Posts Tagged ‘Service-Now’

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.

What’s with the ITSkeptic???

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The ITSkeptic and his “Sensationalism” is Anti-IT workers

Dear ITSkeptic

We thank you for telling us we are immature and like Children.

Oh we wait for your ITIL inspired guidance. Show us how to put lipstick on a pig to make ourselves look perfect with our stratospheric level of ITIL Maturity, enabling us to point our fingers at the mere plebeian users and customers.

Then, when we’re done as you advocate, watch us get outsourced or bypassed as our customers finally see right through us, having followed the course you mandated for us.

IT people, don’t adapt, don’t change, stick to rigid ITIL inspired processes and procedures which must be right because IBM, HP, BMC, CA, Accenture, Capgemini, PinkElephant (in the room!)…and all the other rag bag of consultancies who never actually manage IT but feel righteous enough to tell us how we should be doing it (or our mediocre management who have never managed an IT network, server or application in their lives – great Degree in Procurement or Accounting though!) who accept all that the external consultant (carrying a bag of worthless tools) has to offer.

Don’t you love the way the ITIL industry has it all, Consulting, Tools and finally, the kicker End Game, Outsourcing…Inbreds.

ITSkeptic, your name says it all: you are a sceptic about Information Technology. You are so wrong. You should be sceptical about the sham and shameful industry that has grown up around an original set of process guidelines for managing Government Mainframes. The Words Government, Managing and Mainframe should ring all the warning bells. When has a government been able to afford quality people? Never. So, keep it simple stupid principles rein.  The operative word should be “Guidelines”.

Until vendors start producing fit for purpose IT Service Management tools. Tools that support us rather than becoming an industry in a box or back door for consultants, we in the IT industry will not be able to truly manage our infrastructure or our customers service demands.

So, in short, we at ITILosaurus advocate embracing a little anarchy. Let’s drop the process and change walls and allow our customers (internal in the Enterprise I am talking about) to propose new approaches, and let’s take on those approaches, delivering a “best attempt” level of service. Let’s get rid of our customer help desks and use social chat networks to interface directly with our customers. We will make our customers happy because we will be instantly reactive to their Change requirements, and if there are problems, we’ll be reactive to their calls (just like those web sites which offer you the opportunity to chat with a representative). In fact, thinking about it, let’s invest in chatbots to handle the first level for us.

Good bye ITIL, Hello Customer Satisfaction!!! Good bye Consultants and Outsourcers and Not Fit For Purpose Software Vendors, Hello Modern Infrastructure Services and On Demand Cloud Services.


ITIL Promoters are the new Print Workers / Miners!!!

March 12, 2012 Leave a comment

We just made this comment at the ITSkeptic, where there is another interesting thread covering “Transformational Technologies”

They come from the usual ITIL perspective of “You Need Us”. Our view (as you will read below) is that ITIL procrastinators are more interested in ITIL compliance (an oxymoron if ever there was one) than doing the right thing for the business.


“the fact that some users now talk to each other on a forum to get mis-information instead of getting it from some underpaid hack on the service desk”

Shame! There is a really good and vibrant source of knowledge on the Internet regarding the resolution of the specific problems that may have impacted normal operations.

The beauty of the Internet “crowd” resource as opposed to our “Helpdesk” is that the crowd resource are technologically skilled enthusiasts who have taken the time out of their very busy day jobs to share some knowledge and insight with their community. To denigrate this resource is shameful.

“Another issue is that cloud services and virtualisation are transforming how we manage IT infrastructure…Most of them are hopelessly underskilled for this. We have a people problem in IT ops.”

Damn right. And the Sad thing about this is that it is ITIL the Root-Cause which has led us into this situation.

ITIL exists purely to enable people wholly unqualified and lacking core skills in Information Technology to oversee IT Management practice. (In other-words, letting the mediocre out of their cage. And what happens when you let the mediocre out of their cage? They bring in other mediocre resources so that their authority cannot be challenged, they purge the knowledgeable who can see that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, and they create pin badges [Maturity etcetera] that proclaim their relative merit and position in the land of the blind).

Now, calling the Cloud transformational is a little bit of a stretch from where we sit. The Cloud is simply Outsourcing with no Service Level commitments, measurements and no fault or performance management information.

What is transformational (as you point out) is the use of the Cloud by lines of business and departments who have a business need to be agile and react to the markets they trade in, having to deal with either restrictive “just say no” ITIL practices, or outsourced service providers who require a 6 month service definition and contract negotiation before provisioning of the new service can even begin!

The Cloud puts the power over IT back into the hands of the business and away from the protectionists. Has any one noticed that IT departments (including outsourcers) that pray to the God of ITIL have become the modern equivalent of the Print Workers, Miners and the other closed shop, core trades that stymied innovation? It’s time for us to fight back against these commercially limiting practices.

Just like those Dinosaurs, the bi-product of empowering protectionist practices is that they fail to reward innovation, change and difference. Standardization kills progress and stifles the ability to capitalize business opportunity and competitive advantage.

James Finister made some great points (below) and here is our perspective on those great points:

–    Does ITIL process definition only become universally valid at a level of abstraction that is of little practical use?

