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Gartner research note sets out how the Cloud Services Brokerage market will grow

Cloud Services Brokerages Challenge Traditional IT Service Providers for Cloud Services Delivery

There is confusion about why the term “cloud services brokerage” is needed when traditional IT services firms already embrace an array of cloud services. We examine why we need the term “cloud services brokerage” in cloud computing and the broader traditional IT services market.

Tiffani Bova | Daryl C. Plummer

Published: 1 May 2012 ID:G00233235

Key Finding

  • Cloud services brokerage (CSB) defines a role and key value propositions for new cloud-enabled IT services offerings that the market is demanding.
  • CSBs have cloud at the center of their solutions and business models, whereas traditional IT services providers are transforming and transitioning their portfolios to include cloud services. CSBs won’t likely offer traditional application and infrastructure services without the presence of at least one cloud service.
  • Many traditional IT services providers are struggling to define their path in cloud services, as they face challenges in delivery, growth and profitability, without undoing their core business, which has been immensely successful and profitable.
  • CSBs do not eliminate the roles that IT services providers have played and will continue to play in the market. Instead, CSBs are focused on providing seamless and flexible access to multiple cloud services (many of which may reduce costs or complexity around consuming multiple cloud services). CSBs will introduce more competition and place more pressure on existing, and sometimes incumbent, providers to reduce scope, scale and complexity in their offerings.
  • Understanding the value that a CSB provides by consuming multiple cloud services gives internal IT leaders who are driving cloud adoption a focused way to understand what they should be focused on. Also, it gives traditional IT services providers guidance on which IT service roles will be most affected by cloud.
  • Many traditional IT services providers are pursuing cloud services as new offerings; however, these are not the same roles that will drive the growth of a composite CSB market. A CSB plays a specific role within the cloud services value chain and is not required in all instances.

Recommendations

  • Sourcing, vendor managers and CIOs: If cloud services are the center of a desired solution, then use the CSB select/evaluation criteria versus the traditional IT services criteria (see “Essential Provider Selection Criteria to Use When Outsourcing the CSB Role”), because the CSB attributes address a different set of requirements.
  • When planning your overall cloud strategy, taking into consideration the most effective and efficient acquisition and support model should include the option of leveraging a CSB, especially if you plan to consume more than three different cloud services.
  • Develop internal IT skills that are focused on business process management and how a cohesive hybrid IT environment can deliver expected business results.

Analysis

CSB is a term that describes the market, model and role that support the intermediation between cloud services and cloud consumers. This intermediation, and a definition of the term, is described in detail in “Cloud Services Brokerage is Dominated by Three Primary Roles.” Also brokerage, as a business component, emerges whenever a service provider-service consumer model is established (see “The Role of CSB in the Cloud Services Value Chain”). Stock brokers, real-estate brokers, travel brokers and third-party advisory/intermediary firms represent simple and well-known examples of a brokerage. The existence of brokerage models is not in question. However, the issue arises in the IT sector, when trying to compare the brokerage models with traditional IT service models. This research examines the reasons that “brokerage” as a term and a concept in cloud computing is necessary and useful. It will allow us to distinguish when traditional IT service language and approaches are good enough versus when cloud services brokerage language is more appropriate (see Note 2). This research offers traditional IT services providers and end-user organizations guidance on how new CSBs will position themselves in the market to differentiate from the traditional IT services provider.

IT Services Were Here First

One complaint that brokerage naysayers advocate is that the language of brokerage (e.g., aggregation brokerage, integration brokerage and customization brokerage) is already covered by traditional roles such as technology aggregator, solutions aggregator, system integrator (SI), independent software vendor (ISV) or distributor. They argue that there is no need for new terminology to describe what is already being done by these providers. Some traditional aggregators even go so far as to say they do not like the term “broker” because it minimizes their value into something that can be quickly commoditized. We respectfully suggest that traditional language is not always appropriate when applied to cloud-based solutions (see Note 1). The differences in the cloud model identify significant differences in how aggregation, integration and so forth must be done to deliver on the cloud computing value proposition of agility, efficiency, new capabilities and reduced cost. Traditional IT services providers often have access to, and can make direct changes to, specific technologies, which is not necessarily true in cloud delivered services (such as software as a service [SaaS], platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, and business process as a service).

