Tag Archive | "Service Value"

At the End of the Day . . . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ann Jones

Forrester’s IT Forum 2011 Puts You In The Driver Seat – Forrester

Tags: Business Service Management, Forrester, IT Management, Service Value, Transformation

The Hub Commentary_

While this is more of a post promoting a conference, I have had many conversations with co-workers of late while working on how we speak about Business Service Management and how do we break it down into simple speak and most of all why is it relevant.

We hear a lot about IT and Business alignment, which I completely disagree with.  This is the only industry I can think of where we talk about one group needing to align to it’s business.  What I equate this with are the youngsters that show up at work these days and tell me what their work schedule will be and what they will do.  I shake my head and think when did this change?  You go to work and do what you are told and work toward the common goals of the business, why has IT always been different and why?

Businesses that lead their markets, don’t make this delineation.  Also, what does this really have to do with the data center and operations anyway.  Operations doesn’t build new services and architectures, we just support them.  That is is exactly the point.

We spend 1-2% of revenue merely “keeping the light on”, operating and reacting to what is happening.  We spend another 1-2% of revenue on outages, yikes, that is expensive.  The impact to operations is improving these stats and spend.  Setting ourselves up to embrace, manage, measure and communicate technology as services as fast as new services and architectures come at us is what we in operations need to do.

Think about how you automate and provide early warning signals regarding the infrastructure like a high performance sports car before technology meltdown.  This is the power operations needs to embrace in managing, measuring and communicating services with the business objectives in mind.

Are you ready for new services and technology in operations?



IT leaders are at a crossroads. To thrive in today’s — and tomorrow’s — rapidly changing digital world, they must move beyond the elusive idea of business and IT alignment, where business leaders are in the driver seat and IT leaders play a supporting and lagging role. Rather than plodding along in alignment, it’s time to jump in the copilot seat.  (Read Full Article…)

IT in 2011: We’re Managing Information-Not Just Technology-CIOInsight

Tags: Availability, Business Service Management, End-to-End View, Performance, Service Value

The Hub Commentary_

In the next 12 months the Corporate Executive Board predicts that one of the driving IT trends includes the end-to-end views of managing technology as business services.  The complexity of the environment is turning business service management practices into an imperative versus a nice to have.

The re-focusing of resources on growth and driving revenue is coming more and more to the forefront, while still balancing good cost conscience practices, but the time has come to move from only focusing on operating to driving growth.

This is a great article and the close is spot on, those that drive growth and put good business service management practices in place will lead their industry and the others will play catch-up.  It’s not about IT and business aligning, it’s about driving the business forward with technology.

How are you growing your business with technology?



Demand for increased business-partner control of IT is coming from opposite ends of the workplace spectrum: senior business executives and frontline end users.  IT in 2011: We’re Managing Information, Not Just Technology….. (Read Full Article…)

Virtual Business Service Management

Tags: Availability, Best Practices, Business Service Management, Performance, Service Value, Virtualization

I had a meeting with a customer the other day which was centered on virtualization and private cloud and a funny thing happened: it morphed into a Business Service Management (BSM) discussion.  The discussion got me trying to put my arms around “BSM in a virtual environment” and what it means.

In a traditional BSM scenario, you are managing your IT from a business perspective with the ability to drill into the business models until you can isolate and correlate the technology supporting the business service.  But in a virtual environment, you’ve abstracted another layer, right?  For example, my order processing is running slow.  Which is of more value to me?  The first layer down tells me that the virtual database server is experiencing a performance hit or knowing that the underlying network-attached storage is living in a network segment that is currently overloaded due to end of the month processing?

To be honest, I’m not sure there is a clear answer.  I think if I am the “break/fix” guy, I need to know at the lowest level so I can attack the problem in the infrastructure.  And of course, the business unit wants to know at the highest level that order processing is experiencing a slowdown.

What my conclusion was is that at the highest level, BSM hasn’t changed.  You are still mapping out your business processes to show the health of the process flow and the performance of the service.  But, to accurately or perhaps more appropo, usefully, map the technology to the business process, you need to have the virtual abstraction layer, which has the actual infrastructure mapped to it.  This could lead to some interesting analysis, such as response times across the virtual environment compared to response times in the physical environment and how they both correlate to performance of the business service.  Just some food for thought.

