Tag Archive | "Business Service Management"

The Virtues of a Living Conversation Versus One Frozen in Stone – EMA

Tags: Business Service Management, Change, Cloud, EMA, IT Management Tools, Service Value, Transformation

The Hub Commentary_

I came across this piece by my friend Dennis this week and thought how appropriate in reflection of the many articles I read, post and blog about regarding the tremendous change under foot for IT organizations this coming year.  IT is facing competition from the multitude of cloud based service providers who are selling services directly to the businesses because they can communicate a service, cost and value and they make it extremely easy and attractive to purchase.  IT must make this change in communicating their services if they plan to remain strategic within their organization.

The other facet to this article that pops out to me as I recently experienced this in my own daily working is that of the software or technology being the problem.  In my case it was software being blamed for not working and being told this is how the software works.  I am the customer wanting information out of a system to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.  I don’t care how the software work even though I work for a software company, I could care less if the system runs on a mainframe and is written in FORTRAN.  I want visibility of the data passing through the system without getting caught up in how the software works.  I also stated it isn’t that the software doesn’t work, it’s the implementation – garbage in, garbage out.  In this case, it is an incinerator and nothing comes out.

The business doesn’t care how many monitoring tools, networks, boxes, applications it takes to process transactions.  They want to visibility to the performance of their services requiring IT to implement end-to-end management views or business service management views.  This requires a top down approach in looking at your infrastructure and what makes up the service, requiring integration of data, transforming it into meaningful information by which to run the business.

All of this will require change for a change averse culture.  This will be a tough year for many IT professionals as Dennis points out.  They will need to:

  • Learn to communicate
  • Communicate in terms of service versus technology
  • Embrace new technology deployment options
  • Be catalyst for flexibility and agility
  • Can do change agents
  • Seek tools that enable, automate and help them


How ready is your IT to be the agent of change?



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.  (Read Full Article…)

Business Service Management and Taxes!

Tags: Availability, Business Service Management, IT Management Tools

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year in the US, tax season.  It has a been a few years since Intuit experienced a major outage on filing day, but many of us loyal Turbo Tax, eFilers remember it fondly.  The original article appeared in ComputerWorld and while the headline hypes the dollars forked over by Intuit, I recall it was more of a rounding error in the larger Intuit revenue total.

It does serve as a reminder what an early warning systems can provide with proactive signals calling attention to degrading components and what service they are tied to and what the impact of the outage will mean.  In this case, there was a monetary loss, however, I suspect the bigger threat was brand and loyalty.

Intuit suffered a greater loss that I blogged on last year taking down their software-as-a-service Quick Books for several days.  This one must have felt more like a Dilbert moment where they had a back-up data center, in the same data center that experienced the power outage.  Doh!  This one I cannot say that an early warning system would have helped and this one was a bit more costly and again hit brand and loyalty hard.

I use these as examples that there are revenue costs to outages (1-2% of revenue annually and some single outages are 1-2% of revenue themselves), but there is also a difficult to quantify loss in customer loyalty and faith in the company.

I recall I had just filed mine when the outage started.  I was late that year, but an inch sooner than the outage.  I am still a loyal Turbo Tax eFiler, however, I don’t wait until the last minute any longer, but a sound business service management strategy and supporting tools are the dashboard to early warnings – just like your car.

What do you use for your early warning system?


CIO Risk Takers, Rain Makers – InformationWeek

Tags: Business Alignment, Business Service Management, Cloud, Mobile, Social Media, Transformation

The Hub Commentary_

Nice article and similar to a previous post of mine on Finding your Services. In that post I described mapping your services based upon cost and value to the organization.  Keeping those differentiating services in house and evaluating other deployment options, like Cloud, for those that do not differentiate your organization.

A component called out in this article is usually the obstacle that keeps these projects from being right sourced, fear of losing jobs.  It’s a job evolution as the author describes to a service provider, business analyst, value add analytics driving growth into the business.

The model is much like that of the manager of managers.  IT becomes the manager of managers and analyst of services and will require the tools to aid in turning data into information.  There becomes the requirement for the integration platform that pulls data from the various monitors and service providers, as well as the value/volume of transactions being processed driving growth.

IT becomes “glue and the view” into the services they provide and their performance to the organization.

How are you preparing to evolve your data center staff and services?



