
healthy British cynicism, and triggered by watching the Olympics tennis finals on
TV, a mischievous but irresistible thought came to my mind.
It used to be that when a ball hit the
ground near the line we relied on the human eye to say whether it was ‘in’ or
‘out’. That caused disagreements and discussion – and - in tennis often -
sulking, swearing and the full range of petulant behaviour.
Nowadays that is all replaced by
referencing the technology. When there is doubt – or one of the players
questions a call - then we simply ask the computers. What we get then is a neat
little picture representing the appropriate lines on the court and a blob
showing where the ball had hit. So, problem solved: disappointment still for
one player but, so it seems, total acceptance that the computer is right. After
all it is an expensive system working away inside a very expensive box – must
be right, mustn’t it. Or to put it another way ‘computer says in’, who would
But what occurred to me is this. All we can
actually see is some boxes around the court, and a stylised display with a blob
on it. That could be delivered by one person with a tablet showing the court
lines and them touching the screen where they think it landed. Very cheap and
still solves all the arguments because – naturally – everyone trusts technology
Now – of course, and before anyone calls
their lawyers – I am not suggesting for the merest moment that there is the
slightest possibility of such a thing happening. But it’s fun to think it might
be possible. There is little public awareness of what accuracy the system – and
here I presume it does really exist – works to. If you dig around on the web
you can find out (the answer by the way for tennis is 3.6mm). You also find out
there is some very minor grumbling and questioning going on. But that seem at
geek level – in everyday use the audience stands instantly convinced.
So, thinking it through there are a couple
of interesting consequences to real IT life:
Once you realise that trust depends on quality of presentation
at least as much as on accuracy, should you focus more on that? Certainly
you have to take presentation seriously, because the corollary is that if you
deliver perfection but don’t make it look good, then no-one will believe
it even though you are right.
Whose responsibility is it to check – and is it even possible? I
suspect this discussion will take us into the territory of ‘governance’. But
even before we get there it implies that User Acceptance Testing needs to
do more than look at things. Of course yours does, doesn’t it?
I guess my big issue is to wonder how
comfortable we are – as the deliverers of the technological solutions for our
customers – and especially our users - to have such blind faith. Of course,
people being the irrational things they undoubtedly are, that blind faith in
the detail is often accompanied by a cynical disregard for overall competence –
think faith in ATMs and on-line bank account figures with the apparent level of
trust in the banking industry as a whole.
As a little codicil to the story, I registered
with anew doctor yesterday – the nurse asked me questions, took blood pressure
etc and loaded all the data she collected into a computer. The system was
clearly ancient, with a display synthesising what you typically got on a DOS3.0
system. First thought: ‘OMG why are they using such old software, that can’t be
good? Second thought: ‘They’ve obviously been using it for years, so they
really understand it, have ironed out all the bugs and it does what they need. It
ain’t broke so they aren’t fixing it’. But my instinctive reaction of suspicion
of it for not being pretty was there and I had to consciously correct myself.
Would you as a service provider prefer more
questioning of what you package up and present to your customers and users, or
are you happy to have that faith? My own view is that the more blind faith they
have in you, the more the retribution will hurt if things do go wrong. Or
perhaps that’s just me being cynical again?
I’ve had a recent burst of situations where things just seem to be difficult for no obvious reason, and maybe that has made me even more cynical than usual - yes, it is, just about, possible. My first assumption – of course – is that these are yet more examples of bad service management. Each is one more case of services not being matched to customer requirements, but then maybe a sneaking suspicion creeps in: are they really deliberately designed to deliver what the real customer wants, rather than the apparent one (or user as ITIL might call them).
Of course we have all experienced this to some extent: the complaints department that is very hard to contact, with a premium rate phone number and an interminable set of IVR choices before you can get anywhere near a real person – all costing you £1.75 a minute to listen to. Typically we give up in disgust just after we have spent more on the phone call than we spent on the product we are trying to complain about. While the first thought is that the supplier hasn’t thought through how they need to be contactable, second thought makes you realise that they don't want people being able to complain easily. And if you have an angry customer who is unlikely to buy more from you, then you might as well make what money you can out of them calling you to complain and tell you they won’t buy any more. So maybe this is actually clever design – to meet the primary customer’s requirement?
Sometimes you just aren’t sure – I was also watching someone applying for a visa – for a well known country in North America. It reminded me very much of the classic customer complaints system I just outlined. Rather confusing instructions, no web-based option to book an appointment – only telephone at £1.23 per minute (plus ‘network extras’ whatever they might be), and then surprise, surprise a computerised voice – talking slowly - offers you some options. Appointments are issued, it seems ‘en block’ and you are warned you must queue outside, whatever the weather. Oh, and no mobile phones or any other electrical items can be taken into the building, and, no, there is no facility to leave them anywhere safe while you go in.