I’d be interested to hear about some real-life examples.  How are you monitoring the virtual?

Using Social Network Marketing in an IT Transformation – ITSM Portal

Tags: Business Service Management, Communication, Service Value, Social Media, Transformation

The Hub Commentary_

Social media marketing to your customers is a no brainer and makes sense.  Use within the organization becomes sticky as the article points out regarding broadcasting to the external world, internal projects.  So what is the answer to leveraging this real-time communication trend within the organization?

Novell has built into it’s Configuration Management System a social media interface watching the trend and adoption of social media back in 2008.  It provides the opportunity to share information during projects as well as post project inclusive of a tag wall.

Configuration management databases are notoriously difficult to maintain and often fall out of date when not used.  The concept in developing this system was to provide open access and, much like Wikipedia, enable many people from various roles to add to the data regarding configurations

While this addresses one component within a data center, I expect that more and more avenues will be adopted as we move through transformation.  Many development organization already use wiki’s and twiki’s to interact and track information during projects and most organizations have long since been using some form of Instant Messenger.

I predict that in the not so distant future we will see Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) versions of Twitter and Facebook for use internally to the organization as communication tools.  This will require cost and value discussions as with any business service management practice and will require some education to become useful and powerful tools without becoming toys and distractions.

Having grown up with the telephone and prior to the internet, I see the value to instant access to folks I know who could provide a quick answer real-time via an IM, etc.  However, I do believe we lose far more than we gain by losing the live interactions and organizations will need to work to maintain healthy, productive environments.

What is your social media implementation inside your organization?



Social Networking has always existed in different forms. In the distant past, people communicated face-to-face or wrote letters to each other. With the advent of the electronics age, social networking took different forms: phone calls, emails, texting, IM, etc.  (Read Full Article…)

Don’t Run IT as a Business-Run it as Part of the Business-IT Skeptic

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

The Hub Commentary_

The IT Skeptic has an interesting post regarding service levels, running IT as a business, business service management practices.  I’ll cut to the chase on my views on these topics:  internal IT SLAs are meaningless when after the fact reporting the score, IT is not a business and IT is not a profit center.

Why is IT the only unit within a business that we speak of as IT and business?  Do we say sales and the business, marketing and the business, customer service and business, the list goes on and on.  All of the units are the business and all should practice good business service management practices measuring cost and value against the objectives of the business in prioritizing work and investments.

As a product company in technology, I think we may have a unique view.  We produce a product that needs to meet the requirements of the market and customers, sales, support, consulting, marketing, development, testing, etc. – all departments must contribute to the success of any given product brought to market and each is evaluated for cost and value.

Embracing business service management practices is a step in the right direction in breaking the “and” versus it’s just business.  Monitoring and measuring as services and changing the dialog around to cost and value supporting business objectives will advance your IT organization.

Are you an “and” or just business?



“Run IT as a business”. I’ve been guilty of using it in the dim dark past. If providing IT is your business, say you are EDS, then that is a special case where the mantra makes sense. But for most organisations, running IT as an internal business is counter-productive if not downright destructive. In most situations, IT is a team-member not a supplier.  (Read Full Article…)

Raising performance by reducing IT complexity: An interview with TalkTalk’s CIO – McKinsey

Tags: Business Service Management, CIO, McKinsey, Service Value, Transformation

The Hub Commentary_

The link to read the article below merely requires you to set up a sign-on with McKinsey for free.

Nice article to take heed to as we ebb and flow with new technology.  A doesn’t pass that I don’t read an article regarding bringing the mobile devices to the workplace and expecting support as an example.  Business service management practices have to govern the cost and business value of doing so or we end up spending more to support without a business value.

David speaks of joining as CIO into an organization that had grown fast, had many systems, decentralized, spaghetti strings of complexity to manage and support.  We all sit on the cusp of this reality as many seek to take the short term gains of new technology (cloud, virtualization, consumer devices, etc.).

It’s great when things ar booming and business is good, everyone overlooks the reality of what is progressing in IT.  In fact, we do it to ourselves because we do not have or take the time to step back, plan and take the time to do the long term right thing strategically to sustain long term growth.