When CIOs take calculated risks, choosing emerging technologies from less established companies, the payoff can be enticing. We take you inside the journey of two established organizations for a deeper look at this success.   (Read Full Article…)

What You’re Missing in Your Cloud ROI Calculations – InfoWorld

Tags: Business Service Management, Cloud, ROI, Transformation

The Hub Commentary_

Cloud ROI of 80%, I must agree – NOT.  This is exactly what creates hype and those short term cost savings in hardware and software manifest in long term management and monitoring.  Measuring business services and growth to the bottom line of your organization is a better measure.

As the author describes, cloud based computing brings agility to the organization to be flexible and respond in market time to changing conditions and leverage economies of scale in a shared infrastructure.  The second savings is not managing systems that are common to all organizations and provide no market differentiation for your organization.

However, in the rush to the cloud many are leaping, falling off, the cliff by not planning the management, monitoring and measurement in during development.  Agility is a great thing, but adds complexity and requires a strategy in measuring business services and monitoring the performance of your service providers.

No doubt there are cost savings and when deployed strategically, cloud computing will be the innovation that could drive growth into an organization.  Deployed tactically under the hype umbrella of short term hardware savings will only push some organizations off the cliff of doom.

What is your realistic expectation of ROI for your cloud deployments?



recent Microsoft “study” claims an 80 percent savings by using the cloud. This news hit the blogosphere with a big splash — it’s another positive outlook for cloud computing, and it provides some pretty compelling reasons to move to the cloud.  Not.  (Read Full Article…)

Mobile Applications Can Provide Cornucopia of Data

Tags: Analytics, Business Service Management, Enterprise IT, Mobile, Monitoring

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementIn February, I had the pleasure of attending the Western Mass Pod Camp, a one-day “un-conference” held each year in western Massachusetts where among the speakers I saw was Dave Wieneke, Dave got me thinking of something I hadn’t considered before, and that’s the idea that apps on mobile devices not only provide users with valuable data (sometimes), they have the capacity to transmit data back to your company as well…if only you know what to do with it.

In fact, according to a report from analysts Heavy Reading, it’s no coincidence that large companies like IBM and Adobe have been buying in Analytics companies like they’re going out of style. Analytics, as we’ve written here are interesting to anyone following monitoring because they give you insight into your customer behavior. This in in stark contrast to a print ad, for instance, which could have some call to action, but usually you buy it and hope for the best with very little way to measure the ad’s effectiveness outside of a focus group.

The Web in general changes that dynamic by giving you the ability to gather a number of kinds of data about visitor behavior to web sites. When you have an app sitting on a mobile device, the potential is perhaps even greater. Weineke gave the example of a car maker that gave out iPads equipped with the car’s owner manual with every purchase.

This was more than a gimmick, it was a way of gathering data. The car company could see each time an owner looked up a problem. They could see which features were hard to use, what parts might be causing the biggest issues and in general follow the customer experience through their interaction with the manual. It’s a narrow view for sure, but one that certainly provides valuable insight.

Companies need to be thinking about apps more in terms of how they can use them to collect aggregate data. If you’re in a position to collect and analyze data, and you give thought to data gathering as part of your design process, you can give your company some valuable customer feedback without asking them directly for it.

Photo by illustir on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

IBM Brings Analytics to Social World

Tags: Business Service Management, Facebook, IBM, Metrics, Monitoring, Social Media

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementAs I wrote in an earlier post, the world is getting more mobile and social and this all links to the cloud. In fact, the three are inextricably linked as mobile and the cloud make it so much easier to be social, whether posting a photo from your mobile phone to Facebook or checking in at your favorite restaurant on Foursquare. It’s easy to think that this has nothing to do with you and your business, but as the world becomes more socially focused, it puts a powerful communications tool into the hands of your customers.

In the old days, the way business worked was you developed a product and crafted a message to sell the product. You controlled the entire process, especially what you told the customer. Whether they had a positive or negative experience with your product didn’t matter much in the scheme of things because individual customers had no personal broadcasting platform except word of mouth and that wasn’t very efficient. Today, that’s all changed because using social media tools, customers can tell the world when they love your product, or conversely when they don’t.

Customers are much more in control of the message now, and not only that, you as a company are much more engaged in a two-way conversation. That’s why locking down external social media could end up being counter-productive. It actually makes sense to engage your customers in a dialogue and react to negative experiences before they escalate.

Because all of this important business is going on in social channels, there has to be a way to measure your engagement and that’s precisely why IBM has developed two new products (from recent analytics company purchases). The first is IBM Coremetrics Social and the other is Unica Pivotal Veracity Email Optimization Suite.  What these tools have in common is that they give you the ability to track and understand your customers inside various social channels. The Unica tools tracks links from emails across social channels, while the Coremetrics product gives you the ability to measure the ever-elusive social media ROI.

