Tag Archive | "Monitoring"

Olympics, Twitter, iTV – What is Common? HA – High Availability!

Tags: Availability, BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, IT Management, Monitoring, Performance, Security, Service Level, Service Providers, Smart Phones, Social Media, Transformation


I couldn’t resist this opportunity to discuss high availability, speed to root cause, speed to restoration, security and mission critical services. We sit on the eve of the largest single sporting event that comes around only every 4 years and the recent headlines are, “Twitter Down 2012:  Service Out for Users Throughout the World”. I scratched my head wondering how this would look on the London skyline, literally as the London Eye conveys the Sentiment with Twitteras the gauge of status with color and intensity for all to see?

Read more here . . . 

Gartner Infrastructure & Operations Mgmt Summit – Road Trip Wrap-up

Tags: Analytics, Availability, BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, CIO, Cloud, Gartner, Innovation, IT Investment, IT Management, Mobile, Monitoring, Performance, Service Level, Service Providers, Service Value, Transformation, Trends


I’m back from a couple of weeks of travel and most notably, the annual  Gartner Infrastructure and Operations Management Summit (IOM) the first week of June.  There were more than just a handful of aha moments, much churn in what has been a mature market and many great conversations on the solution showcase floor and hallways.  Let’s start with the opening keynotes on the first day:

10 Emerging Trends that will Impact Infrastructure and Operations – David Cappuccio

The trends are in last week’s InfoWorld article, “10 for 2012: Gartner’s Top Emerging Infrastructure Trends” and are as follow:

    • Consumerization of the Tablet
    • The Infinite Data Center
    • Resource Management
    • Mobility
    • Hybrid Clouds
    • Fabric Data Centers
    • IT Complexity
    • Big Data – Big Problems
    • The End of Service Desks
    • Virtual and Software-Defined Networks

David opens with the statistic of >75% of IT budgets are spent just keeping the lights on, operating, not driving the company forward.  IT didn’t see the (or didn’t want to see) the tablet coming to the workplace.  Just 5 years ago 1G of storage cost $7995, today it is 25 cents – that was yesterday! and I was 2 years away from my first cell phone, still had a pager!  We have LOTS of data to secure, not hardware or devices to manage, the focus must shift from the device to the information and data.  The Cloud will replace storage from the PC / Workstation to be accessible from any device, anywhere.

Even this old timer, slow adopter (me) is synching 3 devices via the cloud to share data across devices without the help of my company and I share that data with outside parties as appropriate due to the size limitations imposed by IT.  We all find a work-around!  At a minimum we each have 4 devices, yes, I have 2 phones, an iPad and a laptop, 5 if you count the Kindle I stopped using – have to keep Microsoft and Apple, Google and Blackberry all in check.  😉  I still live with the “Blue Screen of Death”, but have been seen checking the weight of that boat anchor of a Mac Book Pro.  :-)

The expectation is that no matter what we are using, it “just works”.  IT lost control of the environment a long time ago, now is the time to embrace the next generation and the self service culture.  Companies are now considering a stipen to aid in funding a device of the users choice lowering support and break-fix costs.  My bet is it happens within the year.

Another interesting statistic was for every 25% of functionality added to the current infrastructure, there is an increase of 100% in complexity.  The cloud is here, the business is subscribing with or without IT as I’ve posted previously out of frustration to deliver innovation over just operating.  We in IT are in catch up mode and need to move quickly.  With that said, we all need to be wary of the hype and focus on the value delivered and concentrate on the right delivery model for the value.

Of all the trends, the one indicating the end of service desks surprised me most from this conservative crowd and having spent the early part of my career in this market.  The more I have pondered this trend over the past week the more I agree and see it.  I have often posted and consulted that IT needs to stop turning support into a custom adventure and at 10% of an IT Operational budget, it is well suited for SaaS and/or outsourced.  Customers expect service now (no pun intended :-) and IT is diminishing it’s own value in the loss of productivity, especially with the next generation of workers.  IT needs to become proactive, embrace new technology and begin focusing on the right deployment options and securing the data / information, rather than device support and lock down.  This shift has occurred very quickly and the war already lost by IT.