I experienced this once in my career as well, the cost of doing business starts to overshadow the IT organization when it grows in this manner.  The business enjoys the revenue growth, but they too are looking at the spend against the revenue as margins and thus IT while seeming to support the growth is dragging down the business.

It is easier to measure twice and cut once up front than to create change as David did here and I commend him and his efforts.  I also see and understand that it took the team from the business and IT to come together as one unit and drive business goals and objectives to make this successful.  Often times creating change like this is difficult for the business and why it is often outsourced.  If outsourced, they would not have realized these savings.  The savings would have gone to the margin of the service provider and the business to manage the relationship.

This team achieved a 50% reduction in IT budget over 2 years and 65% in data size and cost in 3 years, that is truly phenomenal and also shows it can be done when the team comes together.  And as David looks back in the close of the story, he indicates holding firm to standards earlier would have made it more successful.

Thus putting the proper business service management strategy in place while in growth mode and service enabling the infrastructure as it grows and leverages new technology may take 5 minutes more, but in the end saves and grows the business faster and more successfully.  Awesome article!

Are you growing your business and service enabling the infrastructure at the same time?



Since TalkTalk’s inception, in 2003, the company has grown both organically and through acquisitions to become the United Kingdom’s second-largest broadband provider, serving more than four million customers. Rapid growth, however, left the company with fragmented and inflexible operations and IT, which raised operating costs and made it harder to manage the customer base and maximize revenues across brands.  (Read Full Article…)

5 Reasons Why CIOs Can’t Ignore Consumerization of IT – CIO

Tags: Business Service Management, CIO, Consumerization, Dell, Service Value, Social Media

The Hub Commentary_

Consumer technology trends will always push that of the internal IT organizations.  The next generation of workforce I think of as the “me generation”.  When did we shift from getting a job and doing the job to me the worker defining the job and how it is done?  I do find this curious and am a proponent of the flexible work environment.

With everything there comes a need for balance:  flexibility and control, the heart of any good business service management practice.  The first example of social media driving sales is an excellent example.  That same sort of internal community building can be useful in finding pockets of expertise with business and productivity applications.  You are creating a big presentation, who has done something similar? who might have an example? who could help with this tricky macro?  The possibilities are endless.

I do, however, see a significant risk to the business when everyone works the way they choose to work, with their own devices.  Where is the data? How secure is the transport? Are you losing your IP when these workers leave the company?

The balancing act of cost, risk and service value will become increasingly more relevant as the conversation continues.

How flexible is your business and how do you manage risk?



Social media’s emergence as a key business app is just one of the trends that have led to a point of no return on consumer IT. Dell’s Paul D’Arcy explains — and shares how CIOs can plan for and benefit from the consumerization of IT.   (Read Full Article…)

Service Models and Virtual Desktops – Hand in Hand

Tags: Business Service Management, IT Management, Service Model, Service Value, VDI

I have had this discussion many times and with some coaxing have decided to write about it here. The conversation typically starts with the basic question of – how does one create an accurate service model for a virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment with such a high degree of dynamism? A Service Model is typically a hierarchical representation of a service. That service can be made up of any number of applications, dependency, and components. The service model is also heavily influenced by the audience that will be viewing it (look for a separate post on this).

The big challenge in modeling a VDI environment has to do not so much with the virtualization, but the means by which the VDI solution handles the logged off users. Based upon the implementation when a user logs off for the day, their data is stored, and the system itself is torn down freeing up resources. Basically, this means that user johnW would be logged into virtdesk_123 one day and would then have virtdesk_982 at next power up. Further, virtual desktop could potentially be hosted on different hosts based on load balancing policies.

An additional challenge to creating the service model is introduced when the requirement of maintaining a history is present. For example, performance trends, behavior models, etc.

The primary means I use to tackle this challenge is to not focus on the desktops. I instead focus on the user and more specifically their role. It is the identity that matters, not the physical infrastructure. This simple answer to a complex scenario allows one to easily address the challenges mentioned above. Historical information is stored against the user object as opposed to the dynamic desktops. Of course, the argument will usually come up around the tracking of software and virus scans. Again, I focus on the user and their roles. If the client has an entitlement system where by users are entitled to use specific software packages based upon role membership, then this model becomes even easier.

