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One of my favorite and most respected members of the punditocracy is Michael Krigsman. If you aren't following him and his musings, you should be. Here's my take on a recent example of why.


In an insightful recent thought piece, Michael asks "Is 'marketing' ready for digital transformation?" Citing research from Accenture, Capgemini and MIT, Michael argues that chief marketing officers (CMOs) and their teams have important roles to play in the transformation of enterprise digital transformation. However, Michael also argues that based on current evidence, those roles are so fare being severely underplayed. Here's a bit of what he says, with italics added by me for emphasis.


" Popular opinion seems to equate digital transformation with marketing, which is incorrect even if understandable. Because the marketing department controls websites, social media, and other customer-facing aspects of digital interaction, it is tempting to equate these elements with the much broader concept of digital transformation. True digital transformation is not just a website or attractive new channel for sales or customer service. Instead, transformation involves redesigning processes, strategies, business models, and even culture to take full advantage of new capabilities offered by digital mediums and technologies."


Now, if you've paid attention to anything I've posted on the ServiceNow Community site, or anything anyone from ServiceNow has said publicly of late, you already know why I've emphasized those particular 22 words. For everyone else, I will shamelessly quote from one of my own previous posts, again with italics added for emphasis.


" Success with enterprise service management requires effective deployment of processes and technologies proven effective and optimized for this essential task.


"In many if not most enterprises, such proven processes and technologies likely already exist within the departments most experienced at successful delivery of enterprise services.


"In many enterprises, the department with the most experience in successful delivery of enterprise services is IT, but HR, facilities management and others can also be strong candidates."


Marketing must lead the elements of enterprise transformation that connect the enterprise's faces to the world, internally and externally. But given that those faces and the services that enable them are increasingly digital, marketing needs help and support from IT.


IT must lead the elements of enterprise transformation that empower the services and interfaces by which that transformation is enabled and delivered. But given that marketing teams oversee many of those interfaces and services, IT needs help and support from marketing.


Two of my favorite books share a fascinating characteristic. The core message of each is "buried in plain sight" within the larger work. In Strunk and White's essential "The Elements of Style," it's four words that end a single sentence: "…make every word tell." In Keith Ferrazzi's seminal, inspirational treatise on the value of relationships, is the first three words of the work's title: "Never Eat Alone."


  IT and marketing leaders and team members interested in fomenting meaningful transformation at their enterprises should dine and/or drink with their marketing and IT counterparts regularly and frequently. Once a week would be great, but even once a month is good. Each team is powerful on its own. Joined together by shared goals, efforts and processes, they just might be unstoppable agents of transformation.

You know what's really cool about cats' eyes? Their motion-detection abilities.


Basically, when cats look out over an area – the African veldt, your kitchen floor – what they see that's not moving is relatively blurry, while anything that moves is in sharp relief. Why? Because that which moves could be either predator or prey, two of a cat's top concerns. So their eyes work with their brains to sharpen their focus on what's most important.


ServiceNow's just-announced acquisition of Neebula will help IT leaders and their teams to do the same thing regarding discovery of IT resources and management of the services those resources empower. Neebula's flagship offering, ServiceWatch, associates discovered IT resources with specific services, a perfect complement to ServiceNow's IT Operations Management offerings, including Event Management, Orchestration and of course, Discovery. Here's how Neebula itself describes what ServiceWatch does.


"Neebula’s ServiceWatch has a unique, top-down approach to service availability management that is proven in both large and small IT organizations around the globe. Instead of synthesizing service models from huge amounts of infrastructure data, ServiceWatch starts with the user-accessed entry point to the business service. It then drills down surgically through the applications and associated IT infrastructure, automatically mapping and monitoring only those things that are relevant to that service. As a result, it maps services in minutes, and provides accurate, up-to-date application and service performance information, even in rapidly changing IT environments."


