Tag Archive | "Service Level"

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 . . . 

Convergence is in the Air or Clouds – Qmunity

Tags: Availability, Best Practices, BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, CIO, Cloud, Cloud Computing, Cost Reduction, Forrester, Gartner, IT Investment, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Outsourcing, Service Level, Service Providers, Service Value, Spending, Transformation, Trends


I have posted a couple of new posts on NetIQ’s Qmunity and wanted to share here as well.  IT is under great Transformation to get to Service Brokers who can manage Service Governance.  This is the convergences of Development, Operations and Security functions within IT.  In the first post I discuss the convergence and the second post is on the topic of Service Governance and new research from Forrester.

Enjoy!

 

 

Overhauling Service Management – Developing, Operating and Securing

Previously I posted, “Why Service Management” discussing the melding of IT and the business for common objectives in managing, measuring and communicating service performance.  The recent Gartner Infrastructure and Operations Management Summit (IOM) also provoked the status quo of IT Operations andCameron Haight began to challenge and discuss a new term, DevOps, where development and operations are more closely aligned.  The post event Trip Report provides a glimpse into the many thought provoking challenges and discussions of the week.  continue reading…

 

 Communicating Service Performance – Beware of the Competition

We’ve discussed service management and the transformation that IT is undergoing with the catalysts being the cloud, service providers, SaaS, social media, collaboration, mobility, BYOD, etc.  The root catalyst is choice and options in the market and the competition speaks in terms of service value and service performance. I posted a question in LinkedIn regarding how much of your services are in the cloud today and expected to be next year?  Join the discussion.  The first answer was as I expected, a law firm that isn’t in the cloud and isn’t going there because of security concerns.  I responded as I bet they use services that are internet based, research likely, and thus they are in the cloud.  Just like a recent customer discussed having hundreds of apps in the cloud that now need to be reconciled, rationalized and managed for cost.  How did they get this point?  Easy, credit card subscriptions – cheap and easy to do business with.  continue reading….

 

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

CIO-CEO Disconnect a ‘Silent Killer’ – CIO Journal

Tags: BSM, Business Service Management, CIO, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Service Level, Service Providers, Service Value, Transformation


The Hub Commentary_

Great analogy, The Silent Killer.  Even the name IT (Information Technology) is dated.  IT as we know will go through significant transformation, if it stays in-house, in the coming years.  Often IT is outsourced to create change and thus the race to the cloud.  Today’s IT needs to die to come back to life as the center of innovation that drives business growth, customer loyalty and competitiveness in the future.

IT folks tend to avoid change, but I do not understand why this change is not being.  The roles are changing and changing to remove the commodity functions and boost the opportunities of those who remain with more strategic roles, but it does begin with the leadership of the organization.

The article ends with a prediction that 50% of initiatives will drive revenue by 2016.  As these barriers are crumbling and evolving into centers of innovation,  will history continue to repeat itself and leave the management as the after thought? Those who are successful with quality of service, innovation and growth will instrument and bake the management into these services, investments and strategies.  There will no longer be silos of technologies, but rather service performance.

How are you combating the Silent Killer?

Michele

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Priorities of CIOs and CEOs are often so far apart that it can impact business growth, said Gartner analyst Ken McGee. But the analyst said CIOs can help reverse this course by working on projects that will generate financial benefits to their organizations.

(Read Full Article…)

Cloud Computing Tools: Improving Security Through Visibility and Automation – CIO

Tags: Best Practices, BSM, Business Service Management, CIO, Cloud, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Service Level, Service Providers, Service Value, Transformation, Trends, Virtualization


The Hub Commentary_

Nice article last week walking through many of the security and management considerations when evaluating services appropriate for public cloud.  Security and Operations are coming closer together as architecture for services are considered for organizations.  This discussion illustrates the transformation that is occurring within organizations – the movement from operations to innovation.

The decision to move services to the cloud considers business impact and value in architecting and deploying services as well as security and management.  The service provider is providing the infrastructure, but the service is still owned by the contracting business and must be instrumented for management.

Likely not a thought of the author, but management of systems and services has always been a follow-on to new technology deployment and use.  I found the irony in the article that security was first and the management discussion followed.  The race to the cloud is fueled by the notion it is cheaper, but when the fall back is we can do it manually, write a few scripts, manually keep track of configurations and compliance, etc. I have to ask, how much cheaper can it be if automation and management are manual.

Management tools available today were built with different technologies and uses in mind.  The right management tool for the right technology should still be used, but what is surfacing is the requirement to stitch the fabric of the service, how it is deployed and managed together to gain a holistic view of the service.  The days of an atomic service on a single platform are long gone and waiting on management to catch up to manage all combinations of solutions and platforms will be an endless wait.  The best approach will weave together the fabric of service components with the proper management tools.

