Service Management 2015

/Service Management 2015

Service Management 2015 was a blast!

The air is still a-buzz with the excitement of the Service Management 2015 Conference held at Sofitel Wentworth Sydney on the 20th-21st of August. It was a most enjoyable couple of days made special by a prolific line up of speakers, a great range of content, networking opportunities galore and some fantastic sponsor exhibitors! It was great to see so many engaged members of the ITSM community out in force and getting the most out of their conference experience.

itsmf group

This year signalled a movement toward connecting delegates to learnings from outside the IT domain and addressing the theme of Building Customer Value. All four keynotes captivated the audience with their varied expertise and insights.

Lead demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt opened the conference with an engaging and humourous exposition of his insights on Tomorrow’s Customer. Nicole Forsgren PHD then brought the conversation back to the tech sphere with her insider’s look on the the world of DevOps.

On the second day delegates enjoyed an energetic presentation from Atlassian’s co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes on the ever-important topic of Scaling Service. Rounding out the keynote presentations was motivational speaker and bestselling author Dr Jason Fox, who entertained everyone with his fantastic imagery and leadership strategies.

jason fox

The annual itSMF Industry Gala Awards Dinner on the Thursday night was a fabulous mix of great food, hearty chuckles courtesy of the hilarious Jean Kittson and of course the celebration of some outstanding finalists and winners. The festivities kicked on late in to the night with good conversation and better dancing!

gala dinner2

Service Management 2015 would simply not have happened without our brilliant sponsors Alemba, Atlassian, Axios, CA Technologies, Unisys, UXC, Heat Software, Freshservice, Fujitsu, HP, Xtraction Solutions, BMC, ServiceNow, Sintegral, Solisma, and xMatters. Thank you all again for your support!

Special thanks to all the speakers who helped make this conference an inspiring and motivating one, and to the many volunteers who so graciously offered their time and effort into making this an event to remember!

You can relive delegate observations or start new discussions about the conference using the #smconfAU hashtag on twitter.

laughing

That’s all folks and we hope to see you all in 2016!

By |2018-03-19T16:23:21+00:00August 31st, 2015|blog, ITSM, Service Management 2015, wrap up|

Service Management in an as-a-service world – Part 1

Ian-krieger

 

 

 

 

 

With guest blogger Ian Krieger

Why moving to the cloud can give you more control, not less.

What are the opportunities and challenges for the IT service management team in a world where more applications are moving into the cloud, offered as subscription services, from a multitude of vendors? Can you keep control and visibility?

Recently I led a discussion at an itSMF Special Interest Group meeting about IT service management in an “as-a-Service” world – a world where the way IT is procured, delivered and consumed has fundamentally changed with the advent of cloud computing. Not that cloud computing is new by any means – particularly in smaller organisations, but it is now becoming more and more prevalent in large enterprises. Or it is expected to be…

While there has been a lot of hype around “the cloud”, what became apparent at the meeting is that most information is targeted at the executives in high level overviews, or at techies in great technical detail.

Meanwhile, the IT service management team has been left in the cold. There is little clear direction on “how to” or “where to start” and too much hype versus fact. Yet it is the service management team who often has the responsibility to “make it happen”.

In our discussion, which included IT service management professionals from government, financial services and IT vendors, the concerns/queries about service management in a cloud environment were startlingly consistent across industry sectors:

  •        What is the best way to monitor and report service delivery?
  •        How have other organisations done it?
  •        What is hybrid cloud and how do you manage it?
  •        How do you manage service integration across multiple vendors?

The Australian Government defines cloud computing as a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Interestingly, the itSMF group viewed cloud as a commercial model for delivering IT, rather than a technology. And the overriding concern is that these services are not in their control.

So how does cloud impact the policies, processes and procedures service management uses to plan, deliver, operate and control IT services offered to end-users?

For me it comes down to recognising that while traditional IT procurement has changed, you can still be in control; defining a clear – but flexible – business map for how the technology, processes and people will support the business; and ensuring transparency across multiple vendors.

New Ways of IT Procurement Don’t Have to Mean You Lose Control

Much of the fear of losing control comes from the feeling that IT departments are relinquishing control to IT third parties because they no longer own the IT and can’t see, touch or grab it. Yet in many ways they have more control than ever as it is easier to increase or decrease capacity quickly in response to changes in your organisation or the market in which it operates. And, if you chose the right vendor, they should provide you with regularly updated innovative solutions and contracted service levels rather than you being locked into a technology that will start to age as soon as you implement it.

