Alf's Zoo - This week, we bandy about the pros and cons of cloud-based ITSM. Dick Stark of RightStar Systems joins the Zoo to dispel some of the SaaS myths and explain how on-premise solutions indeed work better for certain companies. Instead of worrying about the delivery mechanism, Dick thinks we should focus on getting the "Ferrari out of the garage" and optimizing the value our the IT management software brings to the business. Because as IT grows more complex, problem solving becomes tantamount to space exploration.
Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Domino’s Pizza have a lot to learn from IT.
Take social media, for example. Wouldn't it be nice if you could order pizza on Twitter? Or Facebook, for that matter. You’d tweet your order at the pizza parlor and 30 minutes later it arrives at your door.
With helpful hashtags like #MyFavorite, #FridaySpecial and #IFeelLucky, customers can get their usual pie, a discounted dish or even a surprise order. Since the pizzerias collect data on my purchasing patterns,they can tweet promotions that fit my taste buds. Additional context factors, such as my geographic location, let them notify when I'm in the vicinity of one of their outlets, even if I am on the other side of the world.
** Register for the March 19 webinar on "New IT" with George Spaldinghere. **
Beyond greater customer service, the socialization of pizza would most likely drive sales – just writing on the topic is making me hungry.
But the prospect of Twitter commerce, pizza or otherwise, seems remote. Companies want you to visit the old-fashion Web site and experience the brand online. And they worry about back-end processing. But if you registered your Twitter handle with the vendor and included credit card information, delivery address and contact number, does it matter if it's a one-click Amazon.com order or a 140-character post?
That's three steps just to get to the order form. What happened to fast food?
Once again, IT is leading the way to a better future. With modern self-service apps, IT lets you order anything you want with a simple post. The information is automatically converted into a real order, or in this case a service request or trouble ticket, for the help desk to process.
This type of formless interaction is how most of us communicate today. And IT departments are the first to realize how backward portals and forms have become. Imagine if you had to complete a form every time you wanted to post a picture on Instagram. Not even Facebook would spend $1 billion on your app.
IT is also taking social media beyond the buy-more-stuff strategy applied by most businesses. The same way American Airlines turned a computer-outage disaster into a customer-service triumph by publicly responding and helping its stranded passengers through Twitter and Facebook, IT can leverage the one-to-many service approach and solve recurring problems for a slew of employees with a single thread. Working together, customers can find the best solution to an issue without even bothering IT.
Borrowing a page from Yelp and Foursquare, IT is introducing context-aware services. By knowing who you are and where you are, it’s cognizant of your needs. As you walk into a building, for example, IT automatically grants you network access. To better control network traffic, it disconnects you when you check out.
Not to be outdone by Apple's Genius Bar, IT now offers concierge-style service appointments. Gone are the days when you were forced to stay at home waiting for the cable guy to arrive “sometime between noon and 4 p.m.” Instead, customers decide where and when they want to see a help-desk agent.
IT can do all this because in the back-office they have amazing systems, which can master complex IT processes with minimal human input. Automating the service delivery operations is rewarding but not as exciting as the gamification of the service desk. With simple game strategies and mechanics, help-desk agents are rewarded for exceeding quota, sharing knowledge and driving innovation.
Changing behavior is easy with a transcendent user experience, something the consumer-technology market keeps illustrate time and time again. BMC Software’s New IT upends the traditional dealings between IT and the business, turning IT into the next business advantage.
To learn more about the New IT, register here for a webinar with Pink Elephant on March 19 at 11:00 a.m. CST.
I live in Texas, where the idea of a snow day used to be a novel, even welcome event… that is, before I had kids. Don’t get me wrong, the kids are thrilled about the (failed) potential for snow, and they’re happy for an excuse to stay home in their pajamas. But for me – and judging by the tremendous response on social media, countless others – the effort involved in arranging childcare, avoiding roads, and trying to complete work tasks, all for very little snowy reward, added up to a frustrating (if slightly amusing) annoyance, not once, not twice, but three times within a month.
Winter has been hard to predict this year and even harder to handle, as people in the Northeast and Atlanta can tell you. A forecast gives only so much guidance, and those of us who have to schedule our entire day around whether we’ll be sending our kids out the door know all too well what it’s like to repeatedly check our local news tickers and RSS feeds for any info on school closures, waking up terribly early in hopes of good news.