So, is this bad service build, or is it carefully designed to reduce the number of applicants? After all, the people who need visa are – by and large – from less affluent countries, and won’t spend that much when they get there. Could be the whole service was carefully designed to discourage.
Now I suspect the real truth is a perfectly justifiable need for security and a sensible imperative to reduce costs. But it does perhaps make you realise that it is oh so easy to get sidetracked and judge things only by what are actually the second level measures and deliverables, rather than being sure we tie everything back to our organisation’s overall visions and objectives.
It is not always as easy as it sounds – especially in large companies where day-to-day operations can be a long way from corporate targets. For example, focusing on selling widgets that work, continue to work and get fixed quickly should they fail means that you probably just focus on ensuring your direct customers are happy widgetters. Yet if the profit margin on widgets is low, the market difficult and competitive and your widgets do tend to break more often than other manufacturers’…well then the best contribution to your corporate objective of maximising shareholder return is, quite correctly, to get out of supplying widgets altogether. Even if that means abandoning your long time faithful widget customers, well, if you have got your overall prime objective right, then abandoning them is right for the company.
We see the same thing with internal services, is that travel booking service there to make it easier for you to spend the company money on travel, or is it there to make sure you only go through with it if you really need to go? If reducing costs is what the owners of that service want, then ease of use is a bad thing.
Secretly though, I suspect a lot of bad service really is just that. But – it can be a fun game to play next time you get bad service. Is it really bad, or is it targeted to drive you away because that’s what they want? Is it hard to buy something because of incompetence or because the profit margin is too low?
Next time you get awful service, maybe it is worth congratulating the service provider about their commitment to higher objectives, maybe even ask them if they would be so kind as to tell you the corporate objectives they are rigorously pursuing; so you can write to their CEO and congratulate them too on how well their staff strives to reduce unhelpful customer satisfaction. Or then again, they may not be so pleased to hear from you after all, and just leave you with an expensive IVR system to listen to.
A colleague of mine just introduced me to another great Tivoli resource for Business Partners. The Tivoli Knowledge Center is a great place for partners to get the training and skills to successfully sell, service, and become certified on our most important and strategic IBM Tivoli product lines. It includes marketing tools, as well as technical, training and sales resources.
For those partners who are new to the Tivoli family, there is a very intuitive "Getting started with Tivoli" section. For the 'seasoned veterans' who already have a relationship with Tivoli, there are quick links to sales kits, sales plays, and incentives.
One of this month's top stories will point you to the Business Partner Summit presentations from Pulse 2012. Within that page, you can find a link to the "Small Deals Equals Big Revenue" charts that were presented by Tamara Crawford and Michele Payne to an audience of about 60 partners at Pulse 2012. I was fortunate enough to attend that presentation in Vegas, and got some great insight from the presenters and the partners, who offered up a lot of great questions and comments.
The Tivoli Knowledge Center can be found within the PartnerWorld web site so feel free to share this resource with YOUR colleagues!
People seem to like a thing to be right or
wrong. Yet the older I get the more it seems to me that very few things are
totally right, and that there is rarely only one right answer to real
I was driven to these thoughts by a really good
posting on Back2ITSM from Stephen Mann about Spiderman and the Avengers. He was
concerned with things that change over time and the danger of being out of date
and therefore no longer correct. You
should read that posting – in fact if you are interested in service management
you should get already be looking at this facebook group – very much the place
Anyway, I am not going to repeat Stephen’s
words here – rather I want to follow a tangential aspect of right and wrong
that his posting triggered in my mind.
It’s just that I don’t think that right is
always an appropriate idea, and I think too many people in service management
think there is a right answer to every question. Actually, truth be told, if I
risk making it way too clear that I am a grumpy old man, then I think there is
far too much expectation of there being a right answer in most aspects of
I don’t know if commitment to that concept of
‘one right way’ is something that we are born with or something we teach our
children. I suspect the latter; certainly it is there at an early age. I recall discussions with my girls about
nursery rhymes. Several versions are around – different recordings,
publications etc inevitably with slightly different words in them. All of my
girls wanted to know which one was the ‘right’ version – certain in their own
minds that one of them must be right, and the others therefore wrong.
The more data and information we ‘enjoy access
to’, then the less chance there is of any one set being ‘right’. I have even heard as an explanation that we
now live in a scientific age – that older attitudes to life were less precise.
