Service Management in an as-a-service world – Part 1

July 30th, 2015 Comments off
Reading Time: 5 minutes

This is part one of a guest blog I was asked to create for the Service Management Conference. you can find the original here and where it was published completely in the July issue of the itSMF Bulletin.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.37.17 pm

Why moving to the cloud can give you more control, not less.

What are the opportunities and challenges for the IT service management team in a world where more applications are moving into the cloud, offered as subscription services, from a multitude of vendors? Can you keep control and visibility?

Recently I led a discussion at an itSMF Special Interest Group meeting about IT service management in an “as-a-Service” world – a world where the way IT is procured, delivered and consumed has fundamentally changed with the advent of cloud computing. Not that cloud computing is new by any means – particularly in smaller organisations, but it is now becoming more and more prevalent in large enterprises. Or it is expected to be…

While there has been a lot of hype around “the cloud”, what became apparent at the meeting is that most information is targeted at the executives in high level overviews, or at techies in great technical detail.

Meanwhile, the IT service management team has been left in the cold. There is little clear direction on “how to” or “where to start” and too much hype versus fact. Yet it is the service management team who often has the responsibility to “make it happen”.

In our discussion, which included IT service management professionals from government, financial services and IT vendors, the concerns/queries about service management in a cloud environment were startlingly consistent across industry sectors:

  •        What is the best way to monitor and report service delivery?
  •        How have other organisations done it?
  •        What is hybrid cloud and how do you manage it?
  •        How do you manage service integration across multiple vendors?

The Australian Government defines cloud computing as a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Interestingly, the itSMF group viewed cloud as a commercial model for delivering IT, rather than a technology. And the overriding concern is that these services are not in their control.

So how does cloud impact the policies, processes and procedures service management uses to plan, deliver, operate and control IT services offered to end-users?

For me it comes down to recognising that while traditional IT procurement has changed, you can still be in control; defining a clear – but flexible – business map for how the technology, processes and people will support the business; and ensuring transparency across multiple vendors.

New Ways of IT Procurement Don’t Have to Mean You Lose Control

Much of the fear of losing control comes from the feeling that IT departments are relinquishing control to IT third parties because they no longer own the IT and can’t see, touch or grab it. Yet in many ways they have more control than ever as it is easier to increase or decrease capacity quickly in response to changes in your organisation or the market in which it operates. And, if you chose the right vendor, they should provide you with regularly updated innovative solutions and contracted service levels rather than you being locked into a technology that will start to age as soon as you implement it.

Of course it’s not simple matter of moving everything into the cloud. Sometimes legislative requirements will dictate where data can be stored or who has access to it which may force an application to be insourced. Or it may depend on the maturity of an organisation’s approach to IT – an immature organisation may refuse to outsource because it is simply fearful of doing so whereas a mature approach is open to pushing risk outside the organisation.

And not all clouds are the same. A private cloud is used by a single organisation. A community cloud is for the exclusive use of a specific community of consumers with shared concerns (eg security requirements or mission). A public cloud is for open use by the general public. And a hybrid cloud is comprised of multiple distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community or public). Whilst the debate over public vs. private cloud services rages on, in the context of the above and the relative organisational needs and maturity, they all have a place.

This feeling of a loss of control can be exacerbated by departments choosing their own systems, easily bought and delivered over the Internet. However this “shadow IT” should not be feared – instead it should be seen as an indicator that the IT department is not delivering what they need. This is why business mapping is so important.

 

Part 2 of this blog will cover why business mapping is critical to ensuring IT and Service Management truly support the business and how to get started.

Waves of innovation

July 25th, 2015 Comments off
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today I’ve been reading about McNurlin and Sprague’s “Waves of innovation” model (2009) for the changing role of IT within an organisation. It’s essentially made up of 6 waves that have been observed over time, it looks like McNurlin started with 5 and the 6th was added somewhere in 2009.

Waves of Innovation

Wave 1 – Reducing Costs – began in the ’60s with a focus on automation

Wave 2 – Leveraging Investments – began in the ’70s with a focus on reusing corporate assets with systems justified on ROI and cashflow

Wave 3 – Enhancing Products and Services – began in the ’80s with the focus on IT being a revenue source through creating a strategic advantage

Wave 4 – Enhancing Executive Decision Making – began in the late ’80s with the emergence of real-time business management systems

Wave 5 – Reaching the Consumer  – began in the ’90s with using IT to communicate directly with users, completely changing the rules of engagement

Wave 6 – Partnership Supply-Chain Management – looks at integration of partners into the supply chain.

The premise is that these are observed waves and that IT is appearing to loosing some of it’s traditional responsibilities. I think that this is because the view painted treats IT capability as a uniform blob and not as discrete functions and capabilities. It doesn’t take into account that you have a spectrum of bleeding edge capabilities through to commoditised offerings at the far end and the value that each capability or service delivers sits somewhere on the “value” spectrum too.