It must be rough to be a meteorologist (let alone a school administrator, responsible for making the call on whether to delay or even cancel classes). No matter how hard you work, ultimately, you can’t control the weather – but that doesn’t stop people from complaining. I think that same frustration affects people working in IT – they often shoulder a lot of responsibility and accountability (not to mention griping) for things they ultimately don’t have authority or ability to manage or change, while their customers wonder why they can’t just get what they need, when they need it.
Luckily, we’re witnessing a revolution in that dynamic. Today’s IT is empowered, and in turn, today’s end-users are empowered, too. Responding to customers’ need for self-service and consumer-friendly interfaces, and IT’s call for better system insight, automation, and predictability, BMC has debuted three fantastic innovations this month: BMC MyIT 2.0, BMC AppZone 2.0, and BMC Remedyforce 2014. This is the New IT, and it’s making everyone’s workday easier, no matter the weather.
BMC MyIT 2.0 has revolutionized the help desk, allowing users to ask for exactly what they need, when they need it, in an easy, contemporary interface. No forms to fill out here – if an ice storm caused a power surge and fried your laptop, just use the MyIT app from your tablet to request a new one. You’ll see the entire request in a timeline/conversation format, and unlike followers of Punxsutawney Phil seeking an end to winter, you’ll know exactly when your new laptop will arrive. With time, energy, and frustration saved, IT reinforces its role as a support to users and the business, and frees itself up for additional innovations.
BMC AppZone 2.0, an integrated feature of MyIT, gives customers web-based access to a familiar app marketplace. Stuck at home thanks to a weather event? No problem – download the latest enterprise-approved messaging app to your mobile phone and let your co-workers know you’re online whenever they need you. IT gets to curate, manage, and secure the apps it provides, maintaining its responsibilities to the business and users alike.
Last but certainly not least, the latest version of BMC Remedyforce bundles it all together, providing impeccable IT service management and end-user apps and tools from the cloud. Dangerous sleet making roads impassable? No need to use a vacation day here. Customers get what they need without service interruption, and IT continues to support services with insight and ease, from anywhere.
I’d like to think that someday, we’ll be able to rely on weather predictions the way we’re now able to rely on the service desk. But until then, keep the innovations coming! With the New IT and a lot of extra coffee, I kept both my manager and my kids happy last month – all from the comfort of my pajamas home office.
This week, Chris Rixon brings a sober tone to the Zoo as he dissects the cultural and psychological impact of the Internet of Things. Like Dostoevsky and Kierkegaard before him, Rixon’s interest spans our role in a world where science and technology are too pervasive. Without joining the ranks of 19-century Luddites, he asks how our security and privacy, purpose and ambition, and relation to the natural world and each other will change as we build the biggest open system that's ever been architected, with public protocols and limited protection.
It’s an exciting time to be an employee at BMC Software. Early last week, we made one of the more groundbreaking announcements I’ve had the chance to be a part of during my career in technology: BMC Software Delivers ‘The New IT’ With Three Pioneering Products. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about bringing social technologies to the enterprise. And there are some great examples of social technologies transforming the way companies connect and collaborate with each other and with customers.
While IT organizations are often tasked with supporting social technologies, IT service and support organizations often do not utilize social tools to do their daily job. Service desks have traditionally lacked the social capabilities to help you, as IT professionals, collaborate in new and modern ways. That’s why our announcement about the New IT is so exciting and why we’ve been getting great feedback from the market about our vision for the New IT. We believe social IT is more than just IT. Social IT is a way of thinking, behaving, and interacting. It’s about connecting to each other and connecting to information in a whole new way. Last year I shared my thoughts on what is or isn’t social. And I stand by my opinion – there is no right or wrong way to be social.
There are, however, tools that can help you on your social journey as you and your teams endeavor to connect in a whole new way with each other and your customers. New IT enables this new social journey – we’re providing an approach where IT organizations can connect more seamlessly with each other and with the business. In addition, New IT enables automation so IT can deliver services the business needs in a more efficient, accessible, and industrialized manner. Yes, we believe you can incorporate social technologies and social culture in a way that complements and enhances your existing processes and procedures. It may feel like social doesn’t fit in with something as standardized as an ITIL® process, but in reality, I believe it’s an exciting phase in the evolution of those kinds of processes. After all, your processes should evolve to reflect the inevitable changes in your business.