We give an emphatic “Yes!!!”. ITIL process should give guidance – afterall, specific processes will be different in every case, and procedures will be fundamentally different. Frankly we’ve always been concerned with the fact that ITIL ignores procedure totally. If it offered guidance at the procedural level, with best practices that could be shared between organizations when dealing with specific types of equipment or scenarios, then that would be useful.

–    Do the ITIL process definitions provide us with guidance that can be applied across a very complex multi channel supply/value network

No, of course not. The Dinosaur really has not woken up yet. If it had, it would have guidance for how to work with managed and unmanaged Outsourcing (oops, we mean “Cloud”).

–    Is the ITIL process ontology actually right? Has Incident Management: The Process always been a red herring?

Well, when you look at it, the only important process is Incident Management, because it is the only process that can offer meaningful measurement and “operations staff” performance profiling.

–    Does ITIL try and give closed world answers to open world questions? (Thanks to Charlie Betz for that one)

ITIL gives NO answers at all. It was originally a set of guidelines defined so that non-IT literate UK Government resources could understand what is required in the management of their IT Infrastructures to ensure that their squeaky bottoms were not exposed.

ITIL has always been about cover my a&$s and not about effective management. What’s insidious is how the vendor community has used ITIL as a method to generate ever increasing revenues without introducing effective new technology, and has used the increases in the costs of managing IT as a business case for Accountants to be hoodwinked into IT Service Management Outsourcing contracts which are detrimental to all stakeholders involved.

–    Does ITIL presume, in reality, that 99% of the process lies within the direct control of the internal IT department?

Clearly it has to. Afterall, ITIL is only concerned with the management of IT and not the management of the business.

Wake up people. Our specialists are being de-sexed, our jobs are being degraded and our businesses are rendered unable to react to their market opportunities by an ITIL culture, fighting to protect itself from exposure by not reacting to business demand and not embracing on-demand IT capacity, thereby pushing the excluded together.

(You’ll notice though that the sneaky TLA [two- and three- letter acronym] companies are waking up to the gulf between the business and the ITIL run IT department as an opportunity to market “Managed Cloud” to the business through the IT department…slap me…isn’t that Outsourcing with a different name?).

Interestingly though, a number of our ITILosaurus collective members have discussed that their companies are now building their own internal Clouds, where they can turn on capacity on demand. They report though that there is a gap in Incident and Configuration Management technology able to offer effective fault isolation and ‘rolled up’ service configuration management.

Oh, the Coffee Machine is a fertile location

Today’s discussion was centered around the results of a report recently run by our head of operations.

Over the past 2 years we have transformed our Service Desk. Significant investment has been made in a new platform to replace a multitude of legacy platforms (I’m sure you recognise the kind of thing, several Remedy, HP and other custom or proprietary tools replaced by a single unified tool with a unified model).

The report is quite insightful. One of the business cases for the new system was that we would have a process that allowed our end-users and customers to create their own tickets, so that no longer would we have the “Excel Batch Trouble Ticket Update” at the end of the week from various departments.

We used to have a situation where end users in their respective LOB would bi-pass the Service Desk and simply walk up to their local support staff and ‘command’ assistance. That person would then (feeling the need to react – unempowered due to their rank or perhaps feeling more allegiance to their LOB than the Corporate Beast (frankly, I think just keen to be seen to do the right thing for their customers as quickly as they can) would then also bi-pass the trouble ticket system, attempt to resolve the problem and if they were unable to resolve the problem, they would engage experts across the IT business directly to resolve the issue. At the end of the week, the individual who had been initially ‘called for help’ by the end-user would upload an excel file with the jobs they had performed and the estimated duration which would create retrospective trouble tickets in our system. Of course, these were never accurate, had missing data and more importantly, gave no indication as to the nature of the problem, the resources engaged etc.

Now although our ‘customers’ were unhappy to have impact, the fact that they had a body to shout at who would react for them was a confidence booster and we did get a lot of flak when we proposed changing the process for them to an online system. (The reality was that around 80% [!] of all major end-user incidents were

So, with our new “self serve” system having been in place for around 6 months, we were interested to understand the resource impact.

Guess what, our report shows a near 80% reduction in major end-user reported incidents. How good is that!!! That means at the same time as deploying the new trouble ticketing platform, we’ve significantly improved our underlying end-user service delivery infrastructure to the same extent without any major changes to management technology, infrastructure transformation or processes. Our infrastructure has simply become significantly more reliable magically.

Doesn’t sound right eh!

So, further investigation was required. We no longer have an Excel spreadsheet. The End-users are still contacting IT staff directly and getting them to look into their problems directly (we could name these end-users…we know who they are and where they are although we will not name them because they are [either] senior [and/or] intrinsic profit centres!).

We’ve gotten rid of the Excel spreadsheet so this workload has no way of being captured at all now.

What is striking here is that we have to face it, end-users will find a way around systems and our staff will always try to do the right thing for them. There must be a way to channel this end-user requirement within the technology the end-user is comfortable with. They all have a Blackberry, iPhone or Android. They are all socially enabled.

