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Displaying articles for: April 2010

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida shares their solution to managing IT assets in a complex virtualized environment

Victor Miller, an IT Senior Manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Florida provided a great presentation April 27th about managing IT assets in a complex virtualized environment from the context of Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM).  Many customers attended, representing various business segments such as retail, global delivery services, entertainment, financial, food services, and software solution consulting.  Their job descriptions ranged from C-level executives, Vice Presidents, Directors, and Lines of Business Managers.


 


Victor described his main business challenges as tracking IT assets and related configuration components from multiple sources of record, and managing software assets deployed in both physical and virtual environments. He talked about each challenge in detail and described the evolution from where they were to where they are today, and how they addressed those opportunities.  He focused much of the presentation on the challenges virtualization brings through server sprawl, identification, software licensing and compliance. Next he talked about how they integrated ITAM and CM processes through SACM and the challenges of adding virtualization into the SACM solution.   His evolutionary goal:  provide on-demand provisioning.


 


Most of the customers attending still use manual processes, such as spreadsheets, to manage hardware and software assets.  Over 50% don’t track virtual IT at all.  That was an eye opener to me especially with all the major software vendors threatening audits every year!  What do you think?


 


The webinar was recorded and is definitely worth listening to.  You can access it at https://h30406.www3.hp.com/campaigns/2010/events/1-8K6H1/index.php?rtc=3-3ER0SYB&jumpid=ex_r11374_us/en/large/eb/vanity_april27_virtualization_wave_sdr_ptr/rtc_3-3ER0SYB/20100310.

ISO 19770-2 SWID update

I know, I have been very tardy – sorry, but things like this happen and will continue to happen.  I am starting to like blogging, but there will be times when I will simply not be able to do this, when my “day job” will get in the way.  Some say that this is a part of my day job now – but I prefer to think about this as a way to “spread my wings”.  But enough about that…


Let’s get back to my thoughts about the Software Identification tags.  I have been waiting for some more news from Steve Klos from Tagvault.org.  Unfortunately for me (and you), Steve went on vacation and truly “unplugged” (I hope it wasn’t simply because cell phones don’t work under water J).


So, here is what I know now:


1.       GSA should have their policy established sometime in June (it would be nice if it was just before HP Software Universe).


2.       Tagvault.org held a contest to promote the use of tags.  Unfortunately, HP did not participate at this time, but believe me – not being the first out of the gate does not mean we are not interested (or else, why would I be writing to promote this topic).


If you go to the Tagvault.org website, you can watch a video of the contest results – if you are not familiar with the tags – it is a great way to get introduced to them.

IS ISO 19770 going far enough?

OK, I think everyone following my posts knows by now that I believe these tags are an important step in solving the challenges associated with Software Asset Management.  But, I really haven’t talked about whether this is enough or not.


Before I go further, let me review the different parts of this standard:


-1 – Established a set of best practices for implementing SAM


-2 – Created a first industry standard mechanism for identifying software installations


-3 – A proposed extension of the -2 standard focused on providing license model information


This is all I am aware of at the moment.  But, is this enough?  I don’t think so.  This is a series of great steps.  We are defining a set of best practices, which is great.  We are standardizing the collection of data, that’s awesome.  All of these are important in solving the SAM challenges.  But, we are not yet collecting enough data to make asset management truly simple.


The -2 and -3 standards will tell you items such as the name of the vendor, software title and version and type of licensing the application uses.  But, one very important piece is still missing.  We still don’t know how many licenses we are consuming.


I am not going to go into the details about some of the wild and crazy licensing schemes vendors have come up with.  All justified, at least in their minds.  Inventory Discovery tools, such as HP DDMI, do good job collecting all the data that is available – ISO 19770 standards will help, of course.  But, the existing standards will still not help the SAM professionals to reconcile licenses in use for many applications.  How do you get data for “per user” licenses?  That’s where I believe we will need a “-4” standard.  Only then we will have information about the software and manufacturer, type of licenses used and number of those licenses CONSUMED.

Are you in compliance with your software contracts?