Because cloud providers do not generally allow a third party to have general access to all back-end systems, code, technologies, or even visibility into how the service is built or architected, the ability to have (implementation or integration) control, is severely limited. This represents a major difference, for example, in how one must approach integration in the cloud versus on-premises, custom-built implementations.

We Must Use More-Effective Terms When Describing Changes to Markets

In the cloud brokerage world, the new terminology is intended specifically to introduce the concept of three or more independent parties (provider, consumer and broker) working together, where no one of them has complete control over the actions of the others. Brokers intermediate rather than control; Traditional SIs, ISVs and aggregators control more often than intermediate. In the cloud, intermediation is more about coordinating the inputs and outputs of multiple services, rather than about controlling how their technology is implemented. This highlights the core difference. Using the traditional IT services language can imply that a certain level of technology control or assurance is available in the cloud when it is not. Neither the integration brokerage nor the consumer controls the technologies or the business workings of the original cloud service providers whose services are being integrated. In this way, cloud brokerages are responsible and must manage the risk of failure, low service quality, inadequate security assurance, and liability between providers and consumers — all through a relationship in which the brokerage is the customers’ single point-of-contact for multiple cloud services, even where they have little control over certain outcomes.

However, at no point does Gartner suggest that cloud services brokerage should replace traditional IT services or minimize them. Instead, we offer CSB as a set of roles (within a composite CSB market and using CSB models) that can be adopted by traditional IT services companies whenever they need to add additional value to cloud services on behalf of their customers (such as hybrid cloud solutions, or integrated cloud services). For example, the SI role and the CSB aggregation role are not the same, but they represent complementary approaches to solving customer problems in managing products or services from multiple providers. A CSB must interact with at least one or more cloud service, otherwise the term is inappropriate and the CSB would continue to be considered a traditional IT services provider because it was providing integration services.

Also, other differences are worth noting. Gartner has identified six key differences that make CSB something more and less than traditional IT services.

No. 1: The Buyers Can Be Different

Cloud brokerages will have buyers ranging from individual consumers to small or midsize businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises. This range of buyers is seldom served by traditional IT services providers exclusively.

No. 2: The Cloud Brokerage Cannot Modify the Actual Service Implementation or Own the Technology

In traditional IT service scenarios, the SI usually has access to, and sometimes complete control over, the technology within the provider solutions that they are delivering. The potential removal of that control places different burdens on the integration brokerage, which has to integrate or aggregate services it has little ability to change.

No. 3: The Technology Used for Integration, Customization and Management Can Be Different as Can the Integration Scenarios

CSBs may use different technology than the traditional system integrators employ to deliver solutions to their customers. These technologies not only require different skills to use, they apply to different kinds of integration scenarios. Federation, API management, governance (for policy management and enforcement), and offline asynchronous access are among the simple differences. Cloud brokerage technologies for integration and governance in shared multitenant environments account for more than half of the difficulty in integrating cloud services, as opposed to on-premises technologies.

No. 4: The Contract Is Managed Differently

Although the relationship management side of purchasing cloud services will remain relatively the same as traditional IT purchases, the CSB model will lessen the need for high-touch, high-trust relationship-intensive models when it comes to contracting with all the individual cloud service providers that customers choose to work with.

Cloud contracts will typically involve multiple companies that are given assurances only through the contract that may rely on outcomes to manage. In other words, a cloud integration brokerage must integrate services where the only guarantee of performance or availability is through the established SLA agreed on in the customer contract or the brokerage agreement.

Although this happens at times in traditional technology integration, in the cloud, the added restrictions makes it much more difficult to get detailed information about the system underlying the services being integrated, which can cause significant risk for CSBs.