The service models will vary based upon the needs of the audience who wish to see the information but, I will typically start with something that looks like the following. Top level of Roles, followed by a sub category of Users per role. The user will then have a list of information categories such as assigned template/desktop(s), entitled software, service requests, and environment health. Against each of these I will typically link in the information befitting the category complete with some business logic to control the role up of state through the service model.

I am not going to pretend that any environment is perfect. I also realize that it may not be as easy as it sounds to follow this method based upon tools being used in a specific vdi environment. It is however the method I use when I approach vdi service model. It is easier to have a plan as a starting point going in that not to have one at all.

I am hopeful that this was of some help to you. I am always open for new methods to do this so if you tackle this differently with less pain, please enlighten me, I would love to hear it.

How are you managing your virtual desktops?


8 IT Cliches That Must Go – CIO

Tags: Business Service Management, CIO, IT Management, Service Value, Transformation

The Hub Commentary_

This is a great article and the biggest one of them all that I would add to include, “Align IT to the Business”.   Do we say, align sales to the business or align investment banking to the business or align claims processing to the business or distribution of product to the business?  Why is IT different?  IT is the power of the business, they are not separate.

Many of the cliches listed are because IT is not operating as part of the business.  For example 2 & 3, one where legacy processes define how things are delivered and one where it was likely over customized for a commodity process.  Another favorite of mine is the final #8, buying just because it comes from a big name regardless of cost.  All of these tell me that there is no business service management practice in place.

If IT were part of the business and operated as part of the business, most of these cliches would not exist.

I challenge you to become part of the business and make business decisions and the cliches would evaporate, service quality would improve and IT would start looking at driving revenue rather than looking for scapegoat cliches.  However, I post this as there is tongue in cheek humor to the article for a Monday!

How are you removing the IT cliches?



Now that another season of NFL games has come to an end and our national summer pastime is about to begin, it’s time to swap one set of cliches for another. Sports broadcasting is replete with cliches—nice, comfortable, familiar, predictable phrases that connect current sports fans with previous and future generations of sports enthusiasts.  (Read Full Article…)

Is it Time for ITSM?

Tags: Business Service Management, Service Providers, Service Quality, Service Value

The Hub Commentary_

In many of my business service management posts I’ve spoken about right sizing your service responses and not all services are created equal.  After reading Ken’s post on the BSM Review and the Monday I have had, I think that my comments might not be interpreted as I intended them.

Right sizing services, meaning, the appropriate response based upon the criticality to the business and the impact that the incident may be incurring.  This by no means meant  to deliver lower quality service and I agree with Ken, service does seem to be degrading.

Today I was reminded of high quality service from my favorite automobile service department.  Yes, I have only had 1 car service department at a car dealership since moving back to Northern Virginia >10 years ago.

While I do not like going to the dealership or servicing the car and yes, it might be a tiny bit more expensive, the service is the best I’ve ever received.  Today, I woke up to a flat tire on my truck, which means I have to change it in order to get it somewhere to be repaired or replaced.  Girl, truck, precarious looking jack set-up, tight lug nuts, stuck tire and 3 calls to the dealership and it was changed.  Never did Dustin complain about my calls and when I was ready to give up and just pay to have it towed or someone to come over and change it he kindly just said “you are almost there, try this…..and the tire will come off, don’t be afraid”.  He was right, tire changed and tomorrow I go up to finalize the service without the cost of a tow truck and more wait time.

Now, he didn’t have to help me over the phone, I have changed tires before, this one was just a little sticky, but it didn’t cost him anything to offer a few kind words to progress step-by-step even when I was ready to throw in the towel just pay to make the problem go away.

As IT, we do need to be mindful of attending to the right things at the right time, but there are ways to right size and take care of the little things with care without leaving our customers feeling like IT didn’t listen, doesn’t care or left it in their self service hands.  High quality service doesn’t mean responding fast to all things at all times, but responding appropriately with sincerity, care and high quality.