And yet I was taught – as a science student – that a solution is right for its
context not necessarily in an absolute sense. I recall one electronics lesson
that has always stuck in my mind and served my in very good stead in my working
life, across a whole range of service management – especially in measurement.
It hinged on the lecturer going through the
week’s assignment which involved working out the effective resistance of several
configurations of components. We had all
(and I mean all, from the clever geeks, to the lazy ones like me) worked it out
using the given resistances of each element in a frighteningly complicated
configuration, and come up with a precise effective value for the combination.
The lecturer drew it on the board, then proceeded to wipe out most elements as ‘not significant’
– left about three components and did the calculation in seconds. We all screamed ‘cheat’! He laughed, reminded
us that the stated resistance of the components is given as ±10%, so there was no point in taking
seriously anything that wouldn’t affect the answer by more than a few percent.
I spoke with the lecturer afterwards and he
admitted they did the same exercise every year to get that very point across.
The right answer is one that fits the circumstances, be that imprecise measures,
limited time, lack of profile with management or whatever situation you
establish you are in.
That lesson about being right enough for the
job is one we are losing with modern technology giving us an answer to
ridiculous precision from input that is
often little more than a guess.
That principle of knowing what is needed before
you deliver is – of course – far more universally true than just being about
measurement. But it is easily forgotten in an age that often delivers more
answers than questions.
For most of last week I was attending and –
I hope – contributing to itSMF’s international publishing meeting. This was
held in Warsaw in beautiful spring weather, while
was being blasted by wind and rain. That was nice but nowhere the most
important or most pleasurable thing that the week had to offer.
Now, first a little background, just in case
there is anyone who does not know what the itSMF is. The letters stand for IT
Service Management Forum – and that sums it up quite well: a place for those
interested in ITSM to talk, learn, teach, compare and discuss. Part of that communication
naturally involves publication – and our group focuses on that – from reviewing
others’ books through translation and dissemination to encouraging authoring
and publishing books. Crucial to its attitudes and success, itSMF is a
non-profit organisation, owned by its members.
OK, as you may imagine it is – as well as serious
working meeting – a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues of the ITSM
global village. And the active ITSM community really is like a village, except
that it spread across some 50 countries – we have all the relationships that
you would expect: friends, enemies and lots in between.
All of us have our day jobs, many of us
working for cut-throat competitors but that all gets set aside and we settle
back into our ‘all in this together’ mode. One of things that I came back from Warsaw thinking about was
that different set of attitudes we have while focused on itSMF business. Some
of that rests upon the different nature of not for profit organisations – at least
compared to the more usual owned by shareholder companies. It is hard sometimes
to make the switch, but a good lesson for anyone in the service management business
to realise the differences that do exist. Probably the best description I know
is this one: ‘Commercial companies need to do things to in order to make money;
not-for-profit organisations need to make money in order to do things’.
That makes the non-profit member owned
organisations a lot like government – and like governments today we are strapped
for cash. These are hard times and no-one has much in the way of spare money.
But we still strive to fight against what would be a sensible approach for an
organisation focused on shareholder value. We still need to deliver what the ‘right
things’. From our publishing perspective it would be tempting to look only at
safe books – rearranging established best practice into easier, shorter or
simpler reads. Instead though, everyone at our meeting sees that we need a
focus on innovation and stretching our industry.
Of course we need to be financially successful
with enough of our projects, and we have work to do on building a firm base to
take ourselves – and our industry – forwards. But I am proud that the books we
have already managed to publish contain real industry innovations and new
perspectives – both on service management as you would expect but also into wider
topics such as organisational change.
So, I came back feeling the need to write
down how much work people put in – for nothing – last week. I’m not claiming I did
that much, but lots of work was put in, and even more commitments made to keep
the momentum going and I felt that it was a few day’s work I was proud to have
been a part of and an effort worth recording
here. In some later blogs I might relate more about other aspects of the trip - like using budget airlines and the change in perspective of value that goes with that.
So – please go read about what we have
already managed (6 books published, quarterly magazine, whitepaper competition
etc.). You can find out about the books are – and read the magazines for free
by going to http://www.itsmfi.org/content/publications.
If that gets you interested in how you can get your ideas written up and out
there then get in touch. My portfolio responsibility is ‘Authoring’, so I would
love to hear from you. We are keen to find new authors, for whitepapers, books
or articles – and happy to offer any level of support you might need – from
final review through mentoring and even to co-authoring or ghost writing.
By my next blog, I will be back in successful
company mode, but it is good to remember that the commercial companies also
live in and benefit from the wider community. It is good to see that being
recognised through sponsorship and support. IBM sponsored the meeting last year - this time we had support from TSO and BTC. massive thanks to those companies. With more support next year we should have more people and achieve even more.
