Business service management implementation best practices

Business service management has shown clear benefits to a business—but it is not for everybody.

The legacy model of IT management is focused only on the technical aspects of IT. With IT becoming more and more dependent on service deliverables, concepts such as business service management (BSM) have emerged as key enablers.

Business service management maps various business processes into IT services which are easily visible to a CIO. Business service management helps CIOs understand the required IT investment within the organization based on the trends and historical information available within the organization. Vendors such as BMC and IBM are some of the established players in the business service management market. Apart from this, there are other innovative niche vendors like Digital Fuel and Firescope.

Business service management is a practice which fits well with the ITIL v2 framework, which is one of the best practices in the industry; it recently got added to the ITIL v3 portfolio. It is one of the processes which have shown clear benefits to business. People have started practicing business service management, and are realizing its importance. Here are some tips for CIOs for the implementation of business service management.

1. A CIO should understand that business service management implementation may not be easy if the IT infrastructure is not mature enough within the organization. If you have legacy systems, getting the right benefit out of a business service management implementation will be difficult. A CIO first needs to understand the vision and business objectives before going in for business service management implementation. Business service management is not limited to an IT company; even a non-IT company which is a large conglomerate or a large enterprise can deploy BSM. Apart from this, open source tools available in the market are well accepted and used by small players.

2. Aligning the IT infrastructure to a service network is very critical before implementing business service management. BSM helps in understanding the performance of a particular service. If your IT infrastructure is not aligned, then there are remote chances of getting the desired results from the business service management implementation.

3. Practice business service management very proactively. Lots of CIOs deploy tools, but at the end of the day these are just treated as a dashboard. Nobody really takes advantage of the analytics and metrics which are displayed in business service management dashboards in a proactive manner.

Business service management does not come cheap, hence it is necessary to figure out whether the cost of investment is really justifiable.
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4. Evaluating the right business service management vendor is critical. One should understand that implementing BSM is a complex process which requires the right expertise and the right systems in place. A CIO should evaluate how flexible a business service management system is in relation to the existing infrastructure. 

5. Business service management does not come cheap, hence it is necessary to figure out whether the cost of investment is really justifiable. See whether the investment will give the right ROI to the CIO.

6. I advise CIOs not to get married to a particular tool. No tool can be perfect, hence complete dependence on business service management analytics is not very advisable. Decision making should not be dependent on any kind of tools.
 
CIOs in India are well aware of the business service management concept, and a lot of managed service providers are using BSM tools. But I think there's still time for most Indian enterprises to really mature, hence widespread adoption of business service management is still in the distance.

About the author: Rahul Vilas Ghodke is an ITIL service manager and heads automation and transition at Microland. He has 10 years of experience in consulting, project management and infrastructure, and applications management. He has worked with several Fortune 100 customers, and has advised them on ITIL deployments and tooling investments.

(As told to Yuga Chaudhari)

This was first published in April 2010

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