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IT Service Management

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Alf's Zoo -- This week we trek through Asia with Anthony Orr, who in the spirit of Easter shares recent worked he's done with local companies to boost IT performance. (We also bandy about U.S. media misrepresenting  the region's social unrest.) With a quick overview of self-service, change management and CMDB, Anthony explains the value Asia-Pacific companies can reap with a better-tuned ITSM machine. From midsize firms deploying their first service desk to conglomerates evaluating next-generation products, from Hong Kong to Taipei, Anthony found operational and organizational patterns that may explain success and failure. Unfortunately, Simon couldn't make it.

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BMC and Pink join forces on April 17th to review how asset and configuration management can help you drive better business decisions. George Spaulding, Executive VP at Pink Elephant, along with Sharron Sims and I from BMC, will review best practices, benefits of automation and real world examples focused on:

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  • Automating asset discovery
  • Getting asset data into the hands of those who need it
  • Proactively managing your assets, reducing business and financial risks

 

Register now for the next installment of our webinar series with PINK Elephant, where we explore the latest trends and best practices in IT Service Management.  Pink Elephant is the world's #1 supplier of ITIL and IT Service Management (ITSM) conferences, education and consulting services.

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Alf's Zoo -- This week, Dom Wellington joins the Zoo from northern Italy, where maggots make cheese irresistible [10:30]. Beyond wine and food, we talk about managing clouds -- public, private and hybrid -- with the right tools and philosophy. The speed of cloud adoption is too fierce for proper planning, so you need to ensure automation, standardization and compliance are in place. Juggling VMware, Amazon and OpenStack, for example, takes disciple. And considering the new-found belief that all IT should be as simple as Facebook, as fast as Twitter and as helpful as Yelp, out-dated methodologies and tools will quickly sink your chances of success.

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Despite swelling social media budgets, more companies are shying away from tracking the financial benefits of social networking.


“They've realized that social media isn't a transactional engine or sales machine,” wrote Business Insider, “so they’re dropping half-baked indicators that gauge secondary effects, such as financial return.”ConfusedIT.png


But while business units turn their attention to softer benefits, such as market awareness, brand loyalty and customer relations, the IT department produces tangible returns on social media investments, including reduced support costs, increased employee productivity and accelerated time to innovation.


Take crowdsourcing. The notion of an omnipotent tech guru who can solve all our IT problems with mystical powers is long gone. When we need assistance today, we usually access a network of trusted peers. At Amazon.com, for example, you’d never buy a product without first reading the reviews. The 150 million opinions at TripAdvisor now dictate what comprises an exotic journey. And it’s Yelp’s rating system that guides us to gastronomic bliss.


To quote Chris Dancy, who Mashable calls the “Most Connected Man” in the world, “There are no such things as thought leaders. People will create an assisted reality. Created on-demand as you need it.”


Crowdsourcing knowledge and experiences helps us in many facets of our daily lives. IT makes sure we use it at work, too.


When my instant messenger stops archiving conversations, I’d normally pick up the phone and call the help desk. But with a social media network of co-workers and IT experts, I can search for help online. A quick query yields either a fix or a person I can chat with about my issue. This isn’t the same as knowledge management, mind you, where impenetrable articles written by engineers for engineers are hidden underneath esoteric terms like regulatory compliance and configuration management.


If employees can socialize technology issues rather than calling the help desk, which costs the company about $15 per engagement, IT saves millions of dollars.


But we can’t rely solely on social collaboration. What if my problem is unique or my request for help is ignored? IT automatically converts my posts into proper service requests and trouble tickets to be processed, prioritized and assigned by the service desk software.


Eliminating the long and complex forms that for too long were the face of corporate self-service, IT found a way to boost worker productivity. We spend about two days a month, according to Forrester Research, identifying issues, looking for solutions, filling out service requests and chasing progress reports. With formless self-service and real-time updates, we can focus on the actual tasks we’re paid to perform at work.


“We’re in the food business, not the manage-IT business,” a service desk manager at one of the nation’s largest food makers recently told me.


Giving back at least one of the two days we waste on so-called IT friction will result in massive man-hour savings across the entire business.


Social media also lets IT work smarter. Currently, IT engagements are on a one-to-one basis. Although my instant messenger problem is fixed, the help desk faces dozens of callers with identical requests. But solving my issue in public will inform the entire company about what’s going on and how employees can solve similar issues without involving the help desk.


