Jumping through Hoops for IT Services
What happens when a CIO, a Service Desk Manager and an Industry Junkie Chat Weekly?!
Guest: Craig Wilkey
Episode 88 Topics:
**News Gator: Updates from Tech**
YES...THE PODCAST transcript!!!
ITSM Weekly The Podcast bringing you news, insight, analysis and information from the the world of IT Service Management. Your host, Matthew Cooper, Chris Dancy and Matt Beran. IT Service Management Weekly The Podcast starts now.
Welcome to ITSM Weekly The Podcast for the week ending April 27th. News gator, that open, that spirit, Frank Wilke.
Oh, you're gonna burst a bubble.
I don't think I've ever seen you turn that shirt to red dress.
We don't have any real news. Can we get a newspaper sound?
How about a news purr?
How about crickets?
Can we get crickets? And just to spite them, give us some news poodles. You do this in the other shows right? They all have those sounds.
I guess before you guys get started, 'cause I can spend five minutes from you. Have you been watching the Twitter string?
A little bit.
Of course not you have a tool that curates it for you why would you
It obviously wasn't important enough.
I'm high profile.
Does Mrs. Hooper, call the phone?
She has to text.
I texted you and you didn't call me back for three hours.
Yeah, I got you in a different life mode.
Isn't that a phony? Yeah. Yeah. What life mode do you have being Dancy's puppet.
I don't know.
I don't have a life mode.
So yeah. A couple interesting things. Stephen Mann has single handedly turned into the PR department for every conference ever given. I mean all he's doing is repeating stuff from vendors for a sits.
Yeah. The Forrester stuff that was coming out there was fantastic.
From out of what?
Out of. Not the SDITS or however you said it. The other one that they were at yesterday.
Wilkey, do you watch the stuff? Do you follow the Steven Mann?
I follow him but I haven't really been paying attention to the stream. I'm on vacation. I just look for mentions.
Dude I just realized it's 4.20 you got sunglasses on, you you're inside, what's up with that?
I wish, I got no contacts out here. Do you have any?
Don't ask Hooper if he's got marijuana while he's recording a podcast that's gonna be on the internet. Mrs. Hooper that's the strike number four. I think for her ever listening to the show.
Yeah. Well, actually, that wasn't a bad one 'cause I had no idea what he was talking about.
So that actually goes in my favor.
So, Hoop, I have to ask with that plunging neckline and the gorilla crawling out of your shirt. How does that work?
It's called being a man.
I wouldn't know much about that.
It's beautiful here. Actually, my short-sleeves which is almost never happens.
Ah, and you go to that gym. I see you check-in all that old. So yeah Steven Mann's tweets are kind of hot. He's really the analyst of analysts. The only thing is, did you guys see? You didn't, but here's this really cool app or application I saw today called OneDesk. And it takes engagement management, feedback, customer service, project development, support cast and social media monitoring and puts it in one tool.
What's it called again?
OneDesk. That being said it is the interface is junky looking, but you know you can skin anything, ask Michael Meyers.
Interface is continued, and we talked about this before, continued to be overrated. If it doesn't have the functionality and the power, everyone talks about, "Oh, it's gotta have this sexy UI.
It's gotta be delightful." Give me a break. If it doesn't scale and it doesn't work functionality I don't care how anything looks.
First off, Mrs. Hooper might scale, but she's damn sexy, so I know you can.
She's here for me.
Hey, when it comes to selling, you got to have both.
Yeah. Even when I think about Matt's wife, she's hot.
Oh yeah, quite.
Yeah you should see my wife. All right. So, back to what we were saying. So yeah, to the UI point, what's his name, who's the guy from New Zealand who's always complaining. The IT skeptic. I couldn't think of his name out, I just go ahead and type descriptors.
I love how everybody has a beer but me. See, he tweeted today that since he started the update on his site, it's made no difference in his bounce rate. So content is still king.
Well, yeah. I don't follow him on Twitter either so content is still king.
So again, I don't follow, I don't check out Skep’s site because I get everything to RSS feeds. I get all of the stuff plugged into me so I don't know what this new site looks like.
I think I will check it out.
I mean it's nice.
I mean I kind of wanted to tell them it made a difference to me because it's easier on the eyes.
Because you're shallow and superficial. And you only care about looks.
Speaking of shallow and superficial I don't but because I'm getting ready to go to London I just have my nose waxed.
My face was my nasolabial has been methodically eradicated. I didn't want to admit I was getting a waxing.
Is it painful?
No. It's really weird because they wax all hair in your nose at one time, so they put a popsicle stick up in your nose, and then I let it dry, so it becomes like one of those freeze pops, and then as soon as the wax is hard and it's dry, they just yank.