Establishing who is to blame for a problem is an extraordinary challenge for customers and brokerages alike. It is critical that CSBs keep their focus on demand/experience fulfillment, and responsiveness to incidents/issues to ensure that the relationship is consistently supported by a positive experience.

No. 5: The Channel for Cloud Brokerage May Be Widely Different Than Those Established for Traditional System Integrators

Selling through and with other channels adds a layer of complexity to the CSB role. Determining the best way to market will drive increased adoption. However, in the cloud service value chain, the suppliers and distributors will often be new entrants to the market with relatively unknown capabilities and brands.

No. 6: There Are New Cloud Specialists

This may be the most important reason for having new terminology. New cloud specialists that do brokerage, integration, customization and aggregation do not necessarily come from the traditional IT services world and do not associate themselves with it (see “Who’s Who in Cloud Service Brokerage”). They approach customers with different marketing messages. They have different technical and business-related skills, establish new value propositions, generally have well-established partner ecosystems dominated by third-party cloud-native IT providers, demand new types of relationships (with providers and customers) based on cloud-centric innovation and business models, and use new technologies and integration scenarios to provide cloud-based solutions.

The Impact

Cloud computing is moving fast (“Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide and Regions, Industry Sectors, 2010-2015, 2011 Update”). The influx of new cloud specialists is helping in the adoption, however there is still a significant skill gap for providers that have cloud experience and internal domain expertise for implementing and integrating multiple cloud services (see “Cloud Adoption at Risk Without Big Channel Investments”) broadly across the market.

Gartner predicts that the number of CSBs that will go for scale and large market reach will be in the hundreds worldwide, and include communications services providers, IT wholesale distributors, retailers and large direct market resellers (to name a few) because they have the existing customer relationships with a majority of the SMB market and are pushing for greater relevance in cloud. This is not to say that others won’t become CSBs, which are more locally focused on vertical markets or segments and keep their offerings to a tightly managed set of services.

Companies taking on the CSB role are expected to handle certain scenarios that would previously have primarily been the domain only he traditional IT services providers. This suggests that there is some urgency to either capture market share in the cloud for those original providers before new companies do it, or that traditional providers will likely acquire the new cloud specialists that are brokerages, to fill out their cloud portfolio. One other option is that companies need to do it before the original cloud service providers acquire new cloud specialists to fill out their new cloud channel ecosystem.

Conclusion

The relationship between CSBs and other types of IT services sourcing and delivery models can be confusing. In particular, the question is often asked: What is the difference between CSBs and traditional IT services offerings?

For clients who have followed Gartner’s cloud research, certainly both terms include similar concepts, since brokerage deals with aggregation, integration, custom development, or even governance/management of cloud services are also attributes of traditional IT services providers’ offerings.

The answer for IT providers and buyers of cloud services lies in examining what is different enough about cloud computing to warrant the CSB term. Service providers need a mental framework for deciding how to migrate services to the cloud, while consumers of cloud services would benefit from the same mental framework to be used in helping them decide how to pick the right cloud brokerage providers.

Please not that the above text is not a complete version of the research note most of the six key differences have been edited.

Cloud Service Model

Key difference No.4 – The Contract Is Managed Differently

The traditional approach to managed services is to create a thin retained layer or carve out responsibility to the procurement capability for oversight and governance of the Service Provider.

With the Cloud new Service Delivery models will evolve and the role of the Cloud Service Broker will be to stitch the end-to-end service value chain together.  The complication with these new ways of working is that the CSB has limited control of the service provided to the Business.

I do not agree with Tiffani / Daryl that the answer lies in a Service Level Agreement with defined penalties.  This will not enable the CSB to provide predictable service levels.

What is required is a refresh of the way that Service Management Practices will enable the Business, Retained IT and the CSB to review Business Outcomes instead of service metrics and process measures.

For example – the cloud enables elasticity and can provide capacity on demand to process  a significant volume of invoices during peak periods where previously they may have been stuck in the system or a backlog built up.

