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Pedal to the metal - HP widens its leadership gap in ITIL v3 certification


HP Service Manager has taken a big leap forward in its ITIL v3 leadership position.  HP Service Manager 7.1x is now certified by OGC (the creators of ITIL) at the Gold Level in nine ITIL v3 processes, three times the lead of the next closest vendor’s product.   


 


The Gold Level certification is hard to achieve (see my previous blog entry to get more detail on that).  It means that multiple customers provided documented proof to the auditors that they are using HP Service Manager to automate their ITIL v3 processes. 


 


Here is a list of the ITIL processes implemented within HP Service Manager that have been certified at the Gold Level:


 


1. Incident Management


2. Problem Management


3. Change Management


4. Service Asset & Configuration Management


5. Service Catalog Management


6. Request Fulfillment


7. Service Level Management


8. Knowledge Management


9. Service Portfolio Management


 


Customers who understand the value of fully embedded ITIL v3 best practices have it easier than ever before.  Now that HP Service Manager is the clear leader on OGC's certification scorecard it will certainly help many of these customers determine, without a doubt, that HP Service Manager is their best choice to help run IT like a business.


 


 



 

How far will your tires take you?


When you are getting ready for a long drive, you make sure your car is in good working order.  One of the things you check is tires.  After all, you won’t get far without tires, and you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere because you blew your tire and have no spare, or had an accident because your tires were bold and the car skidded in the rain.


Discovery is like tires for different IT solution.  Whether you are talking about managing end points, implementing CMDB or an Asset Management solution, you need to be able to discover the environment relevant to your needs.


We tend to focus today on “higher level” solutions.  CMDB and CMS are hot!  Software Asset Management is up there as well.  Everyone spends lots of time selecting and evaluating the right products in those areas.  We make sure they can handle the size of our environment, have the functions that we need to assist in our daily jobs.  That’s great – choosing the right product is paramount – I recall working with one of the large IT industry analyst companies a few years ago.  They rated the product I was selling at the time as the best in the market.  But, when we tried to get them to adopt it internally, they were very quick to point out that what is best in the market, may not fit their specific needs.  Yes, they implemented our product in the end, but the point was made – choose products that meet your needs, not the ones that are marketed the most or evaluated as the best.  But I digress…


Let me focus on Asset Management, since that is what I am most familiar with these days.  You evaluate Asset Management products and choose the best one (of course, I hope the winning product is HP Asset ManagerJ).  You choose the right product for asset management, but how do you populate inventory data?  Many customers simply choose to use existing products for feeding data to the Asset Manager product.  Why?  Because they are already deployed and, well, data is data, right?


If you buy a car, you make sure it looks good, it feels comfortable and handles well.  When you get into an IT solution, like Asset Management, you pick the right product that fits your needs.  But, when it comes to data collection many people say, I will just use whatever I have.  It’s cheaper and data is data.  Except that in many cases data has to be transformed into information.  And that will cost time, effort and money.  It will require ongoing maintenance as the environment changes.  Do you want to maintain a custom solution?  In majority of situations IT does not want to have a “custom” implementation of any products anymore.  Do you just stick whatever tires are the cheapest?  Would you put 14 inch tires on a Hummer? No.  And you shouldn’t pick the cheapest discovery tool either.  You should make sure it meets your needs, and one of the criteria must be “does it provide the data the consuming products need” and “is the data in a format that is easily consumed”.  It is true that you will likely end up with multiple tools that collect overlapping data.  It will cost you some storage and it will cost some resources to collect and transfer to the destination.  But, the cost of the overlap should be quite small.  And the value of the right data in the right format is that the overall solution will work as intended and required.


If you buy a Hummer, don’t skimp on the tires.  Make sure the discovery product you use delivers the data you need with little or no customization.  It will be safer, more comfortable and cheaper in the long run.


 


Is Your CMS "On Fire"?

How does one measure the "Quality" of something?  What does CMS "Quality" mean?   "High-Quality" is thrown around without much substantiation, especially in the world of software.


 


My friend Dennis says  that for a CMS to work it must be actionable.  Of course we all agree.  But how many of us are measuring (or trying) the actionability of the CMS?  What are the metrics for measuring "actionability" and any other metrics which are important to its other and lower functions?  How is it possible to measure fuzzy, subjective, inexact things like  "data quality"?  At what point does measuring the CMS become ROI analysis?  I'm full of questions today.


