Posts Tagged ‘Atrium’

Forbes: Cloud is Out of the Box And IT Needs To Face Up To It

March 23, 2012 Leave a comment

We’ve just added further debate over at ITSkeptic which will of course cause further steam to be expelled (

But this article over at Forbes rather brings home to roost our point of view:

With specific reference to this paragraph in the article:

“Part of that new mission means figuring out what it means to be an IT department at a time of DIY technology, when everyone and anyone can purchase and use their own devices or online services.”

We have made this comment over at the ITSkeptic:

There is no point moaning or taking a shot at the business for making use of readily available technology. Afterall, we in IT within the firewall are simply a provider of service which sustains our business, just like outsourcers and providers of cloud facilities.

The fact that Cloud is unmanaged or outsourcers charge for every change or that we appear to lack cost efficiency to our customers in the business is our problem.

We in IT Service Management and IT Operations need to grow up. We should be offering fit for purpose solutions to our customers, then we would not risk being outsourced or, compete with the Cloud.

If the business needs a new service rapidly, and are prepared to do without end-to-end management security, then we should be capable of offering that to them instead of them going to the Cloud.

We should not bemoan the fact that our customer is always asking for more, we should recognise that this is the nature of business today. Remain competitive or die. Die means eithe the company fails or the company goes around us. Either way we lose our jobs.

It is we in IT who need to grow up.

Our business should not be expected go govern IT. If we employ someone to do a job, we do not then expect to have to micro-manage them over their shoulders to make sure they are doing their job properly. We have employed them because they are capable of doing that job.

We do however have a responsibility to inform the employee that we have changed our strategy for which they “may” need to change what they do.

Conversely, the employee we have hired has a responsibility to make sure that they are in tune with what we’re doing.

Simple example: We employ a gardener to mow the lawn and tend my existing flower garden. We then decide that we want to transform a section of the lawn into a vegetable patch.

We would approach our gardener and present our plan. We would expect our gardener to tell us that they could do the work and let us know if there is any additional cost (investment) and resources required (from additional FTE hours to seeds). If they were incapable of performing the work themselves (lack of expertise) we would also expect them to tell us that they needed to hire specialist FTEs to delivery the work to plan.

We see IT as no different to the above. You say “Failure to govern IT. It is like a wayward unsupervised teenager.”

IT is not run by junior people. IT needs to take responsibility as a service provider and effectively maintain its provisions to the business requirements, especially when they require rapid change.

You say: Failure to take responsibility for activities that aren’t IT’s job.

We say, we do not know about Gardening. We employ the gardener to know about gardening. If we want certain quantities of vegetables, we are not equipped to write the design, change, release and project plan for how to garden to that requirement.

We give the gardener our requirement and the gardener should design his plan. Clearly if we do not tell the gardener that we need the Potatoes in the Northern Hemisphere in January, then producing potatoes under Glass with Heaters will not be in his plan. So that is our bad. However collaborative discussion with an expert in their field (a gardener would know that some people like veg throughout the year) should elicit that information.

One doesn’t simply dump a requirement over the fence and then expect it to be delivered. We’re all mature folk, surely we should receive a requirement and then brainstorm that we have understood the requirements correctly (Oh, you want it by Friday and you have colorblind users, need double-byte , and need multiple timezone support!).

Get a grip. We bring you back to our original point: IT is/are not children. IT is a professional service provider. IT should act like a professional service provider.

When you talk about a “Failure to Respect IT”, listen to yourself a moment…do you respect anyone who doesn’t listen to you or argues against you and your requirements when you are the person with the money?

Think of a car salesman – you are going to buy a car and you want the car tomorrow. You agree a spec with the salesman but the salesman then tells you that you can’t have the new car today because the car takes 3 months to deliver. Now, you want the car tomorrow because your old car has died, but the salesman has not asked you why you want the car tomorrow. Whether he asked you why you want the car tomorrow or not, if you say you want the car tomorrow, he should be saying “3 months to order to your specific spec or I can give you this similar car off the Lot today. It doesn’t have the spec you want or the warranty or whatever…but you can have it today, your choice”

And that is the point with delivering IT services. The customer asks for a service. They will have a reason for needing that service. It is our role to do what we can to facilitate that service, not be a problem.

We lose the respect of our business quite rightly when we do not react to their requests or, worse, put up roadblocks as to why we cannot do what they want, when they can walk into any consumer store and get for their own personal use exactly what we tell them we cannot deliver.

You say “Non-IT people can never expect to understand the complexities of enterprise IT”. YES!!! That’s why they employ us. To know how to garden for them so they don’t have to. We are “the Fixers”.