Applications 2020:  The Impact on Infrastructure and Operations of Current and Emerging Trends in Applications – Valentin Sribar

To my surprise, an old friend presented this session, Val, and was quite an interesting topic and approach from an Operations outsider in front of 800+ Infrastructure and Operations leaders.  The first half of the session focused on the next generation worker and their expectations of technology.  I had to think about my baby nephew during this session (now 17) who grew up with a whole different view of technology and it’s capabilities.  Who, by the way, is the only person I’ll “text” with as it is his only means of communication and a communication method I dislike.  I think of one of the first applications I provided for him, a Crayola painting application.  My father and I watched a 3 year old at the time drag and drop the primary colors into his paint tray and paint a picture.  I with, my back to him, asked, “create and use purple, my favorite color”.  Sure enough he does it without question to my father’s exclaim, “how did he know he could do that?”, (dragging and dropping red on blue) I said, “because he didn’t know he couldn’t”.

This generation expects devices to just work, expects them to work together and expects to easily share data and applications across platforms and devices and communicate instantly in 140 characters or less.  My nephew doesn’t understand that if he texts me while I’m driving, what’s the delay.  Connectivity is instantaneous and global.  I travel globally, my nephew hears the action of a car race on the phone, turns on the tv to see it live, we text and IM across the globe as if I’m in his house daily and part of his daily life.  When he was born and I lived 10 hours away, I wanted to be sure we had a tight relationship.  Little did I know that in 6 short years the world would change and in a couple more years, distance would no longer be a challenge.  This is the next generation worker, not hindered by device, time or distance.

Development for the mobile world should be the default and workstation minority as an afterthought.  The user experience from these devices will be like jewelry, a microphone, speakers, cameras, gamification of applications, scoring and choice of applications, etc. etc. etc.  These workers expect an AppStore, not IT, to choose, download and just use in an instant – it just needs to work.  Apps and options are not one size fits all.

STOP what you are doing today and turn it upside down.  Reduce costs at the bottom to add value at the top and get away from one size fits all and join the value add discussion.  This is where Val provided several insightful slides and a paper (G00147079 – Application Leaders:  Stop Eating Profits and Capital with the Unnecessary Operational Expenses).

 

Both of these sessions set the tone for the remainder of the sessions and 3 days of the Summit that I’ll save for additional posts.  What this all points to is Change is inevitable, with Change comes Complexity and with Complexity and the need for speed comes Risk.  We all need to embrace the Change, learn to manage Complexity and mitigate/control Risk to take advantage of new technology and deploy innovation into our organizations.  As someone in the Service Management or Business Service Management market for quite some time, this was music to my ears.  The Cloud is the disruption creating the urgency for change, as well as the next generation.  Ignore the hype, focus on the value and choose the right deployment and technology options that will drive your business into the future.

The one thing that did strike me odd in most of the sessions was the use of the term “User”.  The reason this struck me odd was that the focus should be on the customer, less on the internal users, and driving the business.  Working to drive the business is about the organization in support of the customer.

As I entered the workforce, a southerner was transplanted in Boston and a year and a half later relocated to Texas with a New York co-worker and friend .  At that time our confusion was a result of different words and concepts like Round-abouts, The Green Monster, The Garden and BBQ of which I had no idea what the first 2 were, the third I thought was a botanical garden and the fourth was of course stringy pork with a vinegar based sauce and coleslaw sandwich versus steak on a bun.  We had dumb terminals and PC’s were off in the distance.  Change has come lightening fast.

I walked away from the Summit knowing it is about the service, driving revenue, embracing technology, ignore the hype and concentrate on the value, securing an unknown perimeter and creating freedom of the imagination.  Technology with Imagination – Endless Possibilities.

Thoughts?  Were you at the Summit?  What struck you the most?

Michele

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

Why Service Management?

Tags: Availability, Best Practices, BSM, Business Service Management, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, Performance, Service Level, Service Providers, Service Value, Transformation, Trends


In my last post, Eat or be Eaten – IT Transformation UnderwayI discussed the transformation IT as we know it is undergoing. Last week I had the opportunity to listen to my good friend Eveline Oehrlich of Forresterpresent Reboot Service Management as hosted by ITSM Academy, confirming many of the discussion points from my previous post and had me thinking about my next series of posts.

The IT is being dropped by more and more folks in the industry and ITIL is being discussed less and less due to negative feelings surrounding it.  Business has reached the point of frustration hearing too much about IT, technology silos and processes at the same time the market has opened up with new buying options removing the perceived lack of competion IT has enjoyed for so long.