This switch to a one-to-many model frees up time and resources CIOs can redeploy to innovation projects, including better support for remote workers, improved online customer service and dynamic DevOps cloud provisioning. For years, we’ve bandied about transforming IT and aligning it with the business.


But it takes something as disruptive as social media to make IT the next competitive business advantage.

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Yesterday I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize, and I let it go to voicemail. The message was from a guy named Nathan who sold us the car I drive to work every day. We bought the car three years ago, anticipating the arrival of our twins. About a month after we got the car, Nathan had emailed me a survey to fill out about the car and our experience with it, and included a coupon to a local business as an incentive. I completed that survey, and I haven’t heard from Nathan until now. Curious, I called him back. He said he was just calling to see how our car had been treating us. It was just a casual conversation with a guy who clearly enjoys his job and believes in what he does—but it got me to thinking about what he might have done with that initial survey, and about the kind of information he might have been able to gain if he had taken a more formal approach to this follow-up call.

 

In the initial survey, I’d been asked about the sales experience and my first few weeks with the car, all rated on a standard Likert scale. Would I describe the sales experience as positive? Was the car performing as I expected? Rate your level of satisfaction with various features of the car, and so on.

 

I’m guessing the reason he called yesterday was to see if I might be interested in a trade-in. But even if the motive was purely to get me to come spend some more money at the dealership, that was an opportunity to get some great data about longer-term usability and performance in the car, and about my satisfaction. Given that I’ve driven the car over 10K miles and now have three children, I might have had some very interesting things to tell the manufacturer about ease of use, safety, and basic features of the car that I might not have even thought about in that first month.

 

It called to mind a problem we encountered at my previous job, where we developed e-learning modules for delivery via the web. We asked clients to submit a satisfaction survey post-implementation, and our work projects typically got great user reviews and great accolades from award organizations. But when it came time to submit a response to an RFP that asked for long-term performance and effectiveness data, we couldn’t do it. We simply lacked that feedback mechanism. Consequently, we may have lost potential work and revenue to competitors who were better prepared to show lasting results from their trainings. Blog_Data_final.jpg

 

Think about your work. Aside from arguments we could entertain about today’s needs for agility versus maturity, I think we can all agree that there is value in varying windows of time for feedback, whether you’re in ITSM, design, sales, or any other line of work. When you complete a project, release a new version, or close a deal, everyone celebrates. You gather customer and press quotes, obtain user feedback, and compare your work to others in the market—but are you gathering comprehensive performance and satisfaction data to support your product’s benefits and your consumers’ experience? And if so, how are you putting that data to use? Does it inform design and upgrades? Does it launch new application performance management (APM) projects? Does it impact sales strategy? What analytics are you investing in?

 

Today’s consumers are presented with myriad comparable options for just about everything, from marketplaces themselves, to cars, to appliances, to e-learning, to software, to support. The winners in any vertical will be those who can demonstrate not just immediate benefits, but long-term value. Build, support, or sell things you believe in, get the data to back them up, and find ways to analyze and monetize that data. That’s what puts you ahead of the pack.

 

 

Find me at Monika Bustamante - Google+

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Welcome to the our first newsletter for Remedy and Remedy OnDemand customers in 2014!

 

In this issue, we’ll provide some insight on new releases of products that our customers often integrate with BMC Remedy, share resources you’ll want to bookmark and frequently reference, and share some exciting new programs in support and education.

 

MyIT 2.0 availability

 

MyIT 2.0 is a next-generation self-service app that reduces IT friction, cuts support costs and boosts customer satisfaction. Imagine the freedom of social collaboration, productivity of context-aware services and ease of formless IT – and you have MyIT.  MyIT 2.0 has two versions, and the “base” level comes with Remedy OnDemand.  Give it a try!

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Introducing  a New Video series – The Remedy Moment

 

Want to know the latest with Remedy and Remedy OnDemand? In this series, Bruce Campbell and his colleagues share updates through a series of short videos.  Click here for an introduction on the series.

 

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In our first installment, Bruce Campbell and Remedy OnDemand product manager Tony Myers share the latest on Remedy OnDemand.  Stay tuned for the latest, greatest Remedy Moments!  Have a Remedy Moment of your own to share? Let us know!

