Tag Archives: ITSM

Should we consider ITSM for polygamy?

11 Aug

ITSM (IT Service Management) has been enjoying the success of being a bachelor, groomed by various product vendors and attracted by customers. It has been a darling of customer success and customer support for a while.

Of late, many of the customers have started adopting it further and considering the customer interactions via different sources like Facebook, Twitter etc. Some vendors have been able to offer such features for their ITSM tools. However, I think that they are still transactional, not to ignore that significant data can be derived from it for different business purposes.

Considering the trends like Big Data, AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things) and AR (Augmented Reality) that are taking the world by storm, I think that ITSM is an ideal candidate to marry all these and preferably, at the same time.

Undoubtedly, the data the ITSM is churning these days, especially, when used by retailers is huge. It’s high time to leverage big data aspects for ITSM for speeding up the performance and yet, obviously leveraging analytical capabilities.

Marrying with AI will help ITSM to pro-actively generate incidents/Change requests etc while also offering the SMART solutions depending on the role, team, type, kind of incidents that the requesters has raised etc. Knowledge Management, one of the most critical, yet ignored modules can be heavily benefited by populating relevant knowledge articles using AI rules.

Do I really need to write about advantages of integrating ITSM with IoT? I had shared few thoughts on this couple of years ago.

AR, the products of which excite mostly the gamers is another prospect to get hitched by ITSM. Imagine logging in the issues, making changes and releasing the new versions of AR by integrating ITSM tightly with it. Since it is ‘augmented’ reality, I will leave it to the imagination of readers on what off-springs can be produced by coupling AI and ITSM.

Modern IT architects/integrators aka IT wedding planners can also suggest proposals for other suitable ITSM brides 🙂

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RIP ‘traditional’ ITSM

2 Mar

As I read the funny quote, “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional”, I couldn’t stop thinking about how ITSM (IT Service Management) market segment has evolved. It started as a tool to log or track issues and then gradually grew as Helpdesk (both Incident & Problem Management) only to accommodate Change, CMDB, Asset, Knowledge and Service Request Management tools later.

For years, this traditional solution sufficed, as many of the customers’ ITSM maturity level was not very great. My experience tells me that many of the early customers implemented ITSM just because someone they knew in IT suggested and (convinced even without understanding the requirements?) that it is a great tool. The standard ITSM was implemented by respective tool vendors/consultants and the customers were expected to use the tool depending on available features.

Even today, we have lot of product vendors offering ITSM solutions using the standard features that they have been developing and working right from version 1.0. Undoubtedly, they have introduced many new features; however, how many of them are “really” useful or leveraged by the customers? We predominantly find many customers face 2 types of fundamental challenges – defining Service Management requirements (note that I am not referring it as IT Service Management requirements) and using the solution effectively/efficiently post implementation. Most of them tend to just use the features offered by the ITSM products that they may have bought. I strongly believe that many customers still lack defining the Service Management requirements and envisaging tons of benefits that they would get otherwise. A few of the customers do not seem to be inclined to understand best practices or how the solutions can be implemented more effectively. Some customers, in order to save cost, tend to keep postponing implementing solutions only to find later that the delay causes them more costs. Indeed, they will define certain criteria, inputs and what they would expect post implementation; however, I think many critical information/details that the customers can derive and get benefited are left out, not discussed or perhaps not thought of either.

Some customers who were slightly better educated in ITSM or ITIL, came up with few critical data like measuring SLAs (Service Level Agreements), performance of support desk, ensured that customer details are available for support desk agents, linking the incident tickets with appropriate assets etc. They presumed that providing inputs and getting data about the above parameters would suffice to get the benefits post ITSM implementation. Well, this was ok when ITSM tool was in its infancy stage and when other tools like Change Management or CMDB were getting added as a part of ITSM suite. Not anymore.

Long live such traditional ITSM that does not offer value addition other than standard features that are available in most of the ITSM tools!