I'll put a link in those show notes. I actually have a video on YouTube of me getting it done.
So what ITSM process is that, Chris?
That would be change and release management. And the person most familiar with that process would be Chaz Bono.
Decommission. That's part of decommission and recycling, right?
Look at you go, Beran.
That's like the last step, you get rid of the server, and yank it out of the rack, so to speak. And then I don't know, did you send it to a recycling center, Chris? Like a hair implant or?
I didn't send my nose hair anywhere, Matt, alright? This is now the time that I have to go. You wait until I have to hang up to pick on me.
It's perfect timing. It's perfect.
It's because I love you, Chris.
We were actually going to talk about ITSM in this episode, so it's actually good that you're leaving.
Go ahead, start.
Do what you have to.
You guys got a very nice compliment from Riitta Raesmaa today that we're her favorite pick-me-up.
Oh she made my day.
You guys I think in some ways you guys don't get to experience the love like I do. Because when I'm traveling, we just have people all over the place who, I don't know, they're definitely not interested in ITSM. But technically, listen.
She must not be. Now, she is fantastic and the reason that I think she called us out anyway is I called her out as fantastic.
Yesterday I checked into Twitter for like, I only had about 10 minutes yesterday 'cause the kids were going crazy, I got a sick daughter, whatever. And I checked in for like 10 minutes, the first 12 tweets that and I saw her all got favorited. They all had quality content. It was insane. Her specifically was using social media for onboarding. I'll put the link on the show notes.
But it's a really good perspective on not only, it's not the same old, you've got to use LinkedIn to apply to jobs BS. It's how to continue on beyond hiring people and what needs to happen socially in an enterprise beyond the hire. Like, give them a platform to voice their opinions while they're there.
It's the start-up stuff. As soon as you're at a company, those first three minutes that you're there, the time you're the most productive and most valuable.
Until you corrupted.
What specifically was she talking about when you use social media for on-boarding? Like that's how you get them on to social media and make sure they're engaged. Was it more about Yammer and more about the social media?
I have a feeling he only read the three and just pretended he understood the law now.
Come on now, Chris. You know me better than that.
I do. Are you medicated ?
Well, I guess technically yes. It's a pale ill.
If you drink that can you hear the bounce in that ball will your head pop?
Been there, done that.
It's possible. No what they're talking about is, you know, everyone's talking about how to connect with people and connect with new candidates on social media. And everyone talks about how that the Facebook password username thing that companies want and that their spying on you like on Twitter and Facebook to see if you're, you know wanking off during work and not actually doing work.
I used to.
When we talked about that on two episodes. Matt brought it up. That was Hoopers news. And it was then and still is a myth. In any case, what it talks about is from not just to do it from then but to continue on. Like, if your HR is doing that, you know, at least if you're gonna use it to accept the candidate you need to continue to follow through.
Because if you hire them based on their social media. There's gonna be quality content there for your employees. And making sure that they know that that content is there is key.
I think it's also important to have that connection there in an increasingly virtual world. You're not working with your coworkers in the same building, shaking hands with each other, getting them actively engaging in the social media within the organization is a way for them to really connect with their co-workers and be accepted into the community.
Which makes me wonder why I should have just released the blog that I'm afraid to release, because I know everybody will, but why don't we have social profiles in the enterprise? Why can't I click on, you know, something in active directory and read all about my Matt Hooper, what he's into, the last tickets he raised, the last questions he answered, the last knowledge he did, the last two offices he was at. Why can't I see that in the enterprise?
Yeah. I think it applies even more at a sourcing firm, whether it be consulting or just flat-out outsourcing, if a client wants to see the value of the consultants check out their social stream. Like, if I'm gonna contract with Forrester, I'm gonna check out Stephen Mann, I'm gonna be impressed, and then I'm going to buy it.
If I'm checking out Tata Consulting. I'm gonna look at @jimbofin, and then I'm going to realize that I'm paying for IT consulting and I'm getting puppy consulting.
If you're paying for Tata Consulting, you check out @jimbofin, you're going to realize he likes Blip Photo.
Sorry you would actually have to be on Twitter, Hooper.
Twitter is a waste of time.
That's how I met you. That's how I met you.
Let that sink in. Just let that sink in Hooper.
Okay. Just read my tweets from today. I tweet plenty.
Yeah. You need a PHP developer in Boston. Everyone in the world knows it.
Thank you. You know PHP?
I still haven't hired one yet, so it's not working for me.
I'm familiar with Python and I have references. Okay. So, yeah, the social thing for onboarding, I don't know. The most valuable thing I get out of LinkedIn is clicking on who viewed my profile.
And I have never done that, not even once.
Yeah, I've never done it. Linking or not, you just hover over the link and click.
It's on the front page!