No trouble spotting the biggest news in
service management this week – with COBIT 5 available. I guess with both ITIL
and COBIT having released new versions over the last 12 months, that should
tell us something about the SM industry. Mostly, I think it tells us that as a
concept and topic to take seriously, service management is not going away any
But I suspect we might reading more in the
next few weeks of the ‘should I do ITIL or COBIT’ type of question. That’s a
shame, because it is still not a sensible question. Both ITIL and COBIT are
expanding their scope of course and that means more and more overlap, but I
can’t – admittedly after quick glance through only –see where any real
Of course COBIT is still a product of ISACA
and it builds upon a philosophy of control and governance. ITIL initially came from
a team set up to advise on approach rather than massive detail and that still
shows even in the 2011 version I think. And I do still believe any serious SM
profession would have both on their (electronic) bookshelf, the way a good cook
will have books by more than one cookery author on their kitchen bookshelf.
Analysing the content, requirements and
fine print can come later – and will open us up to all sorts of interpretation
and contextual adjustment. But some things hit you straight away. The core
COBIT product is available for free and takes up 685k of pdf file. The core
ITIL books cost around £300, weigh five kilos and/or take up 77.4MB of my hard
drive inside a fancy secure Adobe reader to make sure I don't pass them on to anyone
who hasn’t paid their £300. Now I know that there are lots more books around
the COBIT 5 core than give you more detail – and ISACA charges for those - but
still I must confess to liking the idea of free entry to the gig even if it
doesn’t get you that near the stage.
Putting a positive spin on the size
differential and the lack of real conflict, you can see that it shows how the
two products can be seen as complementary: COBIT’s distillation of what should
be done and structure with ITIL’s more wordy guidance.
And COBIT’s heritage shows through with several
pages on maturity assessment – great stuff for the ‘give me a number’ crew.
But maybe the most encouraging thing is the
differences that exist – the pretty clear realisation that frameworks aren’t competition
but different perspectives. Everyone in this business is really concentrating
on helping each other get better at delivering value to the customer. COBIT 5
will help so this is a good week.
Now all I need is a long flight somewhere to
give me peace and quiet to read it carefully.
It's not hardware. It's not software. It's a new category of solution; expert integrated systems.
It's one of the "game changer" solutions that our customers have come to expect from IBM (and that our partners love). It's solving very specific problems that customers have on their road to innovation.
One of those problems is built-in expertise. This is a hardware and software solution that is integrated at levels you've not seen before on a solution; giving customers and partners a simplified user experience for implementation and maangement.
IBM SmartCloud & Tivoli
To that point, you'll notice IBM PureSystems has it's own end-to-end management capabilities specific to the solution.
It does. But, for broader management challenges, IBM SmartCloud and Tivoli software will extend the investment in that IBM PureSystems solution by providing Visibility. Control. Automation(tm) across the entire IT infrastructure.
Together with IBM SmartCloud and Tivoli software, IBM PureSystems will push customers to higher levels of efficiency with their service management practice.
As you talk to your IBM sales rep or your business partner, ask them about IBM SmartCloud & Tivoli software with IBM PureSystems for your entire infrastructure and service management.
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.
Only one week to go until IBM are the key Sponsors at the Government Property Event, at the QE11 Conference Centre in London - Only one week to go until IBM are the key Sponsors at the Government Property Event, at the QE11 Conference Centre in London - http://bit.ly/GCPB1a The conference aims to help central and local government decision makers deliver a “more efficient, effective and sustainable public sector estate”, and as such, IBM will be discussing our Smarter Buildings initiative, especially discussing solutions such as IBM Tririga (a recent acquisition) and IBM Intelligent Building Management (IIBM). Attendees will be able to attend workshops (one of which IBM are running – detailed below) and network with their peers. We will be speaking during the opening plenary session - Rachel Caldicott, a Managing Consultant for IBM will take the audience through how organisations can achieve and embrace workplace flexibility - what is current good practice and where are we heading? If you are attending the event, please make sure to come and listen to the IBM Smarter Buildings experts at 13:30. Claire Penny and Joe Potter will deal with the question “ICT – Help or Hindrance?” There session will cover the 2011, UK Public Sector Property, Estates & FM Survey Report which provided great insight into the challenges facing Public Sector property managers – and what they were doing about tackling them. Challenges ranged from balancing operational requirements, with the need to demonstrate value for taxpayers’ money, to the need to manage Public Sector assets efficiently. A key finding was that Public Sector financial cutbacks were forcing 28% of Public Sector respondents to rationalise their estates to stay within budget, with 72% of respondents either reviewing or actively reducing their office accommodation. The survey also showed that, far from being a barrier to success, ICT was increasingly being seen as a means to solve problems, with over half of all respondents agreeing that ICT was not a serious issue inhibiting real estate savings but that ICT is part of the solution – not the problem. Finally, over 40% of Central and Local Government respondents are currently planning to change FM and other property service providers. All have cited that access to critical data held by their service providers is an issue. This work session will illustrate how IBM has tackled some of these issues on its own global portfolio. We will show how it is possible to extract, collect and process data within and about our buildings so that not only can the individual buildings be managed more effectively, but the overall portfolio can be sized and shaped to meet business needs. You can also talk to our experts by coming to stand 11, where we will be happy to take you through a demo of Tririga, or IIBM, and discuss the current road map with you. Please follow us throughout the day on @ibmtivoli or @RSwindell, and join in the conversation using #govprop2012 If you are not attending the event, but keen to speak to IBM about the sessions highlighted above, then please visit – www.ibm.com/smarterbuildings, email email@example.com or call on IBM on 01475898688.
