How Service Catalogs Help Enterprise IT Innovation

Over the past few decades, organizations have applied technology primarily to reduce costs. Faster computers, instantaneous global communications, and specialized software for every business function have dramatically improved productivity and driven costs out of the value chain.

But the days of cost reduction as the primary focus of IT may have ended. As noted here a year ago, “improving the effectiveness of business processes” has replaced reducing costs as the top concern of IT leaders.

BPI IT innovation report - accelerating business transformationNow, fresh research from the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network reinforces and builds on this trend. Across enterprises, business leaders are looking to IT and new technologies to help “increase agility, improve customer experience, and make their companies more competitive.”

As the mission of IT is transformed from driving out costs to driving business model innovation, IT’s profile is raised as well. Per the BPI research, almost two-thirds (65%) of enterprises “say technology has become ‘far more important’ to their organizations in the past five years. Another 28% see it as ‘somewhat’ more important.”
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Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Hammers in Search of Nails?

All but the simplest processes in an enterprise require collaboration of some type, whether it’s two co-workers writing a document, or a cross-functional group of employees developing an application or resolving a thorny technical issue in coordination with external vendors and partners.

Email or file-sharing tools are often all that’s needed for simple projects. But for complex situations, enterprise collaboration tools offer more sophisticated, specialized functionality for communication and task management.

Enterprise collaboration tools: best if used properlySo why is it that CIOs “can’t sell enterprise collaboration tools” within their organizations, according to recent CIO magazine piece? As Matt Kapko writes:

“Enterprise collaboration is a dubious pursuit. You can almost sense its impending failure the minute it gets introduced to a workforce and becomes just another tool that employees are supposed to use…

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The Future of IT Service Management – New Research from EMA

Two recent posts here have explored predictions for IT trends in the coming year and what IT may look like by 2020. While specifics vary, the common thread is that IT teams will be expected to accelerate their own workflow while delivering technology to transform business processes.

Future of IT support - EMA researchA new study from EMA Research on the future of ITSM, reported by Dennis Drogseth on APMdigest, reflects this theme as well while adding new insights. Here are half a dozen key findings from EMA’s survey, along with additional commentary and observations from this blog.

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How to Improve IT Service Delivery with Enterprise Calendaring Visibility (Video)

Why is service visibility valuable? Because enabling people to see “what’s going on” builds confidence between a service provider and the internal or external customer. It helps identify area for service delivery improvement. And it keeps everyone who’s involved in the process informed of the status of a service request at all times, thus avoiding unnecessary calls to the service desk.

Why is enterprise service calendaring important? Because business professionals live by their daily calendars, which show all commitments, schedules calls, meetings, follow-ups, to-do’s and other activities. Similarly, an enterprise service calendar intuitively makes clear to people what is happening and what the impacts are on their role or organization.

Watch this video to learn more about how enterprise calendaring visibility supports ongoing service improvement.

Video Timeline:

0:16   About Kinetic Data
0:48   What is Enterprise Request Management?
1:47   Why is Service Visibility Good?
3:08   Examples of Service Visibility
3:28   Why Enterprise Service Calendaring?
4:26   Business-Specific Process Visibility Example
5:05   Enterprise Calendaring Examples
7:25   Kinetic Data Product Overview
7:40   Enterprise Calendar Demo

Examples of where enterprise calendaring provides helpful visibility include change management, release management, on-call support scheduling, service level management, training schedules and vacation calendars.

Time- and date-based information can be pulled from virtually any enterprise data source (e.g., an HR system, ITSM platform, ERP system, Exchange, etc.) and the resulting display filtered by various criteria in order to focus on specific resources, tasks or groups.

Kinetic Calendar enables creation and sharing of actionable calendars across an organization, providing enterprise calendaring visibility for continuous service improvement. Want to learn more? Download the new white paper, Say Goodbye to the IT Service Management Queue.

Proactive Change Management with Actionable Online Calendars (Video)

Actionable online calendars–with the ability to pull time- and date-based data from a wide variety of enterprise data sources (e.g., SharePoint, PeopleSoft, Exchange, ITSM platforms)–are valuable tools for managing changes and other tasks while avoiding scheduling conflicts and “collisions” with other events.

The calendar interface makes it easy to spot potential conflicts as well as identify opportunities to combine change management tasks for greater efficiency.

For large organizations with hundreds of changes scheduled each month, the data displayed can be filtered by various criteria to eliminate “noise” and allow managers to focus on the critical resources they need to track.

Watch the demo to learn more about proactive change management with Kinetic Calendar.

