Tag Archive | "ITSM"

Road Trip – Gartner Infrastructure & Operations Mgmt Summit

Tags: Availability, Best Practices, BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, Change, CIO, Cloud, Cloud Computing, Gartner, IT Management, ITSM, Mobile, Monitoring, Service Level, Service Providers, Service Value, Social Media, Spending, Transformation, Trends, VDI, Virtualization


I traveled the globe from October to February meeting with customers and our sales teams discussing NetIQ’s IT Operations Management (ITOM) value and solutions, then I traded in wings for a bit.  Now it’s time for one of my favorite battery re-charging conferences of the year, the Gartner Infrastructure and Operations Management Summit (IOM).  I enjoy the Summit to see old friends in the vendor community as well as many old analyst friends, but this year there is a lot of buzz around the Summit and ITOM has become the talk of the town again.  Here are few quotes and phrases from the opening pages of the Summit Agenda:

  • “Delivering Accelerated Business Value:  Cloud, Mobility and More”
  • Hot Topics:
    • Enterprise mobility
    • Private/Public cloud computing
    • Moving beyond server virtualization
    • Cost optimzation
    • Data center space, power and cooling
    • ITIL and process improvement
    • Improving IT service quality
    • Business value
  • “The reign of the PC is over.  A new era is emerging, one that will require enterprises to fundamentally rethink how they deliver services to users.”

There are many sessions on the power of these emerging technologies, how we will manage them, how we will deliver value to the business and how technology is no longer just operating the business – technology is powering the business.  At least that’s what our businesses are expecting in the coming couple of years and how the competition with the service providers is stacking up and pushing the IT Wake Up call.

I’m jazzed to start my day tomorrow with 3 back to back keynotes with a couple of old friends:

  • 10 Emerging Trends that will Impact Infrastructure and Operations – David Cappuccio
  • Applications 2020:  The Impact on Infrastructure and Operations of Current and Emerging Trends in Applications – Valentin Sribar
  • The IT Operations Scenario – Ronni Colville & Deb Curtis

 

Then we move into lunch, come see us at the NetIQ solution showcase to chat about the sessions with my old friends and how we see their insights coming to life in our every day worlds.  I’ve been posting on the need for IT to better align in how it speaks of technology in the business as services and driving top line revenue rather than just bottom line with cost savings for a while now.  In the last bullet above from the opening pages of the agenda, the one thing that did strike me odd is “deliver services to users”.  I would restate that as it is how we will “deliver services to our customers”  to drive revenue.  Yes, driving efficiency into the organization is part of the IT balancing act, but the first focus has shifted to the customer and value.

Then I’ll finish the afternoon with:

  • Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2012:  Will You Be Able to Manage Them? (Before They Manage You?) – Cameron Haight
  • Compuware, VMware and Dell will provide simultaneous session with a App Performance, Cloud Mgmt and a CIO Panel, repsectively – How will I choose?
  • 2 More Choices to Make:
    • VDI and other Virtualization Strategies to Securely Support and Manage a Dynamic Workforce – Neil MacDonald & Philip Redman
    • Leveraging Mobility, Content and Communication in you Business Processes – Bern Elliot
  • 2 More Final Choices to Make:
    • Lessons Learned from Early Adopters of Social IT Management – Jeffrey M. Brooks & George Spafford
    • Networking and Mobility Trends for the Next Decade – Tim Zimmerman

Then we are back to wrap up at the NetIQ solution showcase with a head spinning with many new viewpoints and ideas.  I look forward to speaking with many of the attendees to gain their insights into the sessions, stop on by and join the conversation, follow us in real-time on Twitter and send your comments to these posts.

