BSM soothes the ITIL burn

Help your ITSM by aligning business and IT with a BSM mentality

BMC Software Australia and New Zealand managing director Mike Davies says can be a lifeline for businesses taking the ITIL detox.

1.What is the significance of Business Service Management?

IT has traditionally used different tools and technologies to manage silos within an organization, however these managed infrastructure by fixing potential problems without the context and priority of resolution to business imperatives.

This is completely irrelevant today because organizations continuously explore new ways of doing business and increasing profits. Consequently, the goals of traditional IT management need to be reassessed and organizations need to rethink what role they want IT to play in contributing to business growth.

This has resulted in the emergence of BSM, which is cultural shift in the way organizations manage IT.

BSM helps companies improve IT efficiency by automating IT Service Management (ITSM) processes and work flows, which essentially takes people-intensive processes and standardizes them by leveraging ITIL best practices through ITSM applications.

The key here is automating processes and work flows in order to improve how IT shapes, responds and reacts to business decisions and challenges.

An analogy of the definition of BSM is comparable to the emergence of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to its true emergence in the 1990s. This was the inspiration for BMC's BSM strategy - we wanted to build an 'ERP for IT' that would do for IT what ERP did to overcome the stumbling blocks that back office processes created in the same period.

IT has enabled, built, integrated and managed the ERP systems for the different lines of businesses within an organization but now [business] can build its own ERP solutions to manage IT using BSM.

How should BSM be implemented and who should consider it?

i.Before implementing a BSM strategy, organizations need to ensure that their IT vision is aligned with the business in a BSM mentality.

ii.Steps to implementing BSM:

iii.Take a holistic view of the IT infrastructure by conducting an internal analysis that will assess the level of infrastructure maturity within your organization.

iv.Look at your architecture piece by piece to determine the areas which produce the most value or achieve the biggest ROI, and plan to make all the improvements simultaneously. Initially concentrate only these high ROI areas to get a good idea of what needs to be improved, and how.

v.Most organizations start with a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) because it lies at the heart of BSM as a single source of record which provides a logical model of the IT infrastructure to identify, manage and verify all configuration items in the environment. It enables organizations to discover their infrastructure and look at relationships between the different infrastructure elements.

vi.Blend a service model on top of the CMDB to map-out the business services supported by the underlying IT.

vii.Review ITIL guidelines to see how they apply to your organization.

viii.Use BSM in a step approach to implement ITIL guidelines; consider ITIL as the manual and BSM as the method of implementation.

Any organization looking at governance or compliance issues should consider BSM for it process enhancements, cost reductions, and improvements, such as compliance auditing which can be overlooked in a manual environment.

2.When and why should companies adopt a BSM strategy?

Today - your competition is doing it. A lot of organizations are looking at process improvements, driving efficiencies or looking at how they can manage compliance and they are turning to ITIL guidelines and BSM to achieve it.

BSM will ensure an organizations' IT department keeps-up with the speed of the changing business environment, such as evolving strategic directions through customer acquistions and new channels such as mobile phones and the Internet.

Whether it's a global financial services company or a small retail organization, we are seeing companies across all industries adopting BSM strategies to ensure their IT is aligned to business objectives and can support business change in a manner that is fast, accurate and trusted.

3.What are the limitations of BSM?

There are no limitations from an architecture point of view.

From an implementation point of view, it's not viable to implement BSM if you are a small company with only a few hundred end users and a couple of services, because businesses have to be a certain size to implement BSM.

It is also very important that organizations have the right approach and the right leadership to adopt a BSM strategy, because it is not something done overnight; it takes management and leadership under a commitment to improve processes.

BSM enables a cultural change; if organizational silos are not ready for a cultural change then the CIO may have a significant challenge ensuring all the individual practitioners of IT understand the value of process improvements.

4.What are the trends in BSM?

There is a new vendor every week claiming they do BSM, but in reality they only do a small part. Taking a process approach is the key to success, however these vendors approach it from an individual service level, a visualization, or a dashboard arena.

Guidelines such as ITIL have been driven by an increased awareness in BSM because it is a way to validate and ensure IT is compliant against strong controls and processes.

Web services and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) are some of the platforms that need to be managed by BSM.

5.Where does Australia sit in adoption of BSM in relation to the global markets?

Australian customers understand the need to align IT more closely with the business and are starting to look at how IT can add value rather than reduce costs, and they are demanding the solutions that can achieve this.

Adoption is still in the early stages, although it is clear that the customer evolution to BSM is accelerating.

One of the reasons BSM is taking off in Australia is because the ITIL books were in English; the United Kingdom, North America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore were all early adopters of ITIL and subsequently of BSM.

Many organizations in the UK, where ITIL originated, were the first to implement BSM strategies and have been extending those to their branches in other parts of the world like Australia and New Zealand. In a market like Australia, where there is heavy competition, BSM is a key strategy to market differentiation for customers to stay ahead of their competition.

The business case for BSM is strong and it's driving an increasing number of companies around the world to transition to BSM and to BMC.

6.Is BSM an IT or a senior management commitment?

BSM needs both; IT managers must be able to respond from a business, rather than a technology perspective, and business managers must integrate IT into business planning. A recent BMC-sponsored survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) showed that 47 percent of organizations integrate IT into business planning, which is a requirement of a successful BSM implementation.

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