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...
As I wrote last week, I am looking forward to delivering more simulations over the next weeks and months, I always enjoy the buzz of working with people rather than sitting in a lonely room hitting keys and listening to the dog snore.
I went through my technologically savvy period some years ago (back in the horse-drawn computer age). For years now I’ve felt that the biggest scope for improvement in service management is through the people part of the famous trilogy of people, process and technology.
It’s important though to be sure that we don't forget it is a trilogy – in a recent presentation I used a picture of a milking stool to make the point: three legs, if you have problems in any one of them you will fall on the floor, spill the milk and fail to do your job.
So the emphasis on people is not because we don't need the technology – it’s because there have always been plenty of people selling the technology hard in our business. And it sometimes seems to me that there are people even keener and more excited to buy it – each one as much a fashion victim as the lady horrified she’ll be spotted in last year’s shoes. But – for sure – we do need good technology. Of course, I work for a software and technology company so I would say that, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
And process is still vital – that is the first level of learning that comes from our simulation games – not knowing what needs to be done usually means you don’t do what needs doing. I remember getting excited by process when I first understood how to see and then improve them. I remember also how much better ITIL V2 was than V1 when we went ‘process focused’ – and how modern and nifty we thought we were.
But again – there is no shortage of process champions, so forgive me if I keep harping on about the people. There are more of us than there used to be pushing the importance of people. Paul Wilksinson, of course, has been – and still is – a trailblazer, although he is still obliged to play the prophet because the vast majority of our industry still needs to be converted to the simple reality; that no matter how cool your IT gadgets and software and no matter how carefully researched your process, if you don't keep the third leg – people – strong and secure then things simply won’t work.
Successful politics is called ‘The art of the possible” and I am aware we – those who believe that people factors are the biggest stumbling block to successful service management – need to play that game too. No point (yet) trying to make everyone totally people focused – our efforts through the simulators and suchlike are to at least get IT managers to realise that the quality of the services they deliver does depend on people aspects. It’s simple stuff really, like people talking to each other, finding out what things matter to them.
Strangely enough, this is the kind of thing we do well and automatically outside work, but somehow it becomes so much harder when it gets all business related – maybe we like to take sides at work, or think the office is too important a place to act human in. What is about being in the office (or Datacentre or shop floor or whatever your work looks like) that strips us of some basic level of humanity? We seem able to talk to our colleagues at work about non-work things – last nights TV or football, fashions, music etc – but not about their work wants and needs.
Of course there are exceptions – we need to capture and promote these to help us get the message across. My favourite is a reversal of the norm I just described. It is from a UKgovernment department where a cricket match between IT and Finance was being played out one evening. Due to Finance’s excellent bowling there was a hiatus since the batsmen were being dismissed faster than the next one could get the equipment on. During this pause the non-striking batsmen (from IT) was chatting about work and they solved a issue that had turned into a long running fight between managers. The managers had stood on principles and formality instead of talking about what was actually wanted. The issue was solved by these real workers getting a mutual understanding through the revolutionary approach of talking and listening to each other.
That’s what we shall be trying to do with the delegates to our simulation sessions – and in other ‘take the people seriously’ initiatives. Do you have some good stories about how much difference it makes when your people are able to understand each other’s perspectives? Be great to hear them. Be even better to catch up at one of the forthcoming simulations, or to see you at Pulse in March and we can talk – and listen - over a beer. J
 Apparently coined by Bismark, but I first heard it used by Harold Wilson in the 1960s
Well, we are well into 2012 now and we have just about got though the ‘my predictions for 2012’ phase and in to ordinary routines again. Whatever the predictions, like with most years I predict that 2012 will look a lot like an older version of 2011.