I initially was going to start this series with Why Business Service Management, however, after last week’s discussion led by Eveline, I also agree, to shed the IT and business delineations of the past. Now I ask myself what is it we need to focus on? Why is this transformation underway? The answer had hit me quite easily earlier this year, it’s simple. At the end of the day we need to answer a couple of simple questions:

  • Are we open for business?
  • How are we performing?
  • What is our current level of risk?
  • Are we operating efficiently?

These are the questions at the crux of this transformation into a center of innovation driving the business and a small operation managing the commodity as efficiently as possible. In slide 7 of Eveline’s deck, she discussed how technology demand is up even with declining revenues because organizations see the power that technology can bring their organization. There are 3 facets to this: Demand for technology, Growth of revenue and Decline of costs. The next few slides and discussion supported a complex environment, self service and support of technology and technology savvy workforce. The technology is moving to the business with the business buying their way into a center of innovation, leaving old IT to commoditize and operate the legacy. The credibility gap between the technology savvy business and the current IT organization is growing and thus the shift empowered by new, easy buying options.

Very few organizations perceive their current IT organizations will drive growth for their organization because most feel their IT organization does not understand the business. Businesses are seeking growth and customer loyalty far above just driving out costs in the current environment. The businesses are seeking guidance in applying technology to drive growth and are spending to see that happen. These will be the leaders of their industry in the coming year.

The most interesting chart in the conversation last week was slide 22 and where IT is placing their priorities. IT prioritizes efficiency and cost where they have a great opportunity to drive revenue, customer loyalty and competitiveness for the business in the market. I assume the folks attacking driving growth are in the minority as it is the greatest change for the current IT organization. The level of complexity to manage technology increases the more the business subscribes to their own disparate services across business units. As this gap grows, this is the point of inflection where I believe the new center of innovation will evolve from to centralize management again, but in a business fashion versus an operation fashion as we have today.

As the discussion began to come to a close, we look at slide 59 and 60 and see that 45% of organizations will have SaaS services by the end of 2012 and 60% by 2013 with businesses shifting from managing cost and focusing on business agility. This is why I found slide 22 interesting as most IT organizations are still focusing on cost. This is where I believe the center of innovation and operations for the new IT will evolve from because the current IT cannot answer the questions above and have no idea how technology impacts business. Most IT organizations manage all technology the same, box on / box off is equal to severity 1, when they should have visibility to business impact setting priority and how management focus of resources are applied.

So Why Service Management? To know if you are open, performing well, managing risk and operating efficiently. It’s about the service of your business, not the technology and the business is seeking roles, employees and service providers that drive growth, customer loyalty and market competitiveness. The question is will they hire the talent from the outside or will the inside evolve to transform the organization and become strategic to apply technology rather than just operate the technology.

It’s not just about contracting cloud services for the sake of it, but a strategy of applying the right technology, deployment option and manage it and bake that management into the service to manage and grow the business.  In the next posts I’ll discuss each question in further detail focusing on:

  • Are we open for business?  Availability and service views and management
  • How are we performing?  Performance of the service both from the technology & business perspective
  • What is our current level of risk?  Risk both operationally and from a security perspective
  • Are we operating efficiently?  Leveraging automation and standards

I believe technology will fragment and decentralize before coming back together with centralized management, but it will be management of services and the application of technology to drive growth, thus the center of innovation. The business is already creating this capability, it’s just a question whether the inside folks are part of the strategic movement or left with the operational management.

How is your IT organization evolving?

Michele

Consider Desktops in the Cloud for BYOD – NetworkWorld

Tags: Availability, BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, DaaS, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, NetworkWorld, Performance, Service Providers, Service Value, VDI


The Hub Commentary_

I’m not so sure I agree with this latest in the cloud development, Desktop-as-a-Service.   How many times do you rent this session before it would have been cheaper to just supply the device with software or deploy a VDI in your environment?  Renting is never cheaper.

However, it does insure a standard configuration and provides the most current version of the operating systems and productivity tools.

The other component I’m not sure I buy into is why the business should incur additional charges to accommodate employees bringing their own devices.  This will require both the rental and subscriptions to air time where wi-fi is not readily accessible.  We all use our devices for both personal and professional reason, so when does the cost of the subscriptions roll from the business to the person?