Of course it’s not simple matter of moving everything into the cloud. Sometimes legislative requirements will dictate where data can be stored or who has access to it which may force an application to be insourced. Or it may depend on the maturity of an organisation’s approach to IT – an immature organisation may refuse to outsource because it is simply fearful of doing so whereas a mature approach is open to pushing risk outside the organisation.

And not all clouds are the same. A private cloud is used by a single organisation. A community cloud is for the exclusive use of a specific community of consumers with shared concerns (eg security requirements or mission). A public cloud is for open use by the general public. And a hybrid cloud is comprised of multiple distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community or public). Whilst the debate over public vs. private cloud services rages on, in the context of the above and the relative organisational needs and maturity, they all have a place.

This feeling of a loss of control can be exacerbated by departments choosing their own systems, easily bought and delivered over the Internet. However this “shadow IT” should not be feared – instead it should be seen as an indicator that the IT department is not delivering what they need. This is why business mapping is so important.

 

Part 2 of this blog will cover why business mapping is critical to ensuring IT and Service Management truly support the business and how to get started.

_________________________________________________________________________

Ian Krieger is the Chief Architect for Unisys Asia Pacific & Japan. He has worked in the IT industry for more than 20 years. He has helped organisations throughout the region understand how to best use services and technology to support their business’ goals and strategies. Ian is a technologist who prefers to look at the practical applications of technology as opposed to the “shiny”.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:22+00:00July 30th, 2015|blog, cloud, guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2015, shadowIT, UNISYS|

4 critical components of successful IT metrics and reporting with Nikki Nguyen

headshots-large-nn

 

 

 

 

Let’s do the numbers

In IT, we love to measure and report. We just can’t help ourselves. But in our efforts to track every statistic possible, we often lose focus. So let’s change that. Let’s start asking questions like… Who will use the metrics? Why do we need them? Are we setting the right performance goals to reinforce the goals of our business–or could we even be working against them? Today, we’ll look at four very practical guidelines for measuring and reporting on IT performance, and for setting the right goals from the start.

1: Make sure IT performance goals jibe with your business goals

I recently opened a ticket online with a hardware vendor to ask about repair service. They responded quickly, and answered many (but not all) of my questions. Most concerning, though, was the email that I received a few minutes later: “Your ticket has been successfully resolved.”

Had it? Says who? While I appreciated the fast response, my issue had not, in fact, been resolved. Did someone close a ticket just so they could say it had been closed? The front line support team was clearly being evaluated on time-per-ticket, or percentage of tickets successfully resolved, or both.

Certainly, time-per-ticket and percentage of tickets resolved are legitimate measurements for IT operations. But what about the underlying problem I reported? If you’re not tracking at the incident and problem level (to look for common, overarching problems and a high volume of incidents associated with them), you’re missing an opportunity to help your business solve problems proactively instead of just reacting to them. More importantly, what about customer satisfaction? I didn’t feel my issue had been resolved. Now, I had to open another ticket and waste more of my own time. I grew frustrated. I gave up on the product.

In a haste to meet their operational performance metrics, they lost sight of much more important business goals: make customers happy and encourage referrals and repeat business.

To avoid this trap in your own organization, look for ways to set meaningful goals and measurements that encourage behavior in line with company and organization-wide goals. Incentivizing a low-level support team to close or escalate tickets quickly can actually cost the company more, and HDI even has the math to prove it:

image1

Source: HDI

So encourage your Level 1 support team to spend a bit longer collecting more information before escalating, and give them the training and resources they need to be more effective at resolving tickets, not just triaging them. The savings adds up quickly.

2: Share different metrics with different stakeholders

Have you ever sat through one of those tortuous meetings where one or more managers each deliver ten slides to share their key accomplishments and metrics for the quarter? The reason they are so torturous is simple: the reports lack context, and they aren’t relevant to you. There are two primary reasons you should cater your reports to the individual stakeholder you are sharing them with:

  • To give stakeholders the information they need to do their own jobs better.
  • To keep them from meddling.