There is still talk of recession, companies that struggled for funding in 2011 are no richer, Cloud is still talked about by a lot more people than understand it.
On a personal level 2012 has already delivered some of the improvements planned in 2011 – and I hope the same will happen workwise. Next major thing on my work horizon is IBM’s big service management show – Pulse. Back again at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas we are promised it will be bigger and better than ever. I understand that bigger is important in as Vegas but I am usually even keener on better. Actually though, to be fair I am delighted that ‘my bit’ at Pulse looks like being bigger this year – with not one but two chances to deliver the cloud-readiness simulator on the weekend before the show itself starts. In fact there will be a strong focus on simulator this year with our team being on the exhibition floor to explain what, why and how they can help you.
Of course – like I implied above – this isn’t exactly new, but it is proven. Of course there will be lots of new stuff available – geeks welcomed and catered for. The technologists will – of course – be well catered for with lots of ‘future possibles’ and indeed a vision of some possible futures too. But service management’s primary focus is not on what might happen next year; it has always been about delivering value this year. In fact one of my favourite aspects of service management is how it rests on widely applicable principles, even though how they are applied might alter. For example, while change management processes in a cloud environment might need different considerations to make them most effective –the basics remain. I was working in service management long before I ever touched a computer. I remain constantly delighted to discover that lessons learned 30 years ago in supply and transport are still relevant to the 21stcentury IT based services we manage today.
So, if you are going to be at Pulse come along and tell me whether you agree that old-fashioned service concepts are still valuable – or come and explain why dinosaurs like me should be swept away by the meteor strike that is cloud. Either way – at Pulse or elsewhere – I look forward to good, informed and enjoyable debates. Good to think of the new year building on the successes of the old – at home and at work.
 If you follow me on twitter - @ivormacf - you will know where and when I will be in terms of events. Useful, whether you want to know how to find or to avoid me – same thing works both ways.
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?
IOD 2011 is just around the corner, and it should be no surprise that I was psyched to learn that Washington correspondent and anchor for BBC News Katty Kay is hosting the conference.
Full disclosure: I drive a Mini Cooper, I watch Doctor Who and I follow Neil Gaiman on Twitter.
So, yeah. I was also excited to see that she's going to be on stage with great IBM speakers like Jeff Jonas, Robert LeBlanc, Mike Rhodin and Steve Mills.
As if that wasn't enough (and there are a bunch of other IBM speakers not listed), guest speakers Mike Lewis and Billy Beane will also be there. Mike Lewis wrote the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game and Billy Beane is the VP and General Manager of the Oakland Athletics (the subject of the book).
I know, right? It's a pretty great group of speakers.
Having attended IOD in the past, it's a great show that I know that customers and business partners are going to get a lot of value out of.
Tivoli will be at IOD, and we're looking to meet customers such as yourself who are attending the conference. Here's a list of where you can find us:
IBM Tivoli Ped (Booth 101-04): IBM Tivoli/Predictive Analytics for IT and Service Management
IBM System z Software (aka, System z Zone): OMEGAMON for z/OS Management Suite (Booth 105-05) and System z as Enterprise Security Hub (Booth 105-06)
Smarter Computing Zone (Booth 101 and Booth 515)
IBM Expo Theater (Booth 001): October 24, 05:30 - 06:00 - Consolidated Data and Application Security Management (Session: ISA-4198A)
October 25, 11:15-12:15: Securing Your Mainframe Virtual and Cloud Services With Enhanced IBM zSecure Suite (Session 4153A - Mandalay Bay North Convention Center - Mariners B)
October 25, 2:30-5:45: Predictive Business Service Management Leveraging Performance & Capacity (Session 4142A - Mandalay Bay South Convention Center - South Seas D)
October 25, 4:30-5:45: Security & zSecure at Mariners B – Mandalay Bay North Convention Center (Session #4097A)
We have a website with more details and of course you can follow the conversation on Twitter #iod11 and watch the general sessions on the Livestream.
...and speaking of Las Vegas and IBM Conferences. The Pulse 2012 call for speakers deadline is fast approaching (November 7). See Jen's Pulse blog for the details on how you can submit a session proposal.
Today’s post is brought to you by Veronica Shelley, Product Marketing
Manager, IBM Security Solutions.
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I am just back from a week working in Tokyo. For someone who
writes as much as I do about the need to understand customer culture and how
that affects expectations, it is always a good lesson to visit Japan, where the
culture is about as different (from where I normally work) as you get within
the service management world. (Of course culture does get even more different in,
say, certain Amazonian tribes or a primary school playground, but with little
formal ITIL adoption there as yet, Tokyo
is my extreme of difference.)