I haven’t been able to find the pricing to run the numbers, but enabling employees to access files and applications from their personal devices and from any location is part of doing business these days.  Paying by the drink and buying the air time for both personal and professional use smells like a pricey proposition.  If there were not revenue in it, the hosters would not be in business.

I do see having access for emergency situations useful.  Management must also be baked into the service as well to insure quality and availability.

Just because it can be in the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean it must be in the cloud.  Where is your VDI, in the cloud, sourced or on premise?

Michele

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Desktop-as-a-Service is an interesting way for IT execs to provide cloud-based Windows desktop sessions, as well as shared resources such as storage. DaaS can help companies roll out new desktops and support Bring Your Own Device policies.  (Read Full Article…)

Amazon Web Services Helps Users Avoid Bill Shock – NetworkWorld

Tags: Best Practices, BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, Cost Reduction, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, NetworkWorld, Service Providers, Service Value


The Hub Commentary_

The pay-as-you-go model counts on customers over using without regard to usage thresholds, much like company provided mobile phones.  Cloud providers make it easy to get started and even easier to over use.  I commend Amazon for putting some basic thresholds and emails in place, but the responsibility to monitor and manage services resides with the customer.

The monitoring, management and security of services and workloads in the cloud are the responsibility of the customer to instrument.  These are the hidden and unaccounted for costs of the cloud.  That which sounds cheaper on the surface is rarely cheaper.  Frustration levels are high and the race to the cloud is fast, beware of hidden costs.

It is the responsibility of the customer to manage the service provider, monitor and manage service quality, security and usage.

How are you managing your service provider?

Michele

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Amazon Web Services users can now start receiving billing alerts that help them continuously monitor their cloud costs, the company said on Thursday.

10 most powerful cloud computing companies

One of the basic tenants of cloud services like those offered by Amazon is the pay-as-you-go model, where the eventual monthly bill will reflect actual usage. But when usage varies from hour to hour, it is always a good idea to log in to the AWS portal and check account activity on a regular basis, according to an Amazon blog post.

(Read Full Article…)

The Cloud is Eating The World – Forbes

Tags: BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, Cloud, Forbes, IT, IT Management, Monitoring, Performance, Service Providers, Service Value, Transformation


The Hub Commentary_

I cannot pass on this article today.  Last Friday I closed the week with a bit of humor on Qmunity entitled, “Eat or be Eaten – IT Transformation Underway”.  As a long time application developer and once with EDS and IBM have often known the revenue is driven by the services and software side versus the hardware.  In fact, I once had the opportunity to work for an insurance company who received their first life insurance programs (ALIS – Advanced Life Insurance System) which was free when this company purchased it’s first mainframe hardware.  

As is called out in the article, the world is upside down these days and the device, HW just facilitates the real value add of the service.  As soon as the Kindle came out, I suspected the price would drop as it is more about the subscription than the device.  Much like Cloud services, provide an easy mechanism to purchase and hope no one monitors the consumption.  High transaction volume, low price point model.

Michele

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Lately I’ve been seeing a quote by Marc Andreessen everywhere. It states that “Software is eating the world” which he declared in an article for The Wall Street Journal last summer. His argument was that “more and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services.” Which I completely agree with. At the time he pointed to Hewlett-Packard as an example: It had announcemed that it was exploring jettisoning its struggling PC business in favor of investing more heavily in software, where it sees better potential for growth as a prime example of this trend.  (Read Full Article…)

IT operations in the age of cloud: Brace yourself for change – TechTarget

Tags: Availability, BSM, Business Alignment, Cloud, IT Management, Monitoring, Performance, TechTarget, Transformation


The Hub Commentary_

Alex Barrett wrote a nice article a couple of weeks ago that I too wrote about last week.  IT is transforming and dwindling.  I suggest that there will be only a small staff left called “Operations”, there will be architects and there will be an Office of Innovation that resides closer to the business units knitting together the services that grow and manage the business.

Alex provides a couple of nice examples and worth the read and contemplation how your IT Organization will transform this coming year.

Are you part of the downsizing or part of the innovation?  How is your organization changing?

Michele

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Like a hurricane barreling up the coast, cloud computing is gathering strength and expected to make landfall shortly. In some IT shops, cloud is already here, bringing the winds of change along with it.  (Read Full Article…)

Signs your IT Department needs an upgrade

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


Here are a few topics around monitoring the Enterprise that are common problem areas for IT.   While this is not the entire list, it is a common problem area I hear about often.  Do you have more, please let me know.

