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 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?.
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.
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.
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, TivoliWEBCAST on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 11:00AM Eastern USACloud - 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
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!
Click here for a REPLAY after the Webcast date.
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.
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
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!
Oh, how happy I am to have that application in my phone to download my favorite tune; and as an end-user I’m happy as long as my phone gets my directions correct. However, to deliver such a rich user experience what goes into the back-end is the design and delivery of an increasingly complex system of systems.
It’s about the ‘sustainable innovation with Integrated Service Management for Design and Delivery;’ where Tivoli and Rational software come together, bridging the gap between design, development, test with operational processes and together service the critical business needs.
This integrated process enables organizations to:
- 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
Read more to know about the available integrations and capabilities and you may also be interested in attending 'Service Management Simulator Experience' at Innovate 2011 (see David’s blog for more information).
Are you in or near Prague?
Do you have plans from June 6 - 10?
Here's the deal.
The European Tivoli Technical Conference is 6-10 June 2011 in Prague, CZ and we would love to see you there.
This technical conference is focused on the era of Smarter Computing. We will be talking about how you can build your organization’s skills with IBM Training and build a Smarter Planet.
You'll have access to best practices and a number of subject matter experts and learn more about new delivery models like Cloud and how they can accelerate service innovation.
The focus will be on Integrated Service Management and the Tivoli solutions at the heart of the IBM Smarter Planet intiative.
In addition to our deep technical sessions we will focus on some actual projects, and related technologies including best practices on comprehensive Tivoli implementation projects.
Here are some of the Tivoli highlights:
- Tivoli Service Delivery & Process Automation
- Tivoli Asset Management/Maximo
- Tivoli Service Availability & Performance Management
- Tivoli Network Service Assurance
- Tivoli Storage Management
- Tivoli Security, Risk and Compliance Management
You can register here (and see the full agenda) and we look forward to seeing you there.
More than 60 IBM Product experts, (Software Engineers, Architects, Designers, Consultants, Test Specialist, etc) have agreed to be "on tap" to cover a twelve hour technical Q&A "online Jam" this Wednesday, May 11.
Bring out your questions and let's keep these experts busy!MARK THE DATE May
11th, 2011 8AM - 8PM Eastern USA for the next Global Tivoli User
Community Ask the Experts Online Jam (ATE)!
The Global Tivoli User Community (TUC),the largest online and offline
community home for all Tivoli and Maximo professionals is presenting a valuable
opportunity for YOU to connect
with real world IBM experts and have
them answer your questions on a range Tivoli and Maximo products on May 11th
through the "Ask the Experts Online Jam".
is the "Ask the Experts online Jam (ATE)", and how does it work?
Go here to learn all of the details on how the
ATE tool works.
What topics will be covered during
Application Management & Monitoring
Change & Configuration Management
Cloud computing - service management solutions
Network, Service Assurance & Event Management
Server & Provisioning Management
Service Desk & Service Catalog
z/OS Systems Management
What time is the ATE Jam session?
- Eastern USA - Wednesday, May
11th, 2011 at 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
find the time in your city check out the World Clock meeting planner website.
of questions can I ask?
Click here for more information and to view the archives from previous ATE Jams.
in this online jam session you must be a registered member of the TUC. Please register now!
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
benefits include; Pulse Conference Discounts codes; 40% Discount on Tivoli
books from IBM Press, Free certification testing at local user group meetings
and much more!
Now that Pulse is in the rear view mirror, we can focus our attention on INNOVATE, Rational's flagship event for 2011.
Innovate 2011 is the event for software innovation. It is the conference totally focused on helping you transform software innovation and accelerate better business outcomes.
Need another reason to attend Innovate 2011?...
You can also take part in the 'Service Management Simulator Experience', a hands-on game focusing on the challenges and business value of implementing Service Management best practices in a realistic and exhilarating scenario. Over the course of a few hours, you'll use gaming and role playing dynamics to mirror the real-world interaction between IT and the business, from both a strategic and operational perspective. In the end, you will come away with an actionable understanding of how the effectiveness of IT processes impacts your business!
- For more information, visit the Simulator web page
- Check out this 3-minute youtube video
from a previous workshop
- Read the rave reviews
- To register or if you have questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
BTW...Readers of this blog may recall that we also conducted a simulator workshop at Pulse this year.