Today, the customers do not tend to buy just because you are selling ITSM solutions. They tend to understand if the solutions are worth the cost as several ITSM tools/products are available in the market. Most of the ITSM tools provide standard features and reports; hence the customers tend to explore what other benefits they can derive. They are trying to explore if they can find the losses they are making due to issues reported more than planned. They would like to know whether they need to spend their budget on training or make changes in the teams or approve leaves of support desk agents depending on the projected tickets etc. As you can note, merely managing services in IT (fundamental goal of ITSM) does not suffice. The tool now needs to be reasonably configurable and customizable AND domain agnostic, to be leveraged across industries – indeed, yet keeping the costs reasonable.

Sounds complicated or impossible? Should you not be able to find losses or ROI using the same tool rather than additional investment since it is in fact measuring the work done in the organization? Now, you are reading attentively, huh? I know what would be your next question – “Mr. (so called) expert, do you guys have such mechanisms/value additions to provide what other traditional ITSM tools aren’t offering?” The answer is “Yes!”

You may have to reach out to us to know why our response is a resounding “Yes” and why we are convinced that traditional ITSM is dead. The new Service (and Support) Management is the sure shot way to know how your organization is doing and can benefit significantly by its usage. Our team has worked hard to be “The choice” for our customers, rather than being a “Hobson’s choice”

Time for a remedy for Remedy?

2 Aug

Are you done saving tigers? Ok, now how about discussing a bit about Remedy consultants now? I believe that there are hardly 3200 tigers left in the world today. Close to 97% of tigers got wiped out in just one century! Contrary to that, similar percentage of ‘so called Remedy consultants’ may have gotten added to market in past 5-6 years.

I don’t intend to hurt sentiments of genuine Remedy consultants; however, I think that today whoever can spell Remedy or blabber something about Active Links, Filters and Escalations tend to claim that they are Remedy experts. Are they? Ask them to explain on some of their projects and pat comes one of such replies – ‘I only worked on small part of the project’, ‘I didn’t develop it, I modified only Run If condition’, ‘I haven’t worked on Filter guide yet’ or the most standard answer – ‘I didn’t get an opportunity to work on it’ :-). Guess what? These are the replies from the people who self-rate not less than 8 or 9 out of 10 and demand double their current salary!

Let me tell you what prompted me to write this blog… But before that, let me share a brief history for few readers who may not know. Peregrine had acquired Remedy in 2001 and sold it to BMC in 2002. However, they retained Service Center under their brand name (which later was renamed as HP Service Manager after HP bought Peregrine in 2005). You may find more details in Dimensional Research evaluation.

After discussing with some of the ITSM experts who have implemented ITSM solutions, they found that it was difficult for Remedy developers to adapt to ARS 7.6 from ARS 6.x or ARS 7.1. The cost involved was way higher than training developers of other tools to move form older to higher versions. Besides, Remedy believed in making the tool flexible for customizing whereas many others product vendors limited the customizations to important and business-critical features. The net result – the impact on deploying time that it takes for Remedy applications due to its large customized and newly developed objects. Undoubtedly, many customers start complaining as the performance issues creep in. Then comes the cost factor. The list goes on.

Now, let me assure you that I am not attempting to malign Remedy tool. In fact, that always remained my first enterprise technical love :-). However, I am slightly concerned the way Remedy community is growing with unprofessional and unethical and dispassionate people who call themselves as Remedy experts. Most of the recruiters that I know, dread to recruit Remedy folks. They have had experience on people being arrogant, turning away the offers at last minute after accepting it, demanding absurdly high hikes and behaving as if they are the center of the Universe. I end up regularly interviewing many Remedy/ITSM candidates and am stunned to see the number of companies that they would have changed exceeds the number of diapers that they may have changed few years ago:-). Very few people demonstrate the passion towards the technology and to do something different. Rest of them consider only monetary aspects that do not seem to have any logic.

