2013-The Rebirth Of CA?

“If you are in the tech business, you need to be willing and able to change”

This statement was made by Michael P Gregoire, CA Technologies’ (CA) new CEO and it pretty much summed up the vibe at CA World 13 this week. I have to admit, as I sat with my fellow Forrester colleagues, Eveline Oehrlich, Courtney Bartlett, Peter O’Neill and Glenn O’Donnell, waiting for the opening keynote I had thoughts in my head of the CA of old. These were formed during my time as an enterprise management consultant in which I saw CA make numerous, good acquisitions but struggle to keep their promises of integration and simplicity – two key ingredients for good enterprise management solutions. To be fair, this has not just been a problem for CA though, as many of the other large solution providers in this space have tripped over the same hurdles.

But, times are changing and the IT Management market is experiencing a renaissance with innovative new solutions that aim to accelerate I&O professionals adoption of Business Service Management (BSM). BSM until now has been a utopian dream but with the increased complexity of IT, from a people, process and technology perspective, means that this now has to become a reality for enterprise IT organizations. Encouragingly, some solution providers in this space are rising to the challenge and judging by the vision and energy portrayed by CA execs over the course of CA World 13 – CA could end up being one of the front-runners of the pack.

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Time To Rethink Your Monitoring Portfolio

Have you ever done an audit of the number of monitoring solutions that you have in your environment? If you haven’t you are probably thinking - Why should I? I suppose if you draw an analogy to checking your car engine then not many people do this anymore. We are comforted by the thought that modern technology means our cars just work, but the reality is that with moving parts, technology will still fail and so we should at least be checking the important components before a long journey. Similarly the IT monitoring solutions that we have in our environment are important to the overall health of IT and so should therefore be audited to make sure they are ‘working’.

If you have done an audit then this may have prompted a number of questions including:

  1. Do I require monitoring or management solutions? The simple answer is that you require both. Good management solutions such as Application Performance Management (APM) are a combination of monitoring, configuration, analysis and automation components. So monitoring is essential to any management solution. Be very careful when buying a management solution that it covers your requirements in these areas and don't believe the marketing hype. Simply, be aware of marchitecture!
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Be Part Of Our IO Transformation Research

The word 'transformation' is probably one of the most overused words in business and IT. I put my hands up and confess that in the past, as an enterprise management consultant, I have tagged IT management solution projects as 'transformations' as it just sounds so much sexier than the word 'change' or 'implementation'. Come on, you have to agree it does, doesn't it? But my call to you today is to help Forrester to eradicate the abuse of this word during 2013.

How can I help? We are currently working on The I&O Practice Playbook at Forrester which looks to address the I&O organisation of the future in terms of its people, process, technology and culture. Before I go on any further, I am going to say that in order to get to this 'future', I&O organisations really do need to go through true 'transformation' which can be defined as:

  • A major shift in people, processes, technology and culture. An example is an IT organization which wants to transform to be more customer-centric. The vision to be customer-centric will potentially require a change to people (skills, recruitment etc), process (structure, activities, measurement etc) technology (end-user, infrastructure etc) and culture (fostering customer-centricity). 
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Vendor Podcast: Sam Greenblatt, Chief Architect @Dell

 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Dell’s Technology Camp in Amsterdam. It was a full on day starting at 7.30am and I finally got back home at 11pm but it was a fascinating event. Dell is currently heavily in the news and various sources are reporting that over the coming weekend they are likely to go private. Going from public back to private is not an easy decision to take and Microsoft’s reported interest in Dell certainly makes this situation all the more interesting. This will be a big change and I am sure will be subject of detailed analysis and commentary next week.   

For now, I would rather concentrate on an interesting conversation that I had with Sam Greenblatt, Chief Architect for Dell’s Enterprise solutions group. Sam needs no introduction as his career and successes are very impressive. As many of you may know, before Dell, he worked for HP as their CTO for webOS but he has also worked with Steve Jobs and many of the other founders of the modern IT market. As an Analyst, I am lucky that I get to speak with many senior executives and so I thought I would record this session for you. I apologize if the sound quality is not crystal clear but I am no Bill Talbott (famous Hollywood sound engineer) and we actually had to do this recording standing up in a kitchen area as the venue was one big open space. I was also fairly refrained in my questioning so as I could share the content a bit quicker with you.

It’s 15 minutes in length and here are the questions I asked:

(1)    So what’s your role at Dell?

(2)    What does success look like in this role?

(3)    What would you say are three key strengths for Dell?

(4)    What is the main challenge that Dell faces today?

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IT Service Experience Essentials

This week I have been travelling to see Forrester’s I&O Leadership Board (FLB) members in Paris and working on my I&O FLB workshop session for Orlando and London happening in October, titled ‘An Outside In Approach To Your IT Strategy’. During my conversations I have been discussing Forrester’s excellent new book entitled ‘Outside In, The Power of Putting Customers At The Center Of Your Business’.  It contains great insight and examples on how successful companies are adapting to the “age of the customer” by ensuring experience rich relationships. 