Never tried it.
Hooper? Oh, I know you do.
All the time. Yeah. I'll do it right now.
Yeah, I don't pay for it though, so I get limited information.
Alright so everybody let's bring up our LinkedIn and look at our last 5 people who looked at our profiles.
What's it called?
Just go to linkedin.com.
It's on the very front page.
Who's viewed your profile?
So I've got Rory Dar, DAR. He's a consultant at an IT and staffing company in England. An anonymous user. A director at Salesforce.com. Well, that's good. And Sarah Kellerman from Penn State University.
And I've got two people from my own company.
Another one from the company that tried to hire me. It's a local Microsoft shop. And then, a teacher that used to be in HDI. Yeah, I remember him.
So I have an anonymous LinkedIn user, someone in University Catholic De La Questa.
You are a little Latin devil, you.
I have someone from Diversified Search.
Well, that's good. An account manager at PC Connection.
And then John Kennedy, a search adviser. See I've been posting a lot of stuff about recruitment because recruiters actually like SMAK and we've been getting site.
You found your niche.
Yeah, a lot of recruiters, people in the executive retain search space.
That and public relations people. So I've been going on putting stuff out there, so it makes sense that they would click on my site. Let's see. Mark Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman.
What do you got, Wilke?
Stop stalking me. Stop stalking me
. I have things to do.
I had Mark on the phone earlier and I just had to hang up on him.
He was all bent out of shape about Instagram and it's just a hot mess right now.
I don't know any of these people. Somebody who sent me a message asked me if I can find them a job at Citi (Citibank).
You'd get a lot of those. I would think that everybody wants to work for the evil corporate giants.
I've gotten two, that's it.
Can I work at City? Now you've gotten three.
There you go. Send me a message out loud right now.
I wouldn't last a day at Citi. I'm barely skipping along at this little company I work at now. You work at ServiceNow.
I can't say that.
I wasn't sure if you forgot where you worked.
No, but I do get constantly reminded that, the other day, someone said to me, "Can you please stop introducing yourself, when someone asks you, what you do. We don't like it when you say, can't you Google me? It makes you sound arrogant."
I don't think it makes you sound arrogant. It makes you sound like you're telling the truth.
No, I actually started doing it a long time ago as a joke and I kind of get what they mean. I mean, if I'm just meeting someone, yeah, it's hard to take all of me in in just a second your head would explode. So, if that's my lead-in, you know, it can be weird. Once you know me for like 10 minutes, stay away.
Wasn't there like 700 IOS apps that were supposed to take care of that so we could just like punch each other and then we'd know everything about each other.
Yeah, or like the Evernote thing.
Oh, Evernote Faces, or something.
Yeah. No Evernote Hello.
You see Evernote got a 100 millon of funding yesterday with a capital of one billion now.
You got to kidding me.
They're gonna need it, because I'm never gonna pay for it.
This bubble better pay off for me.
Dude, I always wonder, but I'm actually more sure than ever, you're gonna get off.
Even if the podcast has to buy you to get you to start participating with us again
Is that part of your strategy, Hooper, is that the end goal actually, to get purchased?
I don't know, you know, its not why I'm building it this is a problem that I've had of not being able to be responsive to people. And slowly but surely I'm becoming more responsive in getting my life back under control. So at the end of the day, that's why I built this thing.
I've got to go. I've got a flight to catch to London, and then I've got to go to Orlando.
Chris, thanks for joining us today.
Hey, it's always great to drop in to this little thing. Wilke.
It's been a pleasure having you on.
Shut up, you freak, now I'm all embarrassed. Wilke, take over for me. Alright, love you guys.
Safe trip. So we can actually now talk about ITSM.
You have to be careful now. You know he's gonna watch this.
He'll actually learn something.
Oh, crap! That's what ITSM stands for.
I still don't know.
So the SM is not social media.
Yeah, that's terrible. We're terrible people. It looks terrible. I wish it was nice enough here that I could be wearing a shirt that shows off my chest, but it just sucks.
It's beautiful outside. All week it’s been great.
It is fantastic here in Boston.
Hey, you don't pay rent or anything, do you? You don't have to lease anything.
I'm paying right now because we weren't one of the winners of last year. The winners last year got free rent. But we just did reapply. So go to MassChallenge.org and vote for Smack. And hopefully we'll get in again this year. Yeah, 'cause we haven't taken financing yet. Any companies who've taken over half a million dollars can't apply.
I wouldn't have to either.
A half million doesn't go very far. Well no it would just back fill your credit card at this point. He's laughing so it's probably true.
Yes. Once again, good thing my wife does not listen on this podcast.
That's awesome. So for our guests today, I asked Beran, I said, I want to do a show where we can kind of get down to some real ITSM stuff.
