BSM: On the Path to Smart Computing
June 14, 2011

Richard Ptak

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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.

Evidence of this appears in the proliferation of vendor messaging and marketing focused on the benefits of technology applied to and distributed to support business success. But the really interesting change is in how the tools used for building and supporting the application of technology has changed their focus to emphasize the intimate link between Business Service Management and its underlying technologies to business operations and success.

As an example, IBM continues with its Smarter Planet message as the broad-based corporate message. Smarter Planet presents a high-level focus on developing solutions that take advantage of available data and information to solve the problems of society and industry segments. This is certainly a laudable goal, as well as being one that captures popular attention, especially of politicians, industry executives, etc.

But, what about the vast numbers of IT professionals that operate on a more limited stage? How does BSM translate for them? How does BSM translate for those working to build the applications, design the architectures and develop the solutions that drive and service business operations? What is the equivalent ‘vision’ for hardware designers, operating systems, development teams and operations?

These are the teams that labor at designing and optimizing the performance and utilization of IT technology, assets and infrastructure to solve enterprise, business and industry problems. They translate commitments into reality and justify the acquisition of technology as they contribute to the achievement of business goals.

As an example, attending a recent event for developers and operations staff, corridor conversations were as likely to be about techniques for communicating the ability of the technology to resolve a particular business problem as it was about programming technique. Or, the conversation revolved on how to restructure ‘dev-test-ops’ processes to more quickly produce results that satisfy all requirements to users with less defects.

For a long time, executives reading about the successful application of technology in an article in the Harvard Business Review or the Wall Street Journal were considered an annoyance. In many cases today, these same executives are being viewed as champions by the IT staff, as they support the application of virtualization, Cloud computing and SaaS.

Partly as a result of the ‘consumerization of IT’ and supported by a business focus in IT staff, the executive’s questions tend to be more insightful and their expectations more realistic than before. They are also aware of their outside options. All this is driving IT staffs to become more proactive in promoting their own expertise and potential within their organizations. Isn’t that the aim of BSM?

One final comment, IBM Systems Software staff recently spoke to us of their focus on Smarter Computing. The way I like to think of Smarter Computing is that it encompasses the efforts of IT staff across the spectrum of applied IT from concept through to final retirement to optimize the application and utilization of technologies to most efficiently and effectively achieve organizational goals. That to me is more than simply Smarter Computing. It is VERY Smart Computing.

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