Neebula first announced integration with the ServiceNow CMDB in 2012. With the acquisition by ServiceNow, that integration is likely to broaden and deepen fairly quickly (as did integration of the predictive performance analytics enhancements ServiceNow obtained when it acquired Mirror42 in 2013). This is great news for any IT team seeking to improve and extend its abilities to deliver and manage enterprise services more effectively, within and beyond IT. Which is or should be every IT team on the planet.


  If you're not already familiar with Neebula and ServiceWatch, check them out at the Neebula Web site, or via a quick search on YouTube or on Vimeo. Then start sharpening your own focus on the IT infrastructure elements that matter most to service delivery and management at your enterprise.

Ah configuration management, the foundation of great IT service management (ITSM).


Or at least that was what we were being told circa 2008-9 by eager ITSM tool vendors, with pricey CMDB software to sell, on the back of ITIL v3. Being a little OCD I admit that I bought into the need somewhat. Why wouldn’t you want everything accounted for and lined up in straight lines?


But, in my opinion, this was the crux of the issue – it was all about documenting configuration items (CIs) and hopefully their relationships to each other. It was all “very IT,” in the same way that a service desk might be revered based on the high volume of incidents it handles. The usual IT behavior that leads to our attention being focused at the wrong points of a value chain and thus on the wrong things.




The CMDB and the politician effect


We can talk to the low adoption of configuration management and the configuration management database (CMDB). And the fact that we then on moved to the configuration management system (CMS). It might have been because the practicality of a single “managed data repository” wasn’t working (am I the only one to momentarily think of Star Trek every time “federated CMDB” is mentioned) or it might have been akin to what politicians do – something isn’t liked so it’s renamed for the proverbial “second bite at the cherry” rather than being buried-to-be-forever-forgotten.


As far back as 2011, Glenn O’Donnell – revered Forrester analyst, co-author of The CMDB Imperative, radio ham, and all-round-nice-guy – wrote a research paper called “Reinvent The Obsolete But Necessary CMDB” (pay-walled content) in which he proposed that the CMDB be renamed to “Service Information System” on the back of needing to drop the DB and the C from the CMDB for reasons he also succinctly outlines in a public blog.


I no longer have access to Glenn’s report – so I’m going by memory – but I feel that there is another card to play here. That is to reconsider the ITIL process we call “configuration management” and, rather than just looking at its worth, consider it from a real-world perspective.


Who can afford to do configuration management?


… And who can afford not to do configuration management?


But in many ways this is a red herring. People might find configuration management hard to justify and therefore hard to resource in cash-strapped IT organizations. They might even find it hard to do. But if all they are doing is configuration management for configuration management’s sake then does it really matter?


In many ways it’s like IT asset management activity that is mostly focused on improving the accuracy of the asset database rather than leveraging what might be less-accurate data to save costs or improve business operations. But, for me, there is an even stronger similarity to knowledge management. And I’m not just talking about ITIL-espoused, ITSM knowledge management. I’m talking about knowledge management per se.


IMO, knowledge management should be redefined as knowledge exploitation


The path to enterprise knowledge management has always been littered with obstacles. From knowing what (relevant) knowledge is, getting the people with knowledge to share it (after all knowledge has been power for a very long time), making knowledge accessible when it’sneeded, to ensuring that knowledge is accurate and timely, and thus still relevant.


Yes there are best practices, enabling technologies, and a variety of knowledge management consultants, experts, gurus, self-proclaimed thought leaders, and “highly-effective world-changers” (yes I have seen some dodgy bios this morning). But how many times do we continue to see knowledge management, like configuration or asset management, focus on the collection and codification of knowledge rather than the exploitation of knowledge to enable better outcomes?


And, even then, how well is that collection done? How often is knowledge management something that is done in addition to the day-job, something that gets left until there is time? Which in the modern work environment will probably never appear.


So from a configuration management POV, how often is a CMDB the place where IT data goes to die?


Like knowledge management, surely configuration management should be part of operational processes?


It’s not a new concept – that for knowledge management to have any chance of really working it needs to be embedded within business processes rather than being a discrete and disconnected activity that in reality never gets done. For me the same is true for configuration management.


