Cloud & Service Management blog
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ibm itsm measurement itil ivor itsmf tivoli 2,749 Visits
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 situations.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ivor itsm ibm tivoli best-practice itsmf service-management 2,965 Visits
For most of last week I was attending and – I hope – contributing to itSMF’s international publishing meeting. This was held in
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
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.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ibm cobit itil tivoli service-management ivor itsmf 2,947 Visits
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 time soon.
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 conflict.
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.
Noah Kuttler 110000SVNJ email@example.com Tags:  puresystems cloud smartcloud tivoli service-management 3,919 Visits
The Expert Integrated Systems, IBM PureSystems being announced today is probably one of the most exciting solution announcements to hit our industry.
The New York Times wrote a very good piece on the announcement, "I.B.M. Aims to Sharply Simplify Corporate Data Center Technology"
Our own press team put together two releases. One about the announcement ("IBM Sets the Stage for the Next Era of Computing") and another around the 600 partners supporting this announcement worldwide ("Global IT Companies Support IBM Puresystems").
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.
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ibm ivor tivoli service-management itil 2,690 Visits
Rebecca Swindell 270003U1MK REBECCA.SWINDELL@UK.IBM.COM Tags:  buildings facilities management caldicott claire potter tririga cities joe iibm service smarter penny tivoli rachel 3,010 Visits
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
Noah Kuttler 110000SVNJ firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  netcool tivoli prime service-management cisco business-partner 3,686 Visits
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...
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  ibm itil itsmf ivor abc-of-ict tivoli service-management 2,341 Visits
ivor macfarlane 2700022KPS IVORMACF@uk.ibm.com Tags:  tivoli ibm pulse itsmf ivor service-management itil 2 Comments 4,457 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 2,532 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 2,404 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:  ibm ivor itsm devops itil tivoli service-management 2,626 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 2,544 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!