To our original perspective on IT and ITIL, ITIL assumes that people do not know what they are doing. People, we in IT should know what we are doing.

When one is employed, one is employed because (a) one is allegedly capable of executing the role we have been employed for and (b) one will be a responsible corporate citizen, acting on the best interests of and additive to the business.

We are not employed as controlled drones, we are employed as human expertise. ITIL creates and demands drones. Drones cannot react to change, they need controllers who program them for the change.

Layers of mediocre management in IT hiding behind their ITIL maturity is the problem, and has led to the lack of value from our management tools and the outsourcing of our resources and the move of the business to adopt the relative freedom of cloud to support the continued innovation of the business.

The Business is not the problem, We in IT are the problem. We are our worst enemy, not because we are teenagers but because we act like teenagers.

We hope this engages debate with you. Tell us how ITIL and Governance and the over Procification of IT helps businesses? Tell us how it encourages entrepreneurialism and creativity in IT people to go that extra mile for the business that feeds them and their families?

Tell us how ITIL is part of the solution and not part of the problem.



The local Bar always leads to ugliness

March 22, 2012 3 comments

We spent an enjoyable evening (if you enjoy pulling the fingernails from consultants!) at our local bar last night.

It’s convenient, close to the office, cheap (so full of the kind of clientelle who turn the other way when the pliers come out) and has a back door exit with no cameras so that when the paramedics and law enforcement are eventually called, ones compatriots and oneself can slip away before the music starts. (Apparently fingernails do grow back!).

Anyway, to the point of this post…we have a consortium of vagrants on site currently implementing a proof of concept for an asset discovery, CMDB and BSM “service”. I’m sure you can work out the types: pin stripes from ACME Consultants and TwoOrThreeLetterAcronym Vendor who appear irregularly and talk to our management and tell them how nice their new clothes are looking, and then the boiler suited, green behind the ears, newly College Badged workers (interspersed with some nice folks from a sub-Continent).

Well, our senior management have signed up to this very cool deal…let Vendor/Consulting Consortium demonstrate their wares. On our dime and our time. (Yes, our dime…we are paying for the software and the proof of concept).

Now, guess what the bright sparks of our Senior IT Management have set as the “acceptance” and “success” criteria which “automatically” triggers the “full deployment”? Now, if you think there is any acceptance criteria, or ROI, or value proposition, then you are thinking way way way harder than anyone in our Senior IT Management. There is no value proposition to prove, no ROI, no nothing. They are just “implementing” it!

Now, when we read things like this then you begin to realise why ITIL consultants love senior IT managers – because they have the run of them.

Anyway, we digress.

There we were into the 6 beer (each) which our “guests” were buying for us (to befriend the natives), and which they will then subsequently charge back to our company (with margin!), which will come off our company IT Budget and bottom line reduce our meager end of year bonus as mere IT people. We began to ask the interesting questions (we’d gone past “do you come here often”, “where are you from”, “do you like our local sausages” and had begun to run out of civil conversation) about the project.

We asked a very naiive question: Which other companies have you delivered this solution to? (lots of looking at each other and general blankness. Seems they have done bits but not all before).

So we asked another question: How long will it take to implement in a multi-national the size of ours? (hmmm, this is now getting scary – they could not answer that).

OK, the innevitable: What kind of return on investment will we realise? (well that just about blew their own fingernails off. Apparently ROIs are not measured…)

Folks – we are a multinational corporation. We are being sold on the promise of the fully integrated automatic asset discovery, CMDB maintenance and BSM solution.

Each of us involved in this collective have been in IT for more than 15 years and have not seen a working CMDB / BSM implementation in that time.

ITSkeptic (how can he be an IT Skeptic, it pays his wages!!!) says we’re negative because we dis his process mandates. He delivers a paper saying IT people are the problem. The problem is non-IT people in senior IT management roles, over their heads, promising the earth without consultation with the experts, leading to the experts being sidelined.

The sidelining of the experts leads to IT Management engaging the employment of consultants who are straight out of college, who do not have to take on the responsibility of the actual day to day work running the (so called) solutions they are promoting.

Now tell us ITIL folks, if rigid processes, scaffolded in place by ineffective and maintenance heavy technology are our future, how are we to react to the very real demands of our customers.

Who are we to tell them that they cannot adapt their business in time with their market demand. We are their servants.

ITSkeptic has it all wrong. IT people are not the problem. We are servants and simply want to do the right thing for our customers. It’s the privilege of working with your ITIL governance that causes us to be incapable of serving our masters.

Get the accountants and vultures out of IT and we’ll be able to start supporting our customers effectively again.