All I am trying to say is that Remedy is a great tool and if implemented properly, can benefit the organizations and customers significantly. Let’s not abuse the flexibility that it provides to customize. Instead, let us leverage it to build creative solutions that add values rather than introducing performance issues. And if one doesn’t know how to do it, they should learn it properly before implementing it. Remember, your monetary expectations are already high. How long do you think customers will continue to bear the spiraling cost? As you may know Remedy has already been implemented in ~90% of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 organizations. There is enough of work to do for all the consultants. Other tools like ServiceNow, Cherwell etc are gaining prominence. Let’s not be greedy and make Remedy world more complicated than it has already become. Shall we?

Impact on privatizing BMC

19 Jan

One of the most awaited Bollywood movies in 2013, ‘Krrish3’, got released and disappeared almost in no time. Its different fact that it claimed to have crossed INR 100 Cr business. Did you note that ‘Krrish3’ continued to do business regardless, as it sold many masks, costumes and toys and yes, there were buyers for that ! Did it really matter to the viewers since it didn’t really meet their expectations?  It is debatable. 

Well, privatization of BMC too happened last year. I am sure that if the readers follow BMC and especially if they are BMC customers or external consultants/system integrators, lot of them seemed to have waited to understand/evaluate its impact post privatization. I intend to share my thoughts about it in short in this blog.

Well, first of all, since Remedy, the platform on which BMC builds most of its solutions, has already been implemented in almost 90% of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, it is unlikely to be impacted. BMC seems to have been able to turn Remedy business as profitable within 6 months of its purchase from Peregrine. BSM (Business Service Management) is an offering from BMC, which comprises many of its critical products, claiming to help to reduce the cost by 33%. Bladelogic, which was acquired in 2008 for almost $1 Billion, definitely does not seem to be a candidate to be scrapped. Similarly, ProactiveNet, which forms its Service Assurance business is unlikely to be gotten rid of. The cloud offerings from BMC appear to have now been strategized after failing to capture enough customers in that space.

ServiceNow seems to have given a tough time to BMC while competing for its cloud ITSM market. On the similar lines a few other products like Cherwell, OTRS also have emerged successful in converting few BMC customers.

Many of the system integrators/independent consultants outside BMC had speculated that BMC may decommission some of its products. It was also widely anticipated that it may let go some of its teams after privatization. So far, no significant changes seem to have been done. Not sure, Elliott Mgmt, which owns 9.6 of the common BMC stock, may influence some decision. However, since the owners happen to be different now, I think that they may tend to consolidate similar features amongst products and retain a lean team. Also, they may tend to move a significant chunk from US and Canada to countries offering better cost advantage. Gartner has forecasted close to $60 Billion business for IT in 2014; hence, it is likely that BMC may strategize a tad more in ITSM and BSM offerings.

I do not foresee any impact of that on external consultants or system integrators as such. It may have been possibly so, if BMC would have been bought over by IBM or Oracle, as the corridor talks echoed with those as contenders. Let’s wait for a while and watch how new management strategizes to retain BMC in magic quadrant, influence on consolidating the products or merging it with other product/platform.

Rebooting in 2014 for 2020

7 Jan

News:

“eStomi leverages $104M from the surplus funds to set up 3 schools in South Africa, 8 in India and 12 in Philippines.”

“eStomi acquires 3 companies in Australia and 2 in Sweden.”

“Virgin Galactic, NASA and eStomi partner to set up their R&D center at ISS (International Space Station).”

“$35 Billion order has been bagged by eStomi to set up entire business service and solutions management for forthcoming Olympics.”

“‘Follow eStomi’ is what Gartner and Forrester seem to have been suggesting their clients in order to be successful, after conferring World’s Best Business Leader on it for 5th time consecutively.”

“eStomi CTO was invited as a special guest for a dinner hosted by Nasdaq, NYSE and BSE in honor of Indian PM.”

