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Fear & Loathing on the Road to ITSM Excellence

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Implementing a CMDB is Like Blogging Alone:

by jmw In reply to Fear & Loathing on the Ro ...

<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma"><span>Why Products & Process won?t be enough to reconnect with the business</span></font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma"></font></font></span><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Starting your ITIL journey with a very complex, usually expensive, lengthy and often invasive technology-based initiative may only serve to increase the divide between IT silos and, more importantly, IT and the business. In a similar vein, too much focus on process may simply lead to more policy and procedure manuals that sit on a shelf.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">The problem with Change, Configuration and CMDB implementations is they do not really enable a <i>real-time</i> connection between IT staff, and between IT and the business, which tends to perpetuate vicious cycles of tribal warfare.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma"><i><span><span> </span>?When people lack connection to others, they are unable to test the veracity of their own views, whether in the give or take of casual conversation or in more formal deliberation. Without such an opportunity, people are more likely to be swayed by their worse impulses?.?</span></i></font></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><font face="Tahoma"><span><font size="2">- </font></span><span>Robert Putnam (2000) Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community, </span><st1:state><st1:place><span>New York</span></st1:place></st1:state><span>: Simon and Schuster: 288-290 </span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma"><span>In the book <i><a href="http://www.bowlingalone.com/">Bowling Alone</a></i>, by Robert Putnam, </span><span>?<i>Putnam warns that our stock of social capital - the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities<span>  </span>?<span>  </span>we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We're even bowling alone</i>.? </span></font></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">The focus on Process (BPM, ITIL, CobiT, et al) and Products (read CMDB, SOA, et al) by IT leads me to believe we?re <i>talking</i> more than ever ? but sometimes <i>communicating</i> even less than ever before. </font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font face="Tahoma" size="2">I like the concept of blogging so much I?ve found myself actually <b>Blogging Alone</b>! (Personally, I?d rather bowl alone than blog alone, so please </font><a href="http://mysvcmon.braveblog.com/"><font face="Tahoma" size="2">visit my blog</font></a><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">!) The hype around the CMDB can have a similar effect on your ITIL implementation.<span>  </span></font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><b><i><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">It?s the <u>People</u></font></font></span></i></b></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">It?s the social networks that really make things happen in most companies, not those dusty old policies and procedures. It is the <i>network of people-to-people commitments</i> that are often what make things go (or not go).</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">So, when looking to embark on a ?quality journey?, remember at the end of the day it?s the <i>people</i> --- and that intricate social network of commitments ? that are often the ?current state process? and that people may fiercly protect this tribal knowledge.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><b><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Process, Products and Paradigm Shifts</font></font></span></b></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font face="Tahoma" size="2">In a recent webinar more people were familiar with the CMDB than with ITIL (see EMA?s webinar: </font><a href="http://www.emausa.com/"><font face="Tahoma" size="2">CMDB Adoption in the Real World - Just How Real Is It?</font></a><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">), which was interesting considering that the CMDB is very much an ITIL term. Just shows you what market opportunity will do to reality.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Getting your IT staff to achieve the paradigm shift to a services orientation is going to require people skills more than anything else, and your selection of tools --- particularly early in the journey --- can significanlty impact how people react to the implementation of IT service management.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><b><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Services, Stakeholders and Real-Time Analytics</font></font></span></b></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Stakeholders & Services targeting is a fundamental best practice that is often ignored or skipped as customers try and ?accelerate? implementation. This often means the implementation of ITIL considers the business from afar, rather than part of a cross-functional team.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">While this may provide an easier path to get the ball rolling, at some point the business had better become part of the team. Process and commitment based stakeholder analysis leveraging both business and IT tracks can ensure that all stakeholders are included and services are understood from the customer?s perspective.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font face="Tahoma" size="2">Starting with the end in mind assumes IT truly understands the business process, when sometimes that process is not that well understood even by the business! It also drives </font><a href="http://manageris.com/all_en/uk/goulp/0c/114b_cadre.html"><font face="Tahoma" size="2">participatory decision techniques</font></a><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">, which are successful more than 80% of the time. </font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">In addition, Product-led ITIL implementations are likely to focus on the <i>technology</i>, particularly when the supplier is also driving process improvement activities. (The ITIL literature has spoken at great length on this subject.)</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">When considering process improvements and investments in automation, consider the following:</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><o><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Investments should target areas for highest return</font></font></span> </p>