 

News from BMC Education Services

 

Did you know that three out of four IT projects fail to realize value on their investment? A recent survey indicates that the most important factor for realizing value is user adoption. BMC Education Services has created a solution adoption framework for education (SAFE) to ensure user acceptance of the BMC solutions being implemented. SAFE's approach is to ensure the right skills are delivered to the right people at the right time.

 

To complement the SAFE methodology, BMC Education Solution Accelerator (ESA) gives you the ability to plan, execute, and maintain a comprehensive user adoption strategy. ESA lets you easily and rapidly update and maintain documentation, simulations, and training, evolving throughout the implementation lifecycle.  View the video and demo for BMC Education Solution Accelerator. 

 

ADDM10 now available!

 

In March, BMC released Atrium Discovery and Dependency Mapping, version 10.  With this new release, ADDM customers will be able to take advantage of Big Discovery – BMC’s new application clustering technology that provides breakthroughs in speed and scale for discovering large environments are also rapidly changing.

 

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Monthly Features and Best Practices webinars

 

Every month, BMC puts on webinars that help you take advantage of features in Remedy and Atrium products.  Check out these links, which provide a handy index of archived webinars.  Check back often, as we will post news of new webinars on these pages

 

Engaging Support for your Remedy Migration

 

If you are looking at the best way to approach a Remedy upgrade, the Assisted MIGration Operation (AMIGO) program is designed to assist customers with the planning of Remedy IT Service Management Suite upgrades. Through a combination of best practices documents and direct engagement with Remedy Support experts, BMC can provide the advice to make sure you upgrade is a success.

 

Moving to Cloud Computing? Leverage your BMC Remedy ITSM investment!

 

Enterprises like yours are adopting cloud computing at a rapid rate for the increased business agility and cost savings it delivers.  You know how important ITSM processes like change and incident management and the CMDB are to your IT operations management – those processes are just as important in cloud management. A recent Forrester Consulting Survey showed that 60% of enterprises that had implemented cloud underestimated the need to integrate cloud into existing management systems.

 

As a BMC Remedy customer,  you can leverage the investment and hard work you’ve already put in to building up world class ITSM best practices as you move to cloud computing. BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management (CLM) is a cloud management platform for automated, self-service provisioning and governance of IT resources across hybrid clouds. CLM has an out of the box integration into your corporate Remedy ITSM environment. With BMC, you can leverage the service catalog, change management and CMDB solutions that you have already deployed, avoiding the need to purchase additional ITSM solutions while delivering  a governed cloud to your business.

 

To find out more about BMC Cloud Management, go to www.bmc.com/cloud and stay tuned for an upcoming webinar on how Remedy customers can take their ITSM processes to the cloud with BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management.

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Alf's Zoo -- This week, live from Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, we bandy about the importance of Twitter, Google + and Facebook in the business world. Beyond finding cool recipes, sharing information does impact CIOs' purchasing decisions, according to online connoisseur Eric T. Tung. Big part of social media, however, is the art of listening and learning from what your peers and customers say. Like consumer items on Amazon.com, you'd never buy an enterprise software unless it was highly touted on the networks. Replacing email, social engagements are how we communicate today -- whether we like it or not.

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HDI is the worldwide professional association and certification body for the technical service and support industry. The four day program is content rich and comprehensive, covering a vast array of subjects from all across the ITSM spectrum. 

 

BMC has participated for seven years, and we welcome you to join us at HDI to Come Together and Rock Out at the Gaylord Palms Orlando from April 1-4.

 

Here are fourteen was to Rock with BMC over the course of the conference-

 

1. Ephemeral Knowledge: The Shift to Disposable Culture (Session 202)

Speaker: Christopher M Dancy Data Exhaust Cartographer, ServiceSphereDancy2.jpg

Location: TBD

Date: Wednesday, April 02

Time: 11:30am-12:30pm

Experience Level: Intermediate

Track: Service Management Excellence

 

For more than thirty years, IT has been struggling with knowledge management. In an information-rich age, this struggle has led us to the Age of the Disposables. From Snapchat and Workshifting and Car2Go to URLs that expire, couch surfing apps, and even APIs that direct you to Meetup for free meals, we live in a temporary world. In this session, we will explore the history of disposable knowledge, ephemeral media, and the techniques for exploiting and using ephemeral media in your organization. (Intermediate)

Dancy Session:

 

2. Find It, Manage It, Optimize It: How Automatic Discovery Delivers Actionable Insight (Breakfast Briefing 8).

Speaker: Sharron Sims Solutions Marketing Manager, BMC SoftwareSharron.jpg

Location:

Date: Thursday, April 03

Time: 07:30am-08:15am

Experience Level: All Experience Levels

Track: Breakfast Briefings

 

In this session, you’ll see how organizations are transforming service management processes and productivity with an integrated source of data center inventory, configuration, and relationship data. If you want to replace guesswork and reliance on tribal knowledge with an integrated approach to managing your IT ecosystem, this session is for you!