Video Timeline:

0:18   About Kinetic Data
0:54   Kinetic Data Products Overview
1:25   What is Enterprise Request Management (ERM)?
2:49   Getting Visibility into Change Management
5:22   Use Cases for Actionable Online Calendars
5:56   How to Contact Kinetic Data
6:45   Kinetic Calendar Live Demo – Scheduled Change Calendar
9:55   Asset Information Calendar Demo
11:48   Presentation Recap

While a traditional report is essentially out of date as soon as it is run, the online calendar is built from live real-time data so it’s always current and reflects any new or changed data as soon as it is added. This provides a proactive approach to change management.

Kinetic Calendar supports a wide variety of uses such as change management, release management, on-call support scheduling, ITIL process reviews, vacation calendars, and facilities resource management.

What is this “Level 0” thing? (Part 2): Knowledge, Self-Analysis and Feedback

Tools of the Trade (Part 2)

A Vision From Down Under
By Michael Poole

In my last blog, I mentioned a major client who is ‘shifting to the left’ and implementing ‘Level 0’ methods.

For those who missed my last blog, in short, ‘Level 0’ is the process of enabling users to resolve their own incidents and requests.

Obviously, one way of implementing ‘Level 0’ is to shut off the phone lines and email addresses of the Help Desk. A very effective way of getting users involved in the process, but not one I would recommend to anyone wanting a long future in an organisation. Of course, sometimes we implement this method by under-resourcing our support teams – but that is the subject for another blog.

To implement ‘Level 0’, users have to have the information available to them to resolve issues as they arise. So how do we give these to them.

There are a number of tools available.

The Knowledge

It has been famed around the world that London cabbies spend years “doing the knowledge” — learning every street, lane, theatre, hospital and pub in London — before they can sit for the exam to obtain a cab licence. Do we need to ensure that before any person joins the organisation they have an intimate knowledge of computer hardware, software, networking etc.?

No, because now, they can be like today’s Sydney cabbies who avoid “the knowledge” by having a SatNav or GPS system in the cab. Our users’ SatNav can be a Knowledge Base.

The move to implementing “KCS” or Knowledge Centred Support has been going for a number of years, but for many organisations, this has been limited to building knowledge bases directed at and only available to the support team — not the user. With the development of Web 2.0+, users are becoming more accustomed to “googling” for solutions and answers and also using self-help resources that are a part of the major social media sites. I admit, in doing these blogs, I have often consulted the blog site’s help pages and Support Forums.

So KCS is one of the tools that can be deployed as part of the “shift to the left.” But to do this, we have to make sure that we develop our KCS articles, not for computer engineers, or if we are deploying across an enterprise , HR experts or accountants etc, but for the average user and common issues.

Self-analysis

No, I’m not becoming Tony Robbins — all “SHAMish” (Self Help and Actualisation Movement) — perish the thought — or bringing Freud onto the Help Desk — even though at times he might be useful in dealing with users, but more IKEA!

The results of some IKEA assembly projects might belie the concept — but I assume that they have more successes than failures through the step-by-step self-assembly process.

A few — well maybe many — years ago, I was involved in a project that required me to have what is called an “Assumed Rank” in the Australian Armed Services. I made Colonel for a month — the duration of the contract — but thankfully did not have to do the physical, wear a drab khaki uniform, bear arms or be saluted. But I did get into the Officers’ Mess and people had to answer my questions in a respectful way, but that is past. What I did get to find out was how the most complex maintenance and repair processes for a fighter jet could be broken down into simple steps and documented so that even I could have replaced, as an instance, the wiring loom on an F-111 or the laser-guidance system. The “repair manual” — and it was all hard-copy — was contained in a room-full of filing cabinets and needed a librarian to keep it in order and up-to-date. This of course was an extension of the production line methodology introduced by Henry Ford at his eponymous company to make the most complex consumer engineering  product of the day — the motor car — with relatively unskilled workers. Other car makers of the time were using skilled engineers and coach-makers to make one car at a time.

As the makers of the F-111 and Henry Ford knew, every process can be broken down to simple steps and delivered in an appropriate way to produce a complex result. For Ford this was a car; for General Dynamics it was the F-111 repair manual; for us this can be a fault-finding and resolution process.

In fact for the client mentioned above, we implemented such a system — a fault-finding process that enables staff with little or no technical knowledge to analyse and, in over 30% of cases, resolve issues with lap-tops ranging from OS to wireless network issues through a series of simple steps that relied on the answers to a number of questions and test activities that they could understand and carry out.

So another tool in the “Level 0” process, is intelligent and responsive self-analysis and resolution tools. What is sometimes called an “expert system.”

Information, Contribution, Monitoring & Feedback

Implementing “Level 0” also requires openness of information and a positive response to user feedback.

Users should be given every opportunity to be a part of the process.

Where KCS is implemented, users should be able to rate and suggest improvements to KCS articles and guides and also author and submit new KCS articles. As well as providing another source of input into the KCS system, users will develop a group ownership of the KCS system and its acceptance will be more easily gained.

