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!
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
IBM customers: Join IBM on April 21 for the exciting SC Magazine awards presentation and dinner! RSVP to Karen Krieger at email@example.com if you would like to attend.
Date: April 21, 2009
Time: 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Where: Hilton San Francisco, 333 O’Farrell Street
We are very excited since IBM is a finalist in several categories:
Best Security Company!
Best Enterprise Firewall: IBM Proventia Network Intrusion Prevention as Layer II Firewall
Best Identity Management Solution: IBM Tivoli Access Manager for Enterprise Single Sign-On
Best Integrated Security Solution: IBM Proventia SiteProtector
Best Vulnerability Management Solution: IBM Proventia Network Enterprise Scanner
Best Web Application Security Solution: IBM Rational AppScan
Best Security Software Development Solution: IBM Rational AppScan Developer Edition
As part of the IT security industry's leading global awards program, the SC Awards U.S. was organized to honor the professionals, companies and products that help fend off the myriad security threats confronted in today's corporate world.
SC Awards hones in on the achievements of the guys and gals in the trenches, the innovations happening in the vendor and service provider communities, and the passionate work of government, commercial and nonprofits working to help the industry.
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.
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.
When I saw Tom Cross give a talk at Innovate 2010 in June, I was first struck with the nonchalance with which he spoke of the black market business of Internet data. I could not have been more intrigued if I were watching a movie adapted from a John Grisham novel. He seemed to have some emotional distance from what creeps most of us out about our mail. And I’m not even talking about email. I mean the good old-fashioned USPS mail. I KNOW I am not the only one who has worn out a few paper shredders thanks to Citibank, Chase, and the like.
The second thing that hijacked my thought train for more than a few moments was how network vulnerabilities are created for the explicit purpose of learning cyber criminal behavior. Like signing up for as much spam as you can. Sure it makes sense to me now. But I am still vaguely uncomfortable talking publicly about threat and attacks. It seems akin to Batman and the Joker building websites to promote their plans to outsmart the other. What was I not getting? By now I was considering slipping quietly out of the room to silence the voice in my head saying I had been foolish, very, very foolish in my confidence as a clever and vigilant consumer of Internet Things.
Realizing that I had some mental catching up to do, I stayed for the lasting impression that could keep me awake at night: just how easy it is to steal digital data. As I struggled with the impartial irony of how enormous yet simple a cat and mouse game Web App security is, visions of Tom and Jerry danced in my boggled brain.
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
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?
We love our planet, Mother
Earth. Don’t we? As for me, having been born and brought up in a place so close
to nature, away from bustle of city, and having studied ‘Environment and
Resource Economics’ as one of the subjects in my Post Grad, these things have
always been the driving forces behind my love and fascination towards Mother
Earth. And, since Mother Earth is inseparable from the technological revolution
and innovations happening around us, it gives me a proud feeling to be an IBMer
who works towards Big Blue’s mission of a Smarter Planet.
Visibility, Control and Automation™ is how
IBM defines service management which, when obtained for the smarter business infrastructures and end-to-end service
chain, can take any business to its zenith and contribute in making our
Mother Earth a Smarter Planet.
IBM’s Tivoli® Software places
IBM in a unique position to help the clients provide smarter solutions and the
expertise needed to design, build and manage a infrastructure that enables them
to improve service, reduce cost and manage risk.
Not long ago, while surfing
through our case study database, I stumbled upon a Tivoli success story that
caught my attention and I’m happy to share the same with our readers here.“Schweizerische
Bundesbahnen (SBB) Leverages rail system and network transparency to keep
trains on schedule”. Wow, the title looked so fascinating to me and that might
be because I’ve had many not-so-good-train-experiences, delay in arrival or
departure and the likes (which I always dislike).
(SBB), or Swiss Federal Railways, is Switzerland’s leading transportation
company.SBB transports over 800,000
passengers and more than 220,000 tons of cargo each day, maintains 3,011
kilometers of track that connects more than 800 rail stations and also a large
construction organization that engages in roughly 5,000 construction programs
each year. However, due to inefficient monitoring systems, a one day system
problem in 2005 had stranded nearly 200,000 passengers, costing almost US$5
million. Hence, SBB was looking for a more aggressive service management
strategy to prevent future events of this type and operate 9000 trains a day
without any hassles.
customizable user interfaces that increase network transparency, and helps
support staff to be better informed about infrastructure health. 2.Leverages proactive management and automated
alert systems to recognize and repair more than 50 percent of issues before
they can impact operations. 3.Increases the availability of SBB’s train
network by approximately 2,000 minutes per month - therefore saving
approximately US$2.3 million each year.