For me, a Cloud Service Model means that utility / warranty (defined in the ITIL 2011 Edition Service Strategy core volume)  is delivered from a “Black Box” so rather than focus on managing the CSB the Service Management role will need to become a hybrid manager and focus on enabling Business Change.

Most service organisations already have a Business Relationship Manager role, however these individuals will need to shift their attention away from just Portfolio and Demand Management more towards presenting options to the Business that demonstrate how the Cloud platform can bring new solutions to the table.

Innovative Cloud Solutions

The cloud enables you to think beyond the traditional

You have to make cloud transformative for your Business

If you’re not thinking out of the box you are not really thinking about the cloud in the right way

 You are not doing the things that the cloud makes possible

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Is Reshoring the way to increased World Competitiveness?

Professor Stéphane Garelli is my favourite Economist. He is an authority on World Competitiveness and also the director of the IMD’s World Competitiveness Center: his research focuses particularly on how nations and enterprises compete on international markets

On 31st May IMD announced the findings of its annual World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY). The WCY rankings measure how well countries manage their economic and human resources to increase their prosperity.

Here are the summary results for the UK and the US.

2012 Ranking

 

UK

US

 Overall Competitiveness

18

2

 Economic Performance

19

1

 Government Efficiency

23

22

 Business Efficiency

22

11

 Infrastructure

15

1

Report Finding 28. From Service to Re-industrialization

“Service competitiveness and the ability to integrate and manage a global business model were at the core of the competitiveness of Europe and the US. However both regions have lost 20% of their industry in 20 years, thus creating a higher level of permanent unemployment.

Companies reassess extreme outsourcing and delocalization. “Reshoring” and re-industrialization become an economic and political priority. There is no competitiveness without a sound manufacturing base”.

Harry Moser is the founder of the Reshoring Initiative

 

So like Manufacturing jobs will Information Technology Outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing jobs reshore?

Outsourcing Service Providers have been landing staff in the US and the UK for years.  What has changed is that the Visa Entry Criteria has been turned up a few notches on the dial.  Individuals must have niche skills which are in short supply.  This does not explain the hundreds of staff at one Retail Bank who are providing commodity Testing Service onshore.

Stephanie Moore is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

She serves Sourcing and Vendor Management Professionals.

“Forrester clients should act now to help solve this problem. Encourage your vendors to hire local for local positions and invest in training those locals. This will solve your context and requirements problems, your visa problems and the improvement in productivity will make up for any price increase related to local labor”.

Reshoring of ITO and BPO jobs is already a major issue in the US presidential election debate.  Political will is setting the agenda for increased investment in job creation.  

The Indian Pure Plays, IBM, Accenture etc. will all have to invest in more positions being based locally at client site.

At the end of March 2012, the BBC reported that “the UK economy will contract in the first three months of 2012, taking the country back into recession, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)”.

Given the UK Economy reliance on Services jobs it appears that we are in need of a shot in the arm to kick start growth. 

Reshoring technology and knowledge worker jobs back to the UK may not make a material difference to the position of the UK in the WCY Ranking for 2013 but it feels like the right thing to do.  

Investing in Training and Career Development of graduates with intellectual firepower must be more important than chasing alpha / mammon.

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Take the first step on your journey from the Knowledge to Creative Economy

Gary Hamel – Business Thinker

“Don’t miss the innovation boat, turn management assumptions upside down.  Change must be dramatic, deep, and transformational. Gary Hamel explains the need for radical thinking that enables every employee to be a business innovator.”

01:45 We are no longer in the Knowledge economy we are now in the Creative economy and that is going to require huge changes in the way we think

02:55 Dramatically increasing the creative potential and capabilities of your own people.

05:00 Require a radical change in Management

Gary Hamel also mentioned that IBM took a $14bn swing in earnings in the 1990s.  Under Lou Gartner’s leadership IBM transformed from a Product led to a Services company. Gerstner said:

“Services is clearly the largest and fastest-growing portion of the information technology industry, and we continue to extend our leadership position each quarter, … Our software business continues to gain momentum.”