You know, we plug it in here and there on the show but offline we've had some fantastic conversations and you know, we get into some of the nitty gritty and some of the dirty work. And so, I really wanted to get back to some of the grassroots stuff of ITSM, kind of in the #back2ITSM Facebook launch theme, I guess.
So one of the things that I wanted to talk about today, Beran with you. Because you are the man, is on, in and around a service desk. We are always concerned about how we have work flow. And so, as I think about the projects I've done around service desks and then actually doing a little bit of consulting right now for a company helping them get a service desk in place.
Just so I can feed the kids. It's a part time gig, but it's they're pretty savvy and they're very technical so mostly just hand-holding around the process stuff. Right out of the gate they wanted the self-service component of a service desk and handling work flow through the self service portal is always a challenge for people, 'cause you need a starting point.
What I've noticed is that immediately they went to the more traditional IT mindset of, "Okay, people are going to come here looking for IT stuff", and the reality is, you know, my experience goes back, with service catalogs, to 2005, 2006, when I started working with PMG which is an independent service catalog, one of the few.
NewScale is probably the other. I don't know. Is NewScale still around today?
Yeah, NewScale still around.
So, you know, the service catalog always from those two companies had always been something more than just IT stuff, right? IT services, it wasn't mail servers, desktop provisioning, it always was I have this business, application of business service I need, or, you know, take HR, HR was part of the Six Catalog.
You go click on HR, there are many HR service issue you could drill into. You could go into onboarding.
Click on onboarding and maybe there was different types of onboarding services for the different people. So for instance you talked about the social media integration, well maybe for some people we in the on-boarding process we do need to set up an Yammer account and let them have access to Facebook and Twitter because, you know, for their role and for their value proposition they will bring value to business by having access to those services, but for some, maybe someone who's in a call center, it would become a distractive service.
Maybe call center is a bad example because I don't fundamentally believe that. But let's say that for instance, you would have two different services you could ask for. A role based service provisioning, right? So, when I look at it from my standpoint on how we want the service catalog to allow for self provisioning, it has to be driven and geared towards your user.
You have to think your user and how they operate. So I'd love to get you guys' thoughts on that and what you've seen and maybe kind of examples of mistakes that you've seen and some examples of some good things that you've seen in getting the work flow particularly around self-service and the service catalog.
So the number one mistake is trying to boil the ocean, day one; not putting out your catalog when it's got one valuable item in it.
As soon as one valuable item in there. Open it up.
And that goes back to that crazy idea that you start with continual service improvement and IT process that as soon as you've got something good you might as well run with it and then continually improve it. And go through iterations. It's agile. It's strong. As soon as you get one item there then the next one should be easily get out and if you're really smart your first item in your service catalog is gonna be I wanna add something to your service catalog.
Yeah, brilliant, and I was gonna ask what you think should be the first thing to go into your service catalog.
We used a template -- well, I use the template -- because it's based on servicenow. Cha-ching! Yeah. It's basically based on the form and questions that you need to know when you're putting in something into a catalog, which includes things like work flow, approval, task assignments and then, well I guess that's workflow.
And then notifications. Like, what sort of emails, or text messages, or notices are we gonna give people?
So your reason for putting the first thing in there, how do I add something to your service catalog, is to almost let your customers, in this case, or business partners drive what's most valuable.
Let them dictate what should be there.
Exactly, yeah. Think, you know, the tongue in cheek metaphor that people always used for service catalog is make it like Amazon, make it so simple to use that anyone can use it, and it's got everything that you need. But I think Amazon, day one, was probably. We don't really know what people are looking for.
So in this big search box up at the top, if someone is typing in coffeemakers, and we see that typed in 10,000 times. Perhaps we should sell coffee makers.
Genius. Yeah. Couldn't you get some of that data from your ticket system today? Ticket system or your business. I mean that kind of goes back to designing with the user in mind getting your business users in the same room as you.
Start with the org chart.
Start with the org chart, exactly.
So, start with org chart in what way? Are we gonna focus on squeaky wheels? Are we gonna look for people who are the most frequent requesters of service from.
Well, not just to spell out the services based on like we were talking about earlier, the services should be based on your job requirements, based on what you do for a living. So like if you're a bank teller. And every teller in your bank needs these things, seven, eight, nine things. Make that one service. Make it the core teller service and that will be in your catalog.
So you start with your org chart because the people in that department often have very similar roles versus the jobs they do. They'll use the same core set of tools. So if you actually hear on here and there, sides, but you can start your core base with the org chart in your organizations, depending on how it's built.
That's kind of the same thing as entitlements. And it's role-based because what you give someone for a computer is probably based on what role they are in the organization. Shouldn't your service catalog and services be based on that as well?