There is competition and service providers help to provide change in defining standards that we sometimes cannot do easily from within, however, if we communicate service quality appropriately and deliver high quality appropriately, we will remain in demand.

How do you balance high quality, communicate quality and maintain your customers?



How to Present The IT Story – CIOInsight

Tags: Business Service Management, IT Investment, Service Value

The Hub Commentary_

I’ve worked with many IT organizations on telling the story and building the case for IT automation in terms of the business story and support of a business service management practice.  When a project does not have a hard dollar impact and is more soft costs, the story becomes a bit more challenging, but not impossible.

The thing to keep in mind with this audience, no one cares “how IT” does it’s job.  They want to know the results of an investment.  You are investing XYZ to achieve savings, higher quality, new services, driving XYZ revenue.  Remind them of an outage and how much it cost and how this project drives quality, reduces these costs and costs over time.  They don’t care that ITIL or other internal processes are used as a piece of the process improvement – they care about quality of service, costs over time and driving revenue.

Translate the IT speak into costs, value and revenue growth and you will hit a home run every time.  Then the key is to measure and continue to communicate your achievements in the same terms.  Check out this previous post to understand what it costs you on average to maintain the status quo.

How do you measure and communicate your services?



You’ve been called upon to make a major presentation to your organization. Your job is to “sell” the audience on your latest IT initiative. Now what? Use these eight tips to tell your IT story in a way that engages and motivates your audience.  (Read Full Article…)

4 Reasons Why Apple and Its IPad Still Rule the Tablet Market – CIO

Tags: Apple, Business Service Management, CIO, iPad, Service Value

The Hub Commentary_

The survey says 7% of IT buyers plan to buy iPad Tablets in Q1 2011 not as a replacement to laptops, but more experimental.  I know I am hooked and have it on the top of my “want” list, however, I continue with my “need” requirements.  The same struggle businesses will go through in determining the business value of the iPad internal to the organization.

I really want one and am a fan, but what will I get that I don’t really already have with my laptop.  Definite cool factor and smaller, lighter footprint, no doubt.  It will carry additional costs with the 3G service, so we would all need to be mindful there.

So what will it take to be adopted in the enterprise?  It will be driving down internal costs and the apps that also drive down costs and increase productivity.

Where in the enterprise and IT will the iPad rule?  In servicing and interacting with your customers.  It will be the unique applications that take advantage of that 1-click ease in the apps store, exposure to potential customers and providing the same experience with your customers that they enjoy with other suppliers.

So what would push me right off the ledge from the “want” to “need” category in justifying my iPad2?  Starz Play on the iPad….Starz are you listening?  I am a happy Verizon FiOS customer, I take my Wi-Fi with me with no additional charges and I download and watch movies from Starz for one flat monthly rate where ever I am.  However, for that monthly rate I don’t use it as often as I thought on the laptop.  However, I see the iPad as the device I would get more out of the subscription.

Ok, not a great justification and I may find a different service provider who supplies the device I choose use.  So you see from a business perspective, it is the subscription and the customer interaction that will be relevant and we are mobile enough that we will switch to he who makes life simple and transacts business the way we want to interact.

How will you deploy and support tablets in your enterprise?



When it comes to releasing new form factors for its iPad tablet and other products, Apple not only gets there first; it gets there best. (Read Full Article…..)

iPad, iPhone Changing Role of IT – CIO Insight

Tags: Apple, Business Service Management, CIOInsight, iPad, Service Value

The Hub Commentary_

iPad Friday I think.  As I discussed in the previous post, the cost and value for business purpose will have to be weighed.  Just because the employee makes the capital expenditure, doesn’t mean it will be cheaper when you factor in support and address security vulnerabilities.

So far, I see cost, cool factor, but haven’t read the article or had the “aha”  there is the unique enterprise value-add use.  Make no mistake, I want one too, but have yet to find something that I cannot do more cheaply on my current laptop – which I call the “Barbie” laptop as it is quite small and light.

There will come a tipping point in the enterprise, but I haven’t heard, read or seen it yet.

How is your enterprise planning to use Tablets in the enterprise?