Yes, I know the ‘futuristic’ news above seem far fetched and may form a subject of laughing stock. However, I also truly believe that ‘Low aim is a crime’. We would, for sure, severely amplify our preparation and hard work commencing 2014. It also pays to be slightly eccentric and to have madness in imagining and planning such scenarios. When people watched Startrek, or Wright brothers attempting their first flight, weren’t they laughed at? Check this out (http://www.pcquest.com/pcquest/analysis/203391/mobile-proliferation-shall-drive-cloud-services). Startrek and Minority Report concepts may be closer than you think. There have been few aspects which I seem to have realized off-late. As Ford suggested once, we do not want take off our eyes from our goals and get distracted due to obstacles. We understand that to achieve these types of high end goals, lot of preparation needs to go into the organization. And it is certainly not possible without a coordinated world class team. I hope that above aspirational news are not reflected as greed, in any way for that matter. For us, it would merely act as a motivational catalyst to ensure that eStomi works very, very hard to earn that kind of respect and reputation.

For instance, when Anna Hazare had started revolution against corruption, it took a while to gather the momentum. Little did anybody realize Arvind Kejriwal would emerge and start a political party and most importantly, defeating Sheila Dixit who has had been winning for years after years with a huge majority. When Apple had received funding from Microsoft, had anybody expected Apple to grow way bigger than Microsoft? It was in debt. Indeed, I do not want to explain the strategy in this blog; however, we intend to do few things with a stark difference going forward –

  • Take chances & risks: In past, we have played safe by relying only on references and presuming that assignments would get lined up. While trying to perfect the practice, we seem to have avoided doing things that we should have. Note that I am not referring to only chances/opportunities. I also mean that we will not hesitate risking a few things (which we have, in past), if we need to. Never mind, we’ll be doing that starting 2014.
  • Stratgize differently: Since we always had orders lined up one after the other, strategizing had taken a back seat. May be we had become slightly complacent. We now have the strategy to get ourselves on a fast track in place.
  • Laying next level foundation: Our current core focus remains on ITSM and BSM. We also intend to get into few other areas shortly. In past, those thoughts have remained only in discussions. We intend to lay a strong foundation and work towards it to avoid the mistakes that we did when we started the org in the beginning.

Well, as they say, well begun is half done. I have been writing the blogs for past 40 months now pouring in my thoughts and experience as I try to grow the organization. In the process, I have published a few blogs which I wasn’t completely convinced from quality perspective. I hope to improvise on that and target to make every blog more meaningful. See you in my next blog. Until then, wish you all a meaningful and a very Happy New Year ! Take care.

ITSMizing the customers

22 Jul

This Whitepaper was submitted to QAI. Since the document is in pdf that comprises of pictures/figures, I intend to specify the url to directly view it in pdf. You can access the blog from http://estomi.in/White%20Paper_ITSM2013_eStomi.pdf

Abstracts from an ITSM White paper submitted

14 Jun

IT Service Management has become a popular discussion amongst CIOs these days. It is a process-based practice to align delivery of IT services with the business. It is evolving rapidly and hence, it necessitates a need to educate customers and help them to improve their support/services by introducing or aligning their processes with ITIL guidelines.

Despite the availability of various ITSM tools and service providers, there seems to be a disconnect between the genuine implementers and potential customers in need.

Knowing about ITSM is one aspect; however, how do you convince the customers to move towards ITSM practice? In short, how do you ITSMize the customers by being candid and without being biased by merely profits or your favourite tool? Just sharing few fancy slides and numbers does not help. I think that many of the customers do not seem to understand the practicalities and how to adapt to ITSM practice. It becomes equally important to understand their existing processes / use cases and, align them with ITSM/ITIL guidelines without causing too much of disruption. Yes, it is critical that usability of the system for that respective organization is considered without compromising the functionality.

The White paper on ITSM best practices that I have submitted attempts to share the simple (without complicating it with many jazzy tables and figures), yet, pragmatic practices and framework that eStomi has learnt and leveraged with its customers, for successful ITSM implementations and deployments. I will be sharing the paper on our website as a part of August blog.