Our lesson for today is that we need to learn how to think like an end-user and find a bi-pass system which works as well for them as it does for us.

A Funny Thing Happened Around the Coffee Machine Today

March 8, 2012 1 comment

So we were discussing why our average monthly Critical Incident Tickets total more than 2x the number of Employees in our [multi-national] company?

And therefore…If each one of our employees is individually affected by 2 major incidents each month, how we are still able to run our business.

That then got us to talking about the fact that:

– the Helpdesk teams (taking the calls and processing the new user and LOB created tickets) are unaware of “causes”

– on the opposite side of the fence, our Event Management team are unaware of the impact, and often unaware of who they should escalate to

– AND (and this was the clincher for us) our infrastructure folks are inundated with an ever increasing list of escalated tickets and sit blissfully unaware of either the causes or the impact but have to work it out.

– while we still get a significant amount of LOB affecting faults where all the proactive monitoring in the world (we have a lot) does not indicate an incident but incidents are triggered by end-users within a LOB calling IT staff directly resulting in no ticket being created but significant IT resources engaged all the same.

A bit about our organization [from the perspective of one of the ITILosaurus Collective]:

– Global business supported by a unified IT infrastructure department

– A handful of LoBs (end customer facing businesses)

– Outsourced L0 and L1 event management and ticketing

In our business, the only constant really is Change. No cliche here, this is reality for us.

We make extensive use of virtualisation and have outsourced commodity infrastructure componentry wherever possible.

We in particular use IBM Tivoli Netcool and are transitioning to a new SaaS ServiceDesk platform [others in our ITILosaurus collective use BMC Event Manager, BMC Remedy and Service-Now] and we have our own inhouse developed CMDB, although it is not a rich CMDB: being only about 40% instrumented for entity relationships and around 80% accurate for managed entity content.

We have a huge amount of filtering in our event management, but even so, an aerial view of our operations shows that the ITIL structured IT operations processes isolates our production IT staff from the monitoring staff, and all of them isolated from the application owners.

ITIL process recommendations are creating bottlenecks in our business and reducing the ability to deliver a consistent quality of service because the tools we use underpinning these processes simply are not up to the task.

1. Our event management cannot handle the amount of events our LOBs could throw at it.

2. We have had to create upwards of 150 individual fields in every Event record to handle our LOB correlation, enrichment and filtering without endangering pre-existing Netcool rules which means our event management schema is getting out of control.

3. Our Service Desk has become a management liability in itself to support the many and varied LOB specific process templates.

4. The CMDB is never going to be accurate and the cost of migration to a commercial product from HP, IBM Tivoli, BMC other other is prohibitive and we know that we’ll never realise the dream anyway and therefore never achieve a return on that investment so we continue to maintain our own CMDB engineering staff.

In all, the cost of ownership of our management tools are beginning to outweigh the value we achieve from those tools.

In fact, our coffee machine discussion ended with someone’s sad but very salient thought that: “because of the legacy of filtering, correlation and auto-ticketing we have put in place, we’re possibly constraining change and the real management of the new technologies and outside relationships [Cloud] we’re currently rolling out.”

So, if you are looking for the reason for this long post…Is there anybody out there? Are we all (and I speak for the ITILosaurus collective here) in the same position of buying and maintaining irrelevant service management tools?

Would it not be more effective if we simply threw away all our legacy management tools when it comes to managing our new technology platforms and just waited for customers to call…when they call, we react so fast and with such positive, friendly zeal that, although our MTTR would not change, our customers and stakeholders perception of us would change for the better?

I am always reminded of a comment I overheard from an Industry Guru several years ago. He said (and I quote): I always buy Jaguar [this was the 1980s!]. Although I know they are going to break down, I also know that when they do, Jaguar will turn up at my door within 30 minutes with a new car that I will drive until they have resolved my problem. Then they deliver my Jaguar back and all with a smile. OK, if I bought a BMW or Mercedes, they would break down less, but when they do, I am treated like a piece of sh1t by them. That’s why I buy Jaguar.”

We are increasingly finding ourselves in a time where our management tools simply do not add value any more. Instead of paying for them to make it look like we are doing something, when clearly we are being hampered and having to cover it up with ineffective processes, let’s throw them away and have great processes. We can use the cash saved on the tools to give that McDonalds smile to our customers!

Have you realised an ROI from your BSM?

We have all given up on the pretense that we (a) can and, (b) will be able to achieve any form of meaningful Business Service Management or return any usable value from it.

1. On average (we are all from enterprise scale businesses) we have on average at least 200 services which should be modeled

2. We’re unable to even create useful models of services that have any reference to the infrastructure utilised by a specific service or the relevant thresholds and events that comprise that represent impact to that service at appropriate times.

3. Even if we could create the models, we would be unable to maintain the changes to them.

Where we have attempted a high level model of a service, it simply represents when ANY event occurs so it is always red!

Have you managed to deliver a real BSM platform that your organization uses every day and shows a return on your investment?

– Tell us about it

– Let us know what you use

– How do you maintain the models

We would really like to know!!! We know that we need this functionality to be able to more effectively represent our work rate and quality of service delivery to our customers.