By all means we can still talk of configuration management. It could even be a sub-process of the ITIL-espoused processes that people do actively use. And, yes, we could still have someone responsible for configuration management. But having configuration management as a separate process? I think we have proven that it doesn’t really work outside of large organizations that have the funds to apply significant resource to it.


Instead I’d like to see it play a bigger part in the processes that do get resourced and adopted. Whether it be incident, event, problem, change and release, asset, capacity, or service catalog management (or even procurement and financial management), why can’t what was previously separated out as configuration management be subsumed, in a consistent way, into the things that actually get done by IT Operations?


Yes someone else might need to be responsible for things such as discovery and data-accuracy related tasks, but wouldn’t it make more sense to make configuration management a “pulled” rather than “pushed” activity?


Is this a pipedream?


I don’t think so. In some ways this is already happening despite configuration management being a discrete and somewhat unloved ITIL process. For example, a year ago I wrote of the high CMDB use within ServiceNow customers even though I doubted that many really did formal configuration management:


“The real ITSM standout is the 82% CMDB usage. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that four out of every five ServiceNow customers are “doing” configuration management – what it does mean is that they are leveraging the CMDB and the information it holds to support other ITSM processes such as incident, change, asset, and capacity management.”


So what about it for the next version of ITIL? Should we continue to have a discrete configuration management process that organizations either never get round to or struggle to adopt? Or should we look at how the benefits of configuration management can be achieved through the adaption of the processes that organizations do adopt?



Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riddle_/

In a previous blog – What’s The Future Of ITSM? – I listed 15 elements that will potentially contribute to the future of IT service management (ITSM). I also promised to return to some of these 15 elements at a later date. It’s definitely a lot later, but this is the first – a blog that looks at my opinion that “IT will need to redefine its role before it becomes an IT service delivery ‘bit player.’”




“A bit player has a small or unimportant role in something.” Source: http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/bit+player.html




The big question for me is whether your average corporate IT organization (and its people) has really adapted with the times or whether they have just adapted with the technology. And, because of this singular focus on the technology, whether they understand the predicament that they are potentially in. That is whether they understand what “delivering IT as a service” (as per ITIL in particular) really entails, whether they understand the “laws of supply and demand,” whether they have noticed a loss of their IT-monopoly, and whether they understand the concept of customer or service experience.


Ultimately, like the frog-in-boiling-water anecdote, whether they have blissfully bathed-on unaware of the temperature rising around them.


Increased perplexity from the additional complexity


In my opinion, the changing business and IT landscapes have jointly made being the “preferred supplier” and then delivering the required IT services more difficult than ever been. There are many challenges and opportunities to consider and address, which include:


  • The need for increased speed of change – the enterprise needs innovation, that’s business innovation not just IT innovation. It needs to be ahead of the competitor pack in how it operates, in terms of both front and back office activities, and how it delivers products, services, and customer or service experience. It can’t afford to wait for the internal IT organization to deliver. It won’t wait.
  • The impact of consumer IT experiences – consumer IT has changed dramatically over the last ten years. And with it employee and customer expectations of hardware, applications, services, and the associated service experience. For any service provider, the failure to deliver on service experience is one step closer to irrelevancy.
  • Increased reliance on outsourcing and multiple third-party service providers – with the need to manage these disparate service providers in terms of quality, cost, and innovation. It’s difficult, and cannot be done effectively using just personal productivity tools and email. Instead, a formal model and mechanisms are needed to manage the relationships with the service providers and to ultimately provide seamless IT service delivery.
  • The increased adoption of cloud – which not only removes much of what the IT organization has traditionally done, in terms of managing the infrastructure, but again also adds to the need to effectively manage third-party service providers and the services they deliver.


I could go on, and I deliberately didn’t mention “Shadow IT,” but hopefully this has you thinking about the relevance of “traditional” IT functions, their operations, their mindsets, and their behaviors. Importantly, we can no longer deliver IT like it’s 1999.