The first is pretty obvious. Different stakeholders care about different things: a front-line IT manager cares deeply about technical performance data, while a CTO cares much more about the bigger picture. Avoid distributing generic, tell-all reports to large audiences altogether, and instead, meet with your key stakeholders and agree on the right measurements to help them achieve their goals.

The second is less obvious, but equally important. People love to meddle. We all do. I’ve watched a very senior IT executive review a very low-level list of unresolved IT incidents. He didn’t need that data. In fact, he had directors and managers he completely trusted to achieve the goals he had put in place. Once he had the data in front of him, he couldn’t help but ask questions and get involved. Distraction ensued.

The moral? Don’t include data for data’s sake. Yes, you need to be completely transparent about your performance, what you’re doing well, and how you can improve. But you don’t want to give the entire sink to every person who asks for a drink of water.

3: Use visuals to make reports easier to understand.

Excel spreadsheets full of raw data aren’t very effective as report-outs to your team members, peers, and leadership, because they require the viewer to interpret the data.

Fortunately, adding context to the data isn’t always so hard if you are already using a strong reporting dashboard. You want to provide clean, crisp, and easily understood reports that provide enough context to quickly communicate how you are doing against your goals, your benchmarks, and your history.

image2

For practitioners and front-line managers, consider using daily reports to show the top 10 issue types over the last 24 hours. They’re easy to read and understand, and can help your staff quickly hone in on any emerging categories that may growing in popularity.

image3

Trending reports can be even more helpful, because you can compare your performance over a period of time, and look for any anomalies that might be worth exploring further. If you looked at your time-to-resolution data in a vacuum each month, you would never notice that July and August showed a strong upward climb in the number of issues opened.

What caused that influx of new issues? Was a new software revision released? Did you ship a new product? Why were nearly a third of July’s issues unresolved, when most months the percentage was much higher? It’s important to look at the entire picture, and to understand the data you are looking at (and if possible, what caused it) before you share reports and discuss results.

4: Keep a scorecard

When a store clerk or passerby asks you how you are feeling, it’s customary to respond briefly with “I’m fine” or “A bit tired today.” It’s a quick way to summarize how you are feeling, without giving them the blow-by-blow account of every event over the last month or more that has lead up to how you are feeling today.

The same principle should apply in IT metrics and reporting. If you’re not using a scorecard as a simple, high-level way to both evaluate and communicate your team’s performance, it’s time to start now. An effective scorecard will include the objective or measurement you are scoring yourself against, and an easy “traffic light” system to indicate your current progress: red (at risk), yellow (caution), or green (good).

The most important thing about a scorecard is to be honest. Nobody performs perfectly at all times, so giving yourself a green smiley across every category at every reporting interval will likely cause more alarm and disbelief than praise. Plus, when something truly does go wrong, you are more likely to get support and understanding if you have been candidly assessing your performance and flagging the areas that are putting you at risk.

A basic scorecard for operational performance might look something like this, and is a great way to quickly update stakeholders without burying them in unnecessary technical data.

Screenshot (12)

More advanced scorecards, like balanced scorecards, can measure IT’s contribution to larger business goals, and are effective at tracking the performance across entire organizations and companies.

Putting it all to use

The above are just guiding principles to help you narrow in on what you want to report, and how. To learn more about implementing SLAs and metrics in JIRA Service Desk, watch Lucas Dussurget’s killer presentation at Atlassian Summit 2014. It’s full of our own top tricks, examples, and best practices based on tons of customer implementations. And for a deep-dive on figuring out what you should be measuring, be sure to check out another excellent presentation from Summit 2014–this one by John Custy.

 

This article was originally published on the Atlassian website.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nikki Nguyen

Associate Product Marketing Manager, JIRA Service Desk

Although my life in IT is behind me, it’s not too far away. I’m now a recovering systems administrator evangelizing the way teams work by using JIRA Service Desk. I’ve found a love of combining customer service with technology.

 

Nikki is presenting at Service Management 2015.

 

 

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:22+00:00July 22nd, 2015|Atlassian, blog, guest blogger, metrics, reporting, Service Management 2015|

The Missing Ingredient For Successful Problem Management

Michael-Hall

 

 

 

 

 

With guest blogger Michael Hall.