As you can see from my agenda for just the first day, many new trends to wrap our management arms around to provide flexibility with balance of controls.  Change is coming fast and furious and managing it with controlled risk will be the key to the successful in the coming year.   I have some choices to make tomorrow regarding the sessions I can attend, but look forward to hearing about the risks and value of new technologies applied to our business challenges.  You even see a little Social Media has creeped into IT Management.  Wonder what that’s all about?  :-)

I’ll send a few early comments on Twitter tomorrow during my adventures.  Follow:  @BSMHub this week and catch the real-time insights, at least my perspective, of the conference.  I’ll post my take aways each evening.  Drop me your comments, I’d love to hear what’s happening out there in the real-world.

Michele

CMDB – How do I get started?

Tags: Best Practices, Business Service Management, CMDB, CMS, IT Management, ITIL, ITSM


For several years, analyst told us that you must have Discovery in order to do a CMDB project.  Sure… I’ll buy that concept, but it doesn’t mean I have to start with it.  I think discovery does wonders for a CMDB, as long as your CMDB has a good way to drink from the firehose  :)

One obvious starting point that is typically omitted is leveraging existing tools that do different types of discovery.  Connecting into the existing management tools to get inventory types of data about the devices is powerful.  Several of the tools are able to determine the type of hardware, OS installed and a slew of other tidbits.   Integrating with other tools such as Help Desk, Change Management and Asset Management systems can provide even more information such as the applications or services being used, potentially a list of the end customers/users in order to provide a impact mapping.

The typical difference between a management system that has discovery capabilities and a full fledge Discovery product is that the Discovery product also does relationship/dependency mapping while the management tool understands different levels of health and availability.  Both are useful, both are potentially good starting points.

A good starting point to feed the CMDB might be to connect into existing management tools, bring in the CI’s it knows about, the attributes it understands and then expand from there.  There are several silo’s of data to pull from.    Discovery tools typically work on schedules and sweep the network, integrating with the existing management tools provides a more up-to-date, closer to real-time update to the CMDB…. oh wait, that assumes the CMDB is able to consume it in that manner, the list of vendors just got real small.

– Tobin

 

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?

Michele

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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…)

Top 10 reasons a CMDB implementation fails

Tags: Best Practices, Business Service Management, Change, CMDB, CMS, Configuration, ITIL, ITSM, Trends


Below are some of the common reasons that CMDB implementations fail.   They are in no particular order.

Lack of Management Buy-in

Face it, one group is going to be the buyer and installer of the CMDB, there are many other groups/departments that will be needed to help maintain the data as well as use the data.  If there is no edict to leverage ITIL processes, there is a good chance that the CMDB project will fail or more accurately… not get used.

Owner of CI’s do not have easy access

I’ve seen several times that the change management team/group are the buyer/install/owner of the CMDB.   There is nothing wrong with that, the problem comes in that they do not have buy in from the CI owners to help maintain (or validate) the CI’s, or the CMDB solution is cumbersome and it is implemented in a manner that makes it hard for the CI’s to be maintained.  The Change Management team doesn’t want to own the CI’s (and can’t/shouldn’t), but the owners are not able to easily access the CMDB.

Garbage in, garbage out (and/or stale data)

There are lots of sources of data to populate and maintain the CMDB, exporting XML from one system and importing into another system is only part of the process of ensuring data accuracy.  XML exports are not the only ways to integrate with other sources also.   Make sure the vendor has ways to filter out noise (who cares about an SSH session from an admin workstation to the server, it’s not a dependency).  If the there is to much data, it may be hard to find anything, if there is inaccurate data, no one will trust the CMDB.  Find the middle ground.

Lack of third party Integration

There are many reasons to connect to the products to pull in additional details.  You can think of some of these applications like mini silo CMDB’s.  The HelpDesk system knows anything and everything about customers, the asset system knows tons-o-things about servers.  Integrating with different sources is a great way to get started as well as ongoing maintenance of a CMDB.

100% or NOTHING

Do not fall into the trap of holding back releasing the CMDB to the company until it is completely done.   I understand that there needs to be a certain level of data witin the system before there is value, I understand that there needs to be processes in place to maintain the data and then there is the accuracy challenges.  The point is, pick a few slices of the entire pie, define what it is, set the expectations, roll it out, get some internal wins (and learn from it), then go after a few more slices of the pie.