Delivering value with IT systems requires clear understanding of the business, the services and capabilities that make it up and how IT can then support those individual pieces. This one dimensional view of IT is what holds business back from making smart decisions.

/rant

Leveraging IoT

March 31st, 2015 Comments off
Reading Time: 7 minutes

IoTLast week I was fortunate enough to attend the AIIA Government conference on “Navigating the Internet of Things”. This is the 4th year that they’ve run a Government specific conference for sharing experiences and educating people on what is happening in the industry, locally and globally in Government with Technology.

The conference was opened by the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull MP (Minister for Communications), who gave a great summary of the state of affairs with regards to the adoption of Internet technologies and how industry, on the back of initial Government stimulation, is thriving, constantly reinventing itself and driving innovation.

The major themes of the conference was transformation, transformation of cities and how we do things more efficiently, be it resource use, transportation or healthcare. It also reiterated that the emerging IoT world is very much a Digitally driven economic world.

 

Resource Use

One example used by Minister Turnbull was Water. Water Utilities loose 25-50% of water  due to leaks and due to the reactive nature repairs, are extremely costly to  repair – NICTA have created analytics on predicting what pipe is is most likely to fail and when, allowing for proactive maintenance, reducing the cost of the service. David Gambrel of NICTA explained how this approach was already being used on the Harbour Bridge reducing the cost of maintenance 10 fold.

Energy use and smart lighting that make up approximately 25-50% of government energy budgets, was the another area explored. The move to transforming lighting to smarter, LED based technologies has the ability to significantly reduce the cost and use of energy. One idea posed was the ability to equip smart lamp posts with ability to be charging stations, also creating an opportunity for governments and councils to offer charging to electric cars and create a new source of revenue.

 

Transportation

Another example of resource use is roads. In Australian cities, congestion on roads account for 4.26B working hours wasted, said Minister Turnbull. Connected vehicles for traffic management could solve some of this. One of the biggest hurdles to date is the getting real life data and not driver opinions. As the cost of sensors and integrated chips continues to drop, live monitoring of services becomes more feasible, especially when we include feeds from the likes of Google Traffic. Understanding how roads (as a resource are used)

Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) presented the challenges of the Singaporean government and their approach to Transportation – how to use infrastructure more efficiently, In summary support adoption of smart cars to essentially allow them to be packed closer on roads, potentially doubling the capacity of the existing roads. This was supported by Susan Harris, CEO of Intelligent Transport Systems Australia who’s research suggested that up to 40% more cars could be put on roads if we had automated cars with smart telemetry capability.

Lutz Heuser, CTO for the Urban Institute presented his Institute’s Reference architecture for future cities (see below). This was part of a wider view that to be successful in  to create a new Government service Infrastructure of data streams and analytics – new utility provided by governments. Cloud based open and realtime.

Smart city Ref Arch

Smart Cities Reference Architecture – Lutz Heuser, Urban Institute, 2015

Finally UBER’s Melbourne General Manager explained how IoT and the marketplace they created using that technology allowed them to extend and supplement the public transport system.

The real future of the connected city or “Smarter” city will have smart and autonomous vehicles, providing better use of existing transport systems, allowing for denser and more efficient use of vehicles on the already crowded routes. All enabled by sensors that feed large inter-connected systems that make sense of the data.

 

Healthcare

Again Steve Leonard, (IDA) explained the problem they have in Singapore. Urban density of approximately 8000 people per square kilometre, means that they are not only far more dense than Australia or the U.S. but that they need to make sense of the projected needs of the population with the real estate available. Singapore, like most have an ageing population- they are all living longer and birthrate is slowing – This change in demographic has caused them to look at the statistics of hospital stays. If you are over 65 you are likely to stay 30% longer in hospital – this has a huge impact on hospitals and the projected number of future hospitals needed to support the population. Given geographic and economic constraints Singapore cannot build hospitals as much as they need; nor could they staff them. Additionally their studies have shown that 20% of patients contributed to 80% of re-admissions. So how can they offload chronic care, focus on triage and emergency care? They’ve looked to technology. leveraging their fibre network reach (1GB to each home) and eHealth technologies with in-home care to offload.

Dr James Freeman, CEO of GP2U.com.au a Telehealth business delivering services in Australia via video-conference so patients don’t have to physically see a Dr. and can have scripts filled and ready for pickup from local pharmacy. With the proliferation of sensors and cameras in consumer devices, they are able to deliver some consultation services remotely, never having to physically see a patient. Dr. Freeman pointed out that that the adoption is slow to date and this is a combination of no financial incentive to take up these services and legislation being slow to catch up to technology. The financial incentive model is absolutely necessary as there is little chance people will use these services off their own back. I’ve recently seen with my father-in-law, being issued a blood pressure monitor from his health insurer. Each measurement is logged and set directly to the provider for them to track his health. He rarely does it as there is yet no incentive to do so, no lowering of his premium or rebate for his troubles.