 


Let's start pedantically for fun:


 


On Fire: adj. 1. Positive connotation: A continual period of producing exceptional work.  On a winning or lucky streak.  "Three goals in one game, he's on fire!".  The good kind of on fire.


 


2. Negative connotation: Exceptionally behind schedule or fraught with so many problems as to seriously hinder, halt, or even reverse forward progress.  "Our waiter is so in the weeds he's on fire."  Aka "mega-backlogged" or "dead in the water".      The bad kind of on fire.


 


3. Aflame, as in, seriously hot, or producing a glow or light.   Can apply to either prior definitions.


 


Fighting Fires:  Helping someone who is on fire in the bad way.  Commonly for someone important.    It is possible to catch fire  from fighting too many fires at once.  So much for my dictionary-writing skills.


 


For whatever acronym that is commercially and culturally significant to you, there's a way to say you're On Fire -  in both the good and bad ways.


 


Is your CMS on fire?  How would you know?  What metrics would one look at?  Is there such a thing as a CMS "thermometer"?    Let's call it a CMS-o-Meter:


 


 



 


 


During implementation, it's easier to tell if your CMS project is on fire.  Assuming we defined clear goals and have reasonable success criteria, we can look to the early deliverables and status reports like any other project to determine how on fire we are one way or another.


 


But operationally, once you get the CMS or part of it built, how does one measure it's temperature?


 


What if your pile of CIs were as important as, say, a nuclear pile - you pretty much couldn't go without a thermometer.  Kind of important to avoid catching fire.  Big, hot fire.  The kind that burns you for a long time.  How important is the CMS to your IT?  Got anything valuable in there?  Research like this and personal experience show that it is as easy to blow up your CMDB project.


 


Two tried and true methods are  to find  and measure quality for almost anything is by 1) what's important to the consumer and  2) what's important to whoever is responsible for the maintenance.  This is true for a car or a Service Desk or a CMDB or a CMS.


 


Research from Gartner suggests monitoring data quality is not widespread, and the decision to monitor data quality  falls as either an afterthought or chronically shorted on resources due to the cost of not only doing the monitoring but learning how.


 


Use case and Consumer-based metrics could include  qualitative  vectors like timeliness and accuracy of the consumed information.  These are often difficult and costly to measure, but they're the best indicators.  I believe you should invest here if you can.  Talk to the users.  Measure the value chain as far up and including the business as you can.  Are your change control and closed-loop incident/problem management processes working better?  Is your MTBF and MTTR improving?  Did the business lose less money due to critical availability downtime?


 


 Process-based measurements could be important too, such as, the performance of the CMS itself - what is the latency when you open an RFC or when the Service Desk creates an incident (both processes which can consume or provide data to/from the CMS)?


 


Administration-based metrics are usually more foundational and architectural:  Does the system work?  Is it secure?    Is working  with the software more like dancing or more like wrestling?  Do you get good support from the vendor, and as importantly, is it easy to work with support?  Is R&D responsive on patching major problems?  Is the vendor forthcoming with their road map?


 


Stratifying the measurements this way will help. 


 


The takeaway here is not to give you a comprehensive list, it's that you should be concerned about and invest in quality measurement of your CMS and it's data as much as the data itself.  


 


Think about making the CMS actionable.


 


Build yourself the right thermometer for your CMS.


 


Calibrate your CMS-o-Meter to make sure it's reporting accurately.


 


Then monitor these metrics.  Operationally, in Production, like you mean it.  Treat it as you would any other production applications according to it's priority in your organization.


 


When you're on fire, what do you do?  Let us know with a reply.  We'd always like to hear if you found this post useful, offensive, or just amusing for a few minutes.  Thanks.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Wild, Angry Bees and Why Your ITSM Vendor Needs Them

For some years now, I've been building up a resistance to kool-aid.  How?  Personally, I'm a pretty calm balanced person.  But as a software professional, I'm a wild, angry beekeeper.  I'll explain.


 


Angry is good, sometimes - A wise man once said, it is impossible to truly know the capabilities of a product unless it is used in anger.  This spoke volumes to me when I read it.  It explained so many problems, to me especially problems associated with product quality.  UI design and friendliness.  The OOBE (out-of-box experience)  KPI.   TTV (Time-To-Value).  Why it is sometimes so hard to get a non-trivial problem reproduced and fixed.