1) You have many tools monitoring your infrastructure. While you may be feeding events from many tools into your favorite management tool (AKA: Manager of Managers), you still rely on the underlying consoles for day to day management (IE: while events are able to come in, you are not able to access other features of the underlying management tool to look at performance charts, issues actions against alarms, seeing topology maps, etc).

 

2) While looking at a sea or red, it is not quickly obvious which outages or performance problems should be worked on first. Is it easy for Level 1 operators to know that server1.mycompany.com is a critical component of three different important company Services (IE: EMail, Purchasing, etc) and server2.mycompany.com is a single node is a cluster of ten and not as critical.

 

3) The IT Department is graded on the availability of the Services (and/or systems) and you have to manually update spreadsheets at the end of the period (monthly, quarterly, etc) to determine your grade. You have no way realtime to see where you are at within an active Service Level period. You are not able to map current outages to key/important SLA’s.

 

4) It is not clear that help desk tickets have been opened for a problem identified by one of your management tools… or the current status of the ticket… or if change requests has been opened to address the problem.

 

When looking for your next upgrade, one stop shopping to a single vendor is not always ideal. The Enterprise has many tools from many vendors and while the one particular management tool has ways to integrate with third parties, it was not designed to do full fledge bi-directional integration. Most tools report on how you did for an SLA and ignore how you are currently doing.  Mapping of critical business processes and/or services is typically within a silo (IE: just that management tool, it might have some additional feeds, but not a true end to end view of the service and components supporting the Service). Many tools open tickets, but very few allow you to visualize all aspects of the total health of the device (think all the ITIL practices here).   Use a product that was designed from the ground up to integrate, correlate and visualize vasts amounts of data from several underlying management tools.

– Tobin

Measuring Cloud Services with a Handshake or Storm Cloud

Tags: Availability, Business Service Management, Cloud, InfoWorld, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, Performance, Service Level, Transformation


A friend of mine, Richard Whitehead, recently posted two blogs (Two Lawyers and Shakin Up) on the topic of service level agreements, contracts and lawyers for cloud based services.  My favorite quote in these posts, “Send lawyers, guns and money”.   All I can say is, if it comes to lawyers, guns and money, it just ain’t worth it.  Far too much time is spent on the negotiation and perceived service missteps than is put into the quality of service and driving revenue.

This is a topic near to my heart as I embark this week to draft my own presentation on the topic, Cloud Service Contract Get Stormy, for the upcoming Data Center World Conference in Orlando later this year.  As an analyst, I would review many outsourced service level agreements against industry best practices, reasonableness and guidance regarding how to manage services.  There are a few common pieces of advice I suggest:

  • Service Accountability – you as the IT organization maintain ultimate accountability for the service to the business and your customers.
  • Operational Processes – you as IT no longer own “how” the service is delivered only that it is delivered in a manner that is acceptable.
  • Operational Tools – you as IT no longer own the management tools and technology that monitors the delivery of service.
  • Service Levels – accept the standard service levels, drive toward economies of scale and standardization.
  • Penalties – protect for gross negligence and harm to the business, not perfection for the sake of perfection.
  • End of Contract – data, who owns it, how is it transitioned – be sure the transition is covered to avoid hidden costs.

The first thing I suggest that organizations review are their services – not all services are created equal.  Some drive revenue, others drive out costs from the organization.  I’ve covered this categorization in another post Finding Your Services.  Classify your services and source the commodity services that are not unique to your organization.  The more unique, the more mission critical, the less appropriate it is to outsource unless you are early to market and do not have the talent in-house and need to buy it.  There is risk and reward to buying talent to deliver a market changing service and there is some forgiveness in the market for hiccups in this scenario.   Source with clear objectives and manage as such.

The second thing I usually end up discussing is “how” the service is delivered and “managed”.  Do you tell your electricity provider how to deliver electricity to you home or business?  Do you tell them the proper management practices and tools to use to deliver electricity?  And yet having adequate power is a piece of delivering IT services.  I believe what makes the sourcing of IT services different is that we as IT organizations have some expertise in delivering the commodity services and while we want to insure quality service, we need to step back and define the service and performance objectives and manage to those shifting our role from service deliverer to service manager.  It is up to the service provider to deliver the service and meet the agreed upon objectives.  The role of IT is shifting in these mixed environments to a service manager and communicator of service to the business as it drives revenue.  This is illustrated as the hottest growing job in IT is a Business Architect according to a recent article in InfoWorld translating technology as service performance to the business.