This is also true of any self-analysis and resolution process. A network engineer may be able to define the step-by-step process for resetting a head-end switch, but it may take some input from an end-user to enunciate the process in easily understood vocabulary or point out areas that need better definition.

Users must also be contribute to the areas that need to be covered in the KCS or self-service system. What the experts think are trivial matters, may be a source of confusion to users.

Access to monitoring information in a easily understandable format can reduce calls on the Service Desk. If users know that a system is down for maintenance then they have no need to log a call.

And of course feedback to users is essential when they make a contribution or highlight an area that needs better coverage.

In part 3, I will look at ways to integrate these tools into web-based portals that can be deployed to users.

 

 

 

 

Better Visibility into Change Management

Change Management and BMC

The risks of poorly managed IT changes range from minor inconveniences to disasters
that cost millions of dollars and directly affect short-term profitability. Quoting the Gartner
Group, BMC states that “80 percent of down time is from people and process failures,
and change plays a significant role in that. Investing in change management pays off
in ROI immediately, as business availability levels generally rise by 25–35 percent
or more.”

BMC has made significant efforts to address the need for effective change management
for larger enterprises in the release of its BMC Remedy IT Service Management
Suite® (ITSM 7.0). It includes a Change Management application, designed,
according to BMC, to deliver “comprehensive policy, process management and planning
capabilities that help you increase the speed and consistency in which you implement
changes, while also minimizing business risk and disruption.”

Customers have enthusiastically embraced ITSM 7.0. According to many BMC users,
the first BMC Remedy module typically implemented with ITSM 7.0 is Incident
Management, which is far more ITIL-compliant than previous versions of ITSM. Now,
many of these same users, after having mastered the implementation of the Incident
Management module, are turning their attention to BMC Remedy Change Management,
which is virtually a complete redesign of the change management functionality of
previous versions of the ITSM suite.

These users are discovering how BMC Remedy Change Management increases the
availability of business management systems, makes implementing changes easier
and faster, and enables IT to support critical business services more effectively than
ever before.

BMC Change Management with Kinetic Calendar

Many BMC Remedy Change Management users are also discovering the benefits
of creating greater visibility into BMC Remedy Change Management events with
Kinetic Calendar.

Kinetic Calendar is a native BMC Remedy application that provides the ability to visually
display any time-based information captured or generated within BMC Remedy systems.
It is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to graphically display BMC data online. It
translates any BMC Remedy time-based data into a visual calendar format, which
enables end users to more easily recognize and comprehend BMC Remedy data and its
relevance to their responsibilities. Kinetic Calendar was developed to meet the demands
of BMC Remedy customers for better visibility into their IT processes.

The flexibility of Kinetic Calendar allows organizations to create virtually any type of
customized calendar based on BMC Remedy data. Kinetic Calendar users have been
very creative in finding new applications for it. Among the many examples of calendars
now deployed are:

• Release Management

• Outage Calendars

• On-call Support Scheduling

• Training Scheduling

• ITIL Process Reviews

• SLA Monitoring

• Vacation Calendars

• Facility Resource Management

A growing number of BMC Remedy customers are using Kinetic Calendar as a valuable
extension of BMC Remedy Change Management. BMC Remedy Change Management
itself focuses on change management data and workflows, and provides one of the
software industry’s best platforms for the initiation of change requests and their review,
approval, scheduling, implementation, closing, reporting, and auditing. Kinetic Calendar
takes this functionality a step further by providing visibility of Change events to the
entire organization.

Why is this important?

Many organizations that have implemented BMC Remedy Change Management have
discovered that as their use of the module grows, both in terms of the volume of change
requests handled and the number of business users affected, the ability to effectively
communicate changes using different styles tailored to the needs of various user groups
has grown in importance. This communication can be accomplished through emails,
memos and reports, or it can be done by giving users access to online calendars tailored
to their individual business needs. Calendars provide drill-down capability to give users
as little or as much detail as they need about specific changes. The calendar approach
improves acknowledgement and understanding of change events by those who will
be affected.

In most organizations, the vast majority of these users won’t be licensed BMC Remedy
users. Rather, the users affected by changes will be business managers in HR, finance,
operations and other areas in all the different locations where the organization operates.
Some of these users will need a broad perspective; others will only need visibility into
how changes will impact their own immediate work units. These views need to be
simple, uncluttered and easily navigated. Some users will need views that are easy to
drill into for more information on change events.

BMC Remedy Change Management users—responsible for scheduling and managing
change events and serving on Change Approval Boards (CABs)—need views that make
it easy to see how one change event impacts another and whether scheduled change
events collide with other scheduled events. Many of these users may need access to
multiple views from the same calendar interface. This is especially true in larger IT
organizations that may be required to manage hundreds of change events daily in
multiple departments and at multiple locations.

Check out the entire white paper:  Better Visibility into Change Management with Kinetic Calendar