 

3. Customer Dinner:

Join us at the BMC Software customer dinner. Limited seating available, please contact your BMC contact for current availability.

Date: Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Time: 7:30 – 10:00

 

4. Great Conversations in the Exhibit Hall at Booth 602

Tuesday, April 1, 5-7 PM

Wednesday, April 2, 12-3:30 PM, 5-7 PM

Thursday, April 3, 12-3 PM

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5. Remedyforce: Intuitive IT Service Manage in the Cloud

Built on the reliable, secure, and scalable Salesforce.com cloud platform, Remedyforce provides robust

ITSM functionality with social, mobile, and collaborative capabilities your modern business expects. Learn how customers have cut service desk wait times from five minutes to 45 seconds and improved first-call resolution up to 90% at HDI booth 602

 

6. Atrium Discovery and Dependency Mapping: Automate Asset Discovery and Application Dependency Mapping

You can’t manage what you don’t know. Having a clear picture of the assets in your data center—and how they’re connected—is essential. With BMC Atrium Discovery and Dependency Mapping, you'll understand how applications and infrastructure work together to deliver the services your business depends on. Find out how you can improve IT efficiency, reduce costs and create application maps fast with the newest ADDM at HDI booth 602.

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7. FootPrints Asset Core: Do more with IT Asset Management, On-Premises or in The Cloud BMC_FootPrints.png

BMC FootPrints Asset Core is comprehensive client management software that automates IT asset management to help organizations control costs, maintain compliance, and reduce financial risks. Gain control of the assets accessing your IT network, ensure compliance with accurate software license management and simplify and automate routine tasks at HDI booth 602, or get a free FootPrints Trial.

 

8. FootPrints Service Core: A powerful, On-Premises Platform for ITSM That Grows With You

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BMC FootPrints offers a single solution for full service lifecycle management, helping mid-sized

organizations gain efficiency and control through a robust ITSM solution. Learn how you can easily initiate, route, track, and manage incidents driving process adherence at HDI booth 602, or get a free FootPrints Trial.

 

9. Remedy On-Demand: The Same Powerful Functionality as Remedy Plus SaaS Delivery bmc_remedy_on_demand_box.jpg

Easier to use, faster to deploy and packed with the latest innovations in service management, Remedy is the most complete and capable IT Service Management solution available. Built on more than 20 years of leadership and experience, it's robust enough to manage the most advanced technology environments in the world. Find out how you can get lower, more predictable operating costs and less to think about when it comes to maintenance and upgrades at HDI booth 602.

 

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10. MyIT 2.0: Next-Generation Self-Service

Imagine the ease of formless IT, the productivity of social collaboration, and the freedom of context-aware services—and you have MyIT. With MyIT business users get fast, easy access to IT services. IT saves time and money. And Management sees progress on the strategic projects that leverage IT's potential to transform the business. No matter where you sit, you'll see tangible business benefits. Experience the value of MyIT at HDI booth 602.

 

11. Appzone 2.0: Procure, Publish, Manage, and Secure Apps for Your Enterpriseaz_logo-bmc-dark-blue1.png

BMC AppZone allows corporate IT to effectively manage the publishing and distribution of mobile, web, and desktop applications to enterprise business users. This universal, enterprise app store ensures that corporate policies and procedures are met while giving employees the familiar, user-choice experience found in the consumer world. Learn how to give your employees a choice in apps that work for your enterprise at HDI booth 602.

12. #ITForTheWin Giveaways:

We love IT, and we know that IT drives the business. We’re celebrating this at HDI with #ITForTheWin buttons, stickers and T-Shirts for all attendees! Just stop by our booth and show off your IT pride.

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13. HDI Passport giveaway Prize: Beats By Dr. Dre headphones:

Complete your HDI Passport and get entered to win BMC’s prize, Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones!