Yeah, so Craig and I were talking. I was sharing with him that the work I'm doing right now is for a pharmaceutical company.
And the reality is some of the higher priced personnel in that company are the one's who work in the lab and research department, and they don't need to see the IT services of data center management and infrastructure security and disaster recovery, preparedness, and storage management, right?
They need to see lab informatics, research informatics, they need to see, you know, regulatory, they need to see project management, clinical operations, those kind of, you know, business focus services.
Of course, they need facilities, they need HR services, they may need some corporate services, but probably not too many, and then the end user services. Everybody needs end user services. Such as desktops, or personal communication and requesting issues kind of stuff. By segmenting those services into the catalog, what you're doing is you're isolating the list of options.
And if we go back to the retail science that has told us is the less options you present to somebody, the higher frequency in which they will buy so stores have learned by having too many SKU's on the shelf they actually confuse their users who get into analysis paralysis and actually sometimes walk away.
As opposed to if you just had Oreos and a, you know - we have Stop 'n' Shop here - Stop 'n' Shop brand Oreos, you would sell one of the other, as opposed to fifteen different flavors of cookies; and I think that's a problem -- you know, where your point about boiling the ocean is spot-on if you try to present too many options, we're gonna confuse people.
Whereas if you give them a clear path on where they need to go and why they're there, I think that's important. It reminds me of a podcast that was put out by this company called Marketing Experiments or Marketing Research I'll put the show notes together for that. They talked about this thing called the seven second rule.
Basically, when you hit a webpage you have seven seconds to tell somebody why they're there, what they need to know, and where they need to go. And if you don't do that within seven seconds, you basically have lost that person. Your conversion rate and your caught action will become irrelevant. And all these different case examples of too many things to click on a web page, which is where you'd notice the really effective landing sites on websites from a marketing perspective.
They have one call to action, which is sign up, call now, you know, whatever. And you look at - most service catalogs that I've seen don't have that at all, they're completely backwards, not that I think of it. You know, they have way too many menus and sub-menus presented at the first layer, as opposed to the more iconic four options, clicks to another four options, clicks to another.
Three or four services to actually pick through and flavor selection or whatever.
Give me a handful of links in the search box.
Yeah. I'm not gonna say their name again, I promise. But the self-service portal that we end up rolling out over a lot of companies basically has three boxes. Something's broken, I want something, or I need to know something.
You basically get to choose, sure there are links underneath those if you know exactly what you need, if you know the most the ones trickle up to the top, and you can see what they are, and you can click right on that laptop that you want to order, but if you can have some sort of engine to drive consumers to what they want similar to like - if I say Amazon again I better be paid by them- but similar to them where they're suggesting what you want or asking you questions to get to what you want.
So, the "know something" piece of it; I get the issue, I have an issue or I have a request, but the "know something", that's different than a knowledge base, right? Are you talking about, like this is a real-time update that you need to know, like, we're changing the system, or we're going to have a new feature out tomorrow, is that kind of know something that your talking about, or are you talking about look up past issues or things like that?
Well, I would argue that the first two things that you listed should be in your knowledge base.
So, if I need relevant information, it should be in your knowledge base. So, if you need relevant information, it should be in your knowledge base whether in your organization, whether the knowledge base is adopted, the company wide or not, that scope, I can't really speak to that.
I think that's a pipe dream. You say that everyone in the company would use the knowledge base. That is the point, so if there's an outage, your incident system, or your major incidents at least, should have some ability to publish knowledge articles so that people can see that in the knowledge base and say, "Look, the next three days I'm not going to be able to log into the RP system because they're doing emergency maintenance because, I don't know, Dan dropped a Diet Coke on the server, or something."
Yeah. So, I think it does point to the knowledge base the one that we usually end up building, whether the release, you know, service transition stuff is in there or this new release is coming down the pipe or these are the new features that we're gonna put in, whether you put in that or not is kind of up to your, apt of release structure, whether you're rolling with release or not even some of the big corporations that we do implementations for don't go live, what's release management until like phase two or phase three. So sometimes that's a little wonky.
So, I don't know if schedule of change is still used a term used in Idle. I know version 2 had called it for schedule changes, version 3 called it schedule change. The concept, the reality of that is completely is it's impractical because change happens across the organization at different layers, it's impossible to have that overlap clearly articulated, at least in large organizations, right?
So I guess the question becomes, is you know, is this from a knowledge management standpoint and from a workflow standpoint, is this something that needs to be built in at a higher level so that our changes will feed knowledge management and issue and request heads up type data, because we already know most things break because you change them, you know, Smack runs really good until we release a new feature, and then it falls apart!
And I think that happens with most systems I've had experience with. That's why back in the day in the retail business we would lock things down from and one of the systems actually work.