Although the shadow of the tsunami and very
real loss to the community endures, the human spirit carries on and people
still laugh and enjoy life. One of the pleasant surprises is how universal
humour can be. It is also easy to forget how quickly people’s behaviour adapts
and copies from those around them. You really only notice the extent to which
you adapt when you get back home. For example it took me a while to stop bowing
to people and also to stop smiling at people in the street, restaurants etc –
or certainly to stop expecting them to smile back.
I also got used to things that I would
expect not to cope with easily. Specifically after the first day or so I was no
longer bothered by how much my room on the 16th floor shook when one
of the steady stream of aftershocks wobbled Tokyo. That reminded me of how worryingly
quickly I had got used to seeing young men with machine gums patrolling the
streets while working in Belfast
in 1992. Seems we absorb new technology just as quickly, and it takes very
little time for what seemed new and so different to become everyday life.
People as old as me can remember life without a mobile phone, but already I
find it hard to recall how it felt to be out of contact whenever out of the house or office, let alone that it didn’t bother me to be unreachable.
But coping without things you have got used
to does happen – and it is clear there are some very direct lessons for service
management in Tokyo
today. Obviously in the light of their unfortunate experience and need for disaster
recovery and business continuity they are well placed to be the source of most
of the case studies for the next few years. It may well be a long time before
even the immediate effects stop being so visible – there is an obligation for a
15% reduction in electricity consumption that looks set to last a long while.
That kind of thing has so many knock-on effects you quickly realise how
dependent we are on technology. Not only because it is a shock to go back to
old ways – and waving a fan may be an ancient Japanese tradition but it much less
effective than air conditioning; but because we depend on so much that cannot
function without the technological infrastructure. The power reduction of 15%
has to applied carefully, because so many things – like data centre power –
must be maintained. So the power for things that drive mere comfort is hit very
hard – very little cooling in offices and, for example, my hotel had turned off
That made me think of just how complex our
everyday infrastructures have become, with so much more than electricity on our
critical list. It perhaps should be acompulsory occasional exercise to think through just how many things we
presume will be available – not just the obvious (utilities, access, people etc).
I am sure we would all be surprised at some of the things we tacitly depend on –
and equally sure there are good stories to be told about some of them – any offers?.
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.
The group is made up of a very diverse audience, including IT professionals, analysts, IBM Business Partners and of course, IBMers.
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Are you interested in learning more about Cloud Computing and Virtualization? Be sure to register and attend these two community webcasts happening this week on June 8th and 9th. These promise to be very informative events you don’t want to miss!
WEBCAST on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 11:00AM Eastern USA Webcast title: Get your image sprawl monster under control – secrets to image management from an expert Sign up for this webcast here
Description: Companies have embraced virtualization primarily to impro! ve utilization of hardware and save costs. However, virtualization especially on x86, has led to significant growth in management costs. Much of this increased cost stems from growth in images. We will discuss some of the key challenges around managing images and how IBM is taking a holistic approach to solving these pain points and restoring control.
Speaker: Ruth Willenborg, IBM Distinguished Engineer in IBM Software Group, Tivoli
WEBCAST on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 11:00AM Eastern USA Cloud - Extending your virtualization into the cloud Sign up for this webcast here
Description: The benefits from cloud computing seem clear: cost reduction, better flexibility, scale to meet business demands, etc. However, getting to cloud involves a lot of decisions Learn how some of your colleagues are leveraging Tivoli solutions to automate virtualized environments and move to private clouds.
Speaker: Mohamed Abdula, IBM Director, Service Automation and Cloud Solutions Product Management and Bowman Hall, IBM Director, Cloud Computing Client Engagements, IBM Software Group
Today's post comes from Sandy Hawke, Manager IBM Security Solutions.
I recently presented to the ISACA community on a live webinar. I focused the discussion on how to leverage automation to improve endpoint security and compliance. The archived webinar is available here. Just as a brief background, ISACA is an international professional association that focuses on all aspects of IT Governance and has over 95,000 members worldwide.
The online event drew a pretty substantial audience which is good, and yet a bit surprising in two key ways. First of all, many of the recommendations I made to the audience were not radically new concepts, but basic foundational controls that all security professionals agree are critical for achieving and maintaining solid security and demonstrable compliance. So haven't they heard this story before?