How are you stitching together your cloud strategy and is management an afterthought?

Michele

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CSO — Many enterprises are reluctant to move critical cloud applications out of their own data centers and into the public cloud due to security concerns. Yet the same automated, consistent provisioning that is essential to managing either public or private clouds (as well as to the process of thinking through a cloud deployment) can also offer the fringe benefit of improving security.  (Read Full Article…)

What do you measure in your Infrastructure & Operations department? – Forrester

Tags: Availability, Best Practices, BSM, Business Alignment, Business Service Management, IT Management, Performance, Service Level, Service Providers


The Hub Commentary_

Good Monday Morning!  Scanning the early news and came across this list of metrics from Forrester that they are building out for their next conference.  In the comments to the article, there is a link to the KPI Library.  

These IT metrics have been around for decades and are good for evaluating and implementing process improvements.  In this day of the Cloud and competition for IT business, I might suggest that these need to be in context of the service and could even go one step further and categorized for 4 high level services:  Growth, Quality, Productivity and Cost.

All services are not created equal and thus the metrics for each will vary based upon the priority of the service to the business.  I’ve posted here on this chart of services last week and in a previous post.  These metrics are suited for IT Operators, while the rest of IT is slowly being outsourced or moved to the business focusing on the services offered by the business and the services that will drive the business.

How do you measure your technology for the transformation that is underway?

Michele

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Help us build out a list of metrics that organizations are using to measure their infrastructure and operations departments. We will use this data to create a list of consensus metrics and benchmark their values.  (Read Full Article…)

Operations Center – Clustering & High Availability – Qmunity

Tags: Availability, Business Service Management, IT Management, IT Management Tools, Performance, Service Level


Business Service Management Commentary on IT Service Management, Service Level Management & Performance Management

IT Management - High Availability

We on The Hub do not usually post tool specific posts, but today I’m going to point you to a great, best practices post by Tobin.  Yes, he does mention a product, but the post is more about setting up High Availability systems and what that means.

Often times when we speak with customers about Service Enabling their infrastructure and end-to-end visibility of services, we enter into a discussion of “nice to have” versus “must have”.  So why is management “must have” today and high availability relevant with management tools.  I always answer, “Do you want the pilot flying the plane blind without instruments?  Why would you run your business blind?”

IDC forecasts by 2013 >50% of IT budgets will be dedicated to Outsourced IT.  While most IT organizations are providing high availability of services, it’s not based upon priority.  90% of IT organizations are still a level 2 of maturity, reacting to events versus managing proactively.  Thus this tells us all technology is being managed equally when the business is shouting for management by priorities to the business and thus becoming more involved in buying decisions and deployment options.

Long story short, management and visibility is a must have to getting to proactive and removing the obstacles of embracing new technologies and services that drive the business.  This requires service enabling your infrastructure for visibility and then it must be treated as mission critical and requires high availability infrastructure to continue to deliver high quality services.

Do you treat your management systems as high availability systems?  Why not?

Michele 

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Configuring Operations Center (and other products) within a High Availability (HA) configuration tends to confuse people. I guess it starts with the basic requirement of needing an application/service configured in a manner that it has some level of Fault Tolerance (FT) and/or HA which in turn reduces the possibility of outages (system not being available for the end users). FT helps with HA, but FT is not HA. (more on that later)

Fault Tolerance (FT) is more about configuring the hardware of a system in a manner that in the event of a failure (IE: hard drive), without intervention, the system automatically recovers and continues to operate. The most common is around hard drives and leveraging “RAID” (Redudant Array of Independent Disks). Other solutions provide dual power supplies, NIC’s, etc.  Read More …

10 Ways to Sell Your CEO on Cloud Computing – CIOInsight

Tags: Business Alignment, Business Service Management, CIOInsight, Cloud, IT Management, Service Level, Service Value, Transformation, Trends


Is the enterprise ready for the cloud? Companies like Google, Salesforce, IBM and others think so and they’re creating solutions give enterprise customers what they want. Cloud-computing solutions are gaining traction across the market. As a CIO, the value of cloud computing is clear. And chances are, if your company hasn’t already deployed cloud solutions, you’re making plans to do so. However, with budget limitations, unless your CEO finds value in cloud computing, it may be challenging to get the solution you want. How can you educate your CEO and convince him or her that cloud computing will be a boon to your business?  Read More Here . . .