Well, but who is your audience? I mean do you want the business users to see when you're doing on retail, act on a server, or upgrading something else?
They don't really need to see all of that. That's just a lot of noise for that.
So I don't know that they need to know but it's a DTM patch, because I really don't know what a DTM patch it, but I think. Okay. But I think that as a business consumer, I would want to have a heads up that our system may be at risk or it may be more fragile at this particular point in time, because that will help me for my business planning perspective if I'm going to bring on 20 new salespeople and I'm gonna get them, you know, launched and loaded on the system, you know, January 15th and you're gonna be doing a big release, you know, January 10th and there may be some challenges with that.
You know, I could change my strategy, I could say "Okay, well let's get these people on the system on the fifth. Let's get them in before the big release, so let's them on at the 20th or 25th."
Big releases, but I mean, big city like we have, I don't know, 85,000 changes a month. You don't wanna relate to that.
No, we don't want to relate to it. And I think that becomes part of your core relation on where this, you know, configuration management system comes into play, as it actually helps to identify where change is irrelevant, right? But based on your role, who you are, you have to look üp the changes you do see.
Sure, every change has an order of magnitude in which you have to equate to. Again, from a self-service provision, some of that goes back to who I am as a user. You know, maybe in my self-service catalog, I am clicking on to ask for a new request or a new provision or report an issue, I'm getting a level of detail that may change depending on who I am if I'm a manager, maybe I am seeing some of them. And it could be summarized date for sure, and it should be, right?
But maybe as a particular end user, I don't need to worry about those things. So one of the challenges we've seen specifically with changes that a lot of people just don't understand what the change is about because they don't don't speak that language. So, the way we write our change it's Spanish. It's more the implementer.
Different language. It's for the implementer to read and use.
So, the end users have no idea what the software does. So, you know, the ones that have access to it, they complain, "Well, what am I gonna do with this anyways?"
Right, right. Showing someone information or data that they don't understand, there's always that.
So then, do you train your techs to write two different change records, or do you have, here's the english field that we're gonna give to the user, and here's the implementer.
10,000 dollar question, if you can come up with a tool that just a babble fish that just translates tech speak.
You'd make gobs of money doing that. Our process that we end up usually using, it involves someone that is customer facing, someone who's doing customer service all the time, that's composing those messages and if you're not planning well enough, or your changes are not planning far enough in the future to get that out, SOL.
Shouldn't RFCs, though, always incorporate a business case?
I mean, shouldn't a Request for Change have a business driver associated with it? Even if it is a vulnerability impact change. Shouldn't there be at least some level, one sentence that says 'cause we're protecting business services XYZ, or something.
Yeah, that should, but, you know, communism is ideal in theory.
Until I'm working twice as hard as you.
I'm keeping sane, yeah.
Well. So, again, I think this comes back to - I was just talking to one of our partners today about this, she works in sales and marketing she was the general management and partner of the organization for this software company and her issue was, is that too many times, people communicate ineffectively to what they perceived as a customer.
She has technical integration partners. Then she's got business integration partners. The business integration partners have a brand that her clients already know, but the technical integration partners are behind the scenes. And so she's the brand to the clients. And clients may complain, but they never really report that back to the technical integration partner?
And so she was using this term "customer", and she was using it in three different aspects, and we've talked about this in the podcast before. I hate that term customer when you are internal to a company, because you very quickly lose sight of who the real customer is, and what that translates. And then, at the end of the day, if you are trying to think about the consumer of the service, and what their role and function is, if you put this blanket statement of customer on top of it, it's very confusing. Right?
Like one of the best speakers I ever saw was a VP at CVS and he was speaking about customer, and every time he said customer he was talking about someone who walks into one of the CVS stores and buys drugs or buys chocolate or buys. You know.
Goes in the back alley to buy the drugs.
Knows user. So, you knew exactly what he meant by customer and then every time he talked about partner he was talking about the internal business.
So, as he went in, and he was kind of running the network team. This wasn't someone who was interfacing with the actual consumers or pharmaceuticals or a convenient store type products. He was talking about people who would utilize network provisioning or phone services or things like that. So it made a clear indication to the listener of what context this person might be interacting with his ultimate service right, because a way that a customer is affected--when he says that if my network is down, the customer's affected--you immediately say to yourself, "Oh the person couldn't get their prescription and might die." I didn't go, "Oh, someone might not be able to run a report."
Or get their e-mails.
Right. To get their e-mail. Exactly. So it's just, you know, you're put into complete clarity of who you're talking about. And I think, as we try to build workflow and as we look at service provisioning, if we don't understand you know, who the service consumers are, who the service suppliers are, and what role and how to facilitate that, it continues to get confusing, you know.