Many problem management implementations fail or have limited success because they miss one key ingredient in their practice: having trained problem managers leading problem investigations using structured methods. By following a few simple guidelines, your problem management function can be successful from day one or rescued from its current low levels of performance.

Typical implementation

A typical problem management process document usually covers roles and responsibilities, how the process works and a little bit about governance.

Roles and responsibilities usually covers just resolver groups and the process owner. It is surprising how frequently the problem manager role is not defined at all. Responsibilities for the resolver group usually includes ‘investigate root cause’ and ‘update and close problems’. The problem manager is often given responsibilities like ‘assign problems to resolver groups’ and ‘track problem progress’.

The process normally covers the steps but does not say how to go about solving problems. Commonly, the process is simply ‘assign the problem to a resolver group for investigation’. Usually the resolver group also owns closure. This means that there is no way of knowing if the root cause found is correct or if the solution is adequate.

The result is that many implementations do not achieve their expected results. I call this approach ‘passive’ or administrative problem management. The impact on reducing incidents is usually minimal.

If your monthly major incident data looks like this, you may have one of these typical implementations:

SMAC-2015-Blog-Michael-Hall-Graph-Major-Incidents

Figure 1: Monthly Occurrence of Major Incidents.

The Alternative – ‘Active’ Problem Management

The missing ingredient in a typical implementation is skilled problem managers using a structured approach to solving problems. By structured, I mean a consistent, evidence-based method, either by adopting one of the major problem-solving frameworks such as Kepner and Fourie, or by agreeing your own set of steps (I set out one version in my book). Deciding on a standard method that everyone will use with NO exceptions is the critical success factor for effective problem management.

The benefits are:

    • Speed to root cause – a standard approach yields results more quickly –around  60% quicker in fact (see Figure 2)
    • Consistency – all your problem managers can be equally successful
    • Certainty that real causes are found – because investigations are based on evidence and not guesswork and theories, you can show that the causes found are correct
    • Collaboration – if you do problem management the same way every time, teams know what to expect, they can see the good results and they get used to working together without confusion

SMAC-2015-Blog-Michael-Hall-Graph-Average-time-to-root-causeFigure 2: Average time to find root cause in two problem management implementations.

Problem Managers Lead Investigation Sessions

Because it is the problem managers who are highly skilled in problem solving techniques, they should facilitate problem management investigations in conjunction with the technical experts, then work with subject matter experts to determine solutions to problems and track implementation to ensure the problem is entirely fixed. The problem management function should be responsible for reporting root cause, progress on resolution and all the metrics and KPIs related to problem management, but (very important!) making sure that the subject matter experts get the credit for solving the problems.

Track and validate solutions

To gain the main benefit you are after – reducing the occurrence of major incidents – problem management also needs to apply a structured approach to finding solutions, getting approval to implement and tracking the implementation to an agreed target due date.

The Results

This is what successful problem management looks like when you have skilled problem managers using a structured approach to finding root cause and finding and implementing permanent solutions. When problems stop causing incidents, the incident rate goes down quite rapidly.

SMAC-2015-Blog-Michael-Hall-Graph-Major-Incidents-2

Figure 3: Monthly Occurrence of Major Incidents.

 

Michael has over 25 years experience in IT, developing and leading teams, managing change programs and implementing Service Management. Now a specialist in Service Operations, he founded Problem Management as a global function at Deutsche Bank and is a Chartered IT Professional (CITP). Michael will be leading a workshop on Implementing Real World Problem Management at Service Management 2015.

5 reasons why IT teams should use Net Promoter

SMAC-2015-Speaker-Dave-OReardon

 

 

 

 

With guest blogger Dave O’Reardon

For those of you not familiar with Net Promoter®, let’s start with a 1 minute introduction..

Net Promoter is an open-source methodology used by 65% of the world’s top 200 companies to grow their businesses by increasing customer loyalty.  At its heart is a metric called the Net Promoter Scoresm (NPS®) that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services.

An NPS is calculated by asking customers a question along the lines of, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”. Based on their rating, a customer is categorised as a Detractor (when they give a rating of 6 or below), a Passive (7 or 8) or a Promoter (9 or 10).  The NPS is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. This results in a score ranging from -100 (all your customers think you’re rubbish) to +100 (all your customers think you’re the bee’s knees).

Two very valuable follow-up questions ask the customer why they gave that rating, and what the number one thing is that they’d like to see improved.