As your conversations with your customers and between your customers (and other interested parties) moves into social channels outside of your direct control, it only makes sense that your organization begins to find tools that help you measure how effectively you are engaging with your customers in the online social sphere. Only by having meaningful metrics (as with any enterprise strategy) can you provide accurate measurement of just how effective your online social strategy is and tools like these examples can help you do that.

Photo by Guarvaronomics on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Cloud Chasers Podcast – Cloud, IT and Business Alignment

Tags: Business Alignment, Business Service Management, IT Management, Service Providers, Service Value, Transformation

Sean Larner CEO of both l’arbre solutions and Broolz, chats with Michele Hudnall of Novell on how the cloud and new cloud-based vendors are impacting the business services landscape. They also explore the ways these new offerings are competing with internal IT to provide the business with the services.

I had the great opportunity to speak with a good friend on Cloud Chasers a little over a week ago now on April Fools day. A very good day to catch up with friends and chat about the competition cloud based services are presenting to today’s IT organizations. I started my career as an IT outsourcing service provider with virtualized mainframes, I find that what’s old is new again in an even more flexible model than previous used.

We’ve spoken about the shift that IT must make in delivering and communicating service performance, rather than technology performance for many years. The catalyst for change is competition and it is heating up in the market. The service providers know their costs and the value of their services and are bypassing the IT organizations and selling directly to the business. This presents an interesting dynamic – does the business really know how to manage the service provider well? and should the IT organization serve as the gatekeeper?

These are the opposing forces. As new services come to the data center or old ones are updated, the delivery mechanism should be evaluated. Adopting cloud isn’t really the objective, but driving business growth is the objective and can a cloud based service deliver a business service for higher business growth, is the question.

Come listen to my friend from across the small pond discuss his thoughts on the topic as a CEO of a cloud based collaboration service for the enterprise on Cloud Chasers.



So You’re Tracking SLAs…Now What?

Tags: Availability, BSM, Business Service Management, Cost Reduction, IT Management Tools, Service Level

I recently wrote an article about Service Level Agreements (SLA) and why I think they are so hard to manage and track.   Now what if your organization has its SLA implementation under control?   Your organization already provides reports to the management team and the customer showing accurate availability metrics for the business services your team delivers.

While working on SLA projects, I have found that we are intently focused on the end result…the reports.  The report needs to be accurate, show historical data, and perform reasonably.  After all, this is what the management team will see.  However, by the time you are showing the report to management or a customer, it’s too late.  The SLA violation has probably already occurred, and your company will pay the price.

SLA implementations need to warn you that a breach will occur.   In any SLA report, you can look at the metrics and determine that a business service was not available, but what was the root cause and how can it be fixed?   Better yet, how can future outages be prevented?   We know that management and customers will view the SLA reports, but the operations team also needs access to this data.   This is the team that is responsible for the IT resources, so they need a way to view availability metrics.  They need the ability to drill down into the business service and view what IT resources have failed.   They need a detailed list of outages and a way to view the root cause of these outages.   With this information, the team can research the cause of the issue and take action to prevent further outages from occurring.

Our goal is to meet a customer’s service level agreement.   A good SLA implementation will not only provide reports to the customer, but also give your organization the tools it needs to meet those SLAs.


Adobe Gets Analytical with Ominture

Tags: Analytics, BSM, Business, Business Service Management

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementBack in September, 2009 when Adobe laid out $1.9 billion to buy web analytics firm Omniture, there was a lot of speculation about just what Adobe would do with it.

At the time, Adobe’s enterprise business wasn’t as built out as it is now. Many speculated that they would use it to help web developers test and measure the popularity of different designs, which made sense in the context of their business at the time.

Turned out that Adobe had bigger plans than that and it began to come together when it purchased Web Content Management vendor, Day Software last July. That gave Adobe the tools to build the site (Creative Suite), manage the site content (Day CQ5) and measure and analyze the site traffic (Omniture).

More recently, Adobe held an entire summit devoted to Omniture where they announced  a series of products to help designers, developers and marketers better understand their sites and what works to attract and keep customers engaged. In addition, and perhaps more important, the new tools provide insight about what customers are saying about you in social channels.

This type of data analysis gives you insight across your delivery channels, and is important in its own way as the information you get from other business systems including your Business Service Management (BSM). While BSM might give you a different kind of view of your business, the data you get from your web site could prove just as valuable because it gives you insight into your customer behavior and how to get them to take action (buy).

