Cloud & Service Management blog
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ibm itil itsmf ivor tivoli abc-of-ict service-management 2,006 Visits
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  tivoli ibm pulse itsmf service-management ivor itil 2 Comments 3,906 Visits
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.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  service ivor empowerment service-management ibm itsm tivoli itil 2,280 Visits
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 expectation.
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
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
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 of forms.
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:
...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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ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  itsmf japan itil ibm business-continuity ivor service-management tivoli 2,191 Visits
I am just back from a week working in
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
But coping without things you have got used
to does happen – and it is clear there are some very direct lessons for service
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 a compulsory 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?.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ivor ibm itsm devops itil service-management tivoli 2,367 Visits
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 things.
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:
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 information.
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.
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  linkedin rational tivoli ojalvo planet media social ism smarter cloud information management 2,279 Visits
Recently, we enhanced and expanded our "IBM Integrated Service Management" group on LinkedIn.
The group is made up of a very diverse audience, including IT professionals, analysts, IBM Business Partners and of course, IBMers.
Members of this group share knowledge, news, training, and events around Service Management solutions, including Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere, Information Management, Storage, Security, DevOps, Smarter Planet, Green IT and Cloud Computing!
So join our group, and initiate a discussion, or weigh on on an existing discussion!
I'm not a fan of duel posting, but did want to make you aware of an article that I posted to the SWG Blog entitled, "There Will Be DevOps!"
It's about a great video that RedMonk* analyst Michael Coté did with us about DevOps.
Go there. Read the article. Enjoy.
* note that IBM is one of RedMonk's clients.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  itsmf tivoli service-management innovate-2011 ivor itil ibm itsm 1 Comment 5,063 Visits
Hope Ruiz 110000NU71 HRUIZ@US.IBM.COM Tags:  cloud cloud-computing webcasts webcast virtualization tug tivoli-user-community tivoli service-management 1,999 Visits
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
Webcasts are free to Members of the Tivoli User Community. Membership is free -
Once you become a member you can join a local or virtual user group, take advantage of our online education and certification resources as well as our networking and collaboration tools.
include; Pulse Conference Discounts codes; 40% Discount on Tivoli books
from IBM Press, Free certification testing at local user group meetings
and much more!
Bryan Casey 270003BSJV BFCASEY@US.IBM.COM Tags:  ibm security bigfix manager endpoint management tem audit tivoli automation 5 Comments 14,214 Visits
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.
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  service tivoli integrated rational innovate management 1,964 Visits
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.
So be sure to browse all of the Tivoli sessions using the Innovate 'Streams and Tracks' tool, and if you are already registered, start building your agenda .
Once the event begins, you can access all the keynote presentations and videos in real time on the web via the livestream feed, ...and follow social media coverage on the 'Innovate Conversations' page or by using the Twitter hashtag #ibminnovate
Bryan Casey 270003BSJV BFCASEY@US.IBM.COM Tags:  manager security asset bigfix tem ibm automation tivoli management endpoint 11 Comments 22,918 Visits
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
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 integrated patch and power management capabilities of
For more information on Tivoli Endpoint Manager, please visit http://www.ibm.com/software/tivoli/solutions/endpoint/
David Ojalvo 060001CNQC DAOJALVO@US.IBM.COM Tags:  innovate tivoli management integrated simulator rational service 2,243 Visits
Are you looking for a reason to head down to Florida next month?
Tivoli will have a large presence at next month's Innovate2011 conference in Orlando, with over 30 sessions which highlight the Tivoli/Rational integration, and six booths in the solution expo. In addition, you can check out the Tivoli executive speaking engagements including Danny Sabbah (GM, Tivoli Software) at the executive summit presenting on 'Collaborative Development and Operations', Jamie Thomas (VP, Tivoli Strategy and Development) on organizational agility and efficiency, and Steve Robinson (GM, IBM Security Solutions) on 'Security in Industries'.
Also, be sure to check out the 'Service Management Simulator Experience' at Innovate, a hands-on role playing game focusing on the challenges and business value of implementing Service Management best practices in a real life scenario!