Hard to search/find things

The interface must be intuitive, the end users shouldn’t have to understand a database schema in order to search for CI’s.   Many of the users will only log into the CMDB a few times a year.  A user should be able to hit some internal website, get forwarded to the CMDB interface, issue a search, press print and run off to their DR planning meeting (or Solaris migration project, etc).

Over designed/engineered Schema

For those doing a roll-your-own CMDB, good for you, it is nice that you are spending time to design the database schema and planning for the future… don’t get stuck planning for 2020, your plans for the CMDB and schema WILL NOT BE ACCURATE, accept it.

One Stop Shopping

We are looking for a CMDB, this is a good time to purchase a new Change Management System, Problem, Help, etc, etc, etc…. and you have just delayed purchasing and rolling out anything for the next 18  – 24 months between the pilots and lengthy executive signoffs due to costs and implementation time frame.   Again, good idea, they need to work together in harmony, you need a plan, you need interoperability, but you also need to solve some business problems sooner.

Bottom Up = WRONG approach

If you’ve ever talked to the builders or owners of a CMDB, many times it quickly gets down into the weeds of attributes, relationships, types of CI’s.  This is all interesting information and details but… who cares.   In the end, who is the target audience, what is it that they will need to get out of the CMDB.  Take a top down approach to the implementation.  If you have a clear vision (or atleast a goal of a vision), in turn it can clearly define the types of CI’s you will initially need, potentially the specific attributes and dependency information.   It probably help you determine what types of integrations the CMBD might need with other system in order to populate and maintain the CI’s.  If you take a bottom up approach for the implementation of the CMDB, you will get stuck in the weeds and you may not have a clear answer if the design/approach/solution/product/etc will meet the end users vision/goals.

Okay, for those of you not counting, I only listed 9, in the comments below… give me your 10th one.  Don’t be shy, share a 10th one or a funny story about one.

Tobin

The multi-layer Service Catalog

Tags: Best Practices, Business Service Management, CMDB, CMS, IT Knowledge Exchange, IT Management, ITIL, ITSM, ITSM Solutions, Service Level, Service Providers, Trends


I ran across this article the other day by Doug Mueller and it reminded me of the multi-layer Service Catalog.  I’m not sure if this is an actual term or not, but it’s a good description of what it is.  If you take a very large organization that is broken up into distinct areas such as the teams that support:

  • Hardware & Operating Systems
  • Technologies (web servers, databases, messaging bus, etc)
  • Applications (email, timesheet, payment processing)

For mature IT groups, they typically will drive towards a list of supported hardware and support operating systems, they will also typically drive towards a list of support technologies that will be supported within the environment.  On top of these, some common applications (or services) are then provided to the employees such as email and the corporate web server.

If you walk through this, each of those teams has their own Service Catalog (and as Doug said, a Service Request Catalog).   Someone in the technology area, after significant research wants to make this new technology available for sharing documents.  The person requests from the hardware group for hardware and an operating system to be provisioned for this technology to run on.

Someone in the application area then decides to tie the document sharing, email, web and video together for a collaboration solution, so they in turn request services.  The end users then request access to the collaboration service.

I have seen a few different approaches to this such as different links on the internal website to request hardware w/OS and another set of  links to get applications/technologies installed to simple help desk requests.   Regardless, while it may not be a full fledge electronic Service Request Catalog at each layer, there are lists of approved hardware, operating systems and technologies for many companies.

Tobin

IT Service Management Good Starting Point for SaaS – CIO

Tags: Business Service Management, CIO, Cloud, Integration, ITSM, SaaS, Service Level


The Hub Commentary ___

In a previous post (Accidental Cloud Leaders – Stealth Cloud Followers – Which Cloud is your IT On?) I wrote about these practices and cited a couple of industry articles.   My advice has always been that you outsource the commodity, why do in-house what everyone else has to do as well?  Why re-invent the wheel, accept a process and tool set that works for the rest of the world.

