A shift in perspective delivers a better outcome
As a central premise, the focus of IT service management should be on the business service—not the technology used to deliver that service. However, maintaining that focus is typically much harder than it needs to be.
Largely, this is because IT infrastructures (especially at larger organizations) have grown in a relatively ad hoc way over the decades, not in accordance with the terms of an overarching, service-centric plan. Operational domains emerge, and are managed separately from each other even though services may cross or link them. The aggregate result of such management is optimized domains—not optimized end-to-end services.
As IT becomes a deeper and more integrated element of business strategies, this situation in turn becomes a bigger and bigger problem. Technical issues appear that threaten service performance or continuity; the organization needs to be able to resolve them in a prioritized, governed, integrated way that will deliver the best business outcome. Yet this doesn't happen. Instead, problem resolution is pursued on a more piecemeal basis... and a business-centric triage of those issues may not take place at all. The inevitable results are higher costs, lower service levels, reduced customer satisfaction, and a diminished business outcome.
Consider, for instance, the situation faced by communications service providers today. Telecommunications is an extraordinarily competitive industry; the organizations that best understand customer needs and best meet those needs through high-performance, high-availability services, also tend to enjoy the best business outcome.
But because telecom infrastructures and networks are so complex, it can be very hard even to pinpoint the root cause of a given outage or service slowdown, let alone resolve it. And if there are multiple such issues occurring simultaneously, which should be resolved first? Answer: the ones that, minute by minute, are generating the most negative business impact. Achieving that sort of business-specific insight and prioritization—no matter which technical domains or operational groups are involved—is key to business success.
Another, related issue: in the pursuit of end-to-end service management, different team members require different kinds of information, presented in different ways. If, for instance, the search function on a online retailer's Web site doesn't work, and customers cannot find or order the products they want, that failure is important to company executives and IT managers both—yet in very different senses.
The executive needs big-picture, intuitive insight into the overall health of IT services (such as that one) with respect to their business significance. The IT manager, on the other hand, needs considerably more detail about the technical assets and resources involved, to rapidly identify and resolve the underlying problem(s) and thus bring the search function back online as quickly as possible. Both need information, but that information should be tailored to its context. And the complexity of the infrastructure, and of the IT organization itself, should not be allowed to slow the organization's response to such issues.
IBM Tivoli solutions transform service management from an abstract concept to a real-world implementation—tailored to your needs
For organizations confronted by these all-too-common scenarios, the IBM Tivoli integrated service management portfolio offers tremendous value. Using these solutions, they'll find it much simpler, faster, and more cost-effective to keep the focus on services, not on technologies—and thus optimize not just the infrastructure, but the business outcome it delivers.
"For organizations confronted by these all-too-common scenarios, the IBM Tivoli integrated service management portfolio offers tremendous value. Using these solutions, they'll find it much simpler, faster, and more cost-effective to keep the focus on services, not on technologies."
Key strengths of IBM Tivoli service management solutions include the following:
Together, these capabilities help organizations move from "business service management" as an abstract idea to an up-and-running reality. And it's a reality that can be improved over time and tailored to address changing strategies, so that the organization can roll out new services to meet customer demand with relative ease and agility.
Mix and match service management capabilities based on your requirements
Among the examples of Tivoli solutions that can help improve business service management are:
Organizations can deploy any or all of these solutions, based on their needs, to develop new service management capabilities as they see fit.
A range of case studies illustrates the flexibility and power of IBM Tivoli service management
And because the IBM Tivoli service management portfolio applies well to almost any industry and business context, it has been exceptionally widely deployed—meaning not just that it offers proven value, but that the total value it creates every day is proven to be enormous.
A large U.S. city recently faced typical municipal challenges: unexpected service downtime, trouble identifying the root causes in each case, and difficulty prioritizing the response to suit citizens' needs as cost-effectively and quickly as possible.
Toward that end, this city deployed a number of IBM Tivoli solutions, one of which was IBM Tivoli Business Service Manager. Thanks to the real-time service dashboards this solution provides, the city can now track issues—even before they occur, in some cases—far more quickly and accurately than before.
How much more quickly? Reduced mean time to repair has fallen by an estimated 50 percent—and service availability has, as a result, climbed an incredible 90 percent.
A service provider deployed a new network type, Metro Ethernet, to increase total bandwidth and reduce its cost of ownership over time. Unfortunately, it then discovered that it was significantly harder to detect service failures until trouble tickets were submitted—meaning customer satisfaction was taking a considerable hit.
Via the IBM Tivoli Netcool family and IBM Tivoli Business Service Manager, this service provider is now able to assess network performance in a more targeted, quantified fashion. Specifically, Metro Ethernet protocols are now supported in the total service assurance solution, so the service provider always knows where, when, and to what extent service failures are occurring as they occur. And because the impact of emerging issues is now business-prioritized and the organization can respond accordingly, customer satisfaction has returned to target levels.
Patient care is paramount in this industry, where customer needs and expectations can literally be a matter of life and death and there is an exceptionally low tolerance for misinformation or mistakes made in rendering services. That's why records management solutions and strategies at many healthcare organizations are currently undergoing a sea change.
At one such organization, however, this goal was complicated by the fact that the organization operates at more than 20 different facilities—and systems across those facilities weren't standardized, making it harder to deploy and integrate a new clinical information system meant to improve records management.
Fortunately, with IBM's help, this organization was able to standardize IT processes across all its facilities and systems. In addition to a trouble-ticket service desk implementation, IBM Tivoli also provided business service management enhancements, to make the initial rollout of the new clinical information system as smooth as possible—and provide years of smooth operation thereafter.
Until recently, a major U.S.-based financial services firm managed its IT division in a siloed manner; while each silo was optimized fairly well within its own context, overall service management was more complex, more costly, and more inconsistent than the firm wanted it to be.
Today, this firm has achieved significant improvements in all those respects. Thanks to an IBM business service management implementation involving multiple solutions, the organization can aggregate and consolidate service-level information, spanning multiple IT domains, into a single, intuitive view. Furthermore, unified root cause analysis spurs a faster response to unexpected developments, and historical performance trending reveals hidden patterns that can be leveraged for even more improvement.
The result? The complete IT infrastructure across all 3,600 branches of the organization can be managed in a centralized, prioritized fashion based on business goals and strategies—a superior outcome benefiting both the organization itself and all the customers who depend on its services every day.