Maybe not. And that's the second observation. Most of the ISACA membership is in the IT audit/Risk Management line of business. While they're not the folks who are implementing security technologies on a daily basis (i.e. "hands at keyboards")- they are keen to understand how security is implemented, how it works, how automation can be used to facilitate audits, etc. And that's the new trend we've been witnessing. While the audit team knows what the policy controls should be, they may not know if/how these controls get enforced, maintained, monitored and reported on- essentially how security is "operationalized." The more that they know what's possible with respect to security operations and automation, the better they'll be at knowing what questions to ask IT operations during audits, what technologies to recommend, etc.
Years ago, the IT Audit/Risk Manager organization and activities were kept quite separate from the IT Operations/IT Infrastructure teams. And at the time there were pretty good reasons to keep these groups as distinct as possible- you've all heard of "keeping the fox out of the hen house" analogy, right? The IT Audit/Risk Mgmt teams could set and enforce policy and conduct assessments that wouldn't be influenced by the operations staff. Well, with the advent of converging technologies, economic trends, and the increased importance of measuring security investments and compliance program- in real time, these groups are coming together. More so than ever before.
And technologies that can foster that type of trust, cooperation, and collaboration are indispensable.
This weekend partners, developers, and IBMers will be descending upon Orlando, Florida for Innovate 2011, the Rational Software conference.
Not surprisingly, Rational's "first cousin" Tivoli will have a prominent presence at the conference, including 30 sessions that highlight the Tivoli/Rational integration, six booths in the Solutions Expo, and several executive speaker slots.
Tivoli delivers innovative solutions to address business priorities, with Integrated Service Management providing the Visibility, Control and Automation™ to overcome growing complexities and keep up with global competition. But more specifically, Integrated Service Management is the catalyst that can smooth out the interactions between development and operations for IT and business professionals across all industries.
One of the trends that we are seeing today is the convergence of security management and systems management.The better job you can do managing your infrastructure, the better equipped you will be to define and enforce security policies and controls across that infrastructure.There are few places where this convergence is more evident than the endpoint.
As the notion of a perimeter disappears, and we see the continued proliferation of an increasing number of traditional and non-traditional endpoints, such as servers, desktop PCs, laptops, ATMs, point-of-sale devices, and self-service kiosks, organizations are looking for a comprehensive approach to how they best manage and secure all of their endpoints.This includes, but is not limited to, identifying all of the endpoints that you have in your environment, managing the complete lifecycle of that endpoint, providing continuous security and compliance, effectively deploying patches in a timely manner and finally, managing the power usage of that endpoint.
Tivoli Endpoint Manager, built on BigFix technology, can address all of those needs, but in this blog, I want to focus on that last piece of the conversation, because it is one that does not immediately come to mind when people are typically thinking about the most critical elements of managing an endpoint.However, we have seen that effective power management is something that can actually pay for all of the other benefits that Tivoli Endpoint Manager can provide.You can ultimately end up saving money, the environment, and in the process, deploy critical security and systems management controls across all of your endpoints (even the ones you didn’t originally know you had).
In a recent article (click here), Penn State wrote about their deployment of Big Fix (now called Tivoli Endpoint Manager) and indicated that it could save them about $800,000 annually.At a large university like Penn State, they have thousands of computers that can be included in their power management initiative, and many of these computers are only heavily used during peak hours.Tivoli Endpoint Manager allows the Penn State IT staff to automatically put these computers in sleep mode when they aren’t in use.They are anticipating not only a significant ROI (about $800,000 annually), but are also hoping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by 60,000 tons.
One of the objections that people often bring up when it comes to power management for the endpoint is that it can interfere with the patch process.This is one of the areas where the convergence of security and systems management is so important.The policies that you create and enforce from a systems management perspective need to work hand-in-hand with the policies related to security management.For that reason, Tivoli Endpoint Manager was built on the core concepts of convergence, scalability and granular policy setting.It allows an IT staff to automatically wake computers at a designated time, apply required patches or enforce configuration policies, reboot, and then bring the endpoint back down to a hibernated, low energy state, or shut it down altogether.
The Chichester School District (click here) provides yet another great example of power management savings. This regional school district in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, manages more than 2,000 Microsoft Windows desktops and 50 Microsoft Windows servers throughout a six-school network.The Chichester School District implemented energy conservation using the power management capabilities of Tivoli Endpoint Manager to help reduce computing energy costs by 70 percent. Their IT team also uses the distributed “Wake-on-LAN” functionality to distribute and install patches to those machines that are turned off at night. This allows for a reduction of energy resources and confirms machines are securely patched—without impacting employee productivity.
The integrated patch and power management capabilities of IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager provides IT staff with real-time information on remote endpoints to simplify patch processes, conserve energy and reduce on site troubleshooting.