With me so far? Great. Net Promoter, as a system for driving service improvement, is often overlooked or rejected by IT teams because of the irrelevance of the “likely to recommend” question for an internal service provider. But that concern is easy to address by simply changing the wording of that question (a topic for another day!). With the question reworded, you’re free to enjoy the benefits that Net Promoter has to offer.

Here are the top five reasons that IT teams should adopt it:

1. It is a globally proven service improvement methodology trusted by brands such as Apple, Google, Rackspace and Zappos. There are a mountain of case studies that show how effective it can be. Net Promoter has been around since 2006 and Google Trends shows that interest has been steadily growing ever since – it’s not going away anytime soon! If your organisation is already using Net Promoter, then using it for IT is a no-brainer. And if it’s not, then IT can lead the way. Your organisation probably won’t be far behind.

2.  Unlike traditional surveys for gathering customer feedback, a Net Promoter survey – with only three questions – is ridiculously quick and easy for customers to complete. Not only that but the third question (“What is the number one thing we could do to improve?”) is like having a service management consultant working for you for free. Forget process maturity assessments! If you’re serious about improving service and delivering value, everything you need to know is contained in your customers’ answers to that one question.

3.  The Net Promoter concept is simple to understand by staff at all levels.  The survey is simple, the calculation is simple and the behavioural change it requires is simple – focus on reducing the number of detractors.  And how do you do that? Just read the feedback given by your customers in answer to Questions 2 and 3 and all will be revealed.

4. About 75% of IT teams do customer satisfaction surveys of one sort or another. They run the survey, calculate a metric and bury the results in a management report. But in all but a few cases, no improvement action is taken. This is where Net Promoter comes into its own. It includes some fantastic practices that help you turn customer feedback into prioritised actions that lead to improved customer satisfaction/loyalty.

5. When you use a standard question, rating scale and calculation method you can benchmark yourself against others using that same method. An NPS is standardised so you can compare your NPS to that of other IT teams. Hell, because brand and industry NPS scores are widely published, you can even compare yourself to other organisations such as Qantas, iiNet or the Commonwealth Bank.  One of our clients, who used Net Promoter to improve IT customer satisfaction by 25 points in just 6 months, had the rallying cry of “Let’s not be a Toyota, let’s be a BMW”, referring to the relative Net Promoter Scores of those brands.

If you’re not surveying your customers to understand how they perceive your performance, you should be. And if you’re not using Net Promoter to do it, you should be.

Dave O’Reardon is leading a workshop onCustomer-driven service improvement with Net Promoter’ at Service Management 2015.

Net Promoter, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld

 

 

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:22+00:00June 22nd, 2015|blog, guest blogger, ITSM, Net Promoter®, Service Management 2015, Workshop|

Guerrilla IT – how to be an IT rebel with a cause

Mark Smalley Photo

 

 

 

 

With guest blogger Mark Smalley

I conducted two pre-conference workshops about ‘Guerrilla IT’ at the itSMF Norway annual event in March 2015. The idea for Guerrilla IT emerged in conversations with itSMF Norway’s Sofi Falberg at a conference in 2014. We spoke about people feeling the need to make relatively low key and informal individual contributions to improving ITSM, possibly under corporate radar. And that’s when I coined the term Guerrilla IT. Then before I knew it, I had committed to delivering a workshop about it in the new Service Bazaar format! In an expanded format, this workshop is programmed as one of the pre-conference workshops for itSMF Australia’s annual conference.

I announced the workshop as follows:

“Do you want to do something really worthwhile in IT yet keep getting ambushed by mealy-mouthed middle managers with their petty policies? In this interactive workshop we’ll explore and discover how to identify realistic initiatives and how to deploy them under corporate radar while keeping out of friendly fire. You’ll leave the session with some ideas for your specific situation as well as an arsenal of weapons for an IT rebel with a cause.”