One of the more surprising results of the mobile revolution is the way that IT departments have lost their role as the providers of the technology. It’s now just as likely that people will be doing business with personally owned devices, as they are to use devices issued by their employers.  (Read Full Article…)

The iPad 2 is Coming, So Are You a Technology Climber or a Proven Early Adopter? – Gartner Blogs

Tags: Business Service Management, Gartner, IT Management, Service Value

The Hub Commentary_

Adopter or climber?  Hmmmm I have to laugh, sometimes I am, rarely though and I’ve spent my career in the technology field.  I finally got myself an iPod a few years ago with accumulated airline points, I only traded up to a smart phone (Android) last year only because it had an up to date GPS, which so far has not proven itself better than my old standby Garmin, which I also got with airline points and is the size of a baseball.  I did purchase the first gen Kindle to read my newspaper while traveling and I no longer had to deal with the paperboy trashing my flowers in the spring.

As I’ve written several times today already, but what exactly will be the tipping point in the enterprise to embrace the tablets?  IT would be wise to be applying thought to inventive ways to communicate and interact with their customers with these mobile devices first.

Are you an adopter or climber and how will your enterprise use tablets?



I grew up in transition neighborhoods outside of Cleveland Ohio and Hartford Connecticut.  By transition I mean it was a neighborhood where people moved in after the family got a promotion, generally into the lower ranks of middle management and then as they worked their way up the corporate ladder they moved out as senior management either to trade up their house or town.   (Read Full Article…)

Improving the Business Value of SaaS Apps – Cloud Computing Journal

Tags: Business Service Management, Cloud, Cloud Computing Journal, IT Management, SaaS, Service Providers, Service Value

The Hub Commentary

SaaS has the ability to move the cost of supporting infrastructure and applications from the in-house staff to a service provider, but these are the commodity services.  We have discussed in previous business service management posts that it is important to categorize services as value-add, differentiators or commodity, manage for cost.

While I agree with the author on his points of flexibility, configuration and customization, I caution that if it is a service that requires customization than: either 1) you need to reconcile if it is a commodity service and the standard can be accepted or 2) that it is a differentiating service and should stay in-house.

Services that are easy to defined, contained and non-differentiating are well suited for outsourcing.  Accept and embrace the standard, not all services are created equal and take the opportunity to impose standards for the commodity to drive down costs.

Do you have a service map for commodity versus value?



Of all the three models of cloud computing: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS…SaaS (Software as a Service) is the one that has the most appeal and potential to evoke interest from enterprise CIOs.  The popularity of SaaS is expected to grow several times in the near future.  Read full article

Where Does the Cloud Go from Here? – ITBusiness Edge

Tags: Business Service Management, Cloud, IaaS, SaaS, Service Providers, Service Value

The Hub Commentary_

Wow!  We haven’t adopted or widely deployed the Cloud and are already asking where it goes.  As I’ve said many times before as part of a business service management practice, it is a delivery vehicle and as part of defining services we must evaluate the best delivery vehicle for the service based upon cost and value to the organization.

As a game changing technology, it is not the killer app.  It provides flexibility in capacity as an IaaS, it provides a low cost option as SaaS for commodity services and enables your in-house staff to concentrate on the value add to the business.  The Cloud will not grow your revenue as a technology, but as an enabler and a delivery vehicle in the right situations.

In the end, it takes a sound business service management practice and strategy to drive growth and be a game changer in revenue to your organization.

How do you define game changer in your data center?



Even as many enterprises continue to struggle to determine what, exactly, the cloud is, there is perhaps an even more important question to ponder: “Where, exactly, is the cloud going?”  (Read Full Article…)

Eight Trends Driving IT’s Future – Baseline

Tags: Business Service Management, Cloud, Cloud Computing Journal, Predictions, Service Value, Transformation, Trends

The Hub Commentary

Trend No. 4  “Server-centric to Service-centric”, predicts that architecture will shift from in-house servers to a distributed model in order to separate infrastructure, systems, applications and businesses processes from one another.   Take a look at the seven other trends Accenture says will continue to transform the technology landscape  in 2011 and beyond.