Reducing cost seems to be on most people’s minds these days and software seems like a pretty obvious target. I’ve read that on average software constitutes 18 to 37 percent of the overall IT budget and Gartner in 2006 stated that 89 percent of executives believe license compliance is a corporate problem.  I’ve also read that Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) now offer large rewards for reports of license noncompliance or piracy.  And there are so many mandates that make software compliance important like Sarbanes-Oxley, copyright regulations, HIPPA…


 


Gartner also said that through 2008, 30 percent of large enterprises will experience at least one on-site software audit per year (0.7 probabilities). That’s pretty threading! You don’t want to have one of your software vendors audit you only to find that you are under-licensed or over-licensed and out of compliance with your software contract!  I know of a company that recently paid MILLONS of dollars to a major software vendor because they were under-licensed


 


It gets even more complicated when you consider virtualization!  Do you have any servers sitting around with software installed but they are unused?  Those are licenses you’re paying for that you aren’t even using.  Software vendors are now taking advantage of the ambiguity of software contracts relating to expanded license scope caused by technologies like virtualization.


 


There are a lot of challenges in managing software compliance and it’s difficult to address the challenges with manual processes.  The company I mentioned that spent millions of dollars in a software audit can’t afford to have that happen again.  They are implementing software asset management to automate software management processes.


 


What do you do to make sure your software is compliant or do you use a manual process?  How do you make sure your software is compliant when using Virtual Machines?  I want to hear from you!


 



 

When is IT Service Management a Life and Death Issue?

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), one of British Columbia’s six regional health authorities, implemented HP Service Manager software and ITIL processes to support clinical and IT systems across 14 hospitals and 90 community care sites. As a result, VCH has accelerated time-to-resolution from days to minutes, shedding $4,000 per month in costs. More importantly, VCH care providers now enjoy highly available and well performing clinical systems and are equipped to provide high standards of patient care. To learn how VCH achieved these results, check out the Vancouver Coastal Health ITSM case study, see the attached document below.

Labels: CMDB| ITSM

BCBS Florida’s approach to data driven change management- register for this up and coming Webcast


 When: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET



The Infrastructure and interdependencies between resources just keep getting more complex.  Register now to join Thomas Dosedel, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida in discussion with Mike O’Grady, HP, as he shares their approach towards more reliable and consistent IT change management including improving visibility to impact analysis, centralizing control through a virtual CAB and retaining the knowledge.


http://mediazone.brighttalk.com/event/HP/460b491b91-3728-intro?TID=HPBLOG

HP Service Manager customer becomes more agile with consistent change management - learn more about this up and coming webcast

CMT becomes more agile with consistent change management



Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET


 


CMT faced pressures of speed and risk - to be more responsive to business needs and more consistent on risk and impact analysis.  Register now to hear Tuilo Quinones, Manager of Enterprise Service Management, share detail on their approach to create repeatable and consistent change management including building efficiency, leveraging the service catalog, managing non-standard changes and simplifying the change workflow process. 


http://mediazone.brighttalk.com/event/HP/9e406957d4-3721-intro?TID=HPBLOG

Are You Dancing or Wrestling With Your ITSM Applications?

Did you ever notice how working with some software is like dancing, and other software is like wrestling?

 

How do you engage your CMDB, your Service Management applications? Do you dance or wrestle with them?

 

Do they anticipate your every need? Do they try to lead you to the next step, even if you're not sure? Or, must you force it onto the ground and win or lose based on strength vs. mass?

 

Must you use your CMDB in anger or is it inexpensive and easy to go query or integrate something? Does your CMDB keep your data "in jail"? Is everything always customization, or in the "next" release? These things add up!

 

It almost seems intentional sometimes. You can imagine a sumo developer, sitting up in his ivory tower, pondering his product's next feature. He's very good at building traps for unsuspecting or insufficiently expert users that don't measure up to his expectations of a user. He knows enough about the real world to be dangerous.

 

Smiling, he envisions the user face-down on the mat, begging for mercy. Yes, a newbie trap would be very good here, he reasons. Reaching for his keyboard, mentally he begins to wrestle with the user. The poor guy trying to implement it doesn't stand a chance:

  

 sumo_mismatch.jpg          sumo.jpg                        

 

Now of course we have to assume that our developer is very busy, that he can't overcome all the obstacles, that he's limited in his choices, that his budget is already set and he can't really listen to the users just now. And that bothersome product manager is a noob himself, so they're no help. Everything would just be ok if everybody did what I said, he thinks. That's it. My software will impose my will over the users. Make 'em do what I think they need to be doing.   Phooey on their use cases. Mine are better.