Martin Schaeren, Head of BU
Service Management, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), is all praise for IBM, “Trying to manage 3,000 kilometers of track
is a particularly daunting task. But, by leveraging our new IBM solution, we’re
able to see our entire infrastructure clearly and respond to problems before
they can affect our operations.”
Well, a commendable success
story indeed. We, the IBMers, sincerely, wish that all the railway systems of
our world become ‘smarter’, sooner than later. What say?
Two great IBM
conferences were held in Las Vegas this year--IBM Pulse and IBM Impact.
However, I have to say that I truly envy the IBM
Rational Software Conference taking place from May 31-June 4,
since it will be at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida (where Pulse 2008 was held).
The effervescent ambience in the air is unparalleled. The awseome fountains are
a key contributor.
Tivoli fans will be pleased to know
that several Service
Management topics will be covered at the conference since the integration
of development and operational tools, data, and processes is essential to
improving the success rate of application deployments and improving service
quality. The topics will cover ways businesses can improve the integration of
development, test, and operations to simplify high-quality application
deployment, enhance provisioning, streamline problem diagnosis, and enable
effective service management. The
conference will include the following Service Management topics:
General Manager sessions
Al Zollar, General Manager of IBM Tivoli
Software, will participate in three executive sessions:
IBM Cloud Computing
Breaking down the barriers between development and operations
General Manager roundtable
Software Lifecycle Track
“Enhancing The Application Life Cycle with Tivoli
Composite Application Manger (ITCAM)”-- Todd Kindsfather
Abstract: Discover how IBM Rational and Tivoli's joint solution helps reduce development and
rollout costs, while increasing rollout success rates. This session will
Discussion of how to enhance testing with ITCAM performance data
Description of how to use Rational test scripts with ITCAM for
Overview of how to leverage the ITCAM products to help resolve
problems earlier in the application life cycle
Tivoli Birds of a Feather session
“Bridging the chasm between build,
deployment and production”--Rich Johnston
Abstract: Today’s IT departments have more
systems to manage, more locations to support and more mission-critical
applications to build, deploy and maintain than ever before. In many
organizations, the processes employed to move applications from build, to
deploy, to production phase can be manual, time-consuming and error-prone. The
data, tools, and workflows are not well integrated or automated resulting in
inefficient processes which inevitably lead to slower time to market, long
resolution cycles and even loss of revenue. This session offers a chance for
attendees to discuss issues, challenges and solutions for bridging development
and IT operations across different aspects of the application and service
Service Management pedestals
Ped 1: "Service Management with CCMDB, TSRM,
and RAM: Total
Application Lifecycle management"--Rich Johnston
Abstract: The inability to quickly
identify application performance bottlenecks can lead to system downtime and
unnecessary cycles spent firefighting defects. See how ITCAM
can provide monitoring data from operations needed to better understand
performance characteristics prior to relase and speed correction of defects.
Ped 2: "Integrating the Service
Management Lifecycle across Development & Operations: Optimize Application
Performance in Production"--Todd Kindsfather
Abstract: Integration across application
development and configuration management tools is critical for complete
component life-cycle managmenet. With a Tivoli/Rational integrated solution,
customers can experience total application management from development to
deploymentt to operation.
For those who can’t
attend the conference in Florida, check out http://www.remotersc.com for other
opportunities to participate in the Rational Software Software conference
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.
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.
That was a cheap ploy for me to work in a comment about how excited I am that Austin is well on it's way to getting a Formula 1 track (Statesman).
Shameless? Or brilliant? You make the call
Anyhow, the title is a pun on the Random Access Compression Engine™ (RACE) architecture that is a part of the Storwize offering that IBM recently acquired.
I want to welcome all the Storwize employees to IBM (hello!) and let our customers know that this is some pretty tight technology and it's worth reaching out to your IBM sales rep or business partner to learn more about it.
Storwize provides real-time data compression technology to help clients reduce physical storage requirements by up to 80%*, which improves efficiency and lowers the cost of making data available for analytics and other applications.
Here are three good links for more details on the aquisition as well as a quick video featuring Doug Balog, Vice President of IBM Storage.