The next thing that comes up is the viability of the service provider.  This takes us slightly back to the previous paragraph to insure the provider has processes, practices and tools in place to reasonable manage the service without mandating how the service is delivered.  There are other points of reference here as well regarding their financial viability, duration in business, other customers, references not just for the good service, but references when service failed and how the provider responded.

Service levels and penalties is another topic of discussion and where visions of guns and lawyers dance around.  Go back to step 1 and remind yourself of the value of the service, don’t demand unreasonable service levels as they will come at a premium price and thus don’t impose high penalties also raising the risk of the service to the provider and thus cost to you.  Understand reasonable levels of performance, availability, responsiveness and security.  The more custom and imposing your SLAs and penalties, the higher the cost of the service and thus the higher the cost to manage the service.

Finally, do not overlook the end of contract transition.  Insure there are no surprises or hidden costs in transitioning systems, data, etc.

The final, final discussion is monitoring the performance of the service.  Budget 7% of the contract value to manage the vendor and service.  This includes the monitoring of the service to avoid those perception versus reality discussion of the health of the service.  It is still ITs responsibility to manage the service and know how it is performing to take appropriate proactive action in the event there is a hiccup whether that be to deploy additional resources, re-direct resources, etc. for services delivered in-house, by providers or in the growing mixed environment.

In the end, the choice comes down to “pay now or pay later”.  I find it money better spent to monitor, manage and nurture the service provider relationship in the delivery of quality service over paying a lot more to bring out the guns and lawyers at the end.  The first drives revenue growth, the second illustrates failure and lost revenue to lynch a scapegoat.

I too listened to the customer speak that Richard references in his second blog post that does business with a handshake and works toward driving revenue.  Lawyers and Government are not the answer to regulating cloud service providers – drive your own destiny and revenue.  Ok….back to my presentation, come to Data Center World and hear more!

Michele

CIOs: At What Stage Is Your Thinking On Cloud Economics? – Forrester

Tags: Business Alignment, Business Service Management, Cloud, Forrester, Monitoring, Performance, Service Providers, Transformation


The Hub Commentary_

I tend to agree with James and have written often on the same subject.  Those leading their industry this year, likely won’t be the ones leading next year.  The question is are you trying to merely drive down costs or fuel growth?  Even with the Amazon blip of a week or so ago, those fueling growth are unwaivered in their approach.

Define and leverage the cloud as a deployment option with the right objective and measure it accordingly.  There will be blips in service from service providers, have an alternative plan for those occurrences based upon the requirements of the service.  Having the proper monitoring and management in place to monitor and measure services will be key.

Just because you push services to external providers does not mean you have alleviated the accountability for the service.  Management of the providers has to be factored into the cost of the service.

I look forward to comparing this years Fortune 500 list to next years and find the movers and shakers of their industry.

Do you run for cost or fuel for growth?

Michele

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Is your cloud strategy centered on saving money or fueling revenue growth? Where you land on this question could determine a lot about your experience level with cloud services and what guidance you should be giving to your application developers and infrastructure & operations teams. According to our research the majority of CIOs would vote for the savings, seeing cloud computing as an evolution of outsourcing and hosting that can drive down capital and operations expenses. In some cases this is correct but in many the opposite will result.  (Read Full Article…)

VDI’s Impact on Network Infrastructure – ITBusinessEdge

Tags: Business Service Management, End-to-End View, IT Management Tools, Monitoring, VDI


The Hub Commentary_

Virtualized Desktop Infrastructures (VDI) can save organizations on the hardware with the thin client, but as Arthur points out there are additional costs to consider and with everything there is a break-even and savings point with volume.  We are back to the dumb terminal!  What is old is new again.

I do agree that there is a cost on the network and network bandwidth has to be planned for accordingly, much like video conferencing that gets left on long after a meeting and when we all received our first desktop and connected to a news download site as a screen saver.  Doh!

I’ll also mention that there are support savings to be gained as well in having such a standard end point to manage and service, however, the support organization will require an end-to-end management view of the infrastructure in order to be able to monitor incidents.  This requires the integration platform that brings all of the infrastructure together for a complete view as a service in order to pinpoint whether it is network, VM, the application, the hardware, etc.