Join us and the Tivoli community at Innovate 2011 – it’s a great opportunity to network with your peers and take away valuable insight that you can use today. If you haven’t yet registered for the conference, you can register here.
We look forward to seeing you at Innovate 2011!
‘Health is Wealth’ so goes an old saying and holds true in its every logical explanation. The healthcare industry, being one of the largest, is also the fastest growing industry in the world. IBM’s significant contribution to healthcare with its wide spectrum of solution offerings through a gamut of capabilities has made IBM earn many valuable clients from the industry. For example: IBM is collaborating with Nuance to Apply IBM’s "Watson" Analytics Technology to Healthcare (press release
Integrated Service Management for healthcare helps our clients meet their business challenges and achieve smarter healthcare system. Tivoli Case Study: Healthcare
is a repository of our clients’ success stories which brings an interesting insight on various kinds of challenges that may arise in a business scenario, the solutions offered and its benefits.
PS: You may also like to browse through:
Client Reference Program
I delivered an
SM simulation for a client in the middle of a tropical paradise in Brazil
last week. It is a hard life but I guess someone has to do it. The countryside
around was stunningly beautiful, and the views driving there even more so. I
was reminded of the great Frank Keating’s reporting from an English cricket
tour of the West Indies
for readers in a cold
and wet British winter; his opening line to his readers: “Another day
Frank, I was there to work, and work I did –another successful and fun game – I
always enjoy how much the delegates enjoy the experience; we should all have more
work that actually makes people happy.
We had a mix of
nationalities and cultures on the game – a real challenge but one that brings
its own extra flavours. I was thinking about those cultural variations on the drive
back to São Paulo
airport – and I realised there is much more to culture than the obvious things
My driver was a
very nice man – a pleasure to share a space with, just enough English to
converse, comfortable with silence and caring enough to return from a rest stop
with an unsolicited bottle of water for me; plus a cheerful insistence that I
try local specialties that I might not have seen before So, all-in-all, clearly
he is a man who wants me to be comfortable and survive the journey.
So, why did he
frighten the living daylights out of me at irregular intervals on the way?
Simply by behaving normally for his culture: using road verges to pass trucks
at high speed on the wrong side, overtaking in the middle of road works, driving
at high speed within inches of other vehicles. While this seemed reckless to my
culture, it is everyday for Brasil. It made me realise that as well as the
social variations, culture extends to acceptable risk – what would just result
in a late arrival in western Europe is met with a calculated risk to get past the slow moving
obstacles, a culture that values speed over safety perhaps? Or more likely just
the inevitable reaction to the extreme traffic volumes and conditions there. I
didn’t see it as a better nor a worse attitude, just a different one – and
there being differences left in the world is something I, for one, feel is an
unmitigatedly good thing.
many Brasilian taxi drivers before, so I was not surprised, but what did amaze
me was how quickly and unnoticed that culture got into my thinking and
unconscious actions. Back in the UK, driving home from the airport I
found myself changing lanes MUCH more than I usually would. Not too recklessly
I hope, but it took a while before I was back to my normal UK driving
So if we copy
cultural elements so quickly after so short a visit – and that copying spills
over into our next situation, do we do that with our customers too? Do we bring
the needs of the previous customer we worked with to our next, even if it isn’t
the right culture for them? Maybe this is just one more thing for us to watch
out for in our business relationships?
If you were in the Expo Center at Pulse for the past few days, you might have heard us mention the new ratings feature on ibm.com.
Much like our brothers and sisters in Rational, we're bringing product ratings to our portfolio.
You might have already noticed that on some of our product pages there's the ability for customers to rank our products and provide comments/feedback.
See the Tivoli Storage Manager page as an example.
Product ratings. Our Request For Enhancements (mentioned yesterday). Service Management Connect. They are more ways that we're working to build a community around our customers, our solutions and IBM.
Additional Related Links:
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.
The Service Management Connect site, discussed yesterday on the blog integrates the RFE, so if you've been there you've probably already seen it.
The direct-link to the RFE page on developerWorks is here and there's also additional information on the support site.
Additional Related Links: