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The Emergence of Business Service Management

Apr 26, 2004

ITSM Watch Staff

By Phil Rackus

While this may seem to indicate that outsourcing is doomed to fail, nothing could be further from the truth. Recently a novel concept has emerged among some MSPs and MSP enablers - business service management (BSM), the cornerstone of communications between the MSP and the small-business organization.

Business service management is a relatively new concept that began to take shape in the large-enterprise space several years ago. Some companies realize that BSM is as valuable, perhaps more so, in the SMB space than in the large-enterprise space.

BSM, having evolved from the "aligning IT with business" mantra of the IT infrastructure library (ITIL), promotes the management of the availability and performance of the IT infrastructure based on the priority of the business objective that the technology supports. MSP enabler N-able, a long-time proponent of ITIL, believes that while useful in the large-enterprise space, this customer-centric approach is absolutely essential in the small and mid-tier environments.

At a very basic level, this means changing the approach that a service provider traditionally takes to service provisioning. Rather than base discussions around what services can be offered, the conversations need to be initiated around the customers business goals and how IT supports those goals.

Service level agreements are no longer just a description of services that are offered, but visible evidence that the service provider understands what the business is trying to achieve and how it will act accordingly. A good example of how effective business service levels based on BSM principles would be if two services failed at the same time: Both services may have comparable SLAs, but an MSP that understands the business objectives will be able to make an intelligent decision about the relative priorities of the events and fix the service with the greater business impact first.

As technology continues to consume most aspects of business, dependence upon technology increases. Small and medium-sized businesses able to find those MSPs that are actively working to change their business models to provide intrinsic value to their customer base, rather than just IT services, will reap the benefits that this new SMB outsourcing model has to offer.

Phil Rackus is Vice President of Product Management at N-able Technologies. Phil spearheads the product management team, which drives the strategic direction of the technology and the company.