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14. Main BMC Booth Prize: XBOX ONE

IT isn’t a game, but XBOX ONE is. So stop by our booth for a little bit of both! See a demo, get scanned, and get entered for a new XBOX ONE.

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Join us on our Facebook Event Page for HDI and our Google+ Event Page for HDI to keep on top of what we're up to, Come Together, and Rock On!

 

How many times have you been to HDI? What are you hoping to hear or learn? Let us know in the comments below.

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This week, The Twin Cities Geekette of the Month, Katie Carty Tierney graces the Zoo to talk about the latest technology trends among IT departments. Social, mobile, big data and cloud are still at the forefront, but the increased focus on customer support and staff productivity is ushering in more context-aware devices that know who you are, where you are and what you are doing. We also bandy about the impact of quantification and wearable technology, such as the Fitbit on Katie's wrist. Is it a leash or a productivity booster?

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Tom Peters, the famous business guru and frequent public speaker once said “I hate sports analogies. They’re a bunch of male macho …” Sorry Tom it is March Madness and time for taking liberties, use analogies and pursue equal opportunities (the men’s basketball brackets were announced on March 17th and the woman’s announced on March 18th).

 

Mr. Peters, I can’t resist taking advantage of the season!  I will agree though it might be a stretch comparing the consistent success of a few basketball coaches (Geno Auriemma, Jim Boeheim, Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo, Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Bo Ryan, Bill Self, Vivian Stringer, Pat Summit, Tara VanDerveer, Roy Williams) with the effective management of an IT service environment.  Remember it is March Madness and too late to stop me now!

 

How is it that these coaches manage to find their way to the top?  They have a system that year after year they use with minor adjustments based on changes in talent, changes in the game and new competition.  They hire the best assistant coaches, often from within the ranks of their own program.  They are committed to their team and know each individual’s skills and needs. They recruit talent that has the maximum potential to succeed within the profile of skills needed to support the system. UCLA coach John Wooden (Wooden’s bio), known as the coach of the 20th century, guided his teams to 10 NCAA tournaments in a twelve year period, with seven titles in a row, and a record 88 wins in a row.   Wooden summed up his consistent results with this perspective “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” 

 

Wooden.jpgIn IT land, the analogy works well when we look at the skills of forward-thinking IT directors tasked with managing IT service management 24*7. What does an IT Service manager have?  They are dependent on a group of talented resources and hopefully the right management skills to reinforce discipline, to adjust to changing business and technology, and processes such as ITIL that are ingrained into the operational model. While having the best business service technology provides a good foundation, how many business users view their service and support as something they can stand up and cheer about?  Balancing the right technology with consistent and effective process, while developing the team’s talent will provide the best odds for success.

 

The process of constantly re-aligning the IT service management environment with the demands of the business is at the core of success.  Expectations of your business users are that meeting their needs are your life’s mission.  Not much different than the fanatical sports fan who has little tolerance for losing, business users have no tolerance for waiting on a business service. In a DIY (do it yourself) world, it takes a strong team to constantly stay one step ahead of your users and not get distracted by shiny objects.

 

None of us want to be one time wonders!  When conditions on the outside change, and they will. The IT Service Management environment that is agile, consistent, and operates as team will shine. As Pat Summitt (Summitt’s bio), the most successful coach in NCAA basketball history for either gender said “Teamwork is what makes common people capable of uncommon results.” 

 

She also said “Don’t take donkeys to the Kentucky Derby.” Only eight teams of the 126 (62 men’s teams and 64 women’s team) make their respective Final Fours and there will only be one men’s and one women’s champion.  There are few donkeys on the remaining list of 124 teams. They will all end their seasons with a loss, and their fans will call their coaches worse things than “you are a jackass.” 

 

Set your own standards for building a winning IT Service Management team, be consistent and drive toward uncommon results. You may even find there are end users who are willing to stand up and cheer.

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This week, we take a look at Google Glass through the eyes of Christopher M Dancy. The hip wearable tech device is ushering in a new era of personal digital assistance. In our daily lives, Glass predicts our needs, serving up information as needed with minimal interaction. On the road, Glass guides us to the airport gate, alerts us of special offers and order a Black Car on Uber when we arrive. At work, it'll change how we access data in real time. Nurse practitioners, for example, can consult physicians while examining a patient, providing better and faster healthcare services for less. But lurking in the shadows are the issues of privacy and security. Who owns your social footprint? It's not you.