Focus on that which is unique to your business and is the value add to drive growth.  Unique and custom are seldom good candidates for outsourcing unless you are outsourcing the whole of your IT function and have a service provider also developing your value add innovations in the market.

This will bring a shift in the roles and skill sets in the data center as we know it today.  Service providers managing services with business savvy.  There will be requirements to focus on monitoring and managing the vendors and the requirement for an integration platform that brings the picture together as an end-to-end service regardless of where it is operating.

By all means, embrace the Cloud and as-a-Service providers for the commodity.  Learn how you will monitor and manage it on the commodity.  Apply those learning for the move to the more dynamic IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) to provide agility and on-demand capacity to your mission critical services.

Michele

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Companies looking to go down the SaaS route will find that IT service management is a good starting point says Ovum.  (read full article…)

Apply a “Startup” Mentality to Your IT Infra & Ops – Forrester Blogs

Tags: Best Practices, BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, Forrester, ITSM, Service Level


Cash-starved. Fast-paced. Understaffed. Late nights. T-shirts. Jeans.

These descriptors are just as relevant to emerging tech startups as they are to the typical enterprise IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) department. And to improve customer focus and develop new skills, I&O professionals should apply a “startup” mentality. (read more…)

The Hub Commentary ___

I find this a great analogy for IT organizations having sat on both sides of the fence.  I was once an IT application development & support systems analyst.  I remember working on my first client server application (I know that dates me) and meeting with a technical engineer from a start-up software company who had come to help me with some pointers on using the tool for my project.

One of the first things we discussed was why I wasn’t directing the application I was developing directly against the database server.  My response, “because if I use the database in the application, then all the users will have to have access/licenses and that comes with a fee.”  So let’s think about this, they are paying you to develop an application, drop a spreadsheet of numbers into a database you paid for, then extract it again to display in this tool that you paid for.  Yeah.  Dilbert cartoon in the making!  Incredible silence fell as we both knew we were spending more money to avoid a license to the database than if we bought those licenses and used the technology and application I was developing.  Dilbert!

That was 20+ years ago (yikes) and as IT organizations we are often a penny wise and a dollar short.  2011 will no doubt be a tipping point for the service providers with business frustration at an all time high and access to new services prevalent.  How an IT person answers this question is a telling statement to me, “What business are you in?”.  If the answer is “I am in desktop support”, I know it is an inward facing IT organization.  If the answer is “New drug development and I support keeping the scientists in R&D working racing against the clock to get formulas to the FDA to be first to market”.  I know this is a business driven organization and there is no business ‘and’ IT.

Think like a start-up – technology is a solution to innovation, not a problem to support and operate

Michele


BSM – ITSM Done Right? – ITSM Solutions

Tags: BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, ITSM, ITSM Solutions


Business Service Management (BSM) is a term that is all the rage. I used to think ITSM meant BSM, but I have recently changed my mind. It all started when I went out to get Six Sigma certification… (read more …)

7 Things You Need to Build a Cloud Infrastructure – PCWorld

Tags: Availability, Best Practices, Business Service Management, Cloud, IT Management Tools, ITSM, PCWorld, Service Level


Today, service providers and enterprises interested in implementing clouds face the challenge of integrating complex software and hardware components from multiple vendors. The resulting system can end up being expensive to build and hard to operate, minimizing the original motives and benefits of moving to cloud computing.  (read more…)

Pinning service management hopes on the cloud – NetworkWorld

Tags: Business Service Management, Cloud, ITSM, NetworkWorld


Some enterprise IT executives struggling with their service management initiatives are finding hope in the cloud.
That’s the upshot of 1,000 senior enterprise IT decision-makers surveyed independently by Vanson Bourne on HP’s behalf. In a survey report issued last week, “IT State of the Nation 2010,” Vanson Bourne notes that 41% of … (read more…)