 


Wild vs. Tame - As a software professional employed by a vendor, one tends to become familiar and even attached in a geeky sort of way to the products with which one works.    From your product's perspective, you are "tame" to it, as opposed to a user, who is "wild" to it.  An example of a "wild" user is someone who has been given a tool without direct choice, someone who hasn't been "sold" on the product.  Someone who can draw objective, unbiased  conclusions about the product's suitability.


 


"Wild" users seem to frighten software vendors.  Wild angry users are more likely to seek out and verbalize defects, and are resistant to lame workarounds (we all know the smell of a lame workaound that's a poor fit, or impractical to implement.  Especially when an obviously lame feature is "working as designed".  Yes, but it was poorly designed.  WAD is a loophole designed to take the vendor off the hook .


 


And that is a very well-designed and functional loophole, don't you fall into it.  My advice for wild, angry users:



  • Get on the vendor's advisory board.

  • Be active on forums and communities where these ideas are discussed.

  • Don't give up.  Persistence will get you very far.

  • escalate if the Working-as-designed isn't

  • DOCUMENT your problem, don't just complain about it.

  • Have a positive attitude when you're working with Support, especially if you are a Wild user.

  • If you angrily tell the tech support person "Your product is broken, fix it.", while it may clearly be broken, and while it may clearly need fixing, you're going to get a lot more help more willingly if you are forthcoming with details and are just a little bit nice. 


 


Here's my hyphothesis:  If you are sufficiently "tame", "workarounds" become indistinguishable from "features".  But if you are wild, "workarounds" anger you.  Every time you have to do a "workaround", you just wasted a little of your time and your company's money trying to make a product do something which it should do (your justification for spending time on it) but doesn't (the problem wasn't anticipated or wasn't important enough to fix in the version you're using.)


 


 The lesson and challenge is for software organizations to use wild  QA and product management and (were it possible) wild marketing.  It will HELP you to find out your own problems before the paying wild customers do.  Expensive but worth it - tell me if you agree, would you pay more for a product that had wild users QA it first?    The famous physicist Richard Feynman said it best:  You first have to work at not fooling yourself - then it is easy to not fool others.  If you've never read his cargo cult science speech, it is illuminating and priceless if you care about research or technology integrity.


 


Bees - We tend to want to go after the major themes and features going into the next release, the "big game".  The relatively slow, big targets, and only dangerous if you get too close.


 


But while you're waiting for the big game to come along, you're constantly attacked by diminutive "almost-bugs"  -  bees and mosquitoes - all the small features or lack thereof which add up to either a very positive or very negative feeling about the product's usability.  It is these that will kill a product more quickly than starvation, if you don't deal with them quickly.


 


Tame users are used to the bee stings.  But wild users are not.  Bees can be big mistakes in the eyes of the "wild" users.  Anger-generating mistakes.  Anger not often understood by the vendor.    "Can't you just…" is the wrong attitude no matter what words  follow.  It's the death of a thousand bee stings to a vendor.  High TCO.  Unfriendly features.  It's not being run over by the elephant.  You can adjust your road map and invest in the new feature and do it right, recover or advance or whatever, but it's very difficult to recover from a thousand angry bees - wild users who get stung a lot tend to sabotage your product if they can in retaliation for being forced to use what they perceive as a poor choice of product.


 


This post is really an essay on software engineering.  The tie-in to Configuration Management is, I want this short post to be a mental runway from which you can fly to your own conclusions about your choice of vendor for your ITSM solutions.  For some really good  essays on Software Engineering, check out this gentleman, Mr. Fred Brooks,  and his timeless anchor-to-reality classic, The Mythical Man-Month.  Mr. Brooks is the father of much of what we know as commercial software today. 


 


Maybe you wild and angry beekeepers out there will understand a little better the tremendous opposing forces facing software vendors.  Maybe you competitors will realize how one gets so far behind GOOD software companies that understand my wild and angry allegory.  And maybe, just maybe, you can help me keep a burr under our own R&D saddle - they ride fastest that way.  With love to all my R&D friends, of course!  They really do a tremendous job given their constraints.


 


I'm very interested in what you have to say about my Wild Angry Bees.  Please comment and let us know.  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.
  • 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: @MaryR_Colorado
  • 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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