 

Now this is admittedly a cynical view. But tell me every one of you haven't used software that made you wonder if something like this wasn't just a tiiiiny bit true.  Tell me I'm wrong.

 

What if we were able to look at our Sumo developer's bag of tricks?    How would he make his product wrestle with his users? What would he do on the odd day he feels merciful and lets the user get something done easily and efficiently?  Even a developer has to give his people and his community a little respect.

 

Let's do some speculation.  C'mon, conjecture is fun! Besides, it's just the pejorative of "guessing". Which is, in reality, why a lot of software seems to be made to wrestle. The developer isn't evil, they just don't know. But let's not let that spoil our little developmental circus. On to the mind of our jovial but evil Sumo programmer:

 

Dancing

Wrestling

Having UIs for all configuration and deployment

Use text configuration a lot. Throw in some XML editing too. Make it all in different formats. For fun, change it every version.  Make configuration UI a low priority.  Make 'em wait for IDEs at least two or three releases.

Low TCO, easy to manage

Cost of integration is greater than the cost of the products

Positive OOBE (out-of-box experience)

Requires a consultant to take it out of the box

Users feel like the interface designer understood and faced the same needs and efficiencies and structures as they

Users wonder if the interface designer has talked to a customer

You have to do so few clicks to do something that the designer must have known this would be a frequently-used path and planned it that way

You have to do so many clicks to do something that you realize the designer never imagined this function would actually be used that way

User doesn't have to remember something between screens

User is required to remember complex names or strings between screens

Path(s) to do things are well-lit and clearly-defined

Path is not intuitive or is overly circuitous. Sometimes there just is no path

Any data entry error erases properly-entered data and forces you to re-enter or start over

Data entry error handling preserves all preservable user work

UI performs well all around

The more important the function, the worse it performs

Server and UI are stable, do not crash except under extraordinary circumstances

You have to do a lot of work and do things exactly right to minimize the number of crashes

Does not make you change your processes or organization to fit technology specifics

Requires obtrusive engineering or processes all it's own to be implemented in the organization

Natively understands ITSM processes and terms

Product feels like a generic platform fitted with ITSM restraints

Security is ubiquitous and transparent, mostly

Secure usage is painful because the Sumo developer wants to develop features, not security.  Security takes next-to-last place in priority ahead only of documentation.

Documentation was a priority. The developers wrote the documentation as part of their responsibility. It's not painful to read the doc.

Documentation was an afterthought. The developers were forced to "write" documentation or face consequences, so they jotted down a few bullets and handed it to the writers. The resulting lack of quality is painful and obvious.

UI is consistent. Menus, dialogue boxes, presentation, lists, right-clicks, etc. all seem to be the same thing

The evil developer bakes UI components based on his mood. Things are situated every which way to keep the users on their toes. For fun, switch around the "yes/no" choices and use double-negative choices ("Yes, I don't want to undo my 'yes' answer" - Huh?)

Diagnostics are easy. Logs and monitoring are easy to plug in and use

You better hope nothing goes wrong

If you do something bad, the product gracefully tries to tell you and help you.

It's easy for the user to crash the product or corrupt data.

The product doesn't allow a basic user to do any damage.

Even a basic user can create big problems for other users

Users smile when using the product

Users blood pressure increases when using the product

Product has expertise scalability - it's easy for both beginner and advanced users to use

New users cannot use the product. Only experienced users can use it. There are no new users of the product.

UI was designed under standard standards

UI was developed according to the developer's whimsy

Can install and manage it's own database, but allows external configuration as well

Either has full control or no control over database installation and configuration

 

I'm sure all of you have encountered at least of few these wrestling matches. But when you find a product you can dance with, it's beautiful. My question to you is, have any of you found a dancing CMDB? A dancing Service Management tool? The Grace Kelly of Asset Managers?