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I am still a little lost on the press convince your CEO of a new technology. Shouldn’t we be driving solutions leveraging the right deployment technology to drive competitive edge into the organization. Technology for the sake of a technology has no real value. While I agree with many of the points in this particular article on 10 Ways to Sell your CEO on Cloud Computing, it is still selling technology versus a business driving solution. We as IT have to change our thinking to that of the service providers that are popping up daily in selling our CEOs solutions leveraging technologies that drive agility and quality performance into the business, just so happens they use things like virtualization and cloud computing.

I’ve been working with many service providers as of late and it is reminiscent of the dot com era. Those that will survive and thrive are not just chasing the latest technology trend for the short term, but are baking in the practice that will sustain them for the long term and what business is asking of its own IT organizations, the ability to answer 3 questions:

(1)    “Am I open for business?”

(2)    ”How are we performing?” ”What is the customer experience?”

(3)    ”What is the risk of an outage?”

all in real time so as to take action, rather than reporting on it after the game is over.  The reason most organizations outsource services is not for cost, but for change that they cannot create from within the organization.  The time for IT to change and become the service provider of choice driving value and competitive advantage into their organizations has come.  Time to manage the business rather than convince someone of an IT technology or process.

What do you think?

Michele

 

ITs Perfect Storm: Time for Change or Be Changed

Tags: BSM, BSMReview.com, Business Service Management, CIOInsight, Cloud, Harvard Business Review, IT Investment, IT Management, Service Level, Service Providers, Service Value, Spending, Transformation, Trends


It’s that time of year when the press is filled with the latest IT predictions for the coming year. A couple of articles and surveys caught my attention as they relate to the unspoken imperative of connecting to the business to drive the business for competitive advantage versus just operate the business. This practice, while not called out, is Business Service Management and is the heart and soul of success for many of these initiatives.

In the Gartner Forbes 2011 Survey of Board of Directors, “65% hold ‘high to very high’ expectations for IT strategic contribution to the business in 2012” and “52% rate ‘maintaining competitive advantage’ of ‘extremely high importance’…”.  It is no longer IT and the business, IT enables and drives the business.  The key question is, “does your IT operate or power your organization?”

As part of its look to the future CIOInsight highlights the Top 3 initiatives keeping CIOs up at night: cutting costs, operational efficiencies and deliver consistent and stable IT performance to the business. These initiatives are neck and neck with the number of organizations that see IT as their competitive edge in the market. Most IT organizations still spend ~85% of their IT budget “just keeping the lights on”, with minimal focus on supporting and delivering upon stable and consistently performing innovative services aligned with business objectives. This percentage of spend is generally ~ 1 – 2 % of revenue spent annually operating rather than driving.

There is also an equal amount of press on new technologies and how to convince your CEO of a new technology. Shouldn’t we be driving solutions leveraging the right deployment technology to drive competitive edge into the organization. Technology for the sake of a technology has no real value. While I agree with many of the points in this particular article on 10 Ways to Sell your CEO on Cloud Computing, it is still selling technology versus a business driving solution. We as IT have to change our thinking to that of the service providers that are popping up daily in selling our CEOs solutions leveraging technologies that drive agility and quality performance into the business, just so happens they use things like virtualization and cloud computing.

I’ve been working with many service providers as of late and it is reminiscent of the dot com era. Those that will survive and thrive are not just chasing the latest technology trend for the short term, but are baking in the practice that will sustain them for the long term and what business is asking of its own IT organizations, the ability to answer 3 questions:

(1)    “Am I open for business?”

(2)    ”How are we performing?” ”What is the customer experience?”

(3)    ”What is the risk of an outage?”

all in real time so as to take action, rather than reporting on it after the game is over.  The reason most organizations outsource services is not for cost, but for change that they cannot create from within the organization.  The time for IT to change and become the service provider of choice driving value and competitive advantage into their organizations has come.

In a recent CIOInsight survey results for spending in IT Operations/Management/Governance, I see the only area with an increase is Data Center Management. Those that are following the lead of the service providers will see this as the management of the technology to deliver that consistent and stable IT performance for business value. Mobile delivery options prevail as a leading technology as the consumerization / BYOD (bring your own device) of IT continues. However, these solutions must perform and be available to drive your organizations competitive advantage in the market.  This is the link to business for 2012 investments requiring the stitching together of data from the many systems and applications that are in place today and turning it into real-time actionable information.  Another Survey illustrating many of these and further results is the BSMReview.com 2011 BSM Maturity Benchmark Study.