Our vision for the New IT is to help your IT service and support organization employ the industrialized practices you’ve developed and embraced while providing social collaboration capabilities that enable you to connect with each other and your business in a way that excites, empowers, and transforms. Social IT is just one of the many components of our vision for the New IT, but a very important aspect. After all, I believe social IT is the key to unlocking our potential.
Often times we find IT in the context of the old chicken and egg conundrum.
Which came first…? IT or the business? Did IT come first, or did business users come first? If a tree falls in the forest, does IT hear it first, or does the business hear it first? Who cares?
The two are mutually dependent. As a software provider, we at BMC recognize this. It’s our charter and responsibility for providing tools that support both. Tools that help both succeed, achieve, and innovate. Neither is more important than the other, either. The business relies on IT expertise to perform their jobs at optimal levels, and IT benefits from the resulting creativity and productivity of the business.
The two are co-dependent. It’s a holistic IT approach, not solely focused on IT or the business.
At BMC, our answer to this holistic IT approach is called New IT.
New IT is about arming IT with better-integrated tools and automated processes, and arming the business with consumer-style tools focused on providing a better experience. BMC’s modern trifecta of BMC Remedyforce, BMC MyIT and BMC AppZone supports this holistic IT approach.
Remedyforce provides comprehensive cloud-based IT service management. Automation and integration are major components of the solution because business requests and issues across any line of business need to be seamlessly reviewed and managed. Extensive functionality helps IT manage every service task from inception to delivery, while configuration capabilities provide the agility IT needs to adapt to a constantly changing business environment.
Fully integrated with Remedyforce and AppZone, MyIT is a next-generation self-service app that enables IT to offer personalized service options for business users on any device, anytime, anywhere. IT can reduce communication problems with users (known as IT friction), cut support costs, and boost customer satisfaction. Business users gain the freedom of social collaboration, the productivity of context-aware services, and the ease of formless (no lengthy service request to fill out) IT.
AppZone completes the experience by letting IT curate, manage, and secure the back-end of an app store that offers business users a look and feel they are familiar with based on their everyday consumer app experience. AppZone lets IT publish a pre-approved catalog of mobile, cloud, and desktop apps while simplifying license management and policy enforcement.
Why is this holistic IT approach important?
Simply put: business success. In order for any business to perform well in the market, it is reliant upon technologies that enable peak performance. Performing at optimal levels means leverage against your competitors, as well as efficiency, cost-savings, and happier customers and end-users.
By taking a holistic IT approach, value comes in multiple forms.
Easy collaboration, knowledge transfer, and visibility across teams (IT or business)
Operational efficiency via automated solutions
Integration across the entire IT ecosystem for streamlined services
Time saving self-service for the business and call deflection for IT
Amaze your business with a winning IT experience that’s mobilized, modernized, and benefits both IT and the business.
Tell us your success story and enter to win a set of Beats Headphones. Between February 18 - March 17, BMC Software will give away five Beats Headphones each to BMC followers who share their own #ITforthewin stories
BMC is thrilled to be a Platinum Sponsor of Pink14 in Las Vegas, February 16-19 at the Bellagio. Now in its eighteenth year, Pink is globally recognized as the world’s premier IT service management conference.
We've got a great event planned for you - here are just a few ways you can get the most from BMC at Pink:
1. A MUST SEE Keynote on Tuesday, February 18 by Kia Behnia, senior vice president in the CTO office at BMC Software. Kia is always engaging and amazingly insightful about the challenges IT departments face, and how they can be addressed. It'll be a presentation you won't want to miss!
2.Tuesday night reception/concert sponsored by BMC Software. Everyone comes to Las Vegas to have a little fun. Join us and order the BMC Remedy, a one-time special drink created just for our guests at Pink14!