 

Government as a Service – The new Utility

What all of these presentations and discussions showed was that the future for Government is providing data as a service. Today the DTO is working at improving the way government delivers services, with the end goal of speaking to customers as one public sector. Delivering services on common platforms. Data.gov.au will continue to be developed and invested in.

This view was echoed by Ros Harvey, Chief Strategist and Advisor for KEI and Sirca, Government as a platform is the future, getting the community to innovate on top of the services and data that government supplies. This was reiterated by Pia Waugh, department of finance, who has been working for years working towards the goal of “Government as an API” and creating the mashable government- making what Gov does more available regardless of agency or jurisdiction.

If the Australian Government can continue with the work that they’ve started it will be well on its way to making Australia the worlds leading digital economy, an aspiration of Minister Turnbull.

 

How to make IoT successful.

The resounding themes were integrity and security will be important as IoT proliferates. Security must be the foundation of any platform (Brian McCarson, Intel) and approached from an epidemiological standpoint (Turnbull). Using high level pattern analysis and large mass data analytics to see trends and changes in the system.

 

fundemental IoT

Fundamental Tenants of IoT, Intel, 2015

 

Conclusion

IoT is breaking through the novelty and into the mainstream with the backing and support of Government. As more and more sensors find their way into roads, waterways, infrastructure components and government systems, this data, raw and refined, will become the new economy that governments will not only collect revenue from, but use to manage and shape the policies of the future. Using this knowledge and mapping the ILC cycle will help businesses (and government) understand how to leverage the innovation and properly commodities the services needed.

 

Bits or pieces?: An introduction to Wardley (Value Chain) Mapping

February 8th, 2015 Comments off
Reading Time: 2 minutes

15817131058_5acabc4677As those reading this blog will know, I’m a fan of the work of Simon Wardley, specifically his mapping technique for business landscape understanding. His most recent blog: Bits or pieces?: An introduction to Wardley (Value Chain) Mapping is the most concise step by step explanation to date.

I’ve watched as Simon’s model has matured of the years and it only gets better. When I think I’ve got a great tweak or variation on his work, he releases another explanation that has it and more.

The most recent of these are the aggregate view, overlay of provision or consumption and gameplay.

  • Aggregate view – when you take multiple views of the same map and overlay to get a holistic view of the organisation
  • Provision vs. consumption – are you consuming a service and as such what is it’s value, are you providing the services to higher-order components and are there smarter ways to obtain them.
  • Overlaying outsource/COTS/build your own with the provision/consumption to get a clear view of what you should be doing – working with market moves toward the right (commoditisation) when and where should you get the service you need.

My favourite is the use of the Kanban technique when implementing changes. I’ve been using this myself for several years (though I didn’t know it was called that) and found Trello to be an amazing tool to help.

I suggest you take the time to check out Simon’s blog, as it is well worth it to pick up on the concepts to develop your own tactics to strategy development.

Value of Enterprise-wide Risk Management: argument against maintaining the status quo

January 26th, 2015 Comments off
Reading Time: 8 minutes

B0IuYcJCUAAox9MToday is a based off several things colliding at the same time for me – discussions with friends, colleagues and some twitter banter.

Everywhere I’ve been, risk management is broken into discreet units and managed individually ostensibly due to it’s complexity, working on the assumption that what they have is enough. Even Enterprise Architecture Frameworks skip over how Risk Management is to be engaged and offer little to no support in understanding the holistic picture.

Despite the argument of organisations that they don’t believe enterprise risk management (ERM) is necessary or that the existing static, compliance based tools or technique employed are sufficient, there is a place for ERM. By assuming that the nature of the business will stay the same, as-good-as-it-gets is an arrogant disregard for the fact that environments change. There will always be a requirement to navigate risk in business, as to avoid risk is to avoid success.

  • How do you navigate risk in your business?
  • Do you use a spreadsheet compiled from compliance questions?
  • How about a pre-canned register provided by a consulting company?
  • Is risk management handled at a project or programme level without higher level visibility within the organisation?
  • Is there a single, unified view of risk management?

To disregard risks that may destroy value, you risk destroying the business; this is what static, disaggregated risk management techniques can cause. ERM, that is looking holistically at the organisation, provides a structured and disciplined process that aligns strategy, process, people and technology in order to maximise the desired outcomes and minimise the undesirable.

A holistic ERM approach allows the identification of various types of risks, providing the necessary visibility to the business. This visibility can provide the business with the ability to apply a measured and complete approach to the remediation or mitigation of risks, through tools and techniques, as well as identifying emergent risks to the organisation. As an example, a change in one area of the business’ policy due to legislative change, may have further implications though if handled in isolation, wouldn’t allow the business to be proactive.

Focusing on a single component of risk, such as looking to insure as a loss reduction technique for operational and financial risk, neglects the other risk types (of Technical, operational, financial, commercial or project-based/time based) and has the same affect as a business silo risk management model.

Read more…