New roles for IT? Don’t be limited by your limitations


Surely the role and responsibilities of the CIO and their team need to change? As the corporate IT organization gets further removed from the IT infrastructure – no longer touching servers, which is now for the cloud companies to do – and with the higher expectations of IT service providers, what is it going to do?


In my opinion, the answer very much depends on the CIO and senior IT management’s imagination, desire, and ability to envision a new role or roles for the IT organization. And it’s important to act now to avoid the continued marginalization of the IT organization through an evolution that will ends with it as a bit-player (sorry for the drama queen moment).


Should IT aspire to a brokerage role?


I hear a lot of predictions related to IT becoming a “service broker.” It makes sense but I don’t think that IT should settle for this or similar diminished roles, such as:


  • An IT advisory function – where lines of business procure their own IT services with assistance from “the corporate technology experts.”
  • A specialist procurement vehicle – helping lines of business from a requirements, governance, and value-for-money perspective.
  • A service broker – bringing in and managing services from third parties as needed. Providing a contract management capability from a SLA point of view. Maybe also managing supplier relationships.


Service Broker might sound great, just like Frontline Educational Culinary Consultant sounds better than a School Dinner/Lunch Helper, but surely this service administration role, while valid, is a dilution of where IT was in the 2000s and …


… Whatever happened to the exciting IT of the 1990s?


Yes, many corporate IT organizations have come on leaps and bounds in the last 20 years (particularly on the back of ITIL) but, again in my opinion, what happened to the view that IT was innovative and the CIO was a business visionary? It’s as though IT found its comfort zone – supporting the infrastructure and systematically reacting to business projects – and now struggles to step outside it.


But, thankfully, there is already scope to create new opportunities and roles for IT, for instance some of the things I’ve covered in previous blogs:


  • Leading, rather than following, on enterprise service management.
  • Providing advice and capabilities around consumerization and improved service delivery for other corporate service providers.
  • Working closer with lines of business in a proactive rather than reactive way, and talking about business outcomes not the technology itself (so working on things like business operations optimization and new product/service development).
  • If warranted, using a SIAM (service integration and management) model and capabilities to deliver what outsourcing didn’t – cost reduction, service improvement, and innovation.
  • Making support more akin to facilitation – imagine if a service desk agent knew that an employee would benefit from, and automatically offered up, a new device or application before the employee requested it.


It makes you wonder what IT could achieve if it wasn’t bogged down in the technology and the associated technological issues. With the freedom to think outside the data center, about the things that really matter to business operations.


Hopefully the average corporate IT organization won’t be limited to a bit player role but, unfortunately, that role will be quietly assumed if IT continues to focus on, get bogged down by, the technology rather that the effective use of the technology. So what are you doing to create the next incarnation of your corporate IT organization?

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jlbalaco/

In my previous two blogs on the future of ITIL:



I hopefully set up why ITIL needs to adapt to accommodate changes in enterprise service delivery and support.


Now I look at how ITIL will be applicable to the “Support Center 2.0” – whatever that is – and enterprise service management.



The Support Center 2.0 and ITIL

But first we should start by dropping the “Support Center 2.0” nomenclature; it reeks of IT and legacy software release versioning.


In my opinion, the support center is evolving beyond IT, and it will require people (and enabling technology) to support people, rather than people just supporting the technology. Yes, the support center of the future will be dealing with the added complexities of mobile, the cloud, BYOD, and countless as-yet undiscovered innovations. And, yes, there will be additional channels for communication and support that leverage social, knowledge management, collaborative, remote support, and automation capabilities. But the real differences will be:


  1. Greater emphasis on the employee and their situations: From an IT perspective, this entails shifting the thought process away from the broken laptop and toward the employee who can’t fulfill his responsibilities. But understanding the business impact of IT failures is nothing new; it’s just not as common as it ought to be. Understanding the context of employee issues and requests is something that will apply to all corporate service providers.
  2. Improvements in service delivery and service experience: On the one hand, this is about making improvements in service provider operations, through better processes and enabling technologies, which hopefully increases effectiveness and efficiency and enhances management and governance. On the other, it’s about ensuring the service experience meets employee or customer expectations.
  3. Removing boundaries and inefficiencies: Why do employees need to contact the right corporate service provider rather than THE corporate service provider? The proliferation of telephone numbers, email addresses, and even service provider portals was created with an emphasis on supply, not demand. Your employees just need service, regardless of where they might have directed that request in the past (IT, HR, facilities, legal, or any other corporate service provider). So why does an employee need to know, or even care about, which corporate service provider will fulfill their need?