In the Norwegian workshop we explored the following eight topics:

  1.      The concerns they the participants had at their organisation or in the case of consultants, one of their clients
  2.      The relationships that they thought needed the most improvement
  3.      The kind of behaviour that business people and IT people should exhibit
  4.      The factors that drive behaviour, and therefore need to be changed in order to influence behaviour
  5.      The degree of freedom that their organisation consciously or unconsciously afford them to take behave like an IT guerrillero or guerrillera
  6.      Their person appetite for heroic behaviour
  7.      The kind of guerrilla IT tactics that, given their organisation’s and their own nature, would be effective
  8.   Their ‘rebel’s resolutions’ – the takeaways that they could apply at work

Given the limited nature of a blog, here are the participants’ concerns and their thoughts on the kind of behaviour that would help improve things. This should give you an idea of what your peers think.

Participants concerns

  •        Ill-conceived services being abandoned on the doorstep of the ITSM department
  •        Lack of IT awareness of the business context and in particular the customers’ interests – in other words no business focus
  •        The shift from ITSM to Service Management in general
  •        The difficulties of changing the culture in an organisation, in particular resistance to change
  •        Lack of basic trust
  •        The challenges of working in a dysfunctional organisation
  •        The challenges of working in a disconnected organisation in which IT seems to live in a world of its own
  •        Change-overload – too much change to deal with

Desired behaviour  

I started off doing the behaviour part of the workshop in 2013 and have compiled and summarised the results of seven workshops, fine-tuning them from time to time as new insights emerge. The findings are categorised in three sections: (1) behaviour that applies to business people and IT people in an enterprise in equal measure; (2) IT-related behaviour that effective business people exhibit; (3) behaviour that you observe in effective IT people.

  1.   Enterprise

The enterprise fosters a culture in which business and IT share a joint vision and are part of the same story, have an ongoing dialogue, have mature conversations, strike balances, enjoy working together

  1.      Business people
  •        Specify outcomes rather than solutions
  •        Articulate needs and expectations clearly
  •        Set priorities, take decisions, accept risks
  •        Understand IT’s capabilities and limitations
  •        Participate in activities such as testing
  1.      IT people
  •        Understand business processes and outcomes, and impact of IT
  •        Talk in business terms about benefits, costs and risks, not systems and features
  •        Proactively suggest innovations to the business
  •        React to business change without being surprised that things change
  •        Replace ‘technical’ SLA’s by simple, honest and meaningful reporting

The burning question, of course, is how you achieve a change in behaviour. This is why I asked the participants to think about which factors drive behaviour. Their main  findings were: an understanding the consequences of their actions, a belief that change might be for the better of the enterprise and customers, a common goal (or enemy), likelihood of personal benefit, urgency, a ‘half-full’ attitude, and KPIs that are effective rather than those than invite contra-productive behaviour.

I’m much looking forward to exploring this further in Sydney, and will most certainly publish the findings.

 

This post was originally on Mark Smalley’s blog.

 

Mark Smalley is an IT Management Consultant at Smalley.IT and is specialised in application management and business information management. He is affiliated with the non-profit ASL BiSL Foundation, APMG-International, GamingWorks and AllThingsITSM. Mark is an inaugural member of the industry initiatives SM Congress and Taking Service Forward.

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:22+00:00June 22nd, 2015|blog, GuerillaIT, guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2015, Workshop|

The Other Big Data Problem

 

David-Oakley-Service-Now-Grey-Scale

 

 

 

by guest blogger David Oakley, Managing Director, ANZ at ServiceNow.

It’s hard to miss one of today’s biggest technology opportunities confronting large enterprises – big data. Companies are amassing vast amounts of data ranging from website activity, user data, support issues and even directly from products that are deployed in the field. The quest, of course, is to find patterns, glean understanding and extract knowledge that will help improve the company’s business.

Unlocking the big data opportunity represents massive upside for enterprises, but there’s another big data issue plaguing many IT organisations. In many cases, IT lacks a single source of truth, a centralised, comprehensive understanding of IT services, the hardware and software underpinning these services, the way they interact and are configured, the cost of delivering these services, service level management, the demands for new or improved services, the associated projects, the upcoming changes and how all of these things Interact.

For IT, the service experience is the end state. This IT big data challenge stems from the necessity of IT to deliver on this service experience, to keep the services running and rapidly change as business needs change.

The lack of comprehensive truth directly translates to essential qualities, such as data centre or network uptime, application availability, security, ease of maintenance and the ability to implement change. Simply put, when you don’t know what you are working with, how it is configured or should be configured and how it impacts other things, you are fundamentally working in the dark. The repercussions are enormous. The wasted time spent by companies chasing what they think the issue is rather than what it really is becomes a massive overhead.