So what does 'putting the customers at the center of your business' mean to I&O Professionals?

Firstly, we need to ditch the word ‘users’. It’s a dirty word in my vocabulary as it conjures up images of employees being ‘addicted’ to our IT services. Our employees are not going to go ‘cold turkey’ on us if they don’t get their corporate IT fix. They are our internal IT customers who have feelings, needs and wants plus are increasingly able to source their own technology services to increase their productivity.

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New Job? Look For ‘Career Accelerating’ Qualities

My colleague David Johnson wrote a good blog earlier in the week on ‘Your Best Chance for Long-Term Employability as an I&O Professional’in which he discussed the key areas that I&O Professionals should focus on for employability. This and the recent wash of articles, especially in the UK, in regards to the IT skills gap got me thinking about the IT market from an employment perspective. With the various pressures facing I&O Professionals it is more important than ever to have a personal career plan which focusses on your career aspirations or at the very least a personal career vision.

I think one of the important aspects of this personal career vision is to have a clear understanding of the type of I&O organization that you would like to work for. Why? Well, in the same way in which a business selects the right candidate, it is important that that I&O Professionals select the right company which will help in their long term career vision. With this, I would like put forward the idea that, as I&O Professionals, we should be looking for certain organizational ‘career accelerating qualities’ during the recruitment process. My initial list is below and you may not find an organization which meets all these qualities but some will be more important to your personal career plan than others.

  1. A strong I&O vision linked to the overall business mission – I would look to assess this by asking the interviewer(s) for both the overall business mission with a view to clarifying whether the I&O vision is in harmony with this. Put simply this will help you get a feel for how integrated and thus how important I&O is to the business.
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C3PO Essential To Solve Hard IT Issues?

I bet you are thinking, “Oh no, this looks like a typical Friday IT blog post” and it has all the key ingredients – It’s Friday-tick-has science fiction references-tick-has a weird title-tick – but please go with the flow with this one.   

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Olympics 2012 – Is Your I&O Organization Ready? – Roundtable

The news this week in the UK has been awash with articles in relation to the potential problems that the Olympics 2012 could bring with reports of transport chaos, security rehearsals happening near Forrester’s London office to secret security documents being left on a train which detail policing measures. This is undoubtedly a unique occasion but with many eyes watching the UK this coming summer it’s something the planners simply have to get right. 

At Forrester, we believe that IT functions need to seriously prepare for the Olympic period also and so we will be holding a half day, collaborative event for our FLB members and interested prospects on Wednesday, 22nd February 2012 from 12:45 – 4:30pm at Forrester’s London office to explore strategic and tactical solutions to these risks. This session will be led by Senior Analyst Dave Johnson, a former software executive with 15 years of industry experience focused on client management and related operational processes and tools.

So why does this matter to you?  

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HR Into I&O: Working 9 Till 5, What A Way To Make A Living? – Employee Contracts

Firstly, let me explain: I am not really a fan of Dolly Parton but I heard this song last night and this got me thinking further about my I&O FLB exclusive report on ‘Tomorrow’s I&O Leaders Require An Equal Blend Of Technology And Business Acumen, which addresses changing skills and recruitment practices. Specifically I asked myself:

“Do current I&O contracts of employment really support agile, customer centric IT operations?”

Now I know the majority of I&O professionals have never lived Dolly’s dream of ‘working 9 Till 5’ anyway but with the fast pace of technology innovation and demands by the business, will we see a time when I&O leaders ring the bell on current formal contracts of employment?

I also take into consideration that a signed employment contract is a legal requirement for a number of reasons but can I&O executives continue to state a set number of working hours, e.g., “you will work x hours per week” as a requirement? I am not advocating flexi-time contracts here but with I&O moving to customer-centric deliverables does this mean that I&O leaders need to align contracts of employment to specific customer I&O services/deliverables and take into account the social lives of their employees?

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Good Tidings We Bring….As The Customer Is King

As well as an adaptation of a festive song this could be one of the guiding jingles for ServiceNow.

This week I have been attending, along with my colleague Stephen Mann, the Knowledge11 conference in Frankfurt. ServiceNow is one of those companies that ITSM practitioners have an interest in because of their phenomenal growth and go-to-market model.

So what are their secret ingredients that make the solution so appealing?

Is it simply, that their key differentiator is that they provide a SaaS-based model and have experienced a bit of luck with the ‘cloud’ computing phenomenon? Is it that they have a great company name which lends itself well to becoming a brand? Is it that their sales and account managers have mythical powers?

My answer to you, after spending time with their clients, is that, firstly, they have inherent or at least portray a focus on the end ‘customer.’ They understand that their customers are looking for fast integration that will link in and improve their current ITSM and other business workflow processes. Also, the majority of their customers adopt the SaaS-based solution; it means that they can’t hide behind the age old cloak of “It must be the users infrastructure/network/environment/processes, etc.” If there is a problem with the software they have to fix it because the chances are that another customer will experience the same issue.

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