And as much as we've talked about it and as much as we yelled at it at different conferences, it's still verbiage that is misapplied and misused. I am at a loss as to why.
One of the customers that we're working with actually does this quite well. and they have to because they're sourcing parts for an automobile manufacturer.
And so when they have an outage, they need to know which manufacturers actually impact it, because they're gonna see it from a contract standpoint. You're probably used to this from your inforonics days. But, like that line of business, and that stakeholder mapping, it's key, to being able to number one charge for your services, and number two being punished for not providing them as you promised.
Which kind of goes back to the two things that I would start with, that's not self service portal which should be starting with service lover management and your configuration managements processes tools.
So what. When you say service level management. Obviously the service portfolio and your service catalog are to get self-service portal, but the service catalog in general, you know, which services are within scope of our operations and that we are going to bring under management, right?
I've always said that that needs to be defined before we start down the configuration management path. Because as we've all learned, configuration management has two aspects. Scope and level detail. And if we're going to haphazardly say scope is a network segment or scope is a range of asset devices, like we're gonna bring in all the network servers or bring in all the network hardware, you know, we'll fundamentally the point of what a service correlation or service management or service model is and why it matters. So do you feel the same way that a service level management we need to, 'cause you can't fully break in service level management.
I mean that never happens. That never ends.
That's too complex, yeah.
So create your service catalog, your service portfolio: what's in, what's out, what's coming, and then jump in to config manage and say, "Okay what assets support those services?"
Yeah, think about it from the SMAK perspective. When you started up Smack you were like, "Alright what are we going to provide?
What does that look like?" Tell me the story of what services we're going to deliver to customers. And then you hired a CTL and what you asked him was "Okay, now how are we going to deliver that? What does that service model look like?"
Yeah, I mean we created a service model that said here's our messaging services, here's our contact services. Here's our adapter services. And then we have API services, and that's very techy, but we're a software company. API services or what services we provide to external integration partners. But every one of those services we did as we then mapped out. Okay, what code configuration sits against those services are environments virtual and it's in the cloud, so we really only have two tiers.
We have EC 2 and we have RES, so, you know, our operating environment's cloud-based and our database environment is cloud based. So, it makes it really easy but what we do for every change that we put out is that each change goes into Get Hub with a feature request. We then map that Get Hub change to the code that's being changed.
And every release that has a set of configuration files mapped to that. So I know what service is being impact, what feature improvement is happening, and then what technical code, 'cause usually a few PHP pages or an INI file or something is being impacted. And most of the tech stuff doesn't make any sense to me anymore but I really only care about features and as they work out.
But interestingly enough, there's still a challenge. I have the challenge now in and continue to have it, then I will ask the dev team, "Okay, this new feature is providing me what data and they will go on a diatribe of all this technical query stuff that happens. What I really wanted to know is, am I looking at LinkedIn, am I looking at Twitter, am I looking at email like what is the source of this data and why do I care.
So, in IT I think we always tend to go back to the architecture instead of the business driver, and I can see why it happens, it's just what we're more comfortable with and it's what we've designed and what we've built and it's how we think about the source of that data coming to you but it's not about the timeliness of that data, the integrity of that data and the value of that data can get lost in translation very quickly.
Well, I think because our values are probably different too within the business and IT, so like for example it may not cost very much money to patch a Windows server, and the business may be okay with us patching the business server, but really, we're just doing it because we don't want it to start on fire next week.
It's almost like we've got this crystal ball that says "your employees, your co-workers". They've got this crystal ball that says, "Look, if we change this feature or do this release in the future, we might be able to do this." And they've got this future state in mind as well that they can't really quantify or communicate well.
So, you're saying business class for IT?
You should know how to qualify those things, you might understand them.
And that's the biggest problem I still have and mostly people I know in IT, have, until they get up to the VP scene -- VP level -- is that they can't put numbers to these things, they can't explain why they're doing them. They know why but they can't put it in business terms.
I think we tend to underestimate the value of what we're doing.
We'll say things as clearly as we need to do it. I know I'm challenged with this continually, and I have been as an IT person. People have asked, what is your strategy? And we immediately think that we need some kind of extremely robust strategy, when simply, the business wants to know my strategy is to put out some hardware here, and then if that fails, I'm going to have some hardware over here that is going to be turned on.
And that's really all the business wanted to know. But then we have to go into this, "Well what we're going to do, we're going to do a business continuity strategy that's going to incorporate all of our business metrics and analytically determine which of our critical services are needed, so that we can have KPIs and CSFs and really determine", it's like who cares?
That's what I'm asking. You know we just make things overly-complex a lot and it's on our judgment I think a lot of time.