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GroceryCustomer_blog_linkedin_sm_031314.jpgI love food. I enjoy dining out and I generally enjoy cooking. What I don’t enjoy is the grocery store.  For me, hitting the grocery store is like running a race (can I get out in a new record time?) while endeavoring to exercise patience (did that guy really just run over my foot with his cart and not apologize?) As a result, the grocery store experience for me is very transactional. Many grocery stores in my area endeavor to create a great shopping experience (live music, samples of various foods throughout the store), but I’m the customer who buzzes past at lightning speed, shoving stuff in my cart while racing for the exit. My favorite part of the grocery store experience is the checkout, when they give me my receipt, I shove it in my purse, and I’m within steps of the sliding doors that promise freedom.

 

Many grocery stores have frequent shopper programs. You scan your card at checkout and get discounts on some of the items you’ve purchased. I’m sure there is a rhyme and reason for how and when they discount; I usually don’t pay attention, as my eyes are firmly secured on the exit, plotting my quick escape.  I’ve never thought much about the grocery store frequent shopper program, but what I know is that I have a little card attached to my key ring that I scan when I check out and voilà!, I get a discount. So, imagine my surprise a few weeks ago (after decades of shopping at the same grocery store) when a business envelope showed up in the mail at my home, addressed to me, and with coupons for the items I actually buy every week. And I’m not talking coupons for 25 cents off—it contained about $50 worth of coupons (the coupons were from $1.00–$6.00 off) for the brands and types of foods I purchase every time I go to the store. For the first time, the grocery store took all that information I’ve freely given them over the years (by scanning my frequent shopper card) and did something to engage me that was worth my time as a customer. I was shocked, delighted (who doesn’t love to save money)… and also slightly curious.  Why, after all these years, did they decide to use that data to engage me now?

 

We know a lot about our customers. We might not know everything, but we know a lot. Regardless of whether they are internal customers or external customers, more likely than not, you have a lot of data, big data, about them. As we strategize about how to retain our customers (if they have choices in the market) and how to engage our customers to behave in new and different ways (think internal customers adopting self-service, perhaps), I encourage you to consider and discuss the following questions:

 

  • What matters to your customers today? Has it changed from yesterday or last year? I’ve been a customer of the grocery chain I mentioned for years and if I think about it, my shopping as “evolved” as my tastes and culinary aptitude has evolved.  The coupons sent to me where relevant to my shopping patterns today, not my shopping patterns five years ago.

 

 

  • What data do you have about your customers? Take a look (it may be buried under a layer of “virtual” dust); you might be surprised about what you discover. It may take some heavy lifting to make that data actionable, but it’s worth the time and effort.

 

 

  • What do you really know about your customers? What does the data you’ve unearthed tell you? It’s not just some hunches you throw up on a whiteboard during a team meeting or a brainstorming session. Does the data shine a light on behavioral patterns?  Are you constantly spending time and resources on something your customers do or don’t value?

 

 

  • Why now? Think hard about why you want to engage your customers at this point in time. Sure, the answer may seem obvious, but it may catch your customers off guard if you haven’t engaged them in years. It’s also important for your entire team to be on the same page, to truly understand why this is the time to engage or to rethink your engagement.


Big Data.pngBig data is a hot topic. There are lots of folks with lots of ideas about how to manage your “structured” or “unstructured” data and what you can do with it. But that’s for another blog post. Today, I encourage you, challenge you, implore you to think about your customers and what you know about them—or what you might discover with a little research and investment. By asking yourself and your team a few questions about customer data, you can start to sharpen your vision for engagement that’s valuable for the customer and that benefits your business.

 

In the case of my grocery store experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’ve known lots about me for years but finally engaged me because they’re under pressure from two new competitors in the market. They had been taking my data for granted, just as I’d been taking their discount program for granted, becoming oblivious to the data they had been tracking. But I’m happy to continue shopping at the same store if they’re going to give me better discounts—and that adds up to a win for the store’s efforts. So I ask you, what do you know about your customers and what are you going to do with it?

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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.

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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 Spalding here. **

 

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?


When a fellow pizza lover recently asked Pizza Hut about ordering on Twitter, the national chain quipped, “Just go to http://pizzahut.com, find your store and get your order in.”order pizza twitter.png


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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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 to BMC followers who share their own #ITforthewin stories


Find me at Monika Bustamante - Google+

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