<ul type="disc">
<li class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Should enhance ITSM process communication</font></font></span>
<li class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Should be consistent with business and IT objectives</font></font></span>
<li class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Should be driven by stakeholder input</font></font></span></li></ul>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><b><i><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Realizing the Paradigm Shift</font></font></span></i></b></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">I understand and agree that an ITIL journey needs to include eventual design and implementation of things like Change and Configuration Management, the CMDB, and other critical process and technology related efforts.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">However, making these investments should be driven by participatory decision techniques and should enable every tribe to see the same information at the same time (a fundamental CMDB concept). The evolution to an ITIL-based CMDB is going to take time and significant effort, in most cases at least a year.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">But achieving a paradigm shift involves <i>people</i>. Process and Product-centric implementation efforts can lead to edict-based decisions (Change freezes, etc.) which are the least successful of all decision techniques.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font face="Tahoma" size="2">The case for service-oriented monitoring, particularly where real-time analytics can be incorporated into the solution, can provide every stakeholder with an end-to-end view of the IT business service infrastructure that is tailored to their perspective; without the time, cost and risk of implementing a CMDB. (See the White Paper, </font><a href="http://www.eginnovations.com/whitepaper/whitepaper-request.htm"><font face="Tahoma" size="2">Choosing a monitoring system for your IT infrastructure?</font></a><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma"&gt</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">It also focuses on where most companies are spending the most money; isolation and diagnosis of complex, n-tier infrastrcuture problems.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">These kinds of solutions can provide an intelligent, virtual operations bridge which is absolutely consistent with best practice. More importantly, it provides IT and business management with a solution that can help with the the hardest part of change --- <i>people</i>.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><b><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">The ROI on People</font></font></span></b></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Quickly providing a real-time source of truth, via a ?top-to-bottom? and ?end-to-end? IT business service infrastructure monitor with root-cause analytics, can help people get focused on the real problem and learn to trust each other. (When driven by the business, it can also provide political cover for IT tribes since it becomes a business-driven mandate.)</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">The argument of those concerned with social capital is that when harnessed it generates economic returns. More particularly, the benefits claimed include:</font></font></span></p>
<ul>
<li>
<div class="MsoNormal"><o><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Better knowledge sharing, due to established trust relationships, common frames of reference, and shared goals.</font></font></span> </div></li>
<li>
<div class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font face="Tahoma" size="2"> </font></o></span><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Lower transaction costs, due to a high level of trust and a cooperative spirit (both within the organization and between the organization and its customers and partners).</font></font></span></div>
<li>
<div class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font face="Tahoma" size="2"> </font></o></span><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Low turnover rates, reducing severance costs and hiring and training expenses, avoiding discontinuities associated with frequent personnel changes, and maintaining valuable organizational knowledge.</font></font></span></div>
<li>
<div class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font face="Tahoma" size="2"> </font></o></span><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Greater coherence of action due to organizational stability and shared understanding. (Cohen and Prusak 2001: 10) </font></font></span><span><font face="Tahoma" size="2">(from </font><a href="http://www.infed.org/biblio/social_capital.htm"><font face="Tahoma" size="2">Social Captial in Organizations</font></a><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma"&gt</font></font></span></div></li></ul>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Providing the ability to monitor monitor what is happening at every layer of every component of an end-to-end business service, and automatically identifing which layer of which component is the source of a problem establishes a basis of <i>real-time</i> truth. This is the key to establishing a real and lasting paradigm shift.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">Your road to ITIL best practice does not have to be a <a href="http://www.myservicemonitor.com/TheRoadToNirvana.html">savage journey</a>. Consider an implementation approach based on stakeholders, services and intelligent service monitoring. By applying all the best practices -- Process, Products and <b><i>People </i></b>? you can achieve both ROI and a quality culture along the way.</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="2"><font face="Tahoma">John Worthington, Principal</font></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font face="Tahoma" size="2"><strong>MyServiceMonitor, LLC</strong></font></span></o></p>

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