I put a 15-second video on Vimeo. It was about that exact thing. IT has managed itself out of a job, because the new app providers, the new IOS apps, the new everything can do that 10 times faster, 10 times cheaper.
Did you see the story of, you know, we talk about the show, I mean, the news for the show today, CIO.com has this thing on their home page, "Are zombies sucking the life out of your data center?" It says if your organization operates its own services and switches is likely the percentage of that are zombies.
Doubling up the resources are doing no work. Cleaning up the zombie server at the station takes good management and stringent documentation.
That's on the CIO page?
No, this is on the cover of CIO.com.
Should CIO's have to worry about that? I don't think so, that's an operational thing.
I don't know.
That's insane. How do I uninstall an app from my iPhone? Click and hold, and click the X and be away with it. I wish that existed for enterprise applications. If I had a dime for every time I saw an enterprise application that no one was using but we couldn't justify getting rid of for some reason.
What's the street in New York they would call, there's Wall Street, and then there's the other one.
Skid Row. Yeah, so one of our clients are vigilant. We had a project that was basically this Skid Row project. There was all these servers that were running, turned on you know, eating up electricity, network, bandwidth.
Everything, but they didn't know what they were into, what they were supporting so they didn't want to turn them off.
Switch it off and listen to the shouts. That one's good. Next!
You joke, but I've seen that in people's strategy for decommissioning specifically for outsourcers because they really don't understand what the business impact is. Especially if the IT internal IT can't communicate it to the external source. I've seen it. When we're decommissioning a server, turn it off, wait four days then you can wipe it.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I'd say we'd do the worse than the living.
Quarter, I mean you almost have to wait a year, or seven years to accounting purposes.
Yeah, that one report, that bill runs once a month.
You turn off the servers the day after you run it.
Yeah, monthly reporting runs at the end of the month. I mean, how could you wait four days? That's crazy.
Well, but the thing is is that they shouldn't even have to do that. They should know it before they even hit that power switch, before they even log into it to turn it off.
Transparency is king.
And you know it really is not that hard to be honest with you, the way we solved it with Skid Row is we simply took a, we used a product from Compuware called Application Vantage, which is like a network sniffer, but what it actually tells you is your conversation map of more critical applications.
It's how your SQL, web, Java web sphere, any kind of real application, not just general network traffic? Do you have backup servers and anti-virus on those things running against those boxes, so network alone doesn't tell you anything. And we would just analyze the basic conversation map of what applications we're talking to these boxes.
And then trace it back like no one is hitting this box the past 30 days. No application service except for anti virus and back up. Then clearly it's not a critical box. Could you code it? Could we pull code off there and virtualize it? What could you do to show, get the physical ironed out?
Yeah. That's what a good discovery tool does.
Show me this packet going from this server to that server. Show me exactly what's happening.
Yeah. Well, if you find one let me know because I've really not found a good discovery tool. We busted through a lot of them and they have all been very complex. We had high hopes for Tideway but that didn't pan out so well.
And now, the BMC has bought them, we see them sunsetting. I don't know, I'm going to actually have a chance to play with Numara's asset manager coming up soon.
There are good things about them.
Yeah, for good things of open tools. We'll see.
Yeah, I haven't found one. I've got feature requests in, you know?
Make it better. Make it better.
It used to be one that who bought them? Who's the big antivirus counting, not McAfee but the other one.
Symantec. Symantec bought a company called Relicore.
Oh, yeah, Relicore. Yeah. They were Minnesota-based, weren't they?
I don't know, I think they were here in Boston.
And they were agent based. But they did a really good job. What they did differently is they actually used the executable to the services that were running which was really great, because they could not only tell you real time change management at the file level and who access to change those files.
But then they could actually watch the ports and services going out so that they could tell you what executables were mapped to the application services that were running, which was really valid you know, other tools like MAM from was Mercury, now HP, Tideway, Collation Confignia, which is now owned by IBM and all those who do it more in a network layer and M Layers which. Who owns M Layers now, I think EMC. They all would do it in a network port layer which would only get you so far.
It would get you the destination, but not the actual services and the software config that was running. So, I still think an opportunity. I don't know. We'd love to hear from listeners if they've had some good experiences. Post it on the facebook.com.itsm site.
Yeah, or get one of us on Twitter.
All right, gentlemen.
Good show, Beran. Appreciate the insights. I think it was some good nuggets that you gave us.
Well, I'll send you a bill.
Pleasure to be. Thank you.
Thank you all for listening this week?
And have a good one.
Yeah, we'll look forward to seeing Chris next week.
All right, see you guys.
Bye, everybody. This has been ITSM Weekly The Podcast.
I gotta write, Chris.!
This was ITSM Weekly. Thank you for listening. For more information about this podcast and ITSM news, go to itsmweekly.com.