3 keys to successfully managing business services in a hybrid environment

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Matthew Smith has over 20 years of IT experience, ranging from R&D to process and software solution consulting and has been with HP for the past 11 years. As the Business Service Management (BSM) Global Practice Manager for HP Software Professional Services, he is responsible for packaged solutions and the services catalog and works with HP customers to create solutions to align their IT operations across people, process and technology to meet the demands of the business.

 

I was in a Business Service Management (BSM) customer advisory board meeting not too long ago, and someone was brave enough to say, “Please stop talking to me about cloud.” We all chuckled a bit uncomfortably, but when I thought about it, I started to see where he was coming from. After all, large organizations have been doing client/server and multi-tiered applications that are spread across geographies for years. Cloud is not so different; the issue is figuring out how to monitor these services now that IT does not own the entire delivery chain.

 

The cloud changes your control over and visibility into any service, which correlates to the depth and breadth of the information you can gather to monitor services that you have purchased from a provider—at the infrastructure, platform or application level.

 

Cloud models evolve—IT must always deliver

The business demands the same capabilities from IT no matter what—whether IT delivers the service or you source it externally. The business always expects to be able to understand how the service is running. That’s considered IT’s job, whether you own the entire service or only part of it.

 

In mature organizations, there is an emphasis on managing business services in a unified manner, regardless of location or ownership. This is a stepping stone to being able align IT operations to the business. If you cannot consolidate and correlate your monitoring data at a single point, you won’t have the entire picture of what’s going on with that service throughout its life cycle. As a result, you cannot fully understand the performance, availability and overall health of that service. By bringing all the information together, you move closer to that point of maturity as an organization.

 

In HP Software Professional Services, we see cloud driving customers to consider different business models around consuming a product or service. However, not everyone is ready or needs to reorganize IT to be a full-fledged service broker, so we get a lot of interest in hybrid models.

 

Embrace the cloud without losing control or visibility

There are a few things that need to happen for a large organization to realize the full potential of hybrid cloud services—namely cost savings and greater agility. But if you cannot monitor and measure the service, how can you achieve this goal? Getting the right people to communicate, having processes in place and products able to adapt to this agility are key.

 

Among HP enterprise customers, the most successful IT departments tend to:

  • Ensure there are IT people aligned with the LOBs on purchasing decisions: If the LOB buys something then comes to IT and says, “I need you to monitor it,” and IT wasn’t part of initial consideration or purchasing decision, you’re a bit stuck. But if LOBs partner with IT to procure external services, LOBs get what they need and IT is still providing value by offering guidance and owning the monitoring aspect.
  • Define how and why to engage IT: If you don’t put a framework around how others should engage with your group and define what value you deliver back, they might—and often will—decide there is no value to engaging at all. A consolidated business service monitoring platform provides application, system and network monitoring, along with service intelligence and analytics capabilities. This allows you to define the services, information (KPIs or metrics) and value that IT provides to the business to make informed decisions.
  • Verify the business is getting what’s promised from providers: Do you completely trust your service provider’s SLA/SLO reporting? Not always. You want your tools to be able to monitor these services and the capability in whatever way they are consumed—via the Internet or mobile devices.

 

Of course, when shadow IT or external procurement occurs without your involvement, there may be nothing to do but react. Whether you call it “best practices,” “increasing your maturity level” or “creating a center of excellence around business service monitoring,” you must push monitoring in a unified and structured way. By being able to give the business an overall picture of service health, IT shows its value and becomes a partner in brokering services—not the fall guy.

 

To learn more about how HP BSM can help you manage business services in a hybrid environment, check out the white paper Manage IT Services Efficiently. Service Business Effectively (registration required).

 

 

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Comments
Louise C Ng | ‎06-06-2013 05:56 AM

Matt thank you for your perspective.  Yes.  I tell my customers... don't you want to know what goes on behind the curtain? when it comes to TRUSTing their service providers.  It is ever more important for IT to extend the ability to understand the health of end to end service delivery as part of the Value Chains they support.  I'd like to hear more about how you see traditional monitoring software allow IT to stretch into the Cloud to do up/down monitoring. 

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