IBM has a heavy focus on innovation and spends >$25bn a year on R&D.  This has had a significant positive impact on the company share price.

Warren Buffet has seen an increase in his $10.7 bn investment in IBM stock to $13.2 bn (Mar 12)

Smarter Business Needs Smarter Thinking

The way we work isn’t working

What if there was a way for CIOs to take the busyness out of Business

Collaboration solutions enable people to connect to co-workers share knowledge and be more creative as a result.

Social Learning Fosters Innovation

Connect, Contribute and Cultivate to create One Global network

By investing in business innovation both Global High Value Consulting and Services companies are thriving whilst the Indian Pure Plays (HCL, INFY, TCS and WIPRO) are struggling to convince the Market that they have the “secret sauce” required to deliver the same CAGR. 

So the thinking around Knowledge Workers has been widely accepted and organisations of any size are at various stages of adoption.

These same organisations are also exploring how new ways of collaboration can unlock the creative potential of people.  

Increasingly an individuals performance is being assessed on their ability to create new content, connect with others to share their ideas and help build value for the organisation. 

To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything – Albert Einstein

  

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Service Intelligence or Service Excellence?

In this post I will address the subject of service intelligence and provide an overview of the Multi -National Company offerings that help clients achieve excellence in Service Management Practices.

As we approach the winter holiday period and you consider selections for your reading list, I suggest you include the following:

 

Service Intelligence: Improving Your Bottom Line with the Power of IT Service Management

This is a book written for the business professional which talks about IT Service Management concepts in business terms.  Sharon Taylor, the @ITSMQueen, explains ITSM by cutting through the jargon.

“Good service management should be relatively invisible to the business. Services should operate as expected, and no service disruptions should be experienced. When support is needed, it should be provided efficiently and effectively, and it should resolve issues the first time. This is typically what we think of as a good service experience”.

This book is about finding those ITSM “a-ha” moments.  Coverage includes

  • Recognizing what excellent IT service looks like and assessing what you’re getting now
  • Selecting the best IT service providers and services for your needs
  • Spotting and rectifying trouble with internal or external supplier relationships
  • Making sure you don’t pay for services you don’t need
  • Negotiating services, requirements, levels, price, quality, and delivery
  • Leveraging ITSM practices without losing focus on the business
  • Creating business-focused service reports and scorecards that focus on what matters most

Introduction – (Illuminating Your Vulnerabilities, Capitalizing on your Strengths, ITSM – in Good Company)

Chapter 1 – ITSM 101: From Data to Wisdom (Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom)

Chapter 2 – ITSM: The Business Asset

Chapter 3 – The Service (Anatomy, Ingredients, Catalog, Agreement)

Chapter 4 – IT Service Provider (Types, Competencies, Sourcing)

Chapter 5 – The Negotiation (Decision Styles, Steps, Objectives, The Service Contract)

Chapter 6 – The Service Agreement (Core, Service Package, Description, Hours, Support, Reporting, Complaints, Reviews)

Chapter 7 – The Partnership in Action (Partner Compass, Service Monitoring, Trigger Points, Roles)

Chapter 8 – Service Performance in Action (Indicators, Dashboards)

Chapter 9 – The Bottom Line (Common Cents, Transformations)

Appendix A – IT Strategy Template

Appendix B – Service Contract Template

Appendix C – Service Agreement Template

Appendix D – References for Further Reading

“The mainstay of every business and IT partnership is the knowledge that ITSM requires a holistic approach from governance to operation and is an ongoing journey where a balanced view of the health of the partnership, the services, and the practices enable them to flourish. Even the best ideas at the right time can be made better with solid service management behind them”.

This book definitely explains ITSM or Service Management Practices in business language, however, based on my personal experience, I would have to say that it plays more to the needs of the Procurement function rather than the intended target audience of Business Unit decision makers.

