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BSM-Optimizing IT Services to Drive Business Success


Aug 2, 2004
By

ITSM Watch Staff





By Fred Engel

Benefits of BSM
According to the META Group, "business perspective management products offer powerful capabilities to translate data from traditional infrastructure and application management tools into business level representations."(1) Other benefits of BSM include:

  • Aligning the service provided with the goals of the business
  • Being able to demonstrate actual service levels to plan for changes that will effect business results
  • Maintaining business service delivery by quickly identifying and correcting IT service problems
  • Creating a high level of customer service and satisfaction
  • Sustaining the company's revenue stream
Some additional benefits that result from the deployment of a BSM solution include:
  • Creating a unified business focus for the whole company - senior management, business unit management, and the IT staff
  • Improving communication between the IT department and the business units
  • Demonstrating the value of the IT resource
Achieving a Successful BSM Strategy
To successfully optimize IT services to drive business success, a three-fold approach to Business Service Management is necessary -- map, measure, and manage.
    Map
    Mapping starts at the top of the hierarchy with the business service, such as cash management or call centers, and consists of modeling the business service to understand the key performance indicators, mapping the IT services to the business service, and visualizing the results through an executive-level view of the business service. The process of modeling and mapping can be streamlined by working with an outside vendor that understands the process to ensure that the end result works well with available software tools.

    Measure
    Measuring the business service in terms of the end user experience - the critical junction where business services and IT services intersect-is the second step. Synthetic testing (active testing) and actual measurement of users' experiences (observational testing) are important pieces of application performance management, a component of BSM that measures the all-important user experience.

    Manage
    Managing the business service requires broad-based management tools and management integration for systems, applications and networks, so that a company can maximize uptime and plan capacity. It is necessary to view the total picture, integrating the management of applications, systems and networks by providing a consolidated, business-driven view of your end-to-end IT infrastructure. In other words, get in the driver's seat.

In summary, when choosing the right BSM solution, it's critical to look for an offering that provides an executive-level overview of IT performance status in just one glance. It should also show the IT services that support the business service and provide a snapshot of the impact that availability and performance problems are having on customers. Senior management cannot be expected to wade through a myriad of details to deduce what is happening with key business services -- services that are the foundation of their business.

On the other hand, a first-rate executive-level view should be much like the tip of the iceberg-the visual piece that indicates that there is more underneath. A comprehensive BSM solution will also allow technical staff to be able to drill down to the nuts and bolts of the company's infrastructure. With real-time status and extensive reporting that draws on a wealth of historical data, IT managers should have easy access to active and observational test data of the user experience.

Most importantly, look for a solution that gets you the right view for the right people, and ensures that the essential data corresponding to the health of your infrastructure is at the forefront of the reports. The end results for you business will be fast fault resolution, maximum uptime, greater customer satisfaction, and more cost effective IT costs.

1 "Business Perspective Management Views," Delta 2522, META Group, Glenn ODonnell, 8 October 2003.

Fred Engel is Executive Vice President and CTO of Concord Communications, a leading provider of Business Service Management software solutions. With nearly 25 years of networking experience, Mr. Engel is a recognized expert in networking technologies, having pioneered several new network architectures and implementations. He has authored several papers on network design and holds patents in network security and management




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