Ultimately, buying and selling is what any business is all about and the more data you bring to the table, the greater your chances of finding success.

Photo by hardeep.singh on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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To Unlock the Power of the Cloud, Rethink IT Management – Forbes

Tags: Business Service Management, Cloud, Integration, IT Management, Service Providers, Service Value, Transformation, Virtualization

The Hub Commentary_

This is a nice synopsis of the challenges of moving to the cloud and virtualization into production.  I enjoy the start of the article regarding when we lost our switchboard operators and the shift we’ve made with the telephone.  Just a year ago, the east coast was hammered with 3 – 3 foot snow storms leaving me to telecommute from my home, built 30 years prior.  I learned far more about the telephone than I wanted and my favorite acronym was POTS (plain old telephone system).  Yes, it is true. Long story short, I went through a full upgrade to fiber, digital phone service and a full duplex digital phone to better enable my communication capabilities from the home office.  There were multiple components to consider and upgrade to gain the full performance I was expecting.

What this article subtly uncovers is the usual cycle of management following new technology adoption.  The short term bang for the buck with new technology is generally the removal of short term hardware and software costs with physical components and licenses.  This time the challenge is further aggravated within the organization through competition with the service providers that are going directly to the business and bypassing IT knowing they can make IT as the bad guy and obstacle.

The article uncovers the flexibility cloud and virtualization bring to an environment, but also the requirement for an integration platform to make sense of the configurations and the monitoring alerts at the component level into business services as they are consumed.  This is the driving force behind the business service management imperative this year that the author also notes.

Operations is holding the business back from the promise of cloud computing because operations is struggling to manage the infrastructure and have no visibility across the infrastructure to insure availability and use the cloud for the agility of improved availability.  Business is demanding the intelligence and communication of service performance, not components, and are seeking to leverage the cloud strategically in their organization as a growth enabler and it is imperative that IT seek to support and make the initiative successful.

If IT continues as the obstacle, the competition is knocking on the business door to take that business.  It is not a single management technology that will solve this challenge, it is the integration platform that provides the end-to-end view and enables building in intelligence to set thresholds to monitor service performance aligned to objectives.  I like to call  it, “the glue and a view” that will make sense of the environment that is the imperative to successful IT operations management in this coming year.

What’s your strategy for Glue and a View?



It’s been nearly 50 years since the telephone switchboard, staffed by an “operator,” was phased out as automated phone-switching technologies were introduced. In automating the process of making a call, phone companies removed a burdensome manual hindrance from what was soon to become a much more convenient and ubiquitous part of modern life.  (Read Full Article…)

Reaching Service Level Nirvana . . .

Tags: Availability, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, IT Management Tools, Service Level, Service Value