At a base level is the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) – often the object of controversy and deep misunderstanding. Who takes ownership? How is it done? How do you make it comprehensive? Is CMDB the starting point or the finishing line? Then, as soon as it is created, it is out of date!

The issue is not just the CMDB itself but the fragmentation that exists among IT tools and systems—islands and moats that prevent a centralised view and systematic consistency. Solving this crisis necessitates jettisoning individual, standalone tools and having a single system of record for IT. Once you have moved to a single system of record, you can focus on streamlining your process to ensure accuracy and decrease the time taken to recover from system impact. Ultimately, it means service quality up, costs down and a level of control that the business expects.

In the end, it is IT’s sole purpose to be a trusted advisor and service delivery partner for their users. After all, so much of the organisation is reliant on the data that IT manages for company services.

Does your IT organisation have a single understanding of IT costs and charge back? Service delivery – both by internal and vendor sources? Hardware and software asset management? Can you ensure consistency across all delivery models and resources? Are you well positioned for effectively managing an ever-changing landscape of applications and infrastructure? And are you prepared to extend your data across the company?

If the answer is ‘No’ to many or all of the above then a single system of record for IT is a proven solution to your IT big data challenge.

 

This article was originally published in the itSMFA April 2015 Bulletin.

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:22+00:00June 10th, 2015|Big Data, guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2015|

Q&A with Sandy Mamoli!

Sandy Mamoli Photo

 

 

 

 

 

From working with Sony Ericsson’s global enterprise website in Amsterdam and Copenhagen to being one of NZ’s leading Agile coaches and Chair of Agile Welly , Sandy Mamoli brings her practical European flair and passionate advocacy of all things Agile to NZ businesses. She’s a former Olympian, a geek, a gadget junkie and emerging triathlete. Sandy is one of the owners and co-founders of Nomad8.

You know your way around a Kanban board. How would you explain the concept to a beginner?

Kanban is a way of managing your list of things to do. In a clear and visual way you can see what’s important and urgent, as well as what you’ve achieved and what’s coming up. It’s tactile – moving sticky notes from one column to the next is immensely satisfying. And it’s universal – from school kids managing their homework schedule to developers planning their tasks and stories, it works.

Has your use of Kanban changed the way you approach things outside of the workplace? If so how?

I admit that I use my Kanbanfor1 board for almost everything now. It gives me a really clear sense of what’s on my plate both in and out of work. I feel a lot more in control of my ‘things to do’ which actually gives me more freedom to enjoy my non-busy time. My partner and I even share a board when we’re planning together – like a holiday, or moving house.

If you could express the essence of Kanban in one word, what would it be and why?

One word – that’s hard! I want to say ‘simplicity’ but there’s also ‘productivity’ and a certain amount of ‘zen’.

The best word though may well be ‘flow’.
Tasks and work and projects flow through your life. Kanban helps to manage that flow. The board lets you visualise the flow.

You’re a former Olympian and no stranger to achievement! Tell us a bit about the qualities one needs to think like an Olympian in their work.

Focus, ambition, collaboration. An Olympic athlete is no stranger to these things. Hours and weeks and months and years of hard, consistent training. Laser sharp focus on the task at hand. A shared team goal and purpose. Big dreams and the courage to follow through. There is no time for slackers, but there is much learning from failure. I think I’m a lot less intense now than in those days, but I still work hard and love a good massage!

 

Sandy will be leading a workshop on Kanbanfor1 at Service Management 2015.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:23+00:00May 5th, 2015|blog, ITSM, Kanban, QandA, Service Management 2015, Workshop|

Gamification – What is in for you as an ITSM expert playing Apollo13?

Suresh GP Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

By guest blogger Suresh GP

This blog stems from my experience participating at the Apollo 13 Business simulation played in Delhi recently.

We had around 8 delegates who were specialized in delivering ITSM engagements internally or externally to their clients. One of the key differences of the workshop was that we had 8 people from 6 different companies who were meeting and interacting for the first time.

From a background and experience perspective, delegates had around 10+ years of experience on average and belonged to some leading end user organizations/IT companies in India & abroad. While the participants voiced several key learnings over the 4 rounds as mentioned below, I had some great eye openers with this event and that is the beauty of running such simulations. Every time, the context, reflection and outcomes are totally different.

