Sunday, April 25, 2010


Business Service Management

OK. Here goes. First and foremost, I went hunting for a definition. Heres one from bitpipe that I thought sounded good.

DEFINITION: A strategy and an approach for linking key IT components to the goals of the business. It enables you to understand and predict how technology impacts the business and how business impacts the IT infrastructure.

Sounds good, right?

When I analyze this definition, it looks very much like the definition for Situation Awareness. Check out the article on Wikipedia.
Situation awareness, or SA, is the perception of environmental elements within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future

So, I see where BSM as a strategy, creates a system where Situation Awareness for business as a function of IT services, can be achieved. In effect, BSM creates SA for business users through IT service practices.

Sounds all fine, good, and well in theory. But in practice, there are a ton of data sources. Some are database enabled. Some are Web services. Some are simple web content elements. How do you assemble, index, and align all this data from multiple sources, in a way that enables a business user to achieve situation awareness? How do you handle the data sources being timed wrong or failing?

The Road to Success

First of all, if you have a BSM strategy and you're buying or considering a purchase of a BSM framework, you need to seriously consider BI and a Data Architecture as well. All three technologies are interdependent. You have to organize your data, use it to create information, them make it suitable enough to be presented in a consistent way.

As you develop your data, you also develop your data model. With the data model will come information derivation and working through query and explain plans. In some instances, you need to look at a Data warehouse of sorts. You need to be able to organize and index your data to be presented in a timely and expeditious fashion so that the information helps to drive SA by business users.

A recent data warehouse sort od product has come to my attention. It is Greenplum. Love the technology. Scalable. But based on mature technology. My thoughts are about taking data from disparate sources, organizing that data, deriving new information, and indexing the data so that the reports you provide, can happen in a timely fashion.

Organizing your data around a data warehouse allows you to get around having to deal with multiple databases, multiple access mechanisms, and latency issues. And how easier it is to analyze cause and effect, derivatives, and patterns given you can search across these data sources from a single access. Makes true Business intelligence easier.

BSM products tend to be around creative SQL queries and dashboard/scorecard generation. You may not need to buy the entire cake to get a taste. Look for web generation utilities that can be used to augment your implementation and strategy.

And if you're implementing a BSM product, wouldn't it make sense to setup SLAs on performance, availability, and response time for the app and its data sources? This is the ONE App that could be used to set a standard and a precedence.

I tend to develop the requirements, then storyboard the dashboards and drill throughs. This gives you a way of visualizing holes in the dashboards and layouts but it also enables you to drive to completion. Developing dashboards can really drive scope creep if you don't manage it.
Storyboarding allows you to manage expectations and drive delivery.

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