A word of caution to the business reader.  Service Management process improvement programmes are sometimes initiated without fully understanding the business problems that need to be resolved.

 

Being intelligent about IT services & practices

Need to keep a pulse on how well IT Service Management Practices are doing.

Be prepared to invest in your people their attitudes and behaviours 

Promote cultural perception and acceptance about Service Management Practices

It is important to reward those people that shift their focus from a technology bias to demonstrate an end-to-end service-focussed culture. Linking levels of acceptance of new ways of working to the company performance appraisal scheme is a powerful way of incentivising people to change their behaviour.

Having capable people is one thing, but without a framework in which they can operate, it is difficult to share “good” practice and deliver results quickly.

 

Achieving Excellence in Service Management Practices

The Multi-National Companies (MNC), listed below, have invested heavily in optimising processes and developing the competency of their people.  They typically provide services from Multi-Client  locations which have over the years fine tuned ways of working. It is in their interest to focus on industrialisation which represents a relentless drive to discover how an activity is optimally done, then doing it in exactly the same way every time.  It eliminates redundancies, automates and standardises wherever possible, and then drives the work to the most cost-effective and competent workforce available.

HCL

New delivery models are emerging in IT Service management Space:

  • Standardization instead of customization- service providers are standardizing services across heterogeneous environments rather than customizing solutions for each client.
  • Opex instead of Capex- The cost basis of service delivery models are changing from capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operational expenditure (OpEx) – a sign of both innovation and maturity.
  • Alternate Cloud-based/SaaS based delivery – adoption of aspects of cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) for flexible multi-tenant infrastructure management

 Cognizant

We look for the best and brightest when hiring so our management is constantly focused on making our workplace one that’s stimulating, positive, and inclusive. A workplace that’s dedicated to service excellence and reflects the highest standards of conduct.

IBM

Today, we could not even begin to achieve basic business goals without IT to serve as the central nervous system of the organisation.  This means that IT, in the 21st century, delivers a lot more than economic savings. It creates new possibilities, generates new business advantages, empowers new services and strategies, connects organisations with new customers and markets, and much more.

HP

To drive innovation, company growth, alignment between business and IT, your technology organisation must establish a sustainable, service-centric approach. Through service management you can reduce costs, meet compliance requirements, manage risk, and focus on fulfilling strategic business goals.

Deloitte In pursuit of IT excellence

The recent economic downturn has forced companies to examine many aspects of their operations. Firms have refocused on their value propositions and are increasingly challenging enabling functions like IT to deliver more.

In this new world, IT must improve efficiency and lower cost to serve yet continue to deliver new and improved capabilities and solutions to the business. It must offer flexible and rapid collaboration capabilities yet maintain robust and resilient security. It must scale and industrialise its delivery yet maintain tight alignment and responsiveness to the business units.

Accenture

CIOs must build service organizations that can choreograph IT services to respond to business threats and opportunities and drive the enterprise forward. Accenture IT Service Excellence helps CIOs achieve this dual imperative.

Achieving service excellence starts with understanding the needs of customers before focusing on internal capabilities such as processes, organisations design, sourcing strategies, tools and technology or skills and training.

Ernst & Young

IT effectiveness — provides a roadmap of potential IT Effectiveness improvements designed to help the IT function fulfill the evolving IT mandate of managing risk, rationalizing costs and creating value for the entire company.

Sharon Taylor stated that it is about “Selecting the best IT service providers and services for your needs.” One of the selection criteria should cover the relative merits of Internal vs External Service Providers. To what extent can an Internal Service Provider compete with the “Best of the Best”?

Collaboration and co-ordination across large or distributed organisations and service providers is significantly easier when there is a common language and the “best practice” frameworks provide a good starting point for achieving excellence in service management.

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“Smart” Service Management

So the IBM share price peaked to an all time high this week.  On Friday, International Business Machines Corp (IBM:NYQ) closed at $190.53.  This reflects an increase of 32% in the last 12 months.