Monday, February 17: 11:30 pm – 3:35 pm and 4:45 pm – 6:30 pm
Tuesday, February 18: 11:30 pm – 3:35 pm
4. Four breakout sessions and a breakfast briefing (details). We've got a full slate of breakout sessions sharing best practices in ITSM. From the rules of support to self-service, creating your service catalog, reforming end-user experience and including social and mobile, our sessions are at the forefront of ITSM. We hope you'll join us.
i. The consumer imperative: introducing the new rules of IT support
Monday, February 17, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, Speaker: Chris Rixon
ii. It's not self-service if it actually empowers people
Tuesday, February 18, 7:15 – 8:15 AM, Speaker: Chris Dancy
iii. Plan, design and operate your service catalog
Tuesday, February 18, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, Speaker: Anthony Orr
iv. Power to your people: Transforming the end user experience of IT
Wednesday, February 19, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, Speaker: Alf Abuhajleh
v. Harnessing the social, mobile and collaborative technology revolution for IT Service Management Wednesday, February 19, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, Speaker Jeff Moloughney
I’ve been told that In Vegas, you should always bet on black. I say to always bet on BMC at Pink!
What are you most excited to see at Pink? Share in the comments below!
Alf’s Zoo – This week, we’ll kick off a series on the Internet of Things. IT experts and regular folks will join the Zoo to explain what IoT really is? How it will affect our lives at home and work. Its impact on our privacy and security. And how we are going to manage all those billions of things? First out is Bill Emmett, who provides a quick overview and helps me connect IoT to first-class powder skiing.
If you are in the Houston Area and a fan of Service Management best practices supported by HDI or ITSMf this is the conference for you. Just you and your 300 closest Service Management friends will be in attendance to listen to Key Note speaker Kurt Weisler and other local influential members of Houston's IT leadership.
This great event will be held at the BP Helios Plaza Conference Center on February 12, 2013.
Discover the New IT with BMC this February in Las Vegas at the Pink Elephant Conference & Exhibition.
Excited to support this conference by featuring our innovative Service Management Technologies.
Remedyforce IS modern IT Service Management – a mobile, social, collaborative app in the cloud, built to empower the needs of our customers today, AND in the future. This Service Management solution combines the best of the Force.com platform and Service Management automation expertise from BMC. Come see a demonstration of how social media techniques can be used to create, update and deliver an exceptional customer experience when they are experiencing challenges with technology.
Many organization face the daunting challenge of understanding their multi-sourced technology environment, the relationship of their technology to Business Services and maintaining a Configuration Management System. It is amazing the increased value that a current CMS can add to the other process areas of Service Management. We will be showing how our discovery solutions can discover your enterprise and assist you in building the relationships necessary to relate these components directly with Business Services.
BMC automates and industrializes IT with our ITSM product family offered via On Demand as well as On Premise. In the booth you can see innovative Change calendars and efficient ways to improve your processes with the process designer, just to name a few.
Come by and see how you can improve organizational inefficiencies / productivity and help users become more interactive and in control, improving user satisfaction, and increasing business agility. Get your personalized experience at the BMC Booth.
Increasingly people want their self-service IT solutions at work to feel and act like services they access and use personally. AppZone provide users with an easy one-stop shop access to any applications from any device and enable users to be more mobile.
Come by the BMC booth and see how we can help you amaze and delight your users with a consumerized front end and industrialized back end.
Alf's Zoo - This week, Criss Scruggs touts the value of proper asset management in SMBs. While small, many companies still need more than spreadsheets to manage risk, compliance and the consumerization onslaught. With the bring-your-own-IT trend in full swing, and the mobilization of the workforce, asset management helps you locate and control company property and data anywhere, anytime. Plus, you need to empower people to get what they want through self-service - just like iTunes and Amazon.com satisfy our craving for instant satisfaction.
Alf's Zoo - The Christmas Show with Anthony Orr and Simon King rolls from test driving Teslas and stuffing yourself with turkey to the Internet of Things and Uber entering our daily lives. We look back on the past year and hear predictions for 2014, including Small Data and Google Glass in the enterprise.
Here’s the trouble with year-end retrospectives: everyone has a different view of what the most important themes and events of the last 12 months were. As I write this from my cabin shed on a blustery mountainside in southeast Wales, I am acutely aware that you may have a very different view of what mattered in 2013.