Isn’t it time to design employee services around employees, rather than service providers? It’s time for service management to become an enterprise capability, both in terms of delivery and maturity.

So, finally, onto the required evolution of ITIL

In my opinion, ITIL should already be jockeying to be “the enterprise service management best practice framework” of choice, building on its history as “the ITSM best practice framework.” And I believe it will: first, because it will have to, lest it become outdated and irrelevant; second, because this is where AXELOS will see the greatest return on its investment (in ITIL).


I have no doubt that, in the hands of AXELOS, ITIL is here to stay. I believe it will continue to be the de facto ITSM best practice framework, while simultaneously adding depth, catching up with changes in the IT landscape, and catering to the needs of a growing constituency – corporate service providers.

I have no doubt that support centers and enterprises will be using ITIL for many, many years to come. But it will be a much different ITIL to the one published in 2007 and then revised in 2011.


Now who is going to ask line-of-business experts and Ian Clayton or Ken Gonzalez to step up to the enterprise service management plate?


Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/richardsummers/

In my previous blog – The Future And Ongoing Relevance Of ITIL Part One: ITIL 25 Years On – I glanced back over 25 years of ITIL and at how AXELOS are bringing ITIL into the 21st century. In the second of the three blog series, I talk to the need for change. Not just because of the changing technology landscape but also from a business perspective. In particular because of the consumerization of service and the growing adoption of enterprise service management.



The consumerization of service

Believe it or not, service management didn’t originate in IT, nor is it only applicable to IT. It applies to all service providers, internal and external. This point brings us around to the first of these two “trends”: the consumerization of service. Where employees are bringing their personal-life and consumer-driven expectations into the workplace, and not just when it comes to their personal devices (the consumerization of IT—notably BYOD—grabs all the headlines, doesn’t it?).


Thus technical service and support organizations need to step up their game when it comes to service delivery and service experience, focusing on ease of use, self-service, service catalogs, mobility (anytime, anywhere access), knowledge availability, social or collaborative capabilities, and customer-centric support.


But the consumerization of service isn’t only affecting technical service and support organizations; it applies to all corporate service providers. (The “consumerization of HR” exists—Google it.) Soon, other corporate service providers, such as facilities management and legal, will be facing the same challenges and expectations. This trend thankfully overlaps with the growth in enterprise service management.


Enterprise service management

Not only are companies looking to extend ITSM tools and possibly ITIL best practices to other corporate service providers, enabling the company as a whole to benefit from economies of scale and associated cost savings, they’re looking to do it in a way that improves the customer experience and meets their consumer-driven expectations.


For example KPMG, a global network of professional firms that provides audit, tax, and advisory services, sees a spectrum of states where customers have matured, or wish to mature, from:


  • Decentralized processes within corporate service provider functions, such as IT and HR, performed by business units on their own behalf, to
  • Centralized processes, where processes and outcomes are consolidated and owned by centralized service provider functions, with business units as customers, to
  • Shared services, where processes are consolidated into regional service entities and operated as business units with shared governance, to
  • Global business services, a business services model with global scope and delivery (think global shared services), to
  • Integrated multifunctional global business services, which extends the global business services model across multiple corporate service providers, with end-to-end global process ownership and accountability. (In essence, IT, HR, finance, etc., would operate as a single entity, with common tools, processes, and personnel—the nirvana of enterprise service management operations.)


The eagle-eyed reader will have noticed that KPMG prefers the term “global business services” to enterprise service management. And if you want an independent definition of enterprise service management it is interesting to note that Wikipedia is yet to offer one.