In 2003 Nicholas Carr wrote a 28 page article for the Harvard Business Review, “IT Doesn’t Matter”.  In the article he discussed the outsourcing of IT and the changing roles within IT.  Now fast forward 9 years and the advent of the cloud, the explosion of service providers and new buying options.  The business is purchasing on its own and creating “The New IT” for those that are not evolving fast enough.  Leading analyst firms predict that by 2015 50% of all IT buying decisions will be made by the business, not IT.

I have had many conversations with organizations that are replacing their commodity monitoring tools from the Big 4 Vendors with lower cost options and turning that savings back into the investment of turning their IT organization into service providers of choice creating business value.  The investment is in the real time Business Service Views that transform the IT organization into proactive Service Delivery Managers versus reactionary red light / green light monitors turning the sea of data into actionable, intelligent information.  The service providers arealso making the very same investments to illustrate operational capability and market differentiation to capture market share fast during this great period of change.

I’ll quote from a long time customer who has leveraged the Operations Center solution for many years now. Their implementation, while it started technically as a single-pane-of-glass, has evolved into the trusted Business Service view and situational awareness of the environment running the business. Because this customer made the transition to trusted adviser and communicator as to the health of the business, he is trusted with purchasing decisions because as he states, “I provide value”. This is the secret sauce – providing business value and relevance for IT.

2012 will be an interesting year without a doubt with new technologies like mobile and cloud computing entering into leading IT organizations, the risk takers seizing the opportunities to drive their organizations.  The leaders will emerge as those risk takers who also bake in their operational management and efficiencies with controlled risk to deliver consistent, stable performance and value to the business.

Michele

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

Google Analytics Gives You Access to Valuable Web Data

Tags: Analytics, Business Service Management, IT Management, Service Level


No discussion of analytics is complete without discussing Google Analytics, the free analytics tool from Google. It can provide your company with a wealth of valuable data about your web site’s visitors. You simply add some code to your web site, and Google begins analyzing the traffic for you. 

Each time someone visits your web site, Google records all kinds of information including the source of the traffic (e.g., direct or Google search), the browser, operating system, country and more. You can learn which content is most popular and how long visitors stay on your page (called the bounce rate).

What’s more you can set up experiments to see which content or design attracts more visitors and advanced metrics that meet the needs of your individual sites. This is highly sophisticated and deeply layered –not your typical basic information that you would expect with a free tool

Google Analytics is a must-have for every web site administrator because it lets you understand at a very granular level the behavior of your web site visitors. While there is probably a trade-off for this as Google is using this aggregated data for its own needs, for many companies the trade-off is worth it because of the amount of information you can gather and make use of.

As we’ve shown throughout this series on analytics, they are a fascinating part of monitoring the activity inside your organization, and while analyzing web site data is different in many ways from the types of information you get from business service monitoring, it still provides a treasure trove of useful information to help you understand your customers better and how to improve your company’s web site.

We hope this series has given you at least some understanding of this type of monitoring and how you can make use of it in your organization.

Please see the other posts in this series including:

 

Organizing IT for Excellent Service – Baseline

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


The Hub Commentary

If you want to avoid IT silos and provide more value and transparency back to the business this is a worthwhile read.

Randy

Building IT around the business services it provides, rather than around assets or activities, pays off.   Learn more about the direct benefits…

The Cloud Outscales, But Does It Outperform? – ITBusinessEdge

Tags: Business Service Management, Cloud, DR, Performance, Service Level, Service Providers, Storage


The Hub Commentary_

I would agree network performance is an aspect to consider when setting up and considering deployment options for mass storage.  Another aspect to consider is something I covered in another post on Categorizing your Serivces and which services, inclusive of data, should be put out in the cloud.

In all sourcing situations you need to consider:  security, performance, responsiveness to recovery, and management of the vendor.  A good rule of thumb estimate in managing the provider is 3-7% of the value of the contract.  This is an often overlooked cost in these short sided decisions to reduce costs short term by removing hardware, management and staff potentially.

Storage is well suited for cloud services, however, the service it supports and the criticality to the business is a high consideration.  Commodity data and services are easily the first to be considered for external service providers.  However the more mission critical and data sensitive it becomes to the organization, the more cost prohibitive it becomes to source the service.

Yes, performance is a key to consider, however, I still surmise that the service criticality to the business must also be in the decision process.

How do you decide how to right source your IT services?

Michele

___________________

We all know that the cloud can provide cheaper storage than in-house infrastructure, but is it better?

Of course, there are numerous ways to quantify “better,” but from an operations standpoint, it wouldn’t hurt to know exactly what you’re getting and what you’re giving up when you sign on the dotted line. (Read Full Article…)

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.

 

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

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

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.