Ok, so we aren’t there yet.  The first part of getting over a problem is admitting that you have one.  How can we resolve the issues I brought up in my previous post?  Let’s talk about that now.
1.  Too many tools…
You are never going to reduce the number of tools you have down to 1.  Someone will always need this tool or that functionality.  So, to resolve this you need a tool that can pull data from multiple sources through integration.  Databases, APIs, web interfaces, traps, etc.  These tools do exist.
2.  SLA monitoring via trouble tickets
As I mentioned in my previous post, there is a lot of potential for human error here.  I would suggest to you that trouble tickets back up or provide the background reasons why the service level agreement (SLA) was violated but they should never be used to be those SLAs.  You also need your SLA to potentially have different thresholds for different parts/pieces.  Once you have integrated to the sources of information in item 1, then you should be able to build out your SLAs based on the business service taking into account the different parts of the service and areas where you have redundancy versus single points of failure.  Then being able to roll all of that up to a dashboards where you can see the results.
3.  SLA status based on Network availability
Total network availability should never be part of an SLA!  Your SLA should only include the parts/routes of the network that your service depends on.  The network availability is important, but not as important as the service availability.  Ultimately the SLA is there to insure that the customer can use the service.  If the service functions then the SLA is good, from the customers eyes.  You need to build a model for the service so that you can take into account all of the parts of the service both physical and logical and include a synthetic transaction to confirm that the service is functioning.  One last point here, if the service is available and it takes 5 minutes to log in, the customer sees this  as the service is down.  A well defined SLA looks at all SLA components from the customers point of view.
4.  Can’t get the data
This can be a hard nut to crack.  If you have the ability to get the data but because of political reasons you can’t get the data, then you have to involve the customer or customer advocate.  Ask things like:  How important is it to you?  Point out the holes and the areas you will be blind to.  What happens if this part fails and we don’t know it?  Ultimately this is either a big deal or it isn’t.  If it isn’t, fine.  If it is a big deal then you can leverage the pain that the customer conveyed to you to get at that forbidden data.  Use the customer as the club to get at the data if needed.  No one can argue (successfully) against providing good service to the customer.
5.  Technical vs business data
You have integrated your data from the different sources and built out a model of the service but the customer still complains?  Look at the service from a business point of view.  What tells me that the service is functioning?  Things like: transactions processed per (time period), web hits, database rows update, etc.  Now use this as data you need to integrate to.  Pull in this data along side your model to validate the technical with the business data.
6.  Data is too bad
Ok, valid point, but everyone starts somewhere and if you don’t start now, maybe your successor will do it.  To overcome this one, simply do everything as above only don’t show the results to anyone.  Instead use this data to improve the service, validate the model, confirm the SLA hours of availability, etc before the data is shown to the customer or management.  Use this time to improve your monitoring and functionality of your environment.
7.  SLAs just a punishment tool
Although I am sure you have seen this, it doesn’t have to be this way.  Instead of struggling to meet the SLA, change it, further define it, eliminate the false information.  Include the business information as mentioned above in item 5.  I have seen companies do this well and been willing to up the penalties they would pay during business hours, because they eliminated all of the non production information that they were paying for that had nothing to do with the SLA.  They also were able to exactly define the SLA hours, when 5 9’s were needed and when 5 7’s was fine.  This can give you some breathing room as well as allow you to more easily meet the defined SLA.  This can also allow you to setup different levels of SLA that then can enable you to charge more for those services that ‘must always be available.’
8.  SLA’s are only historical and I need real time
I hear it all of the time, I can’t worry about SLAs.  I am trying to deal with right now.’  A well defined SLA allows you to see the state of how things are right now AND they can give you predictive warnings as well.  Allowing you to be notified not just when there is an outage but also when (if nothing changes) you will violate your SLA in X hours or n minutes.  This can then take the service you provide to a whole other level.  Allowing you to see potentially customer impacting issues before they violate your SLA.  How can you afford NOT to set up your SLAs?
At the end of the day, well defined, monitored SLAs can improve how you are perceived by the customer and improve the service you provide as well.  Can we ever get to SLA nirvana?  Yes, I think we can.  It’s just a process that, when managed well and the correct information is gathered, really functions for you.
Lee Frazier

At the End of the Day . . . . .

Tags: Availability, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, Service Value

No one questions the need to select an operating system for the data center, the debate is Windows? Linux? Both? No one questions the need to implement an identity and security solution for the data center, that’s an easy sell. And virtualization of the data center is becoming an accepted “best practice”.

But many people still seem to question the value of Business Service Management for the data center. This has always seemed puzzling to me, because of one simple question that seems to get lost in the shuffle…”At the end of the day…what is the ultimate purpose of the data center?”

In my opinion, the answer has always been a very simple one:

The purpose of the data center is to support the mission critical, revenue producing, customer facing business services that you deliver to your customer.”

Business Service Management is about understanding in “real time” the availability and performance of those business services and being able to measure the level of the service being delivered. And if those services aren’t available or they aren’t performing, being able to quickly determine the root cause of the problem in order to minimize the impact to the end users of that business service.

Without those mission critical, revenue producing, customer facing business services, there would be no need for an OS or a security solution or virtualization…in fact, there would be no need for a data center at all.

So the real question in my mind isn’t “Why would someone implement a Business Service Management solution for their data center?” It’s ”Why isn’t Business Service Management being deployed in every data center on this planet?”

Ann Jones

Using Analytics to Understand Your Customers Better

Tags: Analytics, BSM, Business Service Management, Monitoring

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementWhile we talk about monitoring in the enterprise a lot in this blog, we tend to think of it as keeping an eye on our enterprise systems and not very much about our customers, but today’s Web Content Management systems and analytics tools have the power to give you insight into your Web site visitors, even going so far as helping you customize the user experience based on previous behavior.

Analytics in their own way are data you can use,  just as you can use data from inside the enterprise to help you beter understand your users and systems.

The great thing about a web site is that you have that ability to collect data either in aggregate or based on individual user behavior (such as buying habits). Amazon is famous for this approach. When they see you bought a certain item, they suggest other items you might like based on your buying history. For others, it may be just understanding general patterns of customer behaviors to build different paths through the site based on high level categories.