But other corporate service providers can still benefit from ITSM reimagined as enterprise service management

It seems every department in the enterprise is now a service provider. HR, legal, facilities, and others all offer services which can include requests for products, services, information, changes, or assistance with issues, and, ideally, they’re delivered via automated workflows.

Consider HR’s “service management,” using onboarding a new employee as an example of a complex service request. Traditionally, HR uses email, spreadsheets, or other personal productivity tools to “manage” a number of discrete activities across a number of discrete business functions:


  • HR: Collecting and verifying employee personal data; signing contracts and other official forms; agreeing to a start date; providing HR policy information; arranging induction training.
  • IT: Providing equipment (telephone, laptop, mobile, etc.), software, access to corporate IT services, instructional information, and corporate usage policy information.
  • Facilities: Providing suitable working accommodations, a security pass, and network access (in conjunction with IT).
  • Fleet: Arranging a company car or a parking space.


Yes it all gets delivered, eventually. But how was the service experience? And did it take far longer than it should have done? And undoubtedly something was missed.

So surely our peers in HR would benefit from service management best practices. And surely employees, and other consumers of their services, would benefit from an enterprise approach to service management. Surely all corporate service providers would benefit from the enterprise equivalent of ITIL?

Part three of this blog series The Future And Ongoing Relevance Of ITIL Part Three: Enterprise Service Management Best Practice addresses how ITIL needs to change to meet the challenge of enterprise service management.


Image source: Flickr: R/DV/RS' Photostream

I recently wrote an HDI article on the continuing relevance, with caveats, of ITIL – the IT service management (ITSM) best practice framework formerly known as the IT Infrastructure Library. If you want to read the original it can be found here (requires registration). If you would prefer to read it in smaller chunks, then I have repurposed the content across three blogs and added a few more, totally unnecessary, pop culture references for fun.



A critical look at 25 years of ITIL

In my mind, there’s no doubt that ITIL has played a big role in the evolution of corporate IT. Love it or hate it, it’s hard to dispute the fact that ITIL has done much to improve the professionalism and performance of technical service and support organizations around the world.


Yes, you can argue that ITIL has been abused for financial gain (whether intentionally or through ignorance) by training firms, software vendors, consultants, and others. Yes, you can argue that many companies have wasted scarce financial and people resources on trying to deliver against an unrealistic expectation of ITIL, or on trying to attain a level of maturity beyond their operational capabilities. And, yes, you can argue that ITIL is outdated, even though it’s come a long way from its late-1980s UK government origins.


But how many companies function more efficiently these days because of ITIL, if only from a technical service and support perspective? Thousands, if not tens of thousands, I’m sure. ITIL is the ITSM best practice framework for much of the business world, and it’s worth considering what its future might look like as technical service and support organizations evolve.


AXELOS and the future of ITIL

In the 1989 version of Batman, the Joker delivers a scathing critique of the status quo in Gotham City: “This town needs an enema.” ITIL, coincidentally released the same year, has needed that same treatment for a while now owing to the effects of a range of symptoms:


  • The bloated tomes of ITIL v3 (The Return of the Jedi to ITIL v2’s The Empire Strikes Back);
  • The lack of adoption of some two-thirds of ITIL’s best practices;
  • The war and horror stories of ITIL adoptions that have been fraught with setbacks and challenges; and
  • ITIL’s loss of relevancy as the IT and business landscapes have changed around it.


But ITIL is no longer languishing in the dimly-lit offices of government buildings in London. The AXELOS joint venture, announced in April 2013, has mapped out a new future for ITIL, taking a layered approach that defines different “classes” of ITIL content. Think of it like an onion:


  • A center comprising very stable ITIL core content.
  • Layers of modular content, such as role- or industry-specific information.
  • Further layers with more practical content, such as templates, guides, and case studies.
  • An outside layer that is community-owned and community-driven, curated and promoted by AXELOS and “the ITSM community.”


AXELOS is also very aware of the growing use of ