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Sponsoring VitAL’s 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers. Editor’s Focus page 43-61.

Inspiration for the modern business Volume 5 : Issue 6 : July / August 2012

Project management Don’t sacrifice the fundamentals for speed!

Wanted: IT innovation Don’t put your business at risk during a double dip

IT adding value Confused.com’s Rex Johnson on the price engine phenomenon FEATURE FOCUS: WHY WOULD A SERVICE DESK MOVE INTO THE CLOUD?: 20-23


leader

A true IT-based business Leader I

have been looking into various markets for a while now, hunting down sectors that have a good or unique IT stories to relate. It occurred to me while watching TV one night that every other advert these days is for one price comparison website or another, and further, that this was a relatively new and entirely IT-based phenomenon. The adverts are there of course to drive people to web sites to the compare prices and services offered by various (most often insurance) companies. The key role of these ads is to hammer their urls into your skull in such a way that you will never be able to forget them – think Go Compare, Compare the Meerkat (or ‘Market’ as this humorous and cute ‘misunderstanding’ reinforces) and confused.com (to the tune of YMCA), and the perhaps more unwieldy, but no less memorable moneysupermarket.com (“You’re so moneysupermarket. com”. I don’t even know what that means and yet it’s still stuck in my head!). Now, wherever you are – waiting for a train, stuck in a traffic jam, down the pub etc – if you have a smartphone or tablet, it’s the simplest thing in the world to recall the web address and start saving yourself money – or so the web sites promise. Anyway, this got me thinking that these companies are pretty much entirely IT- and indeed cloud-based concerns and as such would probably make a great story for VitAL; hence our cover story this issue is an interview with Rex Johnson, the IT director for the afore-mentioned confused.com, which I hope you will find interesting. In an era when things like the IPO of Facebook draw down a fair amount of scepticism, it is enlightening to look at an Internetbased sector – where IT is the business – that appears to be thriving, even in these less than affluent times. Also in this issue we are featuring – as a taster for next issue’s 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers section – an ‘Editor’s Focus’ on eight of those to be profiled in September / October. These are companies at the cutting edge of ITSM and it is fascinating to hear what they have to say about the burning issues of the day – by which I am of course referring to social media, mobility/BYOD and the continuing push into the cloud, among others. I urge you to take a look. Until next time...

Matt Bailey, Editor

If you have any thoughts, feedback, or suggestions on how we can improve VitAL Magazine, please feel free to email me matthew.bailey@31media.co.uk

www.vital-mag.net

July / August 2012 : VitAL 1


vital Inspiration for the modern business

VitAL : Inspiration for the modern business

vital

contents

Contents 6 News

Sponsoring VitAL’s 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers. Editor’s Focus page 43-61.

Inspiration for the modern business Volume 5 : Issue 6 : July / August 2012

Project management Don’t sacrifice the fundamentals for speed!

The VitAL Cover Story

10 The comparison phenomenon Matt Bailey Price comparison websites seem to be a concept whose time has come and clearly the businesses behind them are entirely IT-based. VitAL editor Matt Bailey talks to the IT director of one of the biggest, confused.com’s Rex Johnson.

Wanted: IT innovation Don’t put your business at risk during a double dip

Volume 5 : Issue 6 : July/August 2012

IT adding value Confused.com’s Rex Johnson on the price engine phenomenon FEATURE FOCUS: WHY WOULD A SERVICE DESK MOVE INTO THE CLOUD?: 20-23

Editor Matthew Bailey matthew.bailey@31media.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)203 056 4599 To advertise contact: Grant Farrell grant.farrell@31media.co.uk +44 (0)203 056 4598 Tel: Production & Design Toni Barrington toni.barrington@31media.co.uk Dean Cook dean.cook@31media.co.uk Editorial & Advertising Enquiries Tel: Fax: Email: Web:

+44 (0) 870 863 6930 +44 (0) 870 085 8837 info@31media.co.uk www.vital-mag.net

Printed by Pensord, Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood. NP12 2YA

VitAL signs – life in a world with it

13 You’re fired! Steve White Steve White checks out Sir Alan Sugar’s management style... and other ways to handle a difficult situation.

VitAL management

14 Why project management fundamentals should not be sacrificed for speed Peter Osborne Peter Osborne explains how the late delivery of an IT system needn’t have hampered the programme.

16 Innovation needed in a double dip Thomas Coles Service Desk staff need to know their ABC. Marcus Harris pinpoints the attitudinal, behavioural and cultural problems preventing good performance of the IT Service Desk and how these can be addressed.

© 2012 31 Media Limited. All rights reserved. VitAL Magazine is edited, designed, and published by 31 Media Limited. No part of VitAL Magazine may be reproduced, transmitted, stored electronically, distributed, or copied, in whole or part without the prior written consent of the publisher. A reprint service is available. Opinions expressed in this journal do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or VitAL Magazine or its publisher, 31 Media Limited. ISSN 1755-6465 Published by:

20 Why would a service desk move into the Cloud? Ian McEwan By 2015, 50 percent of all new IT service desk tool purchases will utilise the Cloud model, but why is this the case? Ian McEwan finds out.

VitAL support VitAL Magazine, Proud to be the UKCMG’s Official Publication ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark, and a Registered Community Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce, and is Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. PRINCE2® is the Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce MSP® is the Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce

24 Overcoming the culture of ‘We can’t do that here!’ Noel Bruton Noel Bruton tackles the problem of middle-management defeatism.

Subscribing to VitAL Magazine

VitAL Magazine is published six times per year for directors, department heads, and managers who are looking to improve the impact that IT implementation has on their customers and business. For a FREE annual subscription to VitAL Magazine please visit: www.vital-mag.net/subscribe July / August 2012 : VitAL

3


COntents

Contents 26 What you need to know before moving to the cloud

VitAL planet

40 The benefits of PC power management

John Vincent

John Lunt

Cloud computing is changing the landscape of business technology. John Vincent, partner at Broadgate Consultants looks how to educate yourself to prepare for a move into the cloud.

In a time of economic uncertainty the desire for cost and energy saving measures is high on the agenda. According to John Lunt effective PC Power Management (PCPM) will play a vital role in driving down costs and improving efficiency into the future. Moreover he says the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions by cutting energy use is likely to prove hugely attractive as firms and organisations look to meet tougher environmental standards.

30 Are you in the dark over support costs? It is becoming increasingly important that service desks demonstrate their value by getting a firm handle on their costs according to ITSM specialist Pink Elephant.

VitAL processes

32 Network infrastructure is key to the success of Tech City and UK business Mervyn Kelly Innovation and investment are providing a platform for growth in East London’s own ‘Silicon Valley’, Tech City. Mervyn Kelly reports.

34 The importance of emotional competence Girish Deshpande The five critical skills needed to build a solid emotional infrastructure for your project are explored by Girish Deshpande.

43 30 LEADING IT SERVICE MANAGEMENT PROVIDERS EDITOR’S FOCUS

As a more in depth primer for next issue’s 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers, in this issue we are focussing in a little more depth on eight of those to be included in the September issue. VitAL is proud to announce that BMC Software has confirmed that it will be the headline sponsor.

VitAL eyes on

37 Big data – value added? Jonathan Westlake This issue Jonathan Westlake is getting to grips with ‘Big Data’.

www.vital-mag.net

The Focus features thought leadership from Axios, Manage Engine, Sunrise Software, TechExcel, Vivantio, Marval, Solisma and ICCM. We have comment from top thought leaders from these companies covering a range of hot topics including social media, cloud, BYOD and advice on how to make the most of your ITSM investment.

64 Secret of my success Andy Jones, director of service development and marketing strategy at Xerox Europe.

July / August 2012 : VitAL

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news

IT not helping achieve business priorities

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survey of 650 European IT and business leaders claims to have exposed a widening gap between IT and business with nearly a quarter of executives now bypassing IT by adopting cloud-based services. Cordys has announces that its survey revealed that the majority of business leaders surveyed (72 percent) say that IT is not a facilitator for achieving their business priorities. Two thirds of IT leaders acknowledge this with 67 percent saying they do not believe that the business considers IT systems a help.

Executives cite improving customer service and engagement, cutting costs and being more productive by ‘doing more with less’ as their top priorities for 2012. The majority of business leaders say they would like to see improvements made to the way their business functions to drive productivity including improving employee productivity and empowerment, information system integration and collaboration between departments. However, most business decision-makers do not feel that IT is helping them make the changes they require. Interestingly the vast majority of IT leaders recognise that their

Government’s endorsement of the importance of IT in education welcomed T

he UK Government has announced its decision to proceed with the disapplication of current Programmes of Study for ICT from September 2012. In this decision, ministers confirmed that IT will remain a compulsory subject that should be taught to all pupils, but those schools wishing to deliver more demanding IT provision should have the freedom to do so. New statutory programmes of study will be developed for September 2014, in partnership with experts from industry, IT organisations and the teaching profession. Within this, schools will have the flexibility and scope to respond to the changing demands of the subject. The Department for Education has said it will also consider the implications for teacher training in the subject. Speaking on the announcement e-skills UK CEO, Karen Price said, “We welcome today’s announcement that Government understands the importance of technology to the economy and society by maintaining IT at the heart of the curriculum. We need a rigorous, academic offering which builds on young people’s interest in technology, and equips them for careers in the digital economy. We are already bringing the weight of industry together to support schools in this reform through our ‘Behind the Screen’ pilot where students acquire technical knowledge, while learning in a real world context.”

6 VitAL : July / August 2012

systems are not good enough with 80 percent reporting that their IT is not performing well with regards to areas such as managing unplanned customer interactions, gaining a single view of the business need and bringing data onto mobile devices. The study shows that the reasons for IT failing to deliver are both organisational and technical. Projects taking longer than planned, the inflexibility and insularity of business systems and getting IT to absorb and react in a timescale that matches expectations are the key challenges cited by senior business leaders.

Focussing on the top suppliers

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he next issue of VitAL magazine will feature what has become a essential annual feature in the magazine since it was launched last September, 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers and VitAL is proud to announce that BMC Software has confirmed that it will be the headline sponsor. As a more in depth preview to The 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers, in this issue (see page 43-61) we are focussing in a little more depth on eight of those to be included in the September issue. The Focus features thought leadership from Axios, Manage Engine, Sunrise Software, TechExcel, Vivantio, Marval, Solisma and ICCM. We have comment from top thought leaders from these companies covering a range of hot topics including social media, cloud, BYOD and advice on how to make the most of your ITSM investment. The 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers section in the September / October issue of VitAL will profile 30 of the top ITSM product vendors, so make sure you check it out.

Home workers need cloud computing T

he government’s announcement that it is extending flexible working for civil servants during the Olympics has been welcomed, “The more people that work from home, the less travel is required which in turn reduces congestion, pollution and petrol prices,” responded David Sturges, CEO of Workplacelive. “Taken a step further, if the Government extends the working from home policy, this will allow people with disabilities and time limitations such as school run moms to more easily join the public sector work force.” While, allowing greater flexible working is clearly a sensible move for private and public sector organisations based in London to manage some of the disruption that will be caused by the Olympics, businesses must have the right technology infrastructure in place to support home working according to Sturges. “Unless these government departments have adopted cloud computing and can access their desktops, emails and files remotely and securely it is unlikely civil servants will be operating at full capacity, which won’t look good considering we are back in recession. And, if employees are working from home and remotely perhaps in internet cafes using wi-fi systems, they will be placing the government at major risk of IT security breaches. If the government is to encourage flexible working on this scale then it needs to be planned and the right technology must be in place.” www.vital-mag.net


revitalise your service desk

Se f rv ree To ic g 01 e D cop et a 18 es y o 32 k re f th 4 0 po e 62 rt 0 cal l


news

Social media – not just for the young C

ontrary to the popular belief that the use of social tools in business will be driven by the younger generation, a major new European study, by Millward Brown for Google, has found that senior executives use social tools more frequently - with nearly three quarters of those surveyed using them at least once a week compared to a half of those in more junior roles. The study, which gathered opinions from 2,700 professionals across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, sought to understand how social tools are being used in businesses. Three quarters of senior executives surveyed said that social tools will change business strategy, stating that they had already been able to improve many aspects of their business.

Mamta Saha, psychologist and director of Think Spa, comments, “It is interesting that the findings show that senior managers are making greatest use of social tools. With this being the case, we may well start to see a filter-down effect, with the more ambitious junior staff recognising their potential as a networking opportunity to interact and impress their senior managers. The tipping point for mass adoption within an organisation may come when those who are not on the network start to feel they are missing out.” Across Europe, 69 percent of those surveyed believe businesses that embrace social tools will grow faster than those who ignore it, and 45 percent say that businesses that do not embrace social media will not survive.

Taking advantage Bring Your Own Device will free workers of one-off opportunities O

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s more businesses consider the introduction of BYOD (bring your own device) to enable staff to use their laptops, tablets and smartphones at work, managers are being warned that old fashioned IT protectionism is no longer relevant. As long as due diligence is paid to security issues, workers should have the freedom to work across a variety of devices. Chris Papa, managing director of cloud computing specialist Qubic, comments, “BYOD is an incredibly useful concept. Our working patterns and environments are changing and as a result, we need access to tools that will enable us to cater for that. Accessing networks via a remote cloud system really showcases the capabilities that cloud computing provides. As long as a secure private cloud is used, and data security remains stringent, it provides a great deal of freedom for workers and can deliver cost savings for businesses in terms of equipment costs. “BYOD will be as successful as the security that underpins it. The risks should be assessed and devices monitored. This way, employees can be productive without putting their companies in unnecessary danger.” Papa warns that there is still a large amount of awareness that needs to be created in regards to compatibility issues when it comes to using an employee’s own device to connect to a Local Area Network (LAN). “One issue that can become problematic and can in some cases slow things down is when companies overlook the suitability of their personal devices for work, particularly when it comes to laptops,” he says. “Quite often this process can be made easier at the buying stage to ensure that workers know the right equipment and specifications they should look for. Of course, current machines can be upgraded but if it is the employer left with the bill for this, it could become a stumbling block for adoption. When these aspects are taken into account, firms can benefit hugely from employees using their own devices in a professional capacity.”

8 VitAL : July / August 2012

ne-off opportunities such as the 2012 Olympics are making businesses across the country think strategically about how to take advantage of oneoff events according to ICCM’s James Gay. The 2012 Games has provided many businesses with new opportunities which have challenged their IT systems and required them to strengthen their internal processes. “Unfortunately, a lack of effective IT strategies means that many businesses will fail to make the most of these opportunities,” says Gay. “I firmly believe that in 2012, one of the biggest barriers to success is a lack of agility to react or adapt to changing circumstances; for example to one-off opportunities like the Olympics.” According to Gay, service management has enabled some companies to unlock value from their IT investment by aiding the planning, management and delivery of the IT function. For those organisations IT service management has matured; enabling them to adapt and extend core processes and establish Continual Service Improvement (CSI) practices. “A lack of agility can restrict competiveness,” warns Gay, “so it is essential that businesses who wish to take advantage of the opportunities being presented to them, overcome these issues as quickly as possible. This can be achieved through great service management techniques which entail the re-usability and recycling of already established ‘good’ processes within departments for maximum impact. “I believe that businesses that wish to see true value from IT this year will be those that recognise that change is the only constant, and so allow the IT function to evolve and become integral to multiple departments within the business,” states Gay. “IT must serve the wider business needs, in order to demonstrate clear value.” The value of having great service management principles in place cannot be ignored as IT is a critical element in gaining competitive advantage according to Gay. “Businesses that recognise this and implement effective, agile processes will prove to be the most successful long-term,” he says. “The agility that businesses show in seizing the opportunities presented by 2012 will be a great indication of their fitness for the future.” www.vital-mag.net


cover story

IT adding value Price comparison websites seem to be a concept whose time has come and clearly the businesses behind them are entirely IT-based. VitAL editor Matt Bailey talks to the IT director of one of the biggest, Confused.com, Rex Johnson.

10 VitAL : July / August 2012

www.vital-mag.net


cover story

I

n recent years there has been a not so quiet revolution taking place in the markets for products as diverse as insurance, credit cards, financial services and anything else where it might pay the customer to compare a confusingly large number of potential service providers. The phenomenon of web-based comparison sites has proven to be an idea whose time has come. The commercial TV schedules are full of catchy advertising jingles and – sometimes – endearing characters designed to make a particular url stick in the brain until its services are required. Obviously these services are entirely webbased and the organisations that offer them have to have their sites running without a glitch or a hitch around the clock in as user friendly and convenient way for the consumer as is possible, otherwise what would be the point?

Fair comparisons Confused.com is one of the bigger names in this competitive field. Even as I type the words, the company’s YMCA-derived jingle is making itself at home in my head. Rex Johnson, the organisation’s IT director, has a long history in IT. “I’ve been in IT for over 30 years and have worked in many sectors including insurance, banking, retail, utilities and local government,” he says. “I have worked on projects in many different roles with a wide variety of technologies but realised a long time ago that it’s the people not the technology that matters the most.” The history of Confused.com goes back further than suspected. “We came to market over ten years ago,” says Johnson, “we were the first aggregator to offer customers true comparison for car insurance prices. In the beginning, the company consisted of ten people including five IT staff and that 50:50 ratio has persisted up to the current day.” Success, however, didn’t come overnight for Confused.com. “We had to change our business proposition before we had success and started to become profitable,” says Johnson. “We were very adept at changing direction in those days and I like to think that despite our growth we still are.”

IT is the business Confused.com’s business is entirely IT/ Internet-based, so how does the IT function fit into the organisation and what challenges is it facing currently? www.vital-mag.net

“IT is there to enable the business to carry out its plans and to facilitate innovation and we collaborate very closely with all departments to ensure this happens as smoothly as possible,” confirms Johnson. “We are coming to the completion of a major re-architecture of our systems that involved moving to an SOA environment and replacing much handwritten code with well-chosen purposebuilt software. We now have a componentbased system with parts that are looselycoupled and a lot of automated testing which means that we can change and replace parts of the system with far less risk than previously. Quality was at the heart of this project and we have produced a platform that is robust, cost-effective and which allows change to happen quickly but with reliability. We are also very much involved, as is the whole company, in shaping business strategy.” On a daily basis, the IT function has to ensure that systems are up and running. “Daily challenges are recognising and dealing with operational issues and keeping quality in our systems through governance,” says Johnson. “Also, business priorities pull IT in multiple directions and resourcing projects whilst keeping a lid on costs is a continuous challenge for us.” Where quality is a top priority, best practise systems are often on the agenda. “We don’t use a heavyweight approach like ITIL,” explains Johnson, “but we do borrow from it, as well as using elements of Agile (Scrum), Prince and Microsoft best practices to create our own approach to managing IT as a whole.”

“We don’t use a heavyweight approach like ITIL,” explains Johnson, “but we do borrow from it, as well as using elements of Agile (Scrum), Prince and Microsoft best practices to create our own approach to managing IT as a whole.”

Regulated space Often seen as a wild frontier, the Internet is facing more stringent regulation of late and comparison web sites are having to adapt their offerings accordingly. “I think that the recent regulations on transparency of the use of cookies on websites will have an effect on how websites are perceived by the public,” says Johnson. “It’s obvious that the vast majority of users don’t realise how pervasive cookies can be and equally obvious that the solution is at browser level rather than at website level. IE10 will include visibility of cookie options and this seems a sensible approach.” Mobility, the increasing use of tablets and smartphones, is also having an impact on July / August 2012 : VitAL 11


cover story

We are seeing more staff bringing mobile devices into work and we have to get the balance right between governance and impeding progress – too much or too little governance could impact the business in differing ways.

12 VitAL : July / August 2012

the way people use sites. “Using multifunctional mobile devices constantly has become the norm now and opens up great possibilities to businesses for constant engagement with customers on a number of levels, so we have to be geared up to allow the business to take advantage of these opportunities,” says Johnson. And developments like social media, the cloud and the continuing trend for employees to use their own IT equipment (BYOD) are having an impact on how IT departments perform. “All the time it’s a balance between retaining governance to ensure that quality is not eroded and ensuring the business is not impeded,” says Johnson. “It cannot be a free-for-all but sometimes it’s about performing due diligence and looking at each request on its individual merits. We are seeing more staff bringing mobile devices into work and we have to get the balance right between governance and impeding progress – too much or too little governance could impact the business in differing ways.”

The IT solution

Turbulent times

Delivering for the business

In the midst of one of the worst economic crises on record, all businesses are having to think carefully about their plans, but Rex Johnson is cautiously upbeat. “I think that our business which relies heavily on our car insurance product is affected less than most by the state of the economy as it is a mandatory purchase if you want to stay within the law,” he explains. “Also, when people have to economise a business that offers good, easily accessible price comparison across a range of products will always be in demand.” The price comparison website field has bucked the Internet trend towards near monopolies and there are a selection of similar sites vying for the customer’s attention. “Challenges come from a range of competitors which is quite unusual for the internet space where in many cases the market has been monopolised by a single company,” confirms Johnson. “But because we have a large customer base, new opportunities are arising all the time.”

Looking ahead, quality will remain at the top of the agenda for Confused.com, but here more than anywhere else IT has to be demonstrably delivering for the business. “We want to continuously improve our ability to get business ideas implemented securely and quickly so that ROI is realised in the shortest time possible and we are looking to achieve that by greater automation of testing,” says Johnson. “We aim to get to the point where individual pieces of functionality can be put to market without waiting for a full release cycle.” Many have seen the potential for significant saving to be made by shifting various systems and processes to the cloud. Rex Johnson also sees the potential of an off-premise solution. “Cloud computing is very much on everyone’s lips and we’ll be taking a look at the strategy we want to adopt,” he says. “The main drivers for us would be efficiency and cost gains that could be realised by the selective use of public and/or private cloud processing.” VitAL

One means of deliverance from straightened economic times is through using the latest technology and Confused.com has recently completed a full overhaul of its systems. “The re-architecture of our systems in itself has had a positive impact through reduction of errors and greater visibility of what’s going on in our systems so we can analyse and forward plan in a far better way,” says Johnson. “It has also enabled us to get innovative products such as Confused QuickQuote (http://www. confused.com/quickquote) to market very quickly which allows existing customers to get a quote instantly from their mobiles. “On the development side we migrated to Microsoft VSTS2010 a couple of years ago and as well as providing us with a first class development and test environment it also integrates well with the Agile Scrum practices that we have adopted. This lends itself to IT/ Business collaboration which has had many positive benefits. Also we are making greater use of virtual environments which allows us to speedily react to changing requirements.”

www.vital-mag.net


VitAL signs: Life in the world with IT

You’re fired! Steve White checks out Sir Alan Sugar’s management style... and other ways to handle this difficult situation...

“On the development side we migrated to

T

hree times in my working life I have been involved in the process of getting someone

Microsoft VSTS2010

fired. Someone once said “You’re not a manager

a couple of years ago

testosterone fuelled nonsense (and I’m, by that

and as well as providing us with a first class development and test environment it also integrates well with the Agile Scrum practices that we have adopted. This lends itself to IT/ Business collaboration which has had many positive benefits. Also we are making greater use of virtual environments which allows us to speedily react to changing requirements.” www.vital-mag.net

until you’ve fired someone,” which I think is definition, not a manager as I did not do the actual deed). Do I feel guilt about any of them? Only one.

Recently the participants of a workshop began to gang up on someone who was not in the room. “She’s mean,” “She’s too talkative,” “She takes bribes to allocate work,” “I simply cannot get on with her”. The room had turned into a bear pit, the subject was absent. The group had not discussed their individual misgivings in a group before, and comparing notes fuelled the fire of discontent. Within a couple of minutes they had resolved to get her fired. They had named the person to do it and their path was clear. This seemed rather harsh, so I got some facts from this rebellious crew; she worked hard, she got all her work done, she was effective and efficient in the work that she did, and the specific complaint: she spent too much time gossiping about other people, be that on FaceSpace or Twiblr, in the corridor, at the drinks machine. I especially enjoy watching TV when there is something to learn. Two unlikely sources of core management techniques are Supernanny or similar, and World’s Strictest Parents. The plots are roughly the same – there is an unruly individual and the goal is to make them less unruly. With the babies and toddlers the Supernanny spends all her time with the parents. Notice that the behavioural coach spends exactly no time with the subject, the goal of Supernanny is to change the ‘Performance System’ of the toddler, so that there is a change in the behaviour of the toddler. In World’s Strictest Parents the time for tinkering with the Performance System within the current environment is over, the young adult is taken away from that environment and placed with substitute parents and siblings in another country and culture who provide a very clear set of expectations for behaviour, with unclear and yet 100 percent guaranteed consequences. Feedback is given

for both good and poor behaviour. WSP is kind of fun, because whereas the ‘yoof’ might simply leave their home and hang out with their friends outside the local shop, while in a foreign country without currency and the comfort of knowing the neighbourhood, they simply cannot run away from the disturbances they make. Applying this model to the difficult business of performance management, there are five broad categories to pay attention to. That the person has the skill to do the job, knows what needs to be done, is in a supportive environment, understands the consequences for good and bad quality, and receives clear feedback in order to improve over time. With the discontented colleagues we discussed how we might get the performance system clear – expectations set, feedback to the individual about their behaviour delivered and understood – and the delinquent behaviour coached and managed. Who is the Supernanny in this instance? Clearly the line manager has a large role to play, and it is to the line manager that coaching needed to be applied. As for the three people I’ve been instrumental in firing. The first one happened decades ago, before I knew about the Performance System model, and I’m sure that my lack of skills and understanding may have inconvenienced that person’s life. As for the more recent two, a rigorous application of this kind of thinking, and direct action to assess all aspects of the performance system, the application of rigorous coaching, training and assistance with the genuine objective of succeeding lead me to believe that the role as advertised and being achieved by others was not something that the individuals were capable of achieving. Having engineered the performance system to maximise the chances of success, the unchangeable variable was intrinsic human capability. Sometimes an individual is better off elsewhere, for both the individual and the employer. Let us not hound people out of their jobs for want of management attention. VitAL Contact Steve White at: stevescolumn@vital-mag.net July / August 2012 : VitAL 13


vital management

Why project management fundamentals should not be sacrificed for speed Peter Osborne of LOC Consulting explains how the late delivery of an IT system needn’t have hampered the programme.

Y

et again a government scheme has been grabbing the headlines for failing to deliver a successful outcome due to poor project management. This time it is the Department of Work & Pension’s (DWP) late delivery of the IT system needed to support its Work Programme. A report by the respected Public Accounts Committee called in to investigate the project cites a whole catalogue of issues that contributed to the IT system’s delay. However, it could be argued that any issues arising subsequently could easily have been avoided if the project had been properly planned, approach defined and the delivery managed from the outset. Although Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, did commend the speed with which the DWP’s Work Programme was introduced, she also acknowledged that the quick delivery ‘threw up risks’ that must now be addressed. Reading between the lines, “We are far too busy to have time to plan effectively” appears to be the thinking behind the approach applied.

Follow the fundamentals Certainly, this is a rationale people often use when defending projects that fail - but even projects that have to be deployed quickly must still follow the fundamentals of project management to ensure project success, which are in my experience of projects good and bad: Leadership: Successful programmes require key individuals with the right skills, behaviours and attitudes in critical decisionmaking roles. Leadership is required at all levels. Clarity of approach: This encompasses the vision of the project, the imperative and how to get there. 14 VitAL : July / August 2012

Effective governance: The programme board is a core component and should be set up to ensure all participants have the right level of membership to be credible and authoritative. An effective structure facilitates decision-making by enabling the effective escalation of issues and engagement of line-management. Delivery focus: This concerns how team members feel, behave and are motivated (needs emphasis on delivery outcomes in addition to process and organisational design). Smart processes: All programmes need clearly defined ways of planning, monitoring and ensuring decision-making underpinned with the appropriate control, direction and use of resources. The processes need to add value and support rather than constrain the delivery culture.

Where was the business case? It appears that one of the main factors hampering the government’s Work Programme was a failure to properly define the business case until after the decision to go ahead with the project had been taken. Having a business case fully approved and supported by all the key project stakeholders so expectations can be clearly managed from the outset is absolutely essential. In this instance, I am convinced, a balanced business case would have eliminated any confusion over when the project was ready to launch and what the attributable benefits were. Although the end-date would not have been known, with a clear understanding of the approach and assumptions, as well as properly accounting for the risks, issues and dependencies impacting the delivery, the project could have been managed to achieve a defined delivery timeframe, eg early summer – with the associated benefits. VitAL www.locconsulting.co.uk

It appears that one of the main factors hampering the government’s Work Programme was a failure to properly define the business case until after the decision to go ahead with the project had been taken.

www.vital-mag.net


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Innovation needed in a double dip Cutting IT will put your business at risk and during a double dip recession that’s the last thing you want to do. Thomas Coles of MSM Software argues that it’s IT innovation that will turn things around.

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www.vital-mag.net


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he UK has sunk back into a recession, if the official first estimate of economic growth in the first quarter is to be believed. However, I believe the underlying strength of the economy is probably much more robust than this data suggests. The danger is that the gloomy outlook delivers a fatal blow to the fragile revival of business confidence seen so far this year. I also fear that the news of the double dip recession will mean businesses place cost cutting at the top of the organisational agenda, with IT training, salaries and investment in particular, coming under increased scrutiny. While sensible cost-management is a sound strategy, this is a process that must be managed carefully so the long-term health of the organisation is safeguarded. Recession is often regarded as an opportunity to implement strategic change that would otherwise not have occurred. Unfortunately, many businesses (understandably) become too preoccupied with short-term survival to think about innovation and growth, or lack the resources to implement such strategies effectively. This often means essential IT projects or investment in technology is placed on hold, and the IT department itself may be streamlined to save costs. I firmly believe businesses which drastically cut their IT resources are making a big mistake and putting themselves at risk; harming their chance of recovery and may even send the country back into a real recession.

Investing in the future In my experience, many businesses view technology as a cost, not an investment. This line of thinking can be detrimental to an organisation and its future growth. Without investment in new IT systems, projects and technologies, no new wave of productivity improvement is possible. For many organisations IT is business critical. After all, the technology used by a business can impact directly on the customer’s experience. If the experience is a negative one, the customer’s perception of the brand will decrease. The worst-case outcome of this is a continued increase in customer dissatisfaction and subsequently a decrease on the bottom line. I strongly advise that IT and technology investments are the price of continuing to compete on both a domestic and international level. For example, in China and other www.vital-mag.net

emerging economies, the technological infrastructure is attracting huge investment. While this may not impact upon a business operating in the UK in the short-term, it must consider how the landscape may change in the next five or ten years. A lack of investment now may put a business on the back foot when the economy has returned to growth. Holding onto older equipment may also work in the short term, but it leaves businesses vulnerable to competitors making fresh investments – gaining higher productivity and in turn more satisfied customers.

The IT factor With increasing pressure being applied to businesses to generate more sales with fewer resources, IT can be a vital enabler to succeed within these stringent frameworks. Tablet and mobile devices, applications and interfaces for example are forecast to be the top strategic technologies with the potential to significantly impact an enterprise over the next three years. With 50 percent of the population expected to own a smartphone by the end of this year, the technology offers huge potential for businesses. MoneySupermarket.com, for example, experienced a massive spike in insurance renewals during the morning commute, following the launch of its iPhone app. Wider tablet and Smartphone use also offers the potential for savings in IT resourcing and infrastructure. The use of personal devices for business purposes is increasing, with 25 percent of both larger enterprises and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) supporting their use in the workplace. Organisations could make significant savings in the costs of IT infrastructure with bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives, through a reduction in the size of the workforce and the number of desks they occupy. The obvious benefit of a BYOD initiative is that every computer an employee pays for is one that the organisation doesn’t have to pay for itself. BYOD initiatives give businesses a more flexible and cost-effective IT solution that copes with variable staffing levels. It also enables more staff to work from home, so the organisation spends less on technology, and may also be able to reduce training costs, because employees don’t need training to install and use platforms, applications and technology that they already use at home.

I firmly believe businesses which drastically cut their IT resources are making a big mistake and putting themselves at risk; harming their chance of recovery and may even send the country back into a real recession.

July / August 2012 : VitAL 17


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Failed IT projects can lead to lack of buy in, loss of revenue, profit and customers, so it’s important that organisations look beyond the initial cost of deployment and consider whether the software will be reliable and fit for purpose for the organisation’s specific needs, not just tomorrow but in the future.

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Innovation on a budget There are a number of ways organisations can reduce IT overheads while promoting the innovation needed to sustain growth and competitiveness. In my experience, many businesses are now looking to IT outsourcing not only as a means to generate cost savings, but for its ability to allow a company’s in-house team to focus on their core activities, whilst bringing in dedicated, technical specialists to act as an extension of that team. Outsourcing also presents one of the key ways of introducing change into business culture through outside innovation. Outsourced specialists know what companies across a broad range of industries around the world are doing to promote change. An increasing number of organisations have also begun to understand the benefits of supplier consolidation, contract and performance management, which can aid businesses in terms of both risk avoidance and lowering costs. Managed well, consolidating supplier numbers can also lead to fewer firms delivering improved performance. IT suppliers become more productive and offer greater value when they are effectively managed by their clients, and when clients allow suppliers to earn their desired profit margins.

Quality counts Businesses can, during the planning and deployment stages of an IT project, place too much focus on reducing the implementation costs rather than focusing on how the technology will make an operational difference to the organisation in the long-term. I think this is the wrong approach, as it can lead to organisations becoming averse to making a more significant investment in IT software implementation, preferring to limit expenditure by opting for a cheaper provider with less quality assurance. This can even increase IT overheads in the long term, if the technology doesn’t perform as well as expected. A recent survey commissioned by MSM Software for example

revealed that 63 percent of organisations admitted to being involved in projects that had not achieved the desired level of success. Another issue is rushed projects that don’t perform to expectations. For example, 48 percent of those surveyed in the report agreed that the requirements-gathering phase of an IT project is overlooked, often to avoid missing deadlines. I firmly believe that organisations cannot afford to cut corners at this critical stage of an IT project as it may increase the risk of software failure at a later date. A Software Requirements Specification (an understanding, in writing, of the requirement needed) should be the most vital aspect of a new IT project. If produced correctly - setting clear objectives and expected outcomes and written in precise and clear language, it can vastly reduce the risk of an IT project, which may impact upon cost savings in the long-term Failed IT projects can lead to lack of buy in, loss of revenue, profit and customers, so it’s important that organisations look beyond the initial cost of deployment and consider whether the software will be reliable and fit for purpose for the organisation’s specific needs, not just tomorrow but in the future.

IT is the solution I believe that businesses which continue to invest in IT will overcome the increased revenue challenges and market uncertainties that are present. Winners always emerge out of recessions and they almost always beat their competition on the basis of something new. For example, Apple worked on iTunes, iPod and the iPad during the last recession and came back strong once growth returned. IT can be deployed as the enabler for organisations to survive difficult economic times and come out the other side stronger, with fresh propositions for growth. This is why businesses must carefully consider their IT needs and the level of investment required to remain competitive – or they could find themselves being left behind when the economy returns to growth. VitAL www.msmsoftware.com www.vital-mag.net


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Why would a service desk move into the Cloud? By 2015, 50 percent of all new IT service desk tool purchases will utilise the Cloud model, but why is this the case? FrontRange VP EMEA Ian McEwan finds out.

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y 2015, 50 percent of all new IT service desk tool purchases will utilise the Cloud model (source: Gartner – SaaS Continues to Grow in the IT Service Desk Market – March 2011). In EMEA and Asia/ Pacific it appears that users cite Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as the primary reason why they are shifting to the cloud. In North America it’s ease and speed of deployment. Wherever you are, the ongoing successful adoption of an IT solution lies in its ability to provide measurable business benefits. As an enabler of 20 VitAL : July / August 2012

business process, project management and IT delivery change, Cloud is proving to offer organisations the ability to achieve their goals more efficiently, more quickly and perhaps most importantly, with more flexibility. According to the survey conducted by InformationWeek Analytics – SaaS Based IT Management, August 2011 – ten percent of respondents currently use SaaS and another 21 percent are evaluating them. In this article, we will explore the top benefits of moving to a Cloud model. www.vital-mag.net


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“What is truly encouraging is that we have seen a levelling out of adoption regardless of the size of organisation, proving that the universal principles of flexibility and scalability have opened up the market and enable small companies to access and leverage new technology alongside enterprises, levelling the playing field and potentially changing the basis of competition in many markets going forward.” Cloud Industry Forum – Cloud Adoption and Trends for 2012

Business improvement & alignment through: • Cost savings • Integration support • Less is more • Survive upgrades • World class security & infrastructure • Minimise risk • Scalability • Built for purpose • Easy changes and configuration • Agility

Business improvement & alignment From conception to management, and throughout each build to delivery phase, services delivered through the Cloud significantly impact IT’s ability to meet an organisation’s requirements. The adoption of Cloud demands that a business takes a look at the skills needed to be successful and how delivery channels need to be realigned. With that in mind, is it worth the bother? Take a look at these benefits and weigh up how important they are to you.

Cost savings You only pay for the services you use. This can be on a pay as you go model or a pre purchase contract. The latter usually implies

more attractive unit rates. Resources used can be monitored, managed and reported on in order to justify what is being spent. This model makes the Cloud attractive and accessible to organisations of all sizes. Plus, Cloud represents a shift away from a Capital expenditure model. Traditionally, the CFO has a certain amount available to spend on IT infrastructure in any financial period. By moving to an Operational expenditure model, represented by Cloud, costs aren’t incurred all at once and up front. At the same time, multiple departments can have a vested interest in a Cloud implementation, and so the costs are spread. On-going maintenance and support costs are significantly reduced: internal resources are dramatically cut, power consumption is less, and deployment is massively simplified. Since all the hardware and software are located in the Cloud, you also don’t need to keep costly server, storage, network or virtualisation experts on staff or nearby. The ones you do have can be redeployed to projects which add value to the business. In fact, dedicated IT and application resources in general can be diminished. You can even build robust enterprise class applications in a fraction of the time and at a much lower cost.

Integration support As the business doesn’t operate in silos and departments are inter-connected, so Cloud is not standalone. Using open standards integration techniques, it is easier and quicker to integrate cloud services with other enterprise applications, whether they’re traditional software or cloud infrastructure-based. It doesn’t matter whether they’re developed in house or by a third party.

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Cloud helps us to achieve the Holy Trinity of upgrades: Quickly, Correctly & Cheaply. No longer does moving to the next version of such-and-such shiny new technology mean that you’ll have to spend time and resources rebuilding configurations and integrations: with Cloud technologies configurations are automatically preserved during an upgrade!

Essentially, LESS IS MORE: less infrastructure (hardware and software), less maintenance and support, all with the same or improved IT Service Desk business focus and LESS HEADACHES. www.vital-mag.net

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The Service Desk environment needs to interact with a whole host of applications –asset management, business intelligence and workflows, service request and fulfilment, and it’s independent on whether or not it’s in the Cloud. There’s no reason why you can’t leverage your existing infrastructure, whether that’s other IT Operations Management systems (to improve IT responsiveness and knowledge), your phone and mobile networks, or your Business Intelligence platforms. In fact, when you look at the investment you’ve already made in something like your phone system, why not leverage that investment and deliver services to the business a lot quicker (and therefore cheaper), by integrating it with you Service Desk and introducing automation through Voice? In fact, the ability of a Cloud model to integrate actually helps you to extend business-focused applications such as self-service and service catalogue. In an efficient service desk, agents have all they need at their fingertips to manage a service desk request. An Information Week Analytics study around SaaS Based IT Management (August 2011) showed that 77 percent of companies have two to five separate tools to monitor the IT environment. As any IT manager would know, these systems are inter-reliant, not disparate. It’s not efficient for an agent to have to look up information on multiple, separate systems to understand what’s happening in any given situation. Integration is key to eliminate avoidable costs associated with solving an issue. And we’re not just talking Cloud integrating with the Cloud. So you want your Desktop & Server Management on-premise and your Service Desk in the Cloud? That’s fine; they just need to be integrated so the knowledge in both systems can be leveraged from the other.

Survive upgrades Cloud helps us to achieve the Holy Trinity of upgrades: Quickly, Correctly & Cheaply. No longer does moving to the next version of such-and-such shiny new technology 22 VitAL : July / August 2012

mean that you’ll have to spend time and resources rebuilding configurations and integrations: with Cloud technologies configurations are automatically preserved during an upgrade! So, whether you’ve configured your dashboards, your workflows, your fields and forms, in a properly built Cloud instance, these new features are immediately adopted in the upgrade process, with no extra effort required. No longer will you upgrade a system and spend all your efforts figuring out if past changes and configurations are working correctly in the upgraded version. With easy to upgrade Cloud technologies you have the ability to immediately see what additional, new features are available in the upgraded version and adopt them for your business more quickly than before.

World class security & infrastructure Choose your supplier carefully. Check out their pedigree. Is there a proven track record in availability, World-class backup and restoration, or proper disaster recovery processes? Once you’re satisfied, you will see savings in admin costs and have on-going peace of mind. Look out for: • Security and sharing models – protect sensitive data while keeping mgt of security profiles less time consuming; • Resilient and reliant – world class security centres, SaS 70 Type II certification; • Physical, data & network security parameters; • Disaster recovery processes; • Backup and restoration procedures; • High availability.

Minimise risk From deployment, Cloud offers a low risk alternative to traditional delivery methods. Your service desk can be up and running quickly, even with extensive configurations. This massively reduces the impact a change in platform could have on the business, and its users. There’s little to break and nothing to install. The pay-as-you-go model allows

for low-risk deployment and faster business services adoption. So, you want to keep your existing inventory management system, or other systems already in place to manage the service desk? That’s fine. Cloud integration is nonintrusive, and if built properly can integrate into the existing IT landscape. Infrastructure state and accessibility are maintained via Cloud, and automatic failover and disaster recovery services are built in. Cloud helps future-proof assets with its flexible hybrid and integration options.

Scalability You can increase or decrease the amount of resource required according to what’s needed at any given time. Capabilities available for provisioning seem to be unlimited and ‘always on’. Cloud enables applications to span multiple physical and /or virtual assets seamlessly and utilisation can fluctuate accordingly. As your business and application needs change so does the Cloud. The management and maintenance of server infrastructure, the additional needs and wants of business users, and process changes to IT teams no longer have a negative impact to your business. This ability to change is particularly significant when you think about global expansion, mergers and acquisitions: if you need to consolidate business groups – whether they are HR, Finance or Service Desks – Cloud enables you to achieve this without having to wait for physical infrastructure or internal resource allocation for IT application development.

Built for purpose Technology changes all the time. Make sure your supplier has taken all their knowledge and experience around ITSM and developed their Cloud solution based on this tenured knowledge, but by rebuilding the ITSM application specifically for this platform, and not simply taken an on-premise product and put it in the Cloud (a.k.a hosted). Also, consider who’s actually going to use the applications. Take a service catalog; if developed properly and built to be utliised www.vital-mag.net


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No more customisation or integration worries. Your users will be able to access it wherever they are (as long as they have Internet access). In addition, look for a solution which includes process wizards and out-of-the-box templates, sophisticated workflow engine, mobile support as well as the latest voice technologies, all accessible in the Cloud. And for improved adoption within the organisation, opt for an intuitive, modern user interface to lower the learning curve.

Multiple deployment models in the Cloud, it can be managed by a non-IT employee. Essentially, it’s the Business which creates the service, not IT, but historically it’s been IT which has to build and implement the service. It seems like a wasted effort. Using point and click, dragand-drop Cloud technologies, the person who owns the service – whether it’s HR, Facilities… – has the tools at hand to create and manage their own service. Business users can benefit from on-demand customisation and report generation, allowing IT to save time by avoiding having to make minor changes and running reports.

Easy changes and configuration Cloud infrastructure allows for a high level of configuration. Implementations can quickly be achieved via pre-built process wizards, and adaptations and changes over time can be accomplished through simple drag and drop /point and click methods, all of which can be preserved during upgrades. This means that business needs can be quickly implemented, and changes can be quickly deployed over time without the need for heavy customisations. Without these easy implementation wizards or point and click configuration techniques, each time there’s an upgrade added costs are placed onto the business. As a result of easy installations and lifetime changes, businesses can take advantage of other technologies such as Voice, mobile etc, increasing usage and adoption rates across various aspects of the business. www.vital-mag.net

With configuration, there’s a tool doing all the work for you. With customisation, you’ll need to have an individual writing hundreds of lines of code.

Agility OK, so Cloud is accessible anywhere there’s access to the internet. No surprises there. Why is that important? It means that all your computing resources can be pooled and provisioned on demand without human intervention. Therefore, the total amount of available resources is optimised, making the use of the shared infrastructure more efficient. As services are delivered over the internet and accessed through standard web based interfaces, users are able to connect to cloud services using PCs, laptops, workstations, tablets or mobile phones, thereby increasing the flexibility of your helpdesk agents. They don’t have to be at their desk to respond to an incident. You can deploy projects faster. Servers can be created within minutes. As a result, the time to deploy a new application drops dramatically. Rather than installing and networking a new server, it can be dialled up and managed through a self-service console. This speed of delivery and ease of use drives a leaning towards helping users to help themselves. What happens if you want to launch a new service using a Cloud platform? Well, the speed to stand it up, deliver it and go live can be as much as 70 percent faster than if you were to use an on-premise approach.

So, Cloud provides a way to change how Service Desk capabilities are achieved. Demand for cost reduction, immediate access and flexibility drives the acquisition of Cloud solutions in comparison with traditional methods. Cloud is not the end all be all. What is right for one company may not be right for another. The market does realise that on-premise has a place in a company too, and cloud and onpremise solutions can operate in harmony with one another. Don’t forget where we started: By 2015, 50 percent of all new IT service desk tool purchases will utilise the Cloud model (Gartner – SaaS Continues to Grow in the IT Service Desk Market – March 2011). We can’t forget about the 50 percent that won’t be in the cloud. Many organisations select multiple deployment models depending on the application, size and complexity of business. How you decide what combination of Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud you choose depends on your application, performance, and compliance requirements. With proper deployment, cloud computing can provide significant savings, better IT services and a higher level of agility. Technology after all, is here to solve problems, and not to create new ones. Cloud helps eliminate concerns over infrastructure requirements, maintenance, upgrades, leaving you to concentrate on your real job: adding value to the business. VitAL For more information, go to www.frontrange. com/ServiceDesk_in_the_Cloud July / August 2012 : VitAL 23


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Overcoming the culture of ‘We can’t do that here!’ Noel Bruton tackles the problem of middle-management defeatism.

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heard it again the other day. An attendee at one of my IT support management improvement workshops lay back in his chair with his arms folded, presenting me with the dichotomous image of one at once both relaxed and yet defiant. “I hear what you’re saying Noel, but we couldn’t do that here. I’d have to get permission from my boss and there’s no way he’d give it.”

Defeatism This form of middle-management defeatism is sadly all too common in IT. In this case, the manager above him is a promoted technician, blissfully unaware of the difference between management and seniority and so rather than managing his team, he hides in his office clinging onto whatever technical responsibility he can. As a result, his staff are without direction and left to themselves in a purely reactive environment that never improves. Initiative is politely stamped on, lest it damage the senior’s reputation because somebody else, not he, might invent something he should have. It’s so sad. This is not just commercially disappointing – never mind the mere business effects – it is an unforgivable waste of humanity and a clear dereliction of duty. But where does the blame actually lie? Now it gets complicated. Whenever I hear this complaint, unhappily too often, and usually from longerserving members of staff, it is frequently accompanied by the parallel complaint that the ITC department is so understaffed and the workload so demanding that there is not time to take out looking for improvements to the way the department works. This parallel claim is invariably made anecdotally and 24 VitAL : July / August 2012

utterly without science and measurement. It is received, accepted wisdom, no more. There is no real knowledge of how the workload is – there are only repeated examples of incidental circumstance.

Coping But how do you know whether you can cope with the workload, when you have no measurement? Oddly, there is quite a simple test for this. It is the question of whether the backlog is rising inexorably or whether it has been at pretty much the same level for some time. If the latter is the case as it usually is, then there is no question over whether you can cope with the workload, because of course, you already are. If you were not, you would by now have been overwhelmed and consequently outsourced by a userbase terminally frustrated by your service failure. So the workload is not beyond you. So stop pretending that it is and instead, measure it properly. Unless of course, measurement and truth are the very things you’re trying to avoid? I only ask the question because I’ve seen that curiosity in several IT departments. I will go further. This writer contends that any service that has a non-rising backlog has slack resource. Not everybody is fully occupied all the time. One might even say it is potentially overstaffed. Dear Lord Noel, you can’t say that here – this is a public sector organisation, fighting talk like that means potential redundancies and winds up the unions! But don’t panic. Every reactive service must have numerically slack resource for at least three reasons. First, the workload does not come in a steady flow but in waves across the day, the week, the month, the seasons,

the exceptions, the rollouts – so there has to be the ability for the workforce to respond in waves and surges also, along with meeting the resource troughs during holidays, hence the need for slack. Second, when everybody is fully occupied with the routine, then there’s nobody left to deal with the real emergencies, and there has to be, because that is when the business is most at risk and suffering the heaviest and costliest losses. Third, it is from the slack that the added value comes – the quality of the work done, rather than its mere fulfilment; the time to spend with the user, the opportunity to build rapport rather than hurriedly hanging up in anticipation of a queue on the Service Desk line. To make the transition from this suspicion of endemic overwork to a state of understanding requires a bit of science in the form of measurement. It’s OK to find out how busy or not you really are – that’s just taking your managerial responsibility. It is not OK to go all chicken-licken on everybody, fail to measure the real truth and then claim anecdotally that things are much worse than you could possibly know them to be. If the reason you “couldn’t do that here” is because things are, by conventional thinking, already too bad to change, then perhaps you are allowing anecdote to prevail over science – which itself presumes that the person you’re trying to convince either doesn’t know how well measurement works or is happy to let you live with your delusion.

Fallacy To get rid of the fallacy that your boss wouldn’t give his permission, you need one of at least two approaches. The first is a simple one - if he really does sit in his office all day ignoring www.vital-mag.net


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or avoiding his responsibilities, then he probably won’t notice your invention unless it threatens him. So don’t let it. Whatever you create should serve him, make him stronger, make him look better in front of his boss. Your doubts about that approach probably go something along the lines of the risk that making your inadequate boss look better will keep him there longer, thus extending your misery. In practice, it doesn’t work like that – time for the long game. The actual effects are usually positive and manifold. They range from your boss becoming increasingly dependent on you in the absence of his own creativity, thus raising your powers, to senior management gradually realising where the real understanding lies, making opportunities open up for you. Trust yourself – do the best you can in the situation you are in, don’t give up, and no matter what the obstacle or how primitive your boss, eventually your star will shine and your ship will come in. The second approach is the genuine realisation that all forms of hierarchy are nothing more than an illusion. The received wisdom is that those above us in the hierarchy have more power and so are due both deference and obeisance. These illusions pertain for sometimes practical reasons, but more often because people are misled into believing in hierarchies as a way of distributing power. We are force-fed hierarchies from infanthood. It starts with simple stuff, “Mummy knows best” escalating to “Wait ‘til your father gets home”, later confirmed at school when teacher must be obeyed, but teacher defers to headmaster who defers to school board; is cemented in mid teens by the expectations we are taught to impose on the Prime Minister because he’s the boss. It’s nonsense. The only people who benefit from the acceptance that hierarchies are about power are those who want to exploit that ignorance in order to garner power for themselves.

Illusion The reality of all hierarchies is this. The original inventor of an idea finds it becoming successful and as the demand rises, he comes to realise he cannot cope alone. So he splits his business up into areas of operation (sales, administration, fulfilment) and hires specialists in those areas. He necessarily knows less about those areas than his specialists, so can never make decisions as informed as theirs. So he relinquishes his power. What he retains, however is the authority – but it is for his own area, not that for the www.vital-mag.net

areas owned and managed by his specialists. Just like that Excel specialist you hired, who knows more about Excel than you could even have anticipated for his job description, you have more power and authority in your department or workgroup than your boss could ever conceive of. You, not he, are the best placed to make decisions about how you operate. This is one reason why you should never need to seek your boss’s permission, because he does not have the requisite, intimate knowledge to make a management decision about your function as informed as yours. However, the reason he may decide against your strategy is because of another factor that paradoxically, arms your quiver even more. And that is the constant concept of Risk.

Risk Do you have a legacy of making effective departmental and delivery improvements based on your own initiative? If you are my elbows-akimbo colleague from earlier, one might surmise not. And therein lies the proble, because if you are not a proven producer of success and you now present your proposal for significant change, what you are essentially suggesting is that your boss endorse an unknown quantity. ‘Hello boss, I know I’ve never turned in a world beater before, but will you back my present hare-brained, unproved notion, sight unseen? Because by doing so boss, given my obvious inexperience in these matters, if you nail your colours to my mast as I propose, and I subsequently make a pig’s ear of it, your endorsement means I will drag your career down with mine.’ Risk. Get rid of it first. The third and most powerful reason why you make your improvement first, involve your boss only after it is producing benefits he can claim as his own success (remember, your time will come) and there is no risk for him to avert by unthinkingly and politely refusing permission. You couldn’t do that here? I’ve never found that to be true. As a matter of principle, if it says ‘manager’ on your job title, then be a manager, not a victim. But if you really can’t succeed as a manager where you are now, then perhaps what needs a managerial solution is not your department, but where you have chosen to be employed. VitAL Noel Bruton is a UK-based consultant and trainer who advises companies on the practicalities of IT User Support management and improvement, and the author of best-selling books on all aspects of IT service delivery. See more of his work at www.noelbruton.com.

You couldn’t do that here? I’ve never found that to be true. As a matter of principle, if it says ‘manager’ on your job title, then be a manager, not a victim. But if you really can’t succeed as a manager where you are now, then perhaps what needs a managerial solution is not your department, but where you have chosen to be employed.

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What you need to know before moving to the cloud Cloud computing is changing the landscape of business technology. John Vincent, partner at Broadgate Consultants looks how to educate yourself for a move into the cloud.

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epending on who you talk to, you’ll hear conflicting views on the maturity, positioning and suitability of cloud computing. Couple that with a dynamic and evolving cloud marketplace and it is easy to see why it is difficult for organisations to define a roadmap appropriate for their business to transition to a cloud-based strategy. What isn’t in doubt is that cloud computing, in whichever form it may take, is changing the landscape of business technology. We are going through a step-change in the way that underlying technology services are delivered to companies. And cloud computing in its various guises is gaining industry acceptance. Terms such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are now part of the standard vocabulary of the CIO organisation. But cloud computing isn’t really new. Indeed many organisations have been sourcing applications or infrastructure in a utility model for years, although it is only recently that vendors have rebranded these offerings: a process now known as “Cloud Washing”. So what do IT organisations need to know before moving to the cloud? Most importantly and perhaps the most challenging aspect in terms of the IT organisation viewpoint is that cloud is not just a technology issue. It should be considered from the standpoint of Business, Applications and Operating Models. Before entering into a cloud deployment, organisations should look at all of the dimensions which drive their technology requirements, not just the technology itself. These will shape the requirements for what the end state cloud operating model will look like which, in almost all cases, will be a long

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way from the traditional technology service delivery and operations.

The cloud checklist rationale What are the reasons that cloud is being considered at all? How does it relate to the organisations’ strategic and operational goals? These objectives can be mapped back to the categories below: Governance: How is the business aligned with the oversight of the technology delivery? What policies and procedures are in place? How do areas such as approval processes and forecasting demand operate today? How will that work against a more commercial, consumption-based model? The more mature the governance model the easier it will be to migrate applications and services to the cloud. Organisation: What changes are required to the current operating and support model? Such as organisational interdependencies, end-to-end processes – demand and release management and roles and responsibilities Enterprise architecture: What does the application landscape and profile look like, from which organisations can determine which applications are suitable? Sourcing: What is the appropriate cloud provider in terms of market positioning, track record, service management and, most importantly, potential lock-in? Investment model: What does the business case for moving to cloud services look like, not just in terms of potential financial benefits, but also from a risk, agility, and commercial perspective? How does it impact the technology refresh cycle, cost allocation and recharge model, plus the financial shift from up front capital expenditure to a rental model? If a technology refresh or major investment is planned, then that may be the

Before entering into a cloud deployment, organisations should look at all of the dimensions which drive their technology requirements, not just the technology itself.

July / August 2012 : VitAL 27


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time to consider the cloud. If infrastructure has been purchased recently, then the business case for a cloud migration may not stand up. Data security: Data security is key and can differ very much between organisations. Areas such as user access, data location, integrity and availability, identity management, confidentiality, IP, reputational risk, legislature, compliance, storage and retrieval processes are all important and need to be addressed against policies and procedures. Organisations that have robust information security polices can apply them against cloud offerings. If a firm does not have strong policies then the decision making process can be greatly extended. In addition, on-going auditing and testing of the security aspects of a cloud solution need to be built into the operating model.

Attention areas To be successful in transitioning to the cloud, organisations need to pay specific attention to the end-to-end operating model. This should not be a technology-only led activity and should clearly define the new roles and responsibilities required to operate a more agile, consumption-based model. As more cloud services mature, skills in the areas of Service Management, Architecture and Commercial & Vendor Management will be more important, compared to that of technical and operational staff. These will be fundamental to both maintaining the service integrity and delivering increased business value. You need to pay attention to the training, development and realignment of roles – this is a big piece of work and should not be underestimated. We must remember that IT departments have been traditionally configured as internal, captive providers, both in terms of people and assets. It can, therefore, be very difficult for an internal IT provider to reconfigure itself. On the process side, demand management and the linkage from the business customer through to the cloud service provider will be very important. At the external end, the process will need to be focused on providing scalability and functionality and be able to deliver the required performance to predict increases in compute resource during heavy demand periods. These will then need to be closely linked to internal capacity and availability functions to ensure service resilience and availability. 28 VitAL : July / August 2012

Service Management and measurement IT Service Management (ITSM) and the implications of a potentially fragmented delivery model need to be considered. Many organisations have already moved their ITSM infrastructure to cloud-based solutions. When planned and implemented correctly, there is no reason that they should not match, or in some cases better, the way that companies currently deliver service. There are often compelling reasons to move to a cloud-based solution, such as cost efficiency, speed of implementation and a more on-demand model. The workflows are often customisable so that they can work more easily with current processes from an integration perspective, and therefore tend to offer faster deployment, reduced consultancy requirements, the ability to deal with ‘spikes’ in activity, and increased scalability to hundreds of support staff. From a cloud ITSM perspective, the most mature aspects are generally Incident, Change, Security and Asset. Whilst many providers will add configuration & asset information to this list, the model is still not mature enough: Cloud ITSM solutions need to be driven first and foremost by the client’s requirements. The shift in application delivery to cloud environments is creating a challenge in terms of ITSM, regardless of whether that function is internal or hosted. The management of the end-to-end service chain requires careful planning, particularly considering that technology services may be delivered by a mixture of in-house, privately hosted and public cloud applications which need to be looked at from a holistic perspective. Moving to a cloud based ITSM provider is an evolutionary approach which should be considered in the same way as any delivery partner in the end-to-end service management chain. Organisations need to think in terms of the ‘best execution’ venue for all services as the market matures – wherever that is hosted.

Data protection, compliance and regulatory requirements Data protection is a key area, and one which is often raised first in the whole cloud debate. However, both technology and the management of external risks has moved on significantly and, providing that enterprise security teams work closely with IT and business users, most hurdles can be

overcome. Organisations have used external providers to manage applications and related data for years, including Software as a Service, and the same rigor should be applied to allow the appropriate application portfolios to run with external cloud providers. Information security management should be addressed in line with the organisation’s own policies and standards in order to maintain integrity in a multi-tenanted environment, particularly when integrating other processes such as Identity Management. If architected and configured properly using security best practices, a cloud solution can securely host and protect the multiple clients’ information and sensitive data. It’s the same security best practices that apply to virtual environments in both instances (through a virtual network via the hypervisor). Through isolation, cloud providers can actually limit the client’s virtual servers to its own network, therefore isolating data and information from other tenants’ machines.

Conclusions Cloud-based services are growing in popularity and will continue to accelerate significantly over the next few years. The rationale for commercial organisations to have significant investment in IT infrastructure is no longer sensible or viable: specialist IT service firms can perform ‘utility’ functions more efficiently and cheaply. Operational considerations are generally more important than technology aspects when considering a move to cloud-based services. The organisational state of governance, change control, service measurement, information security and support models needs to be mature enough. Moving from an in-house managed application to the cloud needs to be thought of in the same way as outsourcing the service to an external provider. There can be specific technical aspects which stop or reduce the value of migrating to the cloud, but most can be overcome. The fundamental reasons for migrating need to be considered against organisational goals. Is there a business advantage or operational gain to be had from an in-house infrastructure team and datacentre? Do the improvements in demand flexibility and potentially cost override the commodisation and management overhead of change? Answering these questions is key to a successful move to the cloud which delivers a sensible return on investment. VitAL www.broadgateconsultants.com www.vital-mag.net


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Are you in the dark over support costs? It is becoming increasingly important that service desks demonstrate their value by getting a firm handle on their costs according to ITSM specialist Pink Elephant.

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s business becomes more intrinsically reliant upon IT to deliver their business models, service desks become more mature and businesses are increasingly realising the value that a service desk can provide. However, it is still vitally important that service desks can demonstrate their value by getting a firm handle on their costs which will allow them to budget effectively and start to realise an ROI. In a recent survey conducted by Pink Elephant and the Service Desk Institute, it was identified that just over a fifth of service desks know the average cost per call, but perhaps worryingly this still leaves a large percentage – 78 percent, that have no idea how much each call they are handling actually 30 VitAL : July / August 2012

costs their service desk. Measuring cost per call is vital in order for the service desk to justify its value. It’s also important to note that managed service providers and outsourcers will know exactly how much their cost per call is as this is how they can attract and win business. You can only prove you are delivering value to your customers if you can demonstrate value – and to do that you need a firm handle on costs. The survey also identified that there are large variations that can be attributed to the many different factors that make up cost per call including the time of the call; analyst salaries; what figures are included in the calculation (do you include rent, utilities, hardware, lighting and other equipment); cost of software support including cost of support and maintenance; www.vital-mag.net


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and cost of second and third line. Also, people calculate the cost per call in a variety of different ways: some will only include salaries and divide this by the time spent on the call; others will include some or all of the costs listed above. This accounts for the large variations in the cost per call reported above.

Single point of service Often companies have undergone merger or acquisition and need to restructure or consolidate multiple desks into a single point of service. This requires a view of how each desk is performing and the associated costs, in order to make an informed decision of where the service should be housed. There may be a decision to make around the sourcing arrangement, outsource, insource, co-source – which is best to meet your objectives? Usually the issues customers bring to us are specific and performance based, such as: • First Line Resolve rates are currently below 60 percent, (which SDI state is the industry average resolve rate) targets have been set of up to 75 percent. • A tool which does not deliver the functionality required to support the Incident Management process – need to buy a new tool. • Lack of customer service skills leading to poor relationships with the majority of the business customer base. Low levels of customer satisfaction, and a reluctance to assess this due to an expectation of poor results. • A lack of process ownership and accountability means customers are unsure of escalation procedures and subsequently senior management are involved in detail of Service Desk activities. • A lack of consistency across the group in terms of on-going performance levels and an unstructured approach to performance review and evaluation on a regular monthly basis. • An on-going requirement for multilingual analysts - something that is not being sourced in an effective or timely www.vital-mag.net

manner in line with the on-going needs of the organisation. • The sourcing model for new analysts does not take sufficient account or place emphasis on a pre-induction to ensure a sound cultural fit and performance from the very beginning, leading to an inevitable staggered approach to learning, understanding and delivery of value. • No career development of analysts to continuously update and maintain the required skill sets and general motivation levels across the team. • Lack of accountability within the Service Desk group due to no performance review process. • Potential Service Level Agreement breaches due to a mismatch of skill sets to role requirements, and a lack of OLA’s with supporting IT teams leading to the inability to deliver end to end service. • Unnecessarily elongated lead times to source analysts on demand though multivendor approach. • Motivation levels on new and existing agents are compromised through no structured personal development process. Pink Elephant want to help customers to revitalise their Service Desk, however as with any service improvement programme, you need to establish your baseline figures and statistics from which to measure future progress against. If you cannot determine these baseline costs, measuring improvements or demonstrating cost efficiencies becomes incredibly difficult. This is where many service desks risk being outsourced. If you are experiencing issues with your Service Desk, whether it is poor performance, demotivated staff, high turnover of staff, lack of knowledge transfer, or a tool which is not fit for process – contact us at Pink Elephant and let us see whether we can revitalise your service. VitAL www.pinkelephant.com

It is still vitally important that service desks can demonstrate their value by getting a firm handle on their costs which will allow them to budget effectively and start to realise an ROI.

July / August 2012 : VitAL 31


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Network infrastructure is key to the success of Tech City and UK business Innovation and investment are providing a platform for growth in East London’s own ‘Silicon Valley’, Tech City. Mervyn Kelly of Ciena reports.

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ust over 200 years ago East London became the backbone of the British economy, opening its cobbled streets to a wave of new industries which laid the foundations for the UK to become the global economic player it is today. Fast forward to 2012 and the area is yet again used as a platform to push the country forward – this time, by the tech industry. The area has been a hotbed of innovation for some time now, but over the last four years there has been a major jump in the public profile of the region, with the government keen to trumpet Tech City as London’s answer to Silicon Valley. Over 700 tech and digital businesses – including global giants such as Google, Vodafone, Twitter and Facebook – have set up in the area. Tech City’s standing as an important business destination in its own right has undoubtedly been cemented by the arrival of these brands, with David Cameron going as far as describing it as ‘Europe’s technology capital’, but while its stock is high, now is not the time for complacency. The lesson Tech City must learn – and herein lies the lesson for businesses across the UK – is that it must continue to innovate and invest in the future.

Infrastructure With businesses increasingly reliant on IT infrastructure for the consumption and delivery of various services, having a robust, secure and cutting-edge telecoms infrastructure has become an imperative for success. However, it is not a simple case of ensuring that the network ‘does its job’ – businesses in Tech City and beyond are increasingly data hungry, responsible for both consuming and pushing out into the 32 VitAL : July / August 2012

cyberspace some of the most demanding IT applications available. Higher capacity is needed to support the move to the cloud, the rise of new media, and growing storage requirements, as well as our ambitions in a wide range of areas, from eHealth to distance learning – all of which will have a profound impact on our ability to compete. Despite network companies working tirelessly to get infrastructure in place, and the government’s desire to promote Tech City, the latest networking technology is not easily accessible to start-ups. The technology to enable tomorrow’s business connectivity needs is available today and should be used to support not just the Tech City area but British business as a whole.

Fibering-up There is the potential to ‘fiber-up’ the entire area and some service providers are taking steps to introduce more fibre there, but due to the recession they are still rather reluctant to follow the ‘build and they will come’ model. Much debate in the media recently has focused on the danger of the UK lagging behind the rest of Europe in terms of its infrastructure and the risk of it becoming a backwater for technology innovation. Inspiration should be taken from the East – countries such as South Korea and Japan – where government-subsidised rollouts of high speed internet services connections pushed by the local government have yielded fantastic results. Numerous reports have shown a direct correlation between GDP growth and broadband penetration and investment, and these countries showcase some of the most cutting edge connectivity technology available. www.vital-mag.net


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The networking requirements of Tech City and other areas within the UK should be addressed with a pragmatic approach, as providing companies with the bandwidth needed to grow simply makes business sense. Large companies already have access to leased fiber lines and can negotiate directly with the service provider on service level agreements. But that is not normally the case for start-ups and SMBs – so a strategy needs to be in place to support their efforts. The technology to support such capacity growth already exists and is being deployed by key service providers operating in the area – and could easily be upgraded as demand increases over time. The wider community – including network providers, large and small tech companies, and government bodies – needs to come together to ensure innovative start-ups are not starved of bandwidth. The success of Tech City depends greatly on our ability to catalyse and support local talent – and so far we have definitely been too modest in our ambitions.

The challenges The challenges facing Tech City, in terms of ensuring the appropriate availability of bandwidth to support current and future requirements, are common to many businesses in the UK. New trends and opportunities also spring ahead, which those responsible for planning the buildout of network infrastructure should be bearing in mind. For instance, while cloud computing has long been touted as the next major shift in IT, its adoption is only now genuinely beginning to accelerate. As an increasing amount of applications are accessed over the internet, new strains will be placed on the network supporting them, and the reliance of businesses on connectivity becomes even stronger. Big data – the processing and analysis of huge data sets – is another growing phenomenon, and one of the hottest buzzwords on the technology world’s lips. And for good reasons too – McKinsey Global Institute estimates that over the next ten years effective use of big data could deliver as much as €250 billion in value to Europe’s public sector administration, which is more than the GDP of debt-ridden Greece. According to SAS, big www.vital-mag.net

data could add £200bn to the UK economy, and create up to 60,000 jobs. The world of business and commerce abounds in potential applications of big data, in areas such as healthcare, administration, retail, and manufacturing, to name just a few. In the retail world, Tesco is using the immense datasets of customer behaviour information collected in its Clubcard loyalty scheme for promotions and price adjustments. The mobile revolution also adds an extra dimension to the picture – with a large proportion of phones already GPS-enabled, data on our location creates additional applications, from personal safety and monitoring services to geo-targeted advertising. With these opportunities, however, come significant challenges on the network side. As the big data trend gathers momentum, there is a risk that the network element becomes a troublesome bottleneck in the data ecosystem. Addressing the capacity problem will require more than simply larger and more reliable data pipes in the underlying networks – as the quantity of data continues to increase, flexibility and scalability of the network will come to the fore as well. If big data is such a huge opportunity – it would seem ridiculous to allow a lack of investment in something as fundamental as network infrastructure to hold UK businesses back from capitalising on it.

If the UK is to remain competitive longterm, investment in network infrastructure must remain a priority – despite the difficult times and austerity measures being taken in the macroeconomic environment.

Dynamic connectivity Tech City’ success will clearly be dependent on – amongst a number of factors – the network infrastructure supporting its businesses. Moving forward, it should serve as an illuminating case study on the importance of network investment generally, to businesses of all sizes. As we enter the age of dynamic connectivity, cloud computing and big data, business success will become ever more intrinsically linked to its ability to consume, deliver and process data as quickly and efficiently as possible. If the UK is to remain competitive long-term, investment in network infrastructure must remain a priority – despite the difficult times and austerity measures being taken in the macroeconomic environment. VitAL

www.ciena.com July / August 2012 : VitAL 33


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The importance of emotional competence The five critical skills needed to build a solid emotional infrastructure for your project are explored by Girish Deshpande of MindTree.

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n article in The Economist at the end of 2011 put the blame for France’s economic woes on emotionally incompetent French managers. It suggested that contrary to some popular perceptions French workers are not lazy but that the real problem was with the way French managers (mis)manage them. The article goes on to say... “According to a report on national competitiveness by the World Economic Forum, the French rank and file has a much stronger work ethic than American, British or Dutch employees. They find great satisfaction in their work, but register profound discontent with the way their firms are run.� The research in many fields has conclusively shown that high IQ or skills alone do not explain success. High emotional competency has significant impact on your success. This is especially true in IT, knowledge and creative industries and is also true as you go higher up in leadership. In fact, when I think of it, in almost any endeavour where one interacts, leads, influences group of people calls for higher social and emotional skills. This applies to all leadership, team and customer facing roles. And this means

34 VitAL : July / August 2012

all of us except for say day traders working from home.

Social contracts It is because these roles are really social contracts, with stakeholders like direct reports, management, vendors and customers within the organisation, society and so forth. Of course specialist knowledge, technical expertise and years of experience play their role in the success of the people but the real attribute to success in many roles is social and emotional skills. This is not only true for the individuals but is also applicable to the project teams. The project team, whether it be in IT or another discipline, is a living, breathing entity with its own mind, culture, aspirations and complexity. It is the duty of the project leader and team members to develop very strong social and emotional competencies within the team and when a new team is formed to execute the project. Certainly in IT, teams with such a strong emotional infrastructure stand a good chance of navigating the challenges thrown by a typical complex project and still come out on the other side successfully.

www.vital-mag.net


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Research in many fields has conclusively shown that high IQ or skills alone do not explain success. High emotional competency has significant impact on your success. This is especially true in IT, knowledge and creative industries and is also true as you go higher up in leadership.

36 VitAL : July / August 2012

I have listed some of competencies that teams need to develop and exhibit to build such social and emotional infrastructure: 1. Self-Awareness: The team members should be conscious of the prevailing emotions in the team and its impact on team whether positive or negative. There are often people in any team who whine, get angry over trivia and see everything as hopeless etc. They think they are entitled to the very best in life – cool assignments, resources, people, support, salary, promotion etc. Such people can drain the emotional energy of the project leader and the entire team. On the other hand there are people who exude positive thoughts and energy by their actions and words. This team needs to understand who is doing what and collectively make a choice which behaviour to support and emulate. In a well-functioning and cohesive team people understand the impact of their emotions on other members. Beyond emotional awareness the self-aware teams know full well their capabilities and weaknesses. They under promise and over deliver. High self-awareness is prerequisite for the next competency, self-regulation. 2. Self-Regulation & Adaptability: Typically it is expected that the project leader monitors and regulates what is going on in the team, including social aspects. But leaving this responsibility to the project leader alone is unfair as the entire team needs to take responsibility for this crucial aspect. There are aspects which only the team can enforce collectively without causing heartburns. The team needs to come up with Do’s and Don’ts that are binding on all members and peer pressure works better than pressure coming from the top. Companies like Google use such team regulations effectively. There the appraisal of each individual is done by his/her team and such an environment fosters good behaviour and team building. I have personally seen that the 360 degree feedback mechanism is perhaps the best mechanism to bring about behavioural changes in people. You have

simply got to believe it when all your peers are tell you something needs to be changed. Such self-regulation is certainly possible if there is high degree of trustworthiness and integrity within the team. When a new team is formed for a project it is very important to build this trust and camaraderie during team forming and norming phases. Many times project managers staff the project and rush through the project initiation and execution steps. This is a short sighted step as the team and project leader needs to make this social investment in the very beginning to reap the rewards later. Such well bonded teams show adaptability and problem solving skills in crunch situation. 3. Self-Confidence & Motivation: Ultimately success of any project depends on team motivation to achieve the project goals. No project goes through a completely smooth execution and the ability of the team to solve all issues, meet deadlines and quality expectations depends on how driven the team is collectively. If you have a situation where a few are highly motivated but the rest are only journey men then that will burn out the high achievers and severely impact collective morale. Studies have shown that, beyond reasonable pay, the creative class aspires for meaning and success in their work. Nothing motivates like these two and it is the duty of project leader to define and explain the project vision to entire team and get their buy-in. He needs to instil the meaning of the outcome as well as confidence that the desired outcome is indeed achievable. He needs to exude very high optimism even in the crisis. 4. Empathy & Service Orientation: Empathy has been defined as awareness of other’s needs, feelings and concerns. Such empathy should not only be directed to their own creed in the team but also to other stakeholders like the customers, the end users, vendors and other enabling functions within the organisation. This can be a severely lacking skill in certain cultures. Due to constant www.vital-mag.net


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message on customer and team centricity, people have learnt to respect and understand these two stakeholders. But, ask yourself how you or your team empathises with your vendors, the end users of your product or even your HR or procurement or legal department? For example, in some instances lawyers are sometimes talked of as if they are lowest form of life who only want to put obstacles in the way of progress. Yet their valuable contribution to safeguard the interests of the company is often ignored. Another example of empathy is having an end user perspective. In the IT world, Steve Jobs was worshiped so much because he showed so much empathy for the person who uses technology. He helped ordinary folks reap the benefits of technology by designing intuitive products for them. Indeed, lack of empathy actually results in poor behaviours. This is when people behave abrasively or arrogantly with others with whom they do not empathise. Peter Drucker rightly said “Good manners are the lubricating oil of organisations.� And empathy 38 VitAL : July / August 2012

is the source of such good manners. The leader who lacks empathy cannot realistically expect to understand the needs of people and develop them. People who lack this skill also miss political overtones in the environment which makes empathy an especially useful skill for people who work very closely with the customers. 5. Social Skills: This has been defined as ability to induce desirable response in others. To achieve this you need skills like the ability to influence others, communicate the position, manage the conflict, form collaboration for synergy and build bonds & relationships. Although project leaders are expected to do many of these things other people in the team need to demonstrate these skills too. Collectively the team should be able to manage the conflicts, articulate its position, influence different stakeholders, self-lead, and build an excellent bond within and outside the team. This is the true hallmark of successful team.

Strong emotional foundation Although senior managers in IT and other organisations need to start increasing efforts to build a strong emotional foundation on which to build the team; this is a journey rather than the destination; and it takes continuous effort by all to build and maintain a healthy emotional infrastructure in any team but when it is achieved the results show it is well worth it. VitAL www.mindtree.com

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VitAL eyes on

Big data - value added?

This issue Jonathan Westlake gets to grips with ‘Big Data’.

Although senior managers in IT and other organisations need to start increasing efforts to build a strong emotional foundation on which to build the team; this is a journey rather than the destination; and it takes continuous effort by all to build and maintain a healthy emotional infrastructure in any team but when it is achieved the results show it is well worth it. www.vital-mag.net

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he IT industry has always had a special talent for creating buzzwords and I have heard ‘big data’ trotted out many times during the 2012. The usual reaction is one of congregational nodding sagely, but what does ‘big data’ really mean and imply? I’m always interested in the “so what?” and big data is no exception to this. What is the value added of big data? It is clear that organisations worldwide are awash with data with degrees of scale from SMEs to multinationals. The creation of data continues apace and with more demand for data (text, images etc) to be stored as this digital age continues. Given that context, big data can be initially defined as very large volumes of electronic data, which may be stored disparately and may take some time to search. I currently work for a university and we are faced with a volume of data concerning all aspects of students and systems for recruitment; enrolment and tracking of results. As an award leader I need to conduct analysis on the data for trends and hence turn the data into information. Over my years in IT I have seen other buzzwords for this type of activity including dashboards and enterprise information systems which reflect the need to trawl data from different sources into something hopefully meaningful. The difference between then and now is that the data has proliferated to include structured data (traditional relational database) but also increasingly available unstructured data from other sources such as social media. In my case student feedback represents a good example. This unstructured data much of it generated by the Web is clearly relevant to businesses and my university alike.

If we accept our definition of big data is an amalgamation of sources then how do we harness it? One approach is to look for a big data solution and there are plenty of examples on the market, for a fee, as one would expect. One other approach at the other end of the scale is the DIY approach and that will be the subject of my next ‘Eyes On” as part of a big data strategy. In conclusion, have we answered the question? Yes big data can add value as it represents a new perspective on how to tackle the analysis of multi-faceted data sources into information. After all that is what IT has always been about, to provide a service. VitAL Useful references/resources: You might like to try and work out your big data score. See http://blogs.forrester.com/mike_ gualtieri/12-05-17-whats_your_big_ data_score July / August 2012 : VitAL 39


vital planet

The benefits of PC power management In a time of economic uncertainty the desire for cost and energy saving measures is high on the agenda. According to John Lunt, MD of Certero, effective PC Power Management (PCPM) will play a vital role in driving down costs and improving efficiency into the future. Moreover he says the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions by cutting energy use is likely to prove hugely attractive as firms and organisations look to meet tougher environmental standards.

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ince the arrival of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme in 2010 there has been growing pressure on all organisations to make a serious commitment to reducing carbon emissions. The issue is simple – man made emissions are on the rise resulting in irreversible climate change. And the response as demonstrated in a recent online survey by The Carbon Trust shows a genuine commitment from the public sector, private business and the third sector to meet the challenges head on. There has never before been a greater emphasis placed on brand image and the possession of respectable green credentials. However, the unstable economic climate has caught many organisations in a conflict – finding the resources in the teeth of a recession to be able to invest in becoming more environmentally friendly. Due to advances in the analysis and reporting of IT power usage more efficient solutions are now available to balance this juggling act. PCPM plays a crucial role in helping to slash down on energy wastage and cut carbon emissions, while critically improving the bottom line by reducing costs.

Commitment to a greener future

The latest Carbon Trust survey has revealed that more than half of public sector agencies plan to make ‘tangible investments’ in carbon reduction this year - in total 58 percent. The figure for private business sharing the same ambition is 46 percent; while the third and voluntary sector registered in at 33 percent. 40 VitAL : July / August 2012

The underpinning theme is that year on year more organisations continue to show desire to tackle carbon reduction. The financial downturn has threatened to kick this particular item on the green agenda into the long grass, but the long-term business case remains compelling and the bigger an organisations’ energy footprint the more convincing the argument. The process of driving sustainable growth and cutting emissions created by IT systems does not require huge investments in new technology. These objectives can be achieved through investing in the right forms of technology which ensure efficient use of existing IT assets. The mandatory CRC Energy Efficiency scheme has been designed to boost energy efficiency and reduce emissions in large public and private sector organisations – which are responsible for around 10 percent of the UK’s emissions. It has been delivered with a range of reputational, behavioural and financial drivers, to encourage organisations to develop energy management strategies promoting a better understanding of energy usage. The grand ambition of the scheme is to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.

Challenges: PCPM The challenge now faced by many organisations to realise this goal has been laid bare in statistics released by Energystar. www.vital-mag.net


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gov. The figures highlight PCs as the main contributor to emissions within the IT spectrum, accounting for 40 percent of overall energy consumption. Another major burden on energy reserves at 23 percent is servers including industrial cooling, while15 percent can be attributed fixed line telecoms. On average nine percent is used by mobile phones, seven percent by LAN and office telephones and six percent to printers. To put the challenge into perspective, PCs which are always left on cost UK Plcs more than £300m a year, a drain on both energy and overheads. Another survey has shown that 30 percent of PCs are left on overnight costing organisations £17 per machine each year. Although many organisations have identified PCs as the major culprit for IT energy waste, there is still confusion in the market about the benefits of a PCPM solution when most manufacturers go to great lengths to state how ‘green’ their new products and solutions are. Hardware manufacturers often promote products with processing power which use less electricity and the latest operating systems which boost green credentials through built in power management capabilities. With the proliferation of green messages it is easy to assume PCPM already exists within all IT network. This begs the question – why would you need a specialist PCPM solution? The answer to this is that built features within operating systems, such as Windows 7, do not provide the adequate power saving technology to deliver worthwhile power, cost, and CO2 savings. Organisations need more in-depth analysis on IT power usage to ensure maximum savings are being made. This is where an ‘enterprise-wide solution’ can provide detailed information to inform more efficient power saving policies. It allows IT energy usage to be managed with greater confidence and ultimately enables any organisation to adapt to change. For large and global organisations it also provides flexibility to manage IT infrastructure in different countries with varying tariffs.

Independent analysis Research conducted by independent analysis organisation Ovum has helped www.vital-mag.net

to highlight the unique role an enterprise PCPM solution can play within large organisations. The Ovum Industry Solutions Guide (Selecting a PCPMSolution Vendor) explains that PCPM solutions have saved organisations in the region of £17 per computer each year just in power consumption. There may also be additional savings in air conditioning because fewer powered up-computers will produce less heat. This typically equates to a 40 percent reduction in PC Power costs or 380kWh per PC per year or 586 pounds of CO2 per user per year. The research shows that savings across desktop fleets are greater than across notebook or laptop deployments because mobile devices consume far less energy than desktop machines. The average desktop base unit consumes 52W and monitors consume 40W per year, while the average laptop’s yearly consumption is just 30W, though many organisations with large laptop fleets also supply employers with eternal monitors, raising overall power consumption. In either case, PCPM can deliver huge power cost and CO2 savings.

PCPM vs SCCM The Ovum report also highlights the inadequacies of power saving technologies built into operating systems. Some modern desktops will switch into sleep mode after an hour of idle time due to enhanced power saving features, as seen in the default setting of Windows 7. However, a PCPM solution can deliver an additional 40 percent or more power savings than the features built into operating systems and desktops. In addition many PCPM solutions enable after-hours remote access. This can guard against users overriding the default power-saving settings in Windows. This 40 percent saving from PCPM also applies to desktop fleets managed by Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr). Where ConfigMgr will put PCs into sleep mode after a period of inactivity, a PCPM solution will shut the system down completely. It further benefits from powerful controls for XP clients.

There has never before been a greater emphasis placed on brand image and the possession of respectable green credentials. However, the unstable economic climate has caught many organisations in a conflict – finding the resources in the teeth of a recession to be able to invest in becoming more environmentally friendly.

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An organisation’s ability to communicate the importance of carbon reduction to its wider workforce can greatly help to ensure a joinedup strategy to managing emissions. Engaging employees and educating them on their responsibilities can drive the impact of a carbon cutting campaign.

Tackling PC insomnia Further research revealed in the Ovum report highlights the drain on power caused by PC insomnia – occurring when a PC is idle yet unable to fully shut down or activate a power saving mode. This can be caused by applications which are not power management aware or by a faulty mouse which keeps a desktop active due to “pointer drift”. These issues can be tackled by PCPM solutions which identify and report areas of unreasonable power consumption and blacklist applications known to cause PC insomnia. A key area the Ovum report places emphasis on is the how reporting of desktop power consumption plays a crucial role in effective PCPM. Detailed and accurate data can help create specific power management policies to deliver greater power savings, as well as better informed desktop configuration and hardware and software purchasing. Expert reports can also show energy consumption of different models and types of computer monitors in different offices within an organisation. Key finding of the Ovum report included: • PCPM solutions save power, money, and carbon emissions; • Power saving technologies built into operating systems are inadequate; • PCPM solutions can tackle PC insomnia; • Reporting is key – “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”; • Market development relies on IT being involved in energy and sustainability.

Engaging the workforce An organisation’s ability to communicate the importance of carbon reduction to its wider workforce can greatly help to ensure a joined-up strategy to managing emissions. Engaging employees and educating them on their responsibilities can drive the impact of a carbon cutting campaign. According to the Carbon Trust Survey only 54 percent of civil servants, 46 percent of private sector workers and 26 percent of charity employees believe their organisation communicates clear carbon reduction targets. Better integration and incentives for employee involvement can pay dividends. User education and awareness capabilities keep users informed of their personal contribution to PC energy efficiency including visibility of how they compare to peers to fully involve users in creating overall efficiencies. A point scoring system helps to involve the user population

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in the power saving process to ensure maximum savings.

Driving efficiency Before investing in any technology, organisations need to consider their existing IT infrastructure and working cultures and patterns to understand the key benefits it can bring. PCPM can bring about significant cultural change. By using technology to automatically wake up and shut down PCs users become more aware of their own working patterns and really start to think about their impact on the environment. This is the key to a successful power management project. By involving your users in the power savings process organisations will be able to reap the rewards and start to see the effects within months. Today’s technology allows individual users to compete against others to achieve power saving goals which can then be published across the organisation. PC Power Management technology can really help to bring together all parts of the business -– sustainability managers, IT directors, and business managers to – achieve the goal of creating a greener IT environment.

Return on investment Using PCs efficiently and effectively with minimal effect on the environment – this is what sustainable PCPM solution should set out to achieve. It is important for organisations to know their efforts are being recognised through carbon reductions and energy savings. For example, an organisation will need to know its current energy usage across its PC fleet before it can set a realistic target for reducing consumption. One way to achieve this is reporting – set daily, weekly, monthly reports to highlight carbon usage. These reports will also help you to identify further opportunities for reducing your environmental impact such as automatically powering down PCs after 15 minutes of inactivity. By setting targets and actively measuring the impact of green-light is on for achieving sustainable green IT. PCPM solutions can offer a return on investment in the region of 4-6 months. By applying centralised computer power policies organisations can prolong the life of their computer power equipment, reduce their carbon footprint and potentially save thousands on electricity bills. VitAL www.certero.co.uk www.vital-mag.net


30 Leading

IT Service Management Providers Editor’s Focus


30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Welcome to 30 Leading IT Service Management Providers Editor’s Focus

Leader

Editor’s Focus Contents

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46 Getting closer with social media

he September / October issue of VitAL magazine will feature a section named

‘30 Leading IT Service Management Providers’ which profiles 30 of the top suppliers to the IT and IT Service Management industry and we are very proud to announce that BMC Software has confirmed that it will be the headline sponsor for this section. As a

As social media spreads from personal use into mainstream business, service management organisations are beginning to ask ‘how is this going to impact us?’ and ‘how can we make use of it?’ Axios has a few suggestions.

48 CMDB: The four-letter word in IT Director of the ITSM range of products at ManageEngine, Alex D Paul asks if there’s too many people asking too many questions.

preview to this annual section, this issue we have a more in depth look at eight of the companies profiled. This Editor’s Focus features thought leadership from Axios, Manage Engine, Sunrise Software, TechExcel, Vivantio, Marval, Solisma and ICCM which includes useful comment and opinion from these companies covering a range of hot topics including social media, cloud, BYOD and advice on how to make the most of your ITSM investment. I hope you find it useful.

50 Tomorrow’s Service Desk – adapt or die If the Service Desk is not to become a relic of the past, today’s service managers need to look hard at its place in the business food chain and prepare for the future. According to Geoff Rees, sales director of Sunrise Software, IT decision makers need to embrace the changes brought about by the growing consumerisation of IT and the dominance of social media.

52 The collaborative approach to service management

TechExcel offers two contrasting examples of how its IT support software suite fosters a collaborative approach in users that needed to replace outmoded legacy helpdesk systems.

54 Solving the alignment issue

Matt Bailey, Editor

It is clearly in an organisation’s interest to have all its constituent parts purposefully and harmoniously working towards common goals, so why has the issue of alignment in IT proven so elusive for so long and is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Vivantio is here to help.

56 Balancing corporate governance with effective IT service

The challenge of balancing sound corporate governance with effective IT Service & Support is prevalent in all sectors, but particularly in healthcare. Marval reports.

58 Continual Improvement made easy Has continual improvement evolved so far that it’s starting to defeat its own purpose? Don McEwan, principal consultant at Solisma finds out.

60 Service Management for the changing IT world Businesses are facing a faster pace of change than they ever have done before, due in no small part to the ever-shifting technology landscape. James Gay, CEO, ICCM Solutions reports.

www.vital-mag.net

July / August 2012 : VitAL 45


30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Getting closer with social media As social media spreads from personal use into mainstream business, service management organisations are beginning to ask ‘how is this going to impact us?’ and ‘how can we make use of it?’ Axios has a few suggestions...

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ocial behaviour has been moving from the physical world to the digital world for a number of decades. From the early telephone-based bulletin board systems and Internet forums of the ’80s and ’90s to the social media giants of today, technology has driven a major shift in the way we network and collaborate. As social media spreads from personal use into mainstream business, service management organisations are beginning to ask the questions “how is this going to impact us?” and “how can we make use of it?”

Closer relations By nature, service providers must maintain a closer relationship with customers than their retail counterparts. Consequently, the rise of social media should be considered an opportunity to build tighter and more loyal relationships with customers – fostering longterm benefits for both the customer and the service provider.

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As consumers continue to integrate social media increasingly into their personal lives, they are also embracing social media to get more out of their lives as product and service consumers. In turn, this is driving a change in the way that businesses must interact with their customers – with a knock-on effect on service management. As a partner to the business, the ITSM provider has always been expected to understand the nature of its customer’s business model – and provide expert advice on how best to exploit technology to deliver greater performance and reduced risk. Social media promotes more open interaction between the service provider and the service customer – beyond the tradition one-to-one manager-to-manager relationship. Now, both the customer’s management team and service users have a number of ‘windows’ into the service provider’s organisation and there is more of a sense of mutual understanding. As a result, the service provider is more able

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

to influence business decisions made around benefits, impact and risk and ultimately the service provider can deliver more value to the customer.

Collaborative communications In a traditional service desk, communication tends to be bidirectional – through the service desk as a strict single point of contact. In a social media driven model, communication is loose, multi-directional, real-time and collaborative. The customer is engaged with the service desk team in a variety of ways and service team members can collaborate with other service tiers dynamically. Interaction occurs between different levels without the direct intervention of the service desk – thus the service desk has the challenge of monitoring this dispersed interaction to ensure customer satisfaction is optimised. Both customers and tech support are using hash tags on twitter to communicate and enable this sort of monitoring and visibility. Some IT organisations have started Facebook pages to provide better visibility of service status, and customers are starting to use Facebook page as a means to raise issues. This has numerous advantages over more traditional customer/service desk/service tier models: • The customers choose how they want to communicate with the service desk; • They can follow what they feel is relevant and important to them; • They can access the same information on a variety of devices; • The service desk takes on greater range and hence value for the customer; • Self-help knowledge can help reduce service TCO; • IT can use the collaborative interaction to gauge customer satisfaction more quickly and easily – allowing the voice of the customer to drive service offerings.

Leveraging technology Within the past decade the ITSM industry has been leveraging technology advances to create innovative ways to educate both their business customers and their IT staff. The evolution of this has accelerated with the

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growth in popularity of online gaming and the use of simulation. Social media has played an increasing part in this and has helped enable richer, more interactive and collaborative learning opportunities. For IT and business alike, this means: • Lower training costs and more universal uptake; • Improved productivity levels; • Support organizational change; • Engage ‘fence sitters’. While the applications of social media within may not be new to some, they do come with their own set of challenges and risks. It is becoming clear that social media is a multi-faceted tool that needs to be wellunderstood within the organisations context in order to be effective from a cost, risk and results standpoint. It is in this regard that the ITSM provider can be a trusted advisor on the capabilities of social media.

Social media as a business asset When it comes to supporting social media as a business asset, the ITSM provider needs to analyse the functionality and security and examine service models that will be appropriate. The overarching considerations for ITSM remain those of governance, control, monitoring and support, all within a cost effective and manageable model. At the current juncture in the evolution of social media in the workplace, the ITSM provider must be ready to transition traditional roles for those more aligned to managing partners of technology. But we also have to maintain our existing capabilities to support our customers who have chosen not to use social media, or are not yet ready for such a transition. ITSM providers today are ‘getting it’. They are aware that social media is transforming business and ITSM as well. They are leveraging their capacity to lead, guide and remain the trusted advisor to their business customers. They are also exploiting social media to their own advantage as well. The technology might be new. ITSM providers moving in step with innovation and stepping up to the plate is not. VitAL www.axiossystems.com

Both customers and tech support are using hash tags on twitter to communicate and enable this sort of monitoring and visibility. Some IT organisations have started Facebook pages to provide better visibility of service status, and customers are starting to use Facebook page as a means to raise issues.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

CMDB – The Four-Letter Word In IT Director of the ITSM range of products at ManageEngine, Alex D Paul asks if there’s too many people asking too many questions!

*!*? !**! !?** So we have a new approach towards a CMDB that could work. Now the question is, does it make life easier for an IT manager? Will the CMDB help him offer solutions to problems like a good CMDB should?

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enovo recalled two ThinkCenter Desktop models in April and Microsoft is getting ready with the Windows 8 launching preview, thus getting the users and businesses ready for the new operating system. What does this mean for an IT manager? Well, truckloads of questions and work. Every time a CXO reads a recall or release news, the first question that pops up in his head is, “how does this impact our company?” The onus of answering this in detail lies on the IT manager. • Do we have these Lenovo ThinkCenter Models with us? • If we do, how many? • Do we have any critical business applications running on it? • What is the time taken for Lenovo to replace our machines? • Do we have any assets to replace these machines temporarily? This set of questions is only the beginning! Take this a notch higher; Windows 8 release, several other recalls, new product upgrades with every update and the list is simply interminable.

The four-letter word So by now we all have heard about the CMDB and stories about how it is complicated and expensive. Initially CMDB focused on getting every single CI [Configuration Item] on board however keeping them updated posed a challenge. So getting the entire universe into CMDB was bound to fail. CMDB has since

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evolved into CMS in ITIL v3 and the general advice is to get the entire CMDB / CMS focus on data centres. So we have a new approach towards a CMDB that could work. Now the question is, does it make life easier for an IT manager? Will the CMDB help him offer solutions to problems like a good CMDB should?

The pragmatic CMDB The pragmatic CMDB approach is closer to what happens in real life. IT managers need to have info of all the assets. Currently, this information is spread across different types of software or occasionally even scattered across spreadsheets.

One place for all your assets IT managers should start working on getting information in one place. Important point is this place need not even be a database; it can be a logical or virtual location that holds information. The next step could be to classify the attributes that need to be tracked, model CIs based on the attributes, set up discovery and asset management software to constantly discover and update the database.

Visual Relationships A visual map is very important for asset management, which enables the IT managers to understand assets that are part of a service. This is a key element as it detects when an asset fails and clearly elaborates how it affects an IT service or business. The visual

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Courtesy: CMDBuild – an open source CMDB project

Courtesy: CMDBuild – an open source CMDB project

relationship is usually defined for critical services or assets. Nowadays such visual relationship maps and management software are available for free. CMDBuild Project: http://sourceforge.net/projects/cmdbuild/

Every Attribute Matters Enterprise search can be a just a notch lesser than Google, but IT managers are demanding search by any attribute, RAM size, model number, serial numbers any possible attribute. Asset attributes are important when you are building a replacement for critical asset. Asset Management software need to

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capture all the details to help IT managers to slice and dice assets in the enterprise, to group them and get them ready for deployment or upgrade.

Getting IT Right It does not matter whether you call it a CMDB or CMS or just an asset repository, it needs to practical enough to help you with your questions and help you to get the job done without scrambling for information. Considering there are abundant open source / free tools getting CMDB right is more than possible and easy too. VitAL

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Tomorrow’s Service Desk – adapt or die Everyone knows that if a species in the natural world doesn’t adapt to change, it simply dies and becomes extinct. Similarly, if the Service Desk is not to become a relic of the past, today’s service managers need to look hard at its place in the business food chain and prepare for the future. According to Geoff Rees, sales director of Sunrise Software, IT decision makers need to embrace the changes brought about by the growing consumerisation of IT and the dominance of social media. Transforming the Service Desk to accommodate both is critical to its long-term survival.

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here’s no doubt that the Service Desk has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a helpdesk that was supported by a simple call logging tool. These days the Service Desk relies on highly sophisticated software that enables it to measure performance against corporate objectives and supports the department in generating real improvements to service delivery that support the business. More often than not, the service department is a blueprint for the rest of the organisation with other parts of the business, such as HR and facilities, adopting similar processes and principles to drive efficiencies across their own functions. In fact, best-practice frameworks such as ITIL have revolutionised the way that organisations approach their relationship to customers both internal and external, and how they go about developing new services. The move from pure technical functionality towards service-centric applications has been immense.

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Technology is just the tool The current trend for Service Desks to move towards a more business service focus is driven by the realisation that technology is merely a tool, and not a means to an end in itself. The proliferation of new ways to harness technology such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud are changing the way that companies approach the delivery of services. Without the upfront costs associated with on-premise software solutions, business departments are now able to choose their own systems to support their individual requirements with very little input required from the IT department. This is supporting a faster, more responsive, service-centric approach, because line-of-business departments are less constrained by technology. While business departments can take more control of the applications and tools that they use, they still need support for their desktop and other computing devices in order to access these SaaS or Cloud services.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Mobility and BYOD empowers users Mobility combined with the growing consumerisation of IT also presents additional challenges and companies need to develop policies that enable greater and wider connectivity with an increasingly mobile world. People now expect to bring their own devices (BOYD) to work with iPhones, iPads, Androids and Blackberrys becoming the norm. In fact, industry analysts predict that by 2016, at least 50 percent of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile as their major means of connecting to the corporate network. While the adoption of BYOD policies can result in a more agile and motivated workforce and a reduction in capital expenditure, the Service Desk has to address the key issues of supporting multiple devices with nonstandard configurations, different operating systems and the latest apps and find new ways to keep them all secure. For the Service Desk in particular, this means that employees will no longer accept access to cut down, basic user interfaces. Don’t be surprised to see ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ increasingly become a built-in feature of tomorrow’s user interfaces. Kids growing up with nothing but the Internet where communicating by Facebook and Twitter come second-nature are tomorrow’s IT directors and security officers and will be well placed to adapt the concepts of their more open and collaborative social media reality to the business world.

Everything is connected Social media just for consumers? Think again and ignore it at your peril. With Facebook alone representing a billion plus community, social media is a huge commercial opportunity that cannot be ignored. The Service Desk needs to embrace social media as the ideal platform to increase customer engagement,

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protect the corporate brand and ultimately generate new revenue streams. The best way forward is to adopt a Service Management approach to social media blending technology with best-practice guidelines to manage this brave new world. Sooner rather than later, the phenomenon ‘Internet of things’ where everything is connected to the internet, will be the norm and not science fiction. Experts predict that eventually, as everything becomes connected, everyday processes that we arrange for ourselves at home, will become fully automated. For example, booking a service for your car. The car’s onboard computer will know a service is due, via the internet it will check your diary, check availability of slots at your preferred garage and automatically book an appointment and send an alert to your smart phone. It will then report any faults found and how they are being put right. The Service Desk needs to start thinking along these lines now, and ensure that they can meet the challenges of this type of automated service approach and ensure that they can manage the technology required.

Service Desk collaboration supports the business Fundamentally, the Service Desk is all about process management but it can, and should, combine process with more creativity, openness and collaboration. IT decision makers need to embrace new technology and new ways of working so that they are able to move from a position of controlling everything to a more collaborative way of working that delivers the service that their customers, both internal and external, demand. This will enable the Service Desk to address their customers’ changing business requirements and enable them to flourish in a mobile, social media world where all things are connected. VitAL www.sunrisesoftware.co.uk

While the adoption of BYOD policies can result in a more agile and motivated workforce and a reduction in capital expenditure, the Service Desk has to address the key issues of supporting multiple devices with non-standard configurations, different operating systems and the latest apps and find new ways to keep them all secure.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

The collaborative approach to service management TechExcel offers two contrasting examples of how its IT support software suite fosters a collaborative approach in users that needed to replace outmoded legacy helpdesk systems.

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echExcel offers two examples of how its help desk solution service management solutions are helping companies to fundamentally upgrade their approach to ITSM. The company’s aim is to unify enterprises by bridging the gap between product development and service / support in an end-to-end environment that empowers companies to optimise the relationship between these important organisations without sacrificing autonomy or business processes and providing a collaborative environment that significantly saves time and resources. Here the company offers two contrasting examples of that approach in action.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Agency Public healthcare is a sector where value for money has never been more in the spotlight. Lancashire and South Cumbria Agency (LaSCA) is an NHS agency serving ten

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Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). They manage the PCTs patient population registers and provide administrative services to the PCTs and their NHS contractors. The service is split into three major distinct groups: Patient, Contractor and Supporting Services. LaSCA is publicly funded and employs over 200 staff. LaSCA began exploring upgrading its help desk system after deciding that it needed a flexible and customisable solution that also provided reporting functionality. The organisation evaluated its existing solution – an outdated and unmanageable help desk application – to determine the essential functions it needed to maintain and to define any new requirements needed. They determined that adding the new requirements to their existing solution would be too expensive to make it a viable option. Instead, implementing a new solution would not only be more cost effective, but would also alleviate the burden of using an outdated solution.

LaSCA’s essential feature in a new help desk solution was that the solution keeps its clients informed and offers tools that enable its users to stay updated according to their preferences. TechExcel ServiceWise ticked all the boxes by providing a self-service portal, web conversations and email notifications. After trying out ServiceWise and evaluating the TechExcel support service, LaSCA was confident that it was the right choice. LaSCA required a very complex set of features and functionality in order to support all its requirements; like multi-tier email notifications, integration with OCS inventory, and multiple instances of helpdesks for different parts of the business and departments outside IT. However, the strain of implementing complex requirements was mitigated since a large portion of the system was already built during the trial phase offered by TechExcel, which made the final steps of the implementation easy and less time consuming. By switching to ServiceWise,

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

LaSCA has met all its feature needs and is now able to report on all aspects of the IT department, allowing them to calculate ROI on the operation and provide information to the business on how many issues are resolved and in what time frame. A year into using the new system, LaSCA is very happy with the performance of the system and Mark Gannon, IT manager, comments, “TechExcel support is first class, one of the very few companies we deal with that the support staff are very helpful and friendly and see through any problem you have until its completion. I would give the product 9/10 and support 10/10.” TechExcel ServiceWise is a fully configurable and scalable software suite for helpdesk and service desk management and IT service management (ITSM). ServiceWise helps automate and streamline IT helpdesk activities with configurable workflows, process approvals, email integration, IT project management, and integrated knowledge management solution. The powerful features and ease of maintenance make ServiceWise a powerful solution for growing IT service organisations. ServiceWise is available in two editions, ServiceWise HelpDesk and ITIL. TechExcel ServiceWise helps you optimise your organisation’s support process by providing your team with everything you need to exceed your customer’s service expectations. Through sophisticated process automation, knowledgebase management, and the availability of customer self service through the Customer Web Portal, your support team can resolve issues more efficiently and improve your bottom line. ServiceWise enables customers to refine support processes to increase efficiency and productivity while significantly decreasing overall support costs by reducing the time to resolve incidents. Best of all, TechExcel ServiceWise can be deployed under budget in days or weeks.

iRely iRely is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana with offices in New Jersey, Georgia, Wimborne (UK); Bangalore (India) and has 200 co-workers around the world. It is a global provider of software for the physical commodity ecosystem serving organisations that handle origination, trading, manufacturing and distribution of commodities and providing a range of services in the commodity industry.

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iRely needed a replacement for an old home grown system without workflow capabilities that was no longer fit for purpose. A project team of stakeholders was formed from the three core technical areas that were in charge of product selection process. TechExcel won the contract based on features such as extensive workflow capabilities, out of box customer portal, ease of system setup and cost of services. As an extra bonus for CustomerWise, it won unanimously in a vote by the implementation team. By switching to CustomerWise, iRely met all its feature needs including defect tracking and is now able to integrate billing into the primary system as well as move from monthly to weekly billing. Additionally, they were able to reduce headcount, get full visibility into the production cycle, track SLA’s and most importantly, they gained a lot more happy customers as a result of 20 percent faster resolution times and the use of a customer portal for faster service. Six months into using the new system, iRely is very happy with the performance and the ROI from the system. George Olney, COO, said “The product implementation was really easy and if we look at return on investment we have, for example, reduced our average days bugs outstanding to eight days and put in escalation procedures for bug fixes outstanding more than five days.” CustomerWise is a fully configurable and scalable software suite for customer helpdesk management and ITSM. It helps automate and streamline helpdesk activities with configurable workflows, process approvals, email integration, project management, and integrated knowledge management solution. These features and ease of maintenance make CustomerWise a powerful solution for growing service organisations. It helps to optimise an organisation’s support process by providing the team with everything they need to exceed the customer’s service expectations. Through sophisticated process automation, knowledge base management, and the availability of customer self service through the Customer Web Portal, the support team can resolve issues more efficiently and improve the bottom line. CustomerWise enables users to refine support processes to increase efficiency and productivity while significantly decreasing overall support costs by reducing the time to resolve incidents. VitAL www.techexcel.com

The company’s aim is to unify enterprises by bridging the gap between product development and service / support in an end-to-end environment that empowers companies to optimise the relationship between these important organisations without sacrificing autonomy or business processes and providing a collaborative environment that significantly saves time and resources.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Solving the alignment issue It is clearly in an organisation’s interest to have all its constituent parts purposefully and harmoniously working towards common goals, so why has the issue of alignment in IT proven so elusive for so long and is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Vivantio is here to help.

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or the last ten years or more there has been a seemingly endless stream of magazine articles, white papers and industry experts confidently stating that perhaps the single most important issue facing IT departments is aligning themselves with an organisation’s strategic goals. Yet despite all the advice and commentary on this apparently critical issue, it continues to be presented regularly as an unresolved problem and the source of much ongoing conflict between the IT department and the wider organisation. I don’t think anyone can quibble with the sentiment – it is clearly in an organisation’s interest to have all its constituent parts purposefully and harmoniously working towards common goals. But why has this issue of alignment in IT proven so elusive for so long and is there any light at the end of the tunnel? What hope is there for the beleaguered IT manager? Quite a lot as it happens. Perhaps surprisingly this new dawn originates from what has emerged over the last year as a very hot topic: software-as-a-service (SaaS). So with a substantial dose of optimism I am

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going to attempt to simultaneously solve this age old conundrum and make heroes of IT managers brave enough to embrace the new opportunity that lies before them.

Safe and manageable? First we need to satisfy ourselves that SaaS is safe and manageable. Acceptance and penetration of the SaaS model has grown a great deal in the last five years or so, as predicted by all the leading analysts. But there is a noticeable hesitation and some degree of apprehension amongst IT management, which results in many approaching SaaS solutions along the same lines as on-premise projects. While it is important for IT departments to stay close to their customers, this approach ignores the defining characteristic of SaaS: it turns complex technology into an easily accessible service. The hesitation appears to be rooted in some of the concerns initially raised about SaaS when it began to emerge, even as far back as 2003 but most notably during its acceleration between 2007 and 2010. The two main concerns were always security and reliability.

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

In general, IT departments did not like the idea that they were handing over control of these things to a service provider. The overall consensus seemed to be that it was better to maintain direct control over these in particular to ensure that nothing went wrong and if it did the IT team could be sure someone would give the problem the appropriate level of attention. Other concerns focused on perceived difficulties in managing the service provider via a contract, how to measure the return on investment as well as issues of scalability, business continuity planning and the frequency of system updates. All of these concerns are valid and important to address. The answer is careful assessment and selection of the service provider. Every man and his dog has jumped on the SaaS bandwagon but it is now a proven model for software delivery which makes it much easier to pick out the providers with good track records. A good service provider can usually provide better security and reliability than an on premise solution for a comparative price. They understand the regulatory issues surrounding data privacy and have data centres in appropriate locations. And importantly, they don’t just offer a good contract – they can also explain how they intend to meet the agreed service levels. In short, a good service provider offers the true benefits of SaaS in a way that is indeed directly accessible by anyone in an organisation. And that is precisely where SaaS and strategic alignment meet.

Redefining relationships It is already the case that SaaS applications can be taken on without any involvement by the IT department. If employees already have a web browser and an internet connection, they can sign up to SaaS applications themselves. It is no longer necessary to bring IT in to discuss ‘techie’ things like server platforms and database engines. This has the potential to fundamentally redefine the relationship between IT and the wider organisation. One way of looking at this is that it drives a wedge between the organisation and IT. The necessary involvement of both during all aspects of business planning and operation is perhaps somewhat diminished

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with the advent of SaaS. Perhaps the role of the IT department is reduced to providing the network, operating systems and web connectivity, without any need to be involved in the evaluation/implementation of line-of-business applications. The alternative view is that it actually removes a huge barrier and takes a lot of the conflict out of the relationship. In many organisations to a greater or lesser extent there is a sense of “them and us” pervading attitudes on both sides.

Agility The business needs to be agile and business units want to take advantage of the software and technology that is available. IT departments try to create a cost effective, flexible environment which will enable business units to do this. But inevitably there are occasions when implementing a particular application or technology will require significant technical change, and a lot of time and money. On occasions such as this resentment and frustration are common. SaaS has the potential to ease this problem considerably. It enables IT and users to form a real partnership with more focus on strategic goals, information and functionality (what the products do) and less focus on technical implementation (how the products work). SaaS can provide some great opportunities for IT management to respond to pressure to cut costs and do more with less. It may also help them to position themselves as enablers, helping business units to respond to their own budget pressures and competitive drivers. IT service teams are already experts in managing service level agreements and service contracts, and these skills will be needed by the business units as they engage with SaaS providers. These are all possibilities and the outcome for each individual organisation will depend on organisational culture and their unique circumstances. But there is no doubt that SaaS is a proven model and is fundamentally different to the old on-premise paradigm. Brave and ambitious IT managers will do well to embrace this change and leverage it to get closer to their customers and the organisation, repositioning themselves as enablers and perhaps even heroes. VitAL www.vivantioservicedesk.com

Perhaps surprisingly this new dawn originates from what has emerged over the last year as a very hot topic: softwareas-a-service (SaaS). So with a substantial dose of optimism I am going to attempt to simultaneously solve this age old conundrum and make heroes of IT managers brave enough to embrace the new opportunity that lies before them.

July / August 2012 : VitAL 55


30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Balancing corporate governance with effective IT service The challenge of balancing sound corporate governance with effective IT Service & Support is prevalent in all sectors, but particularly in healthcare. Marval reports...

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n just a few short years, IT has become entrenched in everyday life. It is intrinsic to the day-to-day operations of modern businesses, local and central government, education and the healthcare sector. If IT is not managed adequately and IT services are not assured, the impact is not felt by the business alone, but by its customers as well. Organisations now understand that their business relies entirely upon a reliable and effective IT infrastructure. If ICT does not work, in most cases the business and the services it operates, along with its employees, simply cannot work either. “Because of the vital nature of IT, it has become increasingly important to ensure

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organisational, stakeholder and customer confidence in the way in which IT services are delivered, especially with many industries becoming heavily regulated and monitored as a result,” says Dr Don Page, CEO of the Marval Group. “The IT challenge is to deliver standardised, efficient and reliable IT services to the business, drive down costs, reduce risk and increase the organisational value of ICT investment. At the same time, IT support teams are under pressure to work within increasingly constrained budgets while continually improving services and ensuring that IT investment is being leveraged to its full capacity.”

The consequences of poor IT management In the business world the consequence of poor IT management equals lower profits, ineffective services and unsatisfied customers. In areas such as healthcare the implications can be far more severe. Ineffective IT service within the healthcare sector can impact on the health of not only the organisation, but also the health of patients. When it comes to the healthcare sector, the effective management of its IT equipment, clinical systems and service infrastructure really can be a matter of life or death. Healthcare organisations, including hospitals, clinics and GP surgeries generate critical and

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

confidential information that must be securely stored and managed, alongside accurate details of clinical and IT equipment, their configuration, relationships and dependencies. Equipment availability is critical because of the possible risks to patients in the event of breakdowns and service outages. These functions are often managed by IT departments stretched to capacity and expected to support complex infrastructures on restricted budgets. Compounding this issue is the fact that medical equipment has converged with IT technologies, and adopting new healthcare technologies adds further pressure to already strained resources. The successful adoption and exploitation of new technologies, clinical systems and applications rely on a stable underpinning IT infrastructure and network to mitigate risk and provide the best patient care possible.

Value for money While patient care is naturally the number one priority, an effective healthcare organisation needs to demonstrate value for money along with governance and compliance to regulatory requirements and demands. Sound IT governance and compliance to regulations as well as improved accountability, have become the cornerstones in delivering effective IT services. The need for IT governance is driven by factors, including mandatory legislation, regulations and codes of practice, as well as the need for cost savings and improved efficiency. IT Service Management (ITSM) and the adoption of industry best practice and standards such as ITIL, ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO/IEC 27001, are essential tools for improving the overall performance of any organisation that depends on IT. This is imperative in assisting organisations to deliver effective IT services and improved service. ITIL offers best practice guidelines for the management and delivery of IT services. However, in order for these to be truly effective there is a need for accountability. Ensuring a successful IT service improvement programme means being able to enforce continual improvement strategies and provide evidence to prove quality of service and progress made. This is where ISO/IEC 20000 is important.

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“Where ITIL talks of process and the way things should be done in line with best practice, which can be difficult to implement and control, ISO/IEC 20000 is an international standard for the management of the IT and service infrastructure that can be audited and benchmarked against, providing measures that can be used to prove quality of service and progress, ensuring an auditable culture of continual improvement and accountability from the start,” says Don Page. “Instead of offering advice on how things ‘should’ be done, in essence it offers a formal structure that states how things ‘shall’ be done, which goes a long way towards standardising IT processes and ensuring auditability and accountability. “ISO/IEC 20000 can be used as a starting point in developing an effective IT governance framework. It outlines the minimal critical requirements for IT governance and demonstrates business commitment from IT to its customers. Whereas ITIL relies heavily on the people within an organisation, ISO/IEC 20000 is an organisational certification that ensures the continuity of ITSM initiatives beyond the employment cycle of any individual employee. “ISO/IEC 20000 offers a baseline against which IT service providers, both internal and external, can be measured in order to demonstrate to the business that its service delivery represents best practice, is auditable and accountable and delivers value for money, all of which form important aspects of IT governance,” concludes Page.

Consistent services The ability to deliver consistent services that are both accountable and auditable, in turn allows for benchmarking against peer organisations or competitors to compare performance, which can help create a culture of continual service improvement. By centralising IT functions and services underpinned by ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000, IT support services are able to demonstrate their contribution and value to the organisation, its stakeholders and customers.

In order to support this, organisations need to adopt an integrated, process-driven service management toolset which supports best practice and standards, regulatory compliance and governance requirements. This ensures a consistent approach that delivers reliable levels of service, with optimised costs and more intelligent use of expensive resource. However, it is vital we look at the big picture and make certain that any ITSM software tool supports best practices and international standards and has the ability to handle current requirements and is also flexible enough to incorporate changes in the future, and drive value within the organisation. Adopting ISO/IEC 20000 ensures that the right controls and delivery mechanisms are in place, and that processes and procedures can be externally audited to meet the required governance, controls and evidence. The Marval ITSM tool collects over 80% of the audit evidence required by ISO/IEC 20000. Organisations looking at the benefits of investing, or continuing to invest in IT Service Management best practice and education have a stark choice – take up ITIL training, and see staff taking their qualifications with them when they walk out the door – or investing in something that doesn’t rely on individual members of staff sticking around; something that demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to its stakeholders and customers. If you feel that adopting an auditable culture of continual improvement and accountability in your service and support organisation is right for you – then Marval can help. VitAL www.marval.co.uk

July / August 2012 : VitAL 57


30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Continual Improvement made easy Has continual improvement evolved so far that it’s starting to defeat its own purpose? Don McEwan, principal consultant at Solisma finds out.

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hat started with a simple idea to capture staff suggestions has progressed to a full scale concept of a management practice that uses a measurement framework, statistical analysis, tiered reporting and project implementation covering every aspect of the business. It can take so long to implement fully that your next CEO may be likely to shelve it before the benefits are realised. Organisations often spend months or even years just thinking about how to implement Continual Improvement while obvious improvement initiatives are passed by. The answer lies in finding the right balance by breaking down the activity into manageable stages that match the organisation’s need or appetite for improvement.

It’s your choice Continual Improvement works at strategic, tactical and operational levels on a continual (incremental) basis; it can be about identifying and overcoming inefficiencies, taking corrective and preventative actions or improving quality and effectiveness. It’s often seen as being limited to specific systems or processes but it

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can be so much more - for example, within the practice of IT Service Management it can cover a broad range of areas such as strategy and the management system, the use of a lifecycle approach, the organisation and its culture, the delivery of services as well as the processes and the tools that support them. Often, the simplest starting point is to start capturing staff suggestions in an Improvements Register. Ideas can be assessed, filtered and rolled up into initiatives to be considered for adoption. The Japanese management practice of Kaizen, which translates to “good change”, has been used since the middle of last century to support this idea. It encourages teamwork, develops motivation and encourages ownership by staff for their own work. It is accepted that this can be an easy way to implement highly practical improvements without recourse to external consultants or to additional capital investment. At the other end of the scale we have a “best practice” approach to Continual Improvement, based on Deming’s PlanDo-Check-Act cycle, which helps to ensure that plans are aligned with the organisation’s vision and that performance

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

is measured and adjusted continually. This is supported by an improvement process that identifies and implements appropriate measurements, analysis and reporting to support improvements against the defined objectives and overall vision. The best practice approach can get very technical and involve assessments of process compliance and maturity plus the use of techniques such as Six Sigma, Gap Analysis and/or adoptions of standards such as ISO 9000 and ISO/IEC 20000. Regardless of the extent to which Continual Improvement is adopted it should always be a deliberate decision supported by the overall business plan. It should have management support and it should have adequate funding.

Our experience At Solisma we have found that there are two common approaches that organisations often take. Members of one group already have business buy-in; they have an end-goal in mind and want to conduct a baseline compliance or maturity assessment to identify how they can best move from their current state to their desired end state. Members of the second group do not have clear objectives; they feel that something is “broken” and want to use an assessment to find out what needs to be fixed and use this to flag the issues to management for future planning. Both are valid approaches. Another common problem is a culture that is not supportive of improvement. Perhaps staff are not aware of the need, they don’t know how to achieve it, there can be a lack of leadership and vision in the organisation and morale is often low. In these situations there is a clear need to adopt some of the well-known advice from Kotter’s Eight-Step Change Model. When it comes to Continual Improvement, there is a clear need for improvement opportunities to be closely aligned with the objectives, requirements and culture of the organisation.

Making it easy With this in mind, Solisma created Service Improvement Manager (SIM), a software solution many organisations now use

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to support good practice in Continual Improvement. Here is a breakdown of a simple approach to take: 1. Seek to understand the business drivers, objectives and need for improvement; 2. Decide on the framework or standard and the key processes to be covered by a baseline compliance or maturity assessment; 3. Record all opportunities for improvement (from assessments and staff suggestions) in one central location; 4. Build (Plan) and manage (Do) improvement initiatives (complete with business case) based on addressing gaps/improvements; 5. Use the Management System Explorer to document policies and procedures and measure the performance of individual processes (Check); 6. Perform ongoing self-assessments and improvement initiatives on a planned basis (Act). In concert with these activities it is common to address the people aspect by creating awareness of the vision and plans, building competence through training and keeping people informed with relevant communications. The collaborative approach underlying the design of SIM ensures teamwork and effective communication.

Regardless of the extent to which Continual Improvement is adopted it should always be a deliberate decision supported by the overall business plan. It should have management support and it should have adequate funding.

Getting results In conclusion, Continual Improvement has not evolved so far that it is defeating its own purpose. We actually have the luxury of choosing the scope of our approach to match our ability and desire to improve. In most cases, it is possible to start immediately, find some quick wins, then gradually widen the scope of our approach. Service Improvement Manager is an invaluable tool for anyone charged with getting results from Continual Improvement activities. It supports the need for a balanced approach and it can be shaped and re-shaped to match requirements as higher levels of maturity are reached. It supports an improvement culture. In short it makes Continual Improvement extremely easy. VitAL To find out more about Service Improvement Manager visit service-improvement.com www.solisma.com

July / August 2012 : VitAL 59


30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

Service Management for the changing IT world Businesses are facing a faster pace of change than they ever have done before, due in no small part to the ever-shifting technology landscape. James Gay, CEO, ICCM Solutions reports.

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ver recent years there has been a plethora of new technologies, some of which have had a major impact on businesses. For example, cloud technology has delivered businesses a range of new options around hosting and outsourcing. Initiatives such as bring your own device (BYOD), in which employees are encouraged to use their own smartphones and tablets at work, provide greater choice and easier access to IT systems and services, but they also raise concerns around support and security. Similar issues are encountered with social media platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, which have become a firm staple in the communications and marketing strategies of many businesses. These examples demonstrate that when it comes to managing technology in business, the only guaranteed constant is change. IT managers cannot afford to ignore new technologies or demands from the

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business to use them, but their adoption must be actively managed. To do this the IT function must constantly update services, support, security and usage policies. I firmly believe that central to this is efficient use of IT Service Management.

Establishing processes IT Service Management can enable businesses to unlock value from technology investments through aiding the planning, management and delivery of their IT function. What is critical however is that businesses decide on policies based on their own specific needs. Far too often organisations build IT Service Management policies focused on the broader market, addressing needs and issues that are widely debated in industry circles and the IT press, but which are not core to their own business. Industry debates draw in participants from very different backgrounds and with very different needs – for example, on site

versus on the road, or secure network versus secure application. In addition, senior members of staff, who have the most influence over setting policies, often spend the majority of their time out of the office and communicating on mobile devices. Their needs often do not represent those of the wider business. Care therefore needs to be taken that the specific intricacies of the organisation are considered. IT Service Management can provide businesses with factual data on service usage, access devices, and user problems which will enable solutions to be aligned to the specific organisational needs, rather than wider industry issues. IT investment will then be made based on business-specific metrics, which are available from the IT Service Management platform. The key however is for a business to not then rest on its laurels; effective IT Service Management can report trends and identify

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30 Leading ITSM Providers Editor’s Focus

areas where processes can be continually improved. To ensure it remains competitive, a business must recognise this need for change.

Becoming agile All businesses want to progress, however the problem for many organisations is that Service Management technology is letting them down. Far too often, businesses find their IT Service Management tools can meet the requirements they had a few years ago, but cannot be adapted to address changing technologies and emerging business needs. Perhaps this is why analysts report the average industry turnover rate of Service Management products to be just five years. This high churn rate needs to be reduced, as economic pressures mean that businesses are looking to get more from the investments they have made in areas like Service Management. Agile businesses which can adapt with changing technologies, customer requirements and business opportunities, will gain competitive advantage and market share. The ability to modify processes to adopt and utilise emerging technologies is essential. For businesses to become flexible, they must ensure their IT Service Management products are up to the job, and can deliver and support services both now and in the future. This means that the technology must have the ability to rapidly create or change services and processes and integrate with new systems and technologies. A flexible approach to IT Service Management also provides business with a platform to continue these adopted best practices into the organisation’s wider support services.

Creating a platform For businesses to take full advantage of market opportunities, it is imperative that IT Service Management is part of a broader strategy to improve service delivery throughout the organisation. Once agile processes have been established within IT, the business can reap further rewards by taking this process driven-approach to other areas of the company. Areas such as Facilities Management, HR, finance and marketing deliver services that can be built on a suitably

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flexible Service Management platform used in IT. This will drive organisational efficiency in improving tasks, processes and decision making in these departments, while using the investment in an existing system to do it. Using a single service management platform across multiple business functions offers benefits beyond simple re-use of an asset. Services delivered to end users take on a common, consistent and more intuitive interface, regardless of which department is actually delivering them. This approach also provides a system to realise the end-to-end automation of processes and services which span multiple departments; important, as many inefficiencies relate to processes crossing departmental borders. Finally, this approach encourages collaboration between departments and starts to break down the information silos that exist in many businesses.

A partner through change IT Service Management vendors and consultants can provide best practice experience gained in the wider industry, but it is essential that these partners focus on the right solution for the needs of the individual business, and do not mandate solutions that simply reflect the capabilities of their product. However, to be truly effective the partnership must also be a long-term commitment from both parties. Setting strong processes and then adapting these within the IT department, across business units and subsequently across the organisation is a long-term vision. A partner that can support this business vision, and make it a reality, is imperative. The overriding directive of ICCM is the simplification of complexity in Service Management environments. Sophisticated ITIL aligned Service Management solutions built on the OpenTextÂŽ BPM (Business Process Management) platform, provides businesses across the globe with the ability to provide intuitive access to efficient and dependable services. The solution enables collaboration between the business and IT so that organisations can ultimately reap the rewards of business innovation and competitive advantage. VitAL www.iccm.co.uk

Agile businesses which can adapt with changing technologies, customer requirements and business opportunities, will gain competitive advantage and market share. The ability to modify processes to adopt and utilise emerging technologies is essential.

July / August 2012 : VitAL 61


directory

Hornbill Systems

Ares, Odyssey Business Park, West End Road, Ruislip, HA4 6QD T: 020 8582 8282 F: 020 8582 8288 W: www.hornbill.com C: sales@hornbill.com E: info@hornbill.com Hornbill develops and markets ‘Supportworks’, applications for IT Service Management (ITSM) and business helpdesks. Hornbill’s ITSM & service desk software with a ‘Human Touch’, enables its customers to provide excellent service while benefiting from consolidation on a single technology platform.

InfraVision

Delegate House, 30A Hart Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, RG9 2AL T: +44 (0) 1491 635340 F: +44 (0) 1491 579835 W: www.infravision.com C: Nigel Todd E: info@infravision.com BMC Software’s #1 partner for Service Desk Express and the Alignability Process Model, delivering rapid implementation of proven ITIL aligned processes, procedures, work instructions and tool settings, and transformation to service-led approach in only 12 weeks!

Monitor 24-7 Inc

PO Box 4530, Maidenhead, SL60 1GG T: +44 (0)20 8123.3126 W: www.monitor24-7.com C: Frank Huitenga E: frank.huitenga@monitor24-7.com Over 13 years of customer experience bundled in one solution to help centralise information, prioritise issues aimed to increase control, productivity and improve communication and service excellence. 100% focus on support and development of IncidentMonitor Service Management software, PinkVerified for 10 ITIL processes.

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ICCM Solutions

Cedar House, Riverside Business Village, Swindon Road, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 9RS T: + 44 (0) 1666 828 600 F: + 44 (0) 1666 826 103 W: www.iccm.co.uk C: Kate Springer E: sales@iccm.co.uk One of the overriding directives of ICCM Solutions is the simplification of complexity in Service Management environments. ICCM provides a global client base with sophisticated ITIL aligned Service Management Solutions built on Business Process Management (BPM) Architecture, from Metastorm BPM®.

iCore

60 Lombard Street, London EC3V 9EA

T: +44 (0) 207 464 8883 F: +44 (0) 207 464 8888 W: www.icore-ltd.com E: sales@icore-ltd.com C: Greg Lake iCore is the largest specialist IT Service Management Consultancy in the UK. ICore has a long & impressive track record in delivering & embedding pragmatic IT service management, solutions, relying on the deep, real world experience of our mature & determined consultancy team.

Kepner-tregoe

NetSupport Software Ltd

Quayside House, Thames Side, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1QN T: +44 (0) 1753 856716 F: +44 (0) 1753 854929 W: www.kepner-tregoe.com C: Steve White E: swhite@kepner-tregoe.com Kepner-Tregoe provides consulting and training services to organizations worldwide. We collaborate with clients to implement their strategies by embedding problem-solving, decision-making, and project execution methods through individual and team skill development and process improvement. Clients build competitive advantage by using our systematic processes to achieve rapid, targeted results and create lasting value.

Towngate East, Market Deeping, Peterborough, PE6 8NE   T: +44 (0) 1778 382270      F: +44 (0) 1778 382280 W: www.netsupportsoftware.co.uk C: Colette Reed E: colette@netsupportsoftware.co.uk NetSupport provides a range of complementary Remote Support and Service Management solutions that help organisations deliver a productive and cost effective IT support service. Products include multi-platform Remote Control solution NetSupport Manager, IT Asset Management suite NetSupport DNA and web based ITIL Service Management tool NetSupport ServiceDesk.

ManageEngine

Sunrise Software

ZOHO Corp, 4900 Hopyard Rd, Suite 310, Pleasanton, CA – 94588, USA

T: 925-924-9500 F: 925-924-9600 W: www.manageengine.com E: eval@manageengine.com C: Gerald A. Raja ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus is highly customizable, smart and flexible Help Desk Software used by more than 10,000 IT managers worldwide in 23 different languages. It helps you to implement ITIL best practices on the go and restore your IT services on-time. ManageEngine has a suite of software products in Enterprise IT management space like Network monitoring, Desktop Management, Applications, Logs, AD management, et al.

50 Barwell Business Park, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2NY    T: 0208 391 9000     F: 0208 391 0404 W: www.sunrisesoftware.co.uk E: welcome@sunrisesoftware.co.uk Sunrise Software provides applications which underpin business processes across its customers’ organisations. Sunrise has a highly successful track record in IT service management, customer service management and business process management with fully configured applications designed around best practice guidelines. www.vital-mag.net


directory

TOPdesk

sitehelpdesk.com Ltd

APMG

61 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HL

Eagle House, Lynchborough Road, Passfields , Hants GU30 7SB

Sword House, Totteridge Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK

T: +44 (0) 207 8034200 F: +44 (0) 207 8034215 W: www.topdesk.co.uk E: info@topdesk.co.uk

T: +44 (0) 207 419 5174 F: +44 (0) 870 138 3824 W: www.sitehelpdesk.com E: sales@sitehelpdesk.com C: Bryan Taylor

T: + 44 (0) 1494 452 450 F: + 44 (0) 1494 459559 W: www.apmg-uk.com C: Nicola McKinney E: nicola.mckinney@apmgroup.co.uk

TOPdesk Service Management software seamlessly integrates Facilities, HR and IT processes in a single 100% webbased tool. TOPdesk’s affordable and ITIL-compliant software has won several awards for user-friendliness. Secure more time for your colleagues and customers with TOPdesk.

Cherwell Software

Sitehelpdesk.com will take you to the forefront of service delivery with a suite of products designed to provide you with low cost web browser based action tracking and self-help, making your services instantly available 24 by 7.

Solisma

Lime Kiln House, Lime Kiln, Wooton Bassett, Wiltshire, SN4 7HF T: + 44 (0) 1793 858181 W: www.cherwellsoftware.com/contact Cherwell Service Management delivers ITIL v3 best practice ‘out-of-the-box’ including: Incident, Problem, Change, CMDB, SLA, Knowledge, SelfService and is PinkVERIFY certified. Our unique CBAT development platform empowers users to fully customise screens, workflow processes and develop additional business applications. The Cherwell solution is available via a standard license model or ‘On Demand’ SaaS service.

avocent landesk

Dukes Court, Duke Street, Woking, Surrey GU22 7AD

Service Improvement Made Simple! Solisma is a leading global provider of ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000 courseware, training, consulting and assessment services, with a global partner network to help you quickly and cost-effectively improve your ITSM capability like never before. To learn more, contact us today or visit service-improvement.com

IT Service Management Forum

T: +44 (0) 1483 744444 F: +44 (0) 1483 744401 W: www.landesk.com C: Sarah Lewis E: sarah.lewis@avocent.com Avocent delivers IT operations management solutions that reduce operating costs, simplify management and increase the availability of critical IT environments 24/7 via integrated, centralized software. This includes Systems Management, Security Management, Data Centre Management and IT Service Management.

www.vital-mag.net

T: +44 (0) 207 193 2085 W: www.solisma.com E: info@solisma.com C: sales@service-improvement.com

As an accredited ITIL® Examination Institute, APMG offers our training organizations a range of benefits to help them demonstrate the quality and professionalism of their services. Call us to find out how your business could benefit from our accreditation services.

Global Technology Solutions Ltd

T: 01288 355800 W: www.globaltechnologysolutions.com E: info@globaltechnologysolutions.com

“Taking the headache out of recruitment” Specialists in Service Management and Technical resource throughout the UK and globally. We believe in “quality” not “quantity” when submitting cvs. Let GTS manage your recruitment process and allow us to become your most valued solution provider.

e-Warehouse

. 150 Wharfedale Road, Winnersh Triangle, Wokingham, Berkshire. RG41 5RG

e-Warehouse Ltd, Hampden House, Hampden House, Monument park, Chalgrove,Oxfordshire , OX44 7RW

T: 0118 918 6503 F: 0118 969 9749 W: www.itsmf.co.uk C: Ben Clacy E: ben.clacy@itsmf.co.uk

T: 0845 299 7539 f: 08717143802 w: www.oxygenservicedesk.com c: Victoria Eggleton e: oxygen@e-warehouse.com Oxygen Service Desk is a process automation engine that simply interprets your pre-defined business processes and then mobilises the actual process, pushing work tasks to people and to systems, streamlining how the processes run across your entire department or organisation.

The itSMF is the only internationally recognised and independent organisation whose sole focus is on the on-going development and promotion of IT Service Management ’best practice‘, standards and qualifications. The forum has 14,000 UK members and official itSMF chapters in 44 countries

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secrets of my success

Andy Jones director of service development and marketing strategy at Xerox Europe

VitAL: Name, company and job title please? Married? Kids? Andy Jones: Andy Jones, director of service development and marketing strategy at Xerox Europe. Married with four kids who we are busily trying to get off the ‘payroll’ so we can get on with our lives! VitAL: What got you started in IT? AJ: My background is in design engineering. In the early ’80s I got involved in and fascinated by computer simulation and CAD. After setting up a CAD consulting group at Brunel University I was recruited by a big US software company called Computervision which really got me into the IT business. VitAL: Was there any one person or organisation that was your inspiration? AJ: Two people. Firstly a chap called Roy Ash who, when I was an apprentice draughtsman in the aerospace industry, taught me the discipline of attention to detail. He was brutally critical of everything we did, but in aerospace it is important that things are right! Then there is a guy called Roger Hill who is the ex sales and marketing direct of ICL. He was the guy that made me realise that how you market and talk about what you are doing in technology is extremely important to get people to understand what you mean.

VitAL: What was your first IT job, what was your first major IT triumph? AJ: My first IT job was with Computervision as previously mentioned. VitAL: Did you ever make any embarrassing mistakes? What did you learn from them? AJ: My biggest failure was when we were developing an imagining technology platform which we were finding good opportunities for in the offshore industries. We had decided on an open systems 64 VitAL : July / August 2012

strategy and we signed up with a major oil company. We were writing a lot of data to optical drives which were then going to be loaded into a ‘juke box’ out in the North Sea. We sourced a multi-operating system driver for the optical drives and it all seemed to work very well. We loaded a bunch of disks into the juke box and it couldn’t read any of the Sun format disks – all happening in real time in front of the customer. Rather than it being a WORM (write once read many) drive, we called it the WOLF drive – write once lost forever! Amusing now but frantic at the time. VitAL: What do you like best about your job? AJ: I am extremely lucky with my job because it is the best paid hobby I’ve ever had. At Xerox, I’m in a position where I’m allowed to be creative and develop technologies that can really help other businesses develop and grow. Look at our Managed Print Services (MPS) business as an example. I was part of developing that business over 10 years ago. Now we’re into its second and third generation. Companies that originally signed on to take cost out of the print environment have seen so much benefit that they’re asking us to co-innovate and change the way they work to drive additional cost saving and efficiency. It sure makes me get out of bed every morning! VitAL: What is your biggest ambition? AJ: Truly moving Xerox to be the leading services led, technology driven company in the world. VitAL: What are your hobbies or interests? AJ: I do try to avoid IT as much as possible in my own time. I am a passionate dinghy sailor and racer. My family all enjoy sailing and the social life too which is a bonus. VitAL: What is the secret of your success? AJ: An interesting question. I’m probably the wrong person to ask. If I’m honest I’d say there’s no substitute for a bit of hard

I am extremely lucky with my job because it is the best paid hobby I’ve ever had. At Xerox, I’m in a position where I’m allowed to be creative and develop technologies that can really help other businesses develop and grow. work. Being cautiously optimistic while also taking risks, and I’ve come to realise that there is a big difference between leading and managing. In this world of change, leadership becomes doubly important; that’s what gives the reassurance that everything is going to be all right and I think that is very important. VitAL: Andy Jones, thank you very much. www.vital-mag.net


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