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Business Service Management


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IT organizations are working hard at understanding the critical relationship between business goals and IT services. By understanding this relationship, they can prioritize workloads and resources based on business metrics, react to situations and help businesses operate more effectively while reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction.

To create such priorities often requires the implementation of Business Service Management or BSM. BSM's methodology can help IT organizations develop an IT service approach, ensuring that it can support and activate goals based on business priorities while giving significant value. Because IT must effectively monitor, measure and deliver the service levels required to meet these priorities, BSM facilitates developing meaningful, tangible connections between the IT organization and business teams.

BSM also helps IT company's focus on what matters to the business and helps improve the quality of service and customer satisfaction. By understanding the relationship between IT components and how they support the user experience, IT organizations can strengthen their ability to meet business-user demands with a powerful combination of information, processes and automated solutions. Problems can then be identified and prioritized immediately, making the business more responsive and therefore more successful because problems are more quickly resolved.

Simple steps can help IT align itself with business requirements. This process starts with the identification of goals to be achieved and then is followed with the next three steps:

1.Identify and prioritize which processes should be updated in preparation for an implementation 2.Update processes and focus on specific applications 3.Expand the scope of the project to include more applications, enlisting professional assistance where needed.

Asking the right questions from the beginning will help IT deliver the right amount of service at the most appropriate cost. A checklist such as the following can help begin the conversation. 1.Why is this system being implemented? 2.Will it drive revenue or reduce costs? 3.What will it cost if this system is unavailable? 4.What is the relative priority? 5.Who is going to use this system? 6.How will they use the system? 7.How will IT know if the user is satisfied with the system? 8.Is this the correct, cost-effective combination of hardware and software? 9.Is the system/solution delivering what it is supposed to deliver?

After reviewing and analyzing this initial checklist, the IT organization should go back to the business and fully clarify the requestor's real need for the implementation. At that point, IT can offer options for response times and provide the associated costs based on service level agreements that support those response times.

To best align IT with the goals of the business, negotiation needs to take place between IT and the service requestor. How does IT know where to compromise? It must meet with the business managers to identify what the requirements are going to be worth to the business. If the business manager has no idea of what this service is going to be worth, then why should IT be looking at how much it will cost to deliver this service?

IT should question all project requests from the business before automatic implementation. When any IT project or service is requested, the first two questions asked should be "Why does this need to be done?" and "What is the worth to the business."

Next, IT organizations should monitor what matters - this is followed by identifying the quantifiable benefits of delivering on that vision. Understanding the vision and the benefits enables IT to attack and resolve the problem.

Once support processes are in place to align IT with the business, the next step is to focus on the technology needed to integrate and automate these processes based on ITIL best practices. The technology that is selected to implement BSM should support the reasons why you are doing the implementation. The more functions you can automate effectively the better. Last, break down BSM into manageable elements and get assistance. That is, break down the implementation into segments of what matters. Rather than trying to fix everything end-to-end in one fell swoop, consider bringing in professional help such as professional services, partners or business-managed services. Have someone who understands the issues help determine how to solve them.

Upon following these BSM processes an IT organization should be well aligned with the organization it is assisting in the most effective and cost effective way.

About the Author

Stephen J. Richards has 25 years experience in Data Management and Information Technology. This information is provided as a public service by Neon Enterprise Software, a leading provider of IMS outsourcing. For more information, please visit

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-05-16 23:47:03 in Computer Articles

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