Marketers refer to these general categories as personnas. If you’re a hotel chain, you might have several personnas around the types of guests you have such as business travelers, vacationers, event planners and so forth.

You can also learn about your visitors based on information they provide. For instance, when a visitor signs up for your newsletter, you could use that opportunity to collect other information abou them such as basic demographics about where they live and so forth.

As you gather all this information though, the idea is to make use of it, just as you do any other business information inside your organizaton. With Business Service Management (BSM) it might be more related to the operation of your overall systems. With business intelligence (BI), it might be related to your overall business performance and with analytics it’s about understanding your customers better.

Photo by yuhui on Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License.

IDC Says 2011 Client Virtualization Will be Mainstream

Tags: Business Service Management, IT Management, Monitoring, Service Level, VDI

As part of their top 10 picks for 2011, IDC is predicting that Client Virtualization will become a mainstream, strategic desktop choice for the enterprise. I have to say that I agree. If you think about the many hours (and therefore the large amount of money) wasted on desktop support alone, the concept of desktop virtualization becomes a no brainer for any medium to large enterprise. However, the concept of virtualization, while nothing new, extends far beyond that.

So what exactly is the hype about? Think about it – how many users in any given organization install software and then either never use it, or use it just the one time? If your business is anything like the various places I’ve worked at the answer is “Many!”.

Each instance of software you install needs to be both licensed, supported, and an end of year audit can land you some pretty hefty charges when your asset management software reports that you are way over your licensed number of users.

Virtualization of the end user desktop addresses this and many more issues. You simply put together a gold standard for each of your user groups and can then deal with exceptions on a case by case basis. Upgrades and security patches can be pushed quickly and effectively and security holes closed very fast without disturbing your user base.

So the question is, if this is so basic a concept, why is it only being predicted as catching on now?

The answer to this question is just as basic as the concept itself – monitoring!

If you are running all your desktop users off a central data center, what happens when you have a failure? Who is affected? How quickly can you find the root cause and get your users back up? what is the fine balance between availability and maintenance? Difficult questions, but questions that can be quite easily answered with todays software that tracks service management, SLAs and change. Really today it’s just a matter of finding the right software package, and engaging the VDI vendor you prefer and to IDC’s point, your desktop user base is virtualized.

So, I’m curious to see how 2011 pans out for desktop virtualization. My money is on the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Business Service Management (BSM) vendors…

Jonathan Golan

Why Amazon Cloud Drive Matters to IT

Tags: Amazon Cloud Drive, Business Service Management, Consumerization, Enterprise IT, Monitoring

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementAmazon recently announced a new cloud storage service called Amazon Cloud Drive. It gives consumers 5GB of free storage and additional storage is $1 a gig/per month. Not a bad deal actually for the convenience of having your stuff at hand, but what Amazon was offering wasn’t just free storage.

They also threw in a way to play your music online and a little upload tool to get it there. They even sweetened the deal early on by offering 20 GB of storage instead of 5 if you bought one album from the Amazon MP3 Store, plus they store Amazon MP3 store purchases on your Cloud Drive automatically by default and don’t count those purchases against your storage total.

It’s not the best online storage out there, but with the player, it’s pretty darn convenient.

So why should you care? You’re not dealing with consumers, right? Well, actually you might be and here’s why.

What a tool like Amazon Cloud Drive does it bring the idea of cloud storage to the masses. While there are plenty of tools that offer online storage now including Dropbox and Box.net, and these services are doing quite well, Amazon brings a level of selling power to the table that these smaller companies can’t match. They might not have the same feature set (not by a long shot), but they are inside a site many people go to regularly, and as such might be more likely to be exposed to.

And those same consumers are more than likely your employees. When they see the simplicity and ease of use, they might even start leaving work files on the drive so they access them when they’re not in the office and they’ll begin to see the convenience the cloud brings.

And when they do, (this is beginning to sound like ‘If You Give a Moose a Muffin‘), chances are they going to want that convenience at work.

You see where I’m going with this now. As cloud computing services like the Amazon Cloud Drive become more available, users will begin (if they haven’t already) to demand that same kind of simplicity and ease of use in the enterprise.

And you need to be ready because as my recent post (Survey Says Managing Cloud is Chief Concern) indicated, while IT may get they have to go to the cloud, most businesses don’t seem to understand that there is management component involved, even outside the firewall.

So follow those intrepid employees to the Cloud. Just make sure you have tools to monitor these services in place when you do.