“The role of technol0gy is changing: it is no longer in a support role.  Instead, it is front and center driving business performance and enriching people’s lives like never before.” The real value of the report lies with insights on taking advantage of these technology shifts to gain business intelligence and business value.   Review  full report…


Service Level Agreements: Why are they so hard to track? Just do the math!

Tags: Availability, Best Practices, BSM, Business Service Management, Service Level, Service Value

I have worked with many customers to track service level agreements in their BSM implementation. I can honestly say that there is only one thing that all of the projects had in common: they were extremely difficult.

Now, I was usually called in mid way through the implementation when the decisions had already been made and the schedule was looking impossible. Or even worse, I would become involved after the implementation had been put in Production and the mistakes were already made.

So why are SLAs so challenging to track and manage?

  • Have you seen the contracts? In general, I don’t like contracts. I’m not a lawyer, and let’s face it, they can be difficult to decipher. With SLAs, the first thing that needs to be done is take the contract and figure out what exactly was promised. Then determine what underlying data should be used for the calculations. Then figure out how to get that data from the IT devices and put it all together for the service. These steps are crucial to success, and must all be done before implementing the SLA solution.
  • It’s just (total time – downtime)/total time… Saying that a service needs to be available 99% of the time during peak hours is easy. Determining the actual availability key metric is more challenging. You need to determine what exactly constitutes an outage, set up calendars for peak hours, and determine any outages that shouldn’t count (should 1 second of downtime count?). The math for simple availability isn’t difficult, but accounting for all of the necessary factors…well, that is more complex.
  • So many numbers…so little time. Since computers have existed, engineers have worked tirelessly to optimize performance. There are limitations to what software can do. One must think about the amount of data to be stored and calculated. For instance, if the data for availability is being stored every minute, and the report shows the last two years of availability metrics, oh, and also real-time metrics, this report is going to take some time to calculate and display the results.

These are the main three challenges I see when working with SLA implementations. Now how do we solve these?

  1. Know the data before starting. This sounds like a simple task, and most people think they have a good understanding of all of the underlying devices, metrics, relationships that go into defining the service and the key metric for their SLA. No one would want to start implementing a SLA project without knowing all of the ins and outs. Or would they? People often start modeling their services and tying services to SLAs before all of the underlying infrastructure is in place. A thorough understanding of where this data will come from (monitoring software, trouble ticket systems, back-end databases) is critical because the calculation can change due to the type of data.
  2. Determine what details can alter the key metric. Like I mentioned earlier, calculating availability is not difficult. However, determining the total time and downtime can be. Take into account the time periods that determine maintenance. Is there a weekly maintenance period? What is “on time”? Also, what sort of data can be ignored? Are there certain outages that do not affect the service’s availability? Don’t be too generic…try to figure out all of the details that contribute to the SLA’s key metric.
  3. Be realistic when creating reports. The dashboards or reports are what we really care about. We need a way to show how the SLAs are tracking. We need a nice way to get a quick visual on what might have failed or what is on its way to failing. Putting 1000 services on a single page is probably not the way to go. Let’s also not reinvent the wheel. If your organization has been calculating SLA metrics for years in an external program, use that data. Why spend the extra time to set up the lower level data to feed into a program that is going to do the same calculation?

Tracking and managing Service Level Agreements will continue to take time and effort. It requires buy-in from many different departments and resources, but BSM should and can simplify an SLA implementation.

Raising Your IT Staff’s Business Smarts – CIO

Tags: Business Service Management, CIO, IT Management, Service Value, Transformation

The Hub Commentary_

Great article describing the business service management practices that all organizations should be looking at and going through as the industry is at a tipping point with new technology and an explosion of service providers.  There is no difference between IT and the business, it’s just the business as the article states.

The shift in metrics is a great example, it’s not server downtime that is relevant, it is the impact on the sales force and value of sales impacted by the downtime.  1-2% of revenue is spent on downtime each year and another 1-2% of revenue is spent each year for your resources to just react and maintain.  I discuss this in further length in this post.

Do you measure server availability or sales value impacted?



It is essential to focus on people in order to get value from consolidation. At Eisai, our divisions functioned as separate companies, with the mind-set to match. When we brought together all of the U.S. organizations, I quickly discovered gaps.  (Read Full Article…)