The BSM Blog
I'm still concerned by the number of organizations who say they are "implementing ITIL", even worse the ones that say "we're implementing ITIL V3".
EMA just completed a radar analysis of eleven vendors and talked to more than 20 CMDB/CMS deployments in North America and Europe. The research confirmed my views that CMDB-related technologies are evolving to become more dynamic, more real-time, more deployable, more use-case directed, and more varied in design. They are also becoming more essential than ever—spurred in part, ironically – by cloud computing which is pressuring companies to move towards a more cross-domain, and ultimately more service-centric model for management.
The interesting thing I come across regarding BSM is the gap between concept and lab with the reality of the client consumption. Let's face it, a full blown, all concepts, process and product BSM solution is an expensive proposition and a journey rather than a purchase or a project.
Our recent conversations with both executives (IT and business) and developers have convinced us that an evolution is well underway in enterprises of all shapes and sizes. All the ink spilled on articles and presentations to convince IT staffs that they need to expand their historic focus on keeping the infrastructure up and running has gained a firm hold in the technical community.
There is no IT for IT's sake - the IT is now just a tool and we need to focus on the job and outcome that we want to achieve with the help of the IT. Business Service Management (BSM) is an approach to understanding this context and ensuring that we always look at the goal/objective and outcome rather than focusing on the technology.
Why oh why do people seem to have such a preoccupation with cloud and Software as a service (SaaS), and why are they asking whether ITSM and ITIL are capable of working in these environments?
Malcolm Fry (a well-known expert in the Service Management community) was at the SDITS (Service Desk and IT Support) event in the UK last week, and was quoted as saying "When are we going to stop lying? No one is going to do all of ITIL". I've known Malcolm for some time now, and it was great to catch up with him at SDITS - we agree on so many things, and this is definitely one of them.
EMA consulting once did an analysis of why strategic service management initiatives fail. These ranged from cross-domain performance management initiatives, to configuration management initiatives with CMDB/CMS enabling foundations, to company-wide asset management initiatives to name a few. Of the top ten reasons for failure, only the bottom two (Integration and Discovery) were technology-related. Three of the top eight were specifically communication-related: Staff Buy-In, Managing Expectations, and Overcoming Resistance to Change. And in fact Staff Buy-In was number one!
If we in our organisations really want to do the best for our customers and the objectives of our businesses, we need to be more customer-centric and service-orientated.
I had originally intended to make this blog about mental health. A supportive article for those of you trying to support change in your own environment wrestling with the stubbornly persistent caricatures and silos still so dominant in many IT organizations.
Why do organisations have ITIL projects rather than targeted improvement projects which happen to use ITIL as one of the inputs/influences?
It's fairly common to find organisations who say that they are implementing ITIL, and I almost always find that this is increasing the risk that the project will fail to deliver on the expectations people have for it. How can you adequately manage and communicate with your stakeholders if they don't understand the objectives of the project? ITIL shouldn't be the objective.
“Software is a constantly degrading environment.”
Although that statement has, perhaps, more double entendre than ideal, it’s at least literally true. It’s also in quotes because it didn’t originate with me, but with an engineer who worked closely with me at EMA for years. He was brilliant, insightful and creative, but ultimately more at home designing new solutions than commenting on those that weren’t his own.
EMA has been both predicting and advocating a more service-centric model for asset optimization and planning for nearly a decade. This is also, in itself, not a new idea with EMA either. The telecommunications industry and best practices such as the Telecommunication Management Forum’s eTOM guidelines support the logically obvious assumption that if a technology organization’s “products” are its “services,” then all assets (capex and opex) should ideally be planned and optimized to support the delivery of superior services.
Many people think BSM is a set of tools/applications provided by a number of software tools vendors. In many cases, people can be forgiven for taking this view because the tools vendors sometimes do make it sound like you will get great business benefits purely by buying their tools. If you look at the available definitions of BSM, you might also find this view further reinforced – which I think is misleading and a real shame as the tools are only a part of the solution.
In the research I mentioned in my earlier blog on “Operationalizing Cloud,” we looked at a lot more than technology adoption. We looked at organizational and process requirements as well.
And we also looked at change.
As it turned out, 70% percent of our respondents said the once begun, their cloud initiatives needed rethinking or redirection!!
To be honest, I wasn’t surprised.
EMA has just collected some new data regarding how IT organizations are seeking to assimilate cloud services from a top-down, service management perspective. The data gathered in December of 2010, spanned 155 global respondents with high percentages of executives (better than 50% director and above) – as the goal was to understand how senior management and cross-domain organizations that usually have senior executive leadership are leveraging cloud computing.
Call it the “tail wagging the dog” but as I already indicated in my previous blog, cloud computing seems to be surprisingly good for service management -- both in terms of technology adoption and in terms of political and process-related transformation. This includes technologies like CMDB/CMS, IT Process Automation, User Experience Management and SLM, as well as integrated service desk and chargeback accounting – among other “bellwether technologies” – or technologies that reflect more advanced organizational and process readiness.
Cloud is no longer just hype. It is real, and a main focus of many IT organizations for next year.
With 1500 CIOs in attendance, the Gartner Symposium was a major indicator about the adoption of cloud. One industry insider attending the conference told me, "Every company I've talked with is looking to at least put their non-essential apps with cloud providers asap. As time goes on they'll consider their more critical apps if possible."
Sometimes… OK most of the time … the terms and words we use for “things” in service management are in themselves landmines.
One of the worst culprits is of course the term “CMDB” which I like to compare to "The Holy Roman Empire" – which as H.G. Wells pointed out was neither "holy" nor "Roman" nor an "Empire". Well, the CMDB is not about anyone but ITIL’s definition of "configuration management" and in the end, it isn’t, or shouldn’t be, understood as a physical database, either.
I thought it might be nice to set the stage for what I mean by “MegaTrend” and more importantly, what this blog might be about ...
Just for starters let’s look at the three most immediately affiliated terms or acronyms: Business Service Management (BSM), automation and CMDB/CMS.