My personal takeaways from the whole exercise were as follows

a) Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing exercise team building can be done easily when you have the new joiners running through this simulation as part of the New- Hire Orientation. They have fun, learn a lot and develop personal bonds quickly before they are deployed to projects

b) While trainings like ITIL V3 Foundation need an investment of 2 days worth of time and effort, these simulations bring about significant learning aspects to build competencies like knowledge, behaviors, skills and attitude

c) One of the ITIL V3 Expert trainers mentioned that this simulation was an eye opener and a great experience of learning by doing. By this way he believed that the retention of knowledge would be far longer for students

d) It would be a great opportunity to play a simulation with the project stakeholders before kicking off the ITSM project. There is a whole lot of things that we unlearn and learn just by doing

e) Finally, lots of people have difficulty in articulating how to drive CSI in their organizations. With rounds 1 to 4, there are action items that get reflected by participants that allow us to see definite improvements to carry those skills into the workplace. This could aid them for better efficiency and effectiveness in their journey to service excellence.

Suresh GP is conducting a workshop on ‘Gamification: Apollo 13 – Failure is not an Option!

By |2018-03-19T16:23:23+00:00May 5th, 2015|blog, Gamification, ITSM, QandA, Service Management 2015, Workshop|

Q&A with Rob England!

Rob England Photo Rob England is a self-employed IT commentator and consultant. Internationally, he is best known for his blog The IT Skeptic and half a dozen books on IT. Rob was the NZ IT Service Management Champion for 2010, and his blog was voted the best “IT consultant and analyst” blog in the UK’s Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards for 2010. He is an acknowledged contributor to ITIL (2011 Service Strategy book).

You’re known as the IT Skeptic. How might your brand of skepticism be beneficial when approaching service management?

The IT sector is prone to fads. We are an ill-disciplined rabble who run after anything shiny and noisy that comes by. There is a deficiency of data supporting many ideas, and an absence of objectivity, especially amongst the vendors and analysts who drum up whole new products. CMDB is a case in point. Somebody has to provide an antidote to the Kool Aid. I try to do that with a dose of common sense and realism.

The hashtag you started on twitter, #SMtruths has encouraged some great responses – what are some of your favourites and why?

The #SMTruths idea came to me when i looked at my burger (I don’t often eat fast food) and realised it bore no resemblance to the shiny picture on the menu I ordered from. So I started tweeting reflections on the profound fundamentals of service management, the enduring truths that underlie all the more complex ideas we lay on top.

I want the thread to be thoughtful, lateral, insightful, startling, and amusing. And of course: its a hashtag thread, so folk can join in. I compile them here.
Some of my favourites are:

It takes as long as it takes to put the fire out.
MTTR as a service level target is silly.

The world refuses to be defined, repeatable, managed and measured.
We cannot treat everything in IT as if it were a manufacturing process. Manufacturing concepts have been way over-used. (See also MTTR).

In a dynamically changing world, no process or technology is as flexible as humans.
We are way too quick to jump to technology. Often people are better. (See also CMDB)

IT is 1% innovation.
IT people are fascinated by novelty and transformation. Most of the time we ought to be getting on with our jobs.

A service is not an object or technology. It is an action, activity, people. Use verbs to describe services.
Self-explanatory that one.

Your upcoming workshop is titled ‘Dead Cat Syndrome.’ Outside of sounding like a wave of bad luck for the veterinarian community – what does this concept mean for those in service management and what is your prescribed cure for it?

In many organisations, putting a new project into production is akin to lobbing a dead cat over a wall. No operating model, little or no operational procedures developed, minimal last minute training for the service desk and operations. Supplier contracts don’t align with service commitments. There are no service commitments – no SLA exists. The project disbands the moment the system goes live. If you are lucky someone is still around to answer questions.
IT Operations needs to put controls in place to prevent this. Projects benefit from these controls by having a better definition of the end goal and a better end product. You can find out more here.

Catch Rob England’s workshops on both ‘Dead Cat Syndrome’  and ‘BSM: Basic Service Management’ at at Service Management 2015.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:23+00:00April 24th, 2015|blog, ITSM, QandA, Service Management 2015, SMTruths, Workshop|