IBM is a sales organisation and Global Services is responsible for over 50 percent of IBM’s total revenue.  So it would appear that IBM is doing the right things for all key stakeholders. Global Business Services (AM etc.) and Global Technology Services (infrastructure on demand etc.) are their two market facing divisions.

Thomas Watson implemented “generous sales incentives, a focus on customer service and an insistence on well-groomed, dark-suited salesmen”.

The Client Solutions (Sales) Executive is typically a trusted advisor who understands client needs and shapes the solution to meet these perceived needs.  The CSE is allocated a % of the Total Contract Value as a bonus.  The CSE also dictates the amount of bonus paid to each of the defined names in their team.  As you can imagine by taking this approach the team is highly motivated to win.  However, it is important to note that if the deal goes bad within 2 years the CSE must repay their bonus amount.

In contrast, the IBM Delivery Executive and Service Delivery Manager manage to the letter of the contract and typically act in a transactional manner.  There is little partnering with the retained client organisation or desire to work collaboratively with other service providers. In my experience IBM refuse to take ownership for incidents, fail to investigate or resolve problems and are not pro-active. It is a well known fact that IBM hide behind the Statement of Work which is used as a delaying tactic for the smallest enhancement request.

Moreover, I understand that Global Technology Services has been put on “Notice to Cure” in some cases in the US, or has failed to live up to promises made during the solution sales process.  There is a serious expectation gap between clients and their IBM [Technology Services] delivery teams.  So what is really going on out there? This state of affairs is not a sustainable position for Global Services now or in the future.

If you Google IBM Service Management you will be directed to IT Solutions – Operations and Service Management where the focus is on Tooling (Netcool, Tivoli etc.)

Whilst Technology plays an important part in delivering predictable services it is much more about People and the Processes that they perform.

IBM allegedly claim to have shaped ITIL 1.0.  If this is indeed the case I would like to know why they have not maintained their thought leadership in all things related to excellence in Service Management practices.

Listed below are IBM entities which are certified to the International Standard for demonstrating excellence in Service Management

I wonder how many US and European outsourcing contracts are ISO/IEC 20000 certified given that only the Ministry of Defence in the UK and IBM Ltd in France are in the above list.
Furthermore, it is not clear to me how IBM Technology Services Delivery Executives are incentivised to succeed. Some clients definitely will not renew their infrastructure outsourcing contracts given the lack of response from IBM to their changing business needs.  As a minimum IBM should shift their service strategy from just doing the basics to creating demonstrable value through providing world class information services.
Advertorial suggesting that working smarter is all about having IBM assets (tools) deployed across your IT estate.  What about people, culture, values and generally accepted good Service Management practices?

It would be very helpful if IBM ate its own dog food and created aSmarter” Service Management capability that is not totally dependent on tools.

Ivor MacFarlane  was recruited by IBM, following the ITILv3 update, to help build a “Smarter” Service Management capability.  Ivor knows what good looks like.

Here is Ivor running an IBM Service Management Simulator session

Good luck Ivor in getting the IBM “Integrated” Service Management mantra [around tools] shifted to different messaging around the principles of Service Management excellence.

I have direct experience of two IBM AAA Business Partners in the UK who know what good “Service Management Practices” look like, namely PIREAN [Tivoli Enterprise IT Service Management] and Simon and Jason at ORB DATA.  To be clear these two partners sometimes confuse Tivoli Enterprise Systems Management with Service Management Practices.

doing the right things is more important than doing things right.

To recap “Smart” Service Management is all about embedding the right service focus into an established technology platform / skill based organisation.  “Service Matters” around here was a slogan that was used to good effect in order to get this message across.  At another client the top down message was that we have a”Zero Tolerance of Failure” not in a blame culture sort of way but in a collaborative let’s prevent this from happening again on our watch.

So in conclusion my exam questions is the following:  To what extent can your Service Provider predict the warranty and utility of their service: measured by the number of consecutive “Green Days” for service KPIs?

Service Providers who are able to deliver predictable Business outcomes sound much more “Smart” to me.

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