So given this is the season of indulgence, please bear with me as I ponder some of the key things that I saw give shape to ITSM teams, processes and technology in 2013. Now, sit back, relax and enjoy another mince pie (or is that just us?)
All hail the age of the customer
Outside-in thinking, the customer-first approach, customer-centric support, however you choose to describe it, it was hard to escape what many are heralding as ‘the age of the customer’ in ITSM.
Let’s get one thing clear: it’s a mistake to suggest this is the first time IT support teams have decided to put the customer at the heart of everything they do. However, it’s clear that technology, especially mobile technology, now enables you to give customers a massively enhanced service experience.
These days we can tell who customers are, where they are, what they use and what they might need next. That context-rich view of the people you support enables you to remove much of the more laborious form filling associated with self-service. It also allows you to offer much more personal and therefore helpful support (and with a great deal of efficiency too).
So, yes with a little digital help perhaps, the age of the customer came of age in 2013. Too cheesy? hey, it’s Christmas!
The launch of Salesforce.com’s Salesforce1 platform and its ‘mobile first’ design philosophy signals a clear and accelerating trend to develop for mobile devices as the primary computing platform. We’re seeing greater and greater demand for mobilization from the providers and consumers of IT support services too.
Many organizations were relatively early adopters of mobile technology in ITSM, especially those with large physical estates or a number of remote sites to support. However, the proliferation of devices and a significant increase in their sophistication is fuelling a real revolution in how and where people access their service management systems. But more of that later…
Things suddenly got cloudier
Ok, it’s not exactly news that ITSM processes and tools lend themselves very well to delivery and consumption via the cloud. However, this year saw a notable uptick (25% growth) in organizations choosing to deploy their ITSM solutions in the cloud.
It’s clear that confidence has increased in Cloud solutions in general and it seems like that confidence extends to the ITSM domain. It’s also true that more and more of the supporting ecosystem of solutions that surround ITSM technology, such as enterprise app stores for example.
But don’t write off the on-premises approach yet, it still accounts for the majority of the ITSM systems being deployed around the world. It will also be interesting to see how this trend develops in 2014 and what effect recent revelations over online privacy have on cloud adoption (if any).
We looked at clouds from both sides (I know, I know)
When you’re supporting a technology environment where someone else owns and manages a large part of the infrastructure i.e. public cloud applications and cloud infrastructure, things change in ITSM…
Many ITIL process definitions and other best practice recommendations assume that you have stewardship of the whole technology stack: from the business service to the hardware. This is clearly not a good working assumption in the case of cloud applications! Increasingly, IT support teams are managing a complex exchange between suppliers and consumers of technology.
For some reason this is often over looked by many pundits. However in 2013 I met several customers who were really getting to grips with what it means to support technology in the cloud era.
SLAs Rule, it’s official. A recurrent theme among those I spoke too about how they’d adapted their working practices was a resurgent interest in SLA automation. Supporting ITIL-recommended SLAs, OLAs, and underpinning contracts may have felt like an unproductive use of your time in the past.
With the clouds on your horizon (see what I did there?), you can no longer avoid service level management (SLM). You need to rely on it. Your services will now depend on several interconnected components, sourced internally and externally.
With an ITSM solution that facilitates effective SLM, you can:
Understand the interdependencies
Create accountable SLAs with third-party providers and the business
Monitor everything to ensure SLAs are being met
So, SLAs are cool again. Who knew?
And in 2014?
Get ready for even more mobile. I mean the mobilization of more job roles, using more devices, consuming a broader range of IT services, from more locations for more of the time. You can also expect BMC to be leading the charge with some very exciting announcements in this area throughout 2014.
Personally speaking, I am hoping the UK can avoid the fate that befell her exactly 1000 years ago this Christmas: In 1013 Sweyn Forkbeard, the King of Denmark, installed himself on the throne, placing whole chunks of the country into the ‘Danelaw’.
We can all laugh at his name from the safe distance of 1000 years, but he was a bit of a handful by all accounts – so fingers crossed this Xmas.
Alf's Zoo - This week, ITSM stalwart Bruce Campbell shows up in the Zoo with advise on when to go SaaS and when to stay on the ground. Security, privacy and change processes are some of the key factors when looking to the sky. And sometime a company can learn a lot about its IT processes when evaluating a path to the cloud.