I do believe the hardware savings is the small piece of the ROI when implemented correctly.  The support costs with the right tools to view the end-to-end performance will be the greatest savings to the organization.

How are you planning for your VDI implementation?

Michele

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It’s been clear for some time that the initial rosy ROI projections surrounding Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) didn’t exactly tell the whole story.  (Read Full Article…)

2011 Outsourcing Survey: Chasing Fast And Cheap – InformationWeek

Tags: Business Service Management, IT Management, Monitoring, Performance, Service Value, Sourcing, Transformation


The Hub Commentary_

The final quote sums this up, “You cannot outsource responsibility”.  IT still owns the delivery of service.  In my many years as an analyst and consultant, you never ever outsource for cost saving.  Unless you are a hideously inefficient organization, it is never cheaper.  You must factor in 3-7% of the contract value as vendor management expenses and the provider must also make a profit.

Now you can drive costs out by accepting standards the provider brings to the table and as the article states, free your valuable resources for strategic work versus the commodity.  Deployment options must be weighed based upon the commodity – strategic nature of the service and in-house expertise.  In some cases as the article states, you may go outside to learn a new skill for a strategic service.  However, just because you have a bunch of folks that can do a commodity task doesn’t mean it is well suited for your in-house staff.

I disagree with the survey results regarding unforseen costs and poor quality.  This all points to vendor management.  IT still retains responsibility and just because it is handed over to a provider doesn’t mean IT stops managing the service.  Project overruns and delivery sit squarely with the project manager or vendor management group in this situation.

The other complaint that I doesn’t hold water for me either is “they don’t know my industry”.   Unless you are contracting for an industry specific service/application, IT management is IT management across industries.  It’s the applications and services that are different from industry to industry and thus why it remains incumbent upon IT to take leadership in managing the service providers.

The reason more and more of IT will be outsourced is because the service providers are going to the business, selling the business a service for a specific cost and value and they are making the buying options very appealing.  The downside to this is that vendor management is being overlooked.   As I’ve mentioned previously, IT owns the service and to stay out of perception versus reality debates regarding a service, IT must also monitor the service and build this into their vendor management practice.

There is no doubt the cloud and outsourcing options are here to stay and will continue to eat away at the data center.  Those that deploy, monitor, manage, and measure their services in mixed environments taking advantage of the best options will lead their industry with technology in the coming year.

How are you monitoring and measuring your service providers?

Michele

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Even as the economy improves, the reality of IT service delivery is less positive: We’re not willing to fight to hire talent, opting instead to outsource more and more, yet not investing in vital management tools and skills.  (Read Full Article…)

VMware Launches Cloud Foundry

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, Cloud, Monitoring, PaaS, Virtualization, VMware


Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance ManagementVMware announced that it is launching Cloud Foundry, a move that will put the company smack dab in the center of the Platform as a Service (PaaS) market. The project is in Beta for now.

As I wrote in Understanding the Different Levels of Cloud Computing, PaaS “…provides a platform on which you can build applications usually linked to a particular vendor.” VMware is traditionally known as a company that provides the software to build out virtual machines, a key component in building and deploying private clouds, so this takes them in a new direction.

Geva Perry, writing on his Thinking Out Cloud blog, says what’s interesting about this offering is that it offers a series of VMware branded services such as data and messaging services, but also uses an open architecture that enables enterprises to link other non-VMware services. This is in contrast to Salesforce.com, whose PaaS offering is really designed to lock you into the Salesforce platform (which is fine if that’s where you’re working, not everyone is about customer relationship management).

This is an intriguing offering for any IT pro because it provides a central place where you can build your cloud infrastructure with a mix of public and private services. Now what’s really interesting here is the open nature of this platform. If it’s truly open, and depending on how flexible the API is, perhaps you could also connect the whole kit and kaboodle to your monitoring tool. Imagine how that would be?

I’m not certain this is possible having just seen the picture of the architecture in the blog post, but if it were, it opens up some interesting possibilities as it would allow you to have the means to monitor your entire system from a single view, a pretty attractive idea.

If it’s not that easy to connect to an external monitoring system, it should be because this type of connectivity has to become a priority. IT pros need to have the tools to monitor the whole system wherever it resides and a tool like this that mixes services should provide that.

Photo by jenny-bee on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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.

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.