Photo by getinet on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Survey Says Managing Cloud is Chief Concern

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, IT, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, Service Level

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementWhat do you suppose worries businesses about transitioning to a hybrid cloud computing environment — that is one that includes both public cloud services outside the firewall and private clouds inside? Interestingly enough, it’s management, the subject of this Blog.

When asked in recent survey, what worried business most about cloud computing, a whopping 71 percent of respondents answered concerns about managing a hybrid environment. Ironically, according to an IT Pro article citing the survey results, in spite of this, 91 percent of respondents were thinking about a hybrid cloud.

The survey  was conducted by marketing and research firm Vanson Bourne for service provider 2E2.

What these findings show is that there is a huge disconnect between what companies think they want in terms of a cloud solution, and there ability to monitor, manage and deploy it. There is a lack of understanding of how to make sure the public cloud vendors are keeping to their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and how IT as an organization can keep an eye on the entire organization, even as part of the infrastructure shifts to public cloud services.

There are tools, techniques and systems organizations can put in place that give that vision across systems. While there are limits to managing information outside the firewall, the ability to manage and monitor should absolutely enter into your decision-making criteria when choosing a public cloud vendor.

One other interesting data point found that more than half of respondents, 56 percent, were concerned about “losing control of their infrastructure.” While companies may be right that managing cloud resources is a difficult task, it’s also not impossible and there are tools available to help.

What we seem to be witnessing here is a transformation. In the first phase of cloud computing, IT was resistant. Now it seems to understand that the some form of cloud computing is coming, but there seems to be a lack of understanding, if these results are to be believed, about how to proceed and how to maintain control of the computing environment.

What they have to learn now is that total control outside the firewall is probably impossible, but some semblance of control is certainly well within reach, and there are systems that can help.

Photo by runran on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Microsoft System Center Upgrade To Monitor Private Clouds

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, IT, Monitoring, Private Cloud, Service Portal

Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementAt the recent Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft released details of an upcoming upgrade to its System Center product that will let IT pros monitor private clouds from the System Center console. It’s significant because it increases Microsoft’s presence in the cloud monitoring space.

System Center currently is a made up of a series of products that let IT pros monitor the server infrastructure inside their organizations including a configuration manager, a virtual machine manager, data protection manager and so forth. There are two key pieces in the upgrade.

The first piece is called Advisor and according to Infoweek,  it monitors the system and collects data in Microsoft Azure. As the system builds a knowledge base of configuration information, it sends out alerts of potential trouble spots.

It’s important to note that this product is focused on a Windows Server environment, but for Microsoft shops, the new Advisor piece provides a way to monitor your server configuration in the private cloud and find trouble before it affects a large number of users.

The other piece is software for managing and deploying a self-service portal. If this sounds familiar, it should because recently we wrote about the Cisco purchase of newScale, a product that provides Cisco customers with the same ability to build a self-service portal.

It’s clear that the big players are getting into monitoring and private cloud provisioning in a big way, and that’s because there is a developing market for these tools as organizations look for ways to understand and build private clouds in-house and take advantage of the economies of scale that private cloud services can bring. Vendors like Microsoft and Cisco are clearly looking to build or purchase tools that meet these customer requirements.

Monitoring is a key provision of private cloud computing because it’s essential to have a big picture view across the entire organization’s infrastructure. While Microsoft’s solution is typically Microsoft-centric, it is interesting from a BSM perspective because it is about monitoring, deploying and understanding the IT infrastructure.

While many organizations will need more than a Microsoft-only approach, the fact that Microsoft is in the space, should be proof positive that it’s something every IT pro needs to be paying attention to, whether yours is a Microsoft shop or a more heterogeneous environment.

Photo by cote on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Its Time to Start Talking about the ‘Middle Office’ – Gartner

Tags: Business Service Management, Gartner, IT Management

The Hub Commentary

Interesting insights about the ability to monitor and measure business processes that fall outside of the traditional front and back office structures.   Have you considered that many decisions  being made in the “middle office” may effect your ability to effectively manage business services?


Not every activity fits neatly into either front or back office processes.  There are in just about every organization as set of middle office activities that go un-noticed but may be prove to be more important than either end of the organization.  Too often we have thought of activities in the mid-office as either being the domain of management or knowledge work that cannot be readily monitored, measured or supported as past attempts have produced behaviors that were counter productive to the goal.   Read more…

Novell, SAP Team on Business Service Management

Tags: Business Service Management, Change Management, ITSM, Role Based Views, SAP, Service Desk, Service Model

The Hub Commentary_

Often times IT organizations find Business Service Management projects daunting, when in fact they should be viewed in small pieces, a service at a time.  I chose to post this bit of news to describe an easy entry point into Business Service Management.

Business Service Management is an imperative today with the explosion of service providers and cloud based services.  The service providers are selling to your business because they are speaking the language of the business – service, cost and value.  IT has to adopt the same service speak to be successful.

Often times, the service desk is viewed as the starting point given it is the touch point to the customer, however, on the back-end we are still thinking in terms of servers, networks, applications and the customer is talking about the service they are attempting to access.  Then there comes what is the appropriate response, how critical is it really?

These days an integration platform bringing together the physical/logical data and relationships and representing it as services consumed by the customer is an imperative.  The same data has to be represented in many views depending upon the role of the viewer.  Service desk folks are reacting to incidents and seek root cause and information as to an ETA to restoration starting at the top of the service as the customer contacts the service desk.  The change manager acts proactively in requiring a view of all scheduled changes against the components and how they inter-relate in a service model view to mitigate risk and impact of too many changes at once or the grouping of changes to minimize downtime.  The final view is that of the service delivery team communicating overall service cost and value to the business.

Most organizations have many systems that they will require to tap into in order to represent a complete view, however, it does not mean you need to boil the ocean in your first attempt at service views.  Think a single data source, what does it provide, what are my most critical services and map the most critical first and continue to enhance the information with additional sources of data over time.

Is business service management an imperative in your organization?



Longtime partners Novell and SAP, which in recent years have focused heavily on packaging applications for use on the Suse Linux Enterprise operating system, are now cozying up on services management.  (Read Full Article…)

BSM Succeeds when…

Tags: Best Practices, BSM, Business Service Management, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, Service Level

Business Service Management practices have the greatest chance of success when:

  • The solution provides several different views of the same data. The technical team needs a few different views (top down, bottom up, inside out), the end users of the systems (internal or external customers) want to see the services they are using along with the health (email, payroll, etc), management wants to see impacts to the business, revenue related metrics (trade volume).


  • Granular security control is needed to control the depth that end users are allowed to drill in as well as controlling which users are able to perform actions such as Acknowledging an alarm.  While the BSM solution must be able to represent the service from end to end, there rarely is a reason to have an executive drill down and look at the performance metrics of a network card on some obscure server.   Showing that a single node of a cluster is down is important to some users, this is useless data to others.


  • The solution fully understands health of the Service. Integrating with the JUST the top management tool may provide ‘all’ of the alerts within the environment, it won’t provide easy drill down into the underlying tool reporting the failure in order to get at additional details or command and control, it won’t tell you to fix Service A over Service B, it won’t tell you that if you do not reboot server123 in the next 10 minutes you will breach a critical Service Level.


  • Root cause is more than determining the router being down is the root cause of the server being unaccessible. While this is useful information, this type of root cause does not always map to why a Service is down.   Don’t get me wrong, it is very important and needed information.   The team responsible for resolving outages need quick answers, they need to be able to to quickly see within the sea or red alerts that this particular server being down is the reason that payroll is down.  Between this server and the 15 other outages, they might want to work on this server first… it’s payday.


  • The end users of the implementation are consulted with to understand their requirements. Just because you can set up the view one way doesn’t mean that it provides value to the end users.  They need easy access to the data, they need quick access to other internal tools (knowledge base, help desk, etc).  The solution needs to make their lives easier.


  • Start with an important Business Service, or a single important application or one that keeps the CTO up at night worrying about it.   If you start with mapping the one service end to end (as best as possible without getting stuck in a rabbit hole), get an internal win, ROI, etc., it helps map out the next Services, rally other teams to get involved, etc.   Trying to do every service end to end completely automated, etc is trying to boil the ocean, it’s not going to work.   Sometimes a partial view is better than no view.  Stating small and working out from there is key.


One other reason that I purposely omitted is management buy-in.   I feel that it is important, but to get started, it may not require complete management buy-in.   What I mean is, sometimes management buy in is only needed within your own group or department, other management buy-in is sometimes needed in order to expand the footprint or get additional details.   I’ve seen that come along as the BSM team gets wins under their belt.

Okay, don’t be shy, what are some reasons that Business Service Management worked for your organization (or you think you need for your planned BSM implementation to be successful)?   Dashboards, HA/DR, CMDB, Discovery, ITIL projects…

– Tobin