 

Our developers aren't evil. But I'm sure they occasionally entertain naughty thoughts. They're quite talented and for the most part, they're great dancers. If you're tired of wrestling with your ITSM solutions, drop in or give us a call. We'll dance with you.

 

Thanks!

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About the Author(s)
  • HP IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager. I am also responsible for our end-to-end Change, Configuration, and Release Management (CCRM) solution. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.
  • David has led a career in Enterprise Software for over 20 years and has brought to market numerous successful IT management products and innovations.
  • I am the PM of UCMDB and CM. I have a lot of background in configuration management, discovery, integrations, and delivery. I have been involved with the products for 12 years in R&D and product management.
  • Gil Tzadikevitch HP Software R&D Service Anywhere
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • Jacques Conand is the Director of ITSM Product Line, having responsibility for the product roadmap of several products such as HP Service Manager, HP Asset Manager, HP Universal CMDB, HP Universal Discovery and the new HP Service Anywhere product. Jacques is also chairman of the ITSM Customer Advisory Board, ensuring the close linkage with HP's largest customers.
  • Jody Roberts is a researcher, author, and customer advocate in the Product Foundation Services (PFS) group in HP Software. Jody has worked with the UCMDB product line since 2004, and currently takes care of the top 100 HP Software customers, the CMS Best Practices library, and has hosted a weekly CMDB Practitioner's Forum since 2006.
  • Mary is a member of HP’s ITSM product marketing team and is responsible for HP Service Anywhere. She has 20+ years of product marketing, product management, and channel/alliances experience. Mary joined HP in 2010 from an early-stage SaaS company providing hosted messaging and mobility services. She also has product management experience in the ITSM industry. Mary has a BS in Computer Science and a MBA in Marketing. Follow: @MaryRasmussen_
  • Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Michael joined HP in 1989 and has held various positions in HP Software since 1996. In product marketing and product management Michael worked on different areas of the IT management software market, such as market analysis, sales content development and business planning for a broad range of products such as HP Operations Manager and HP Universal CMDB.
  • Ming is Product Manager for HP ITSM Solutions
  • Nimish Shelat is currently focused on Datacenter Automation and IT Process Automation solutions. Shelat strives to help customers, traditional IT and Cloud based IT, transform to Service Centric model. The scope of these solutions spans across server, database and middleware infrastructure. The solutions are optimized for tasks like provisioning, patching, compliance, remediation and processes like Self-healing Incidence Remediation and Rapid Service Fulfilment, Change Management and Disaster Recovery. Shelat has 21 years of experience in IT, 18 of these have been at HP spanning across networking, printing , storage and enterprise software businesses. Prior to his current role as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager, Shelat has held positions as Software Sales Specialist, Product Manager, Business Strategist, Project Manager and Programmer Analyst. Shelat has a B.S in Computer Science. He has earned his MBA from University of California, Davis with a focus on Marketing and Finance.
  • Oded is the Chief Functional Architect for the HP Service and Portfolio Management products, which include Service Manager, Service Anywhere, Universal CMDB & Discovery, Asset Manager, Project and Portfolio Manager.
  • Olivier is Product Line Manager for the HP Configuration Management System (CMS) which is comprised of UCMDB, UCMDB Configuration Manager, the UCMDB Browser, and Universal Discovery.
  • I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the product since 1996. I love SM, our ecosystem, and our customers and I am committed to do my best to keep you appraised of what is going on. I will even try to keep you entertained as I do so. Oh and BTW... I not only express my creativity in writing but I am a fairly accomplished oil painter.
  • WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for HP ITPS VP of Apps & HP Load Runner
  • Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marketing. At HP she is responsible for go to market and enablement of the HP IT Performance Suite products.
  • A 25+ year veteran of HP, Yvonne is currently a Senior Product Manager of HP ITSM software including HP Service Anywhere and HP Service Manager. Over the years, Yvonne has had factory and field roles in several different HP businesses, including HP Software, HP Enterprise Services, HP Support, and HP Imaging and Printing Group. Yvonne has been masters certified in ITIL for over 10 years and was co-author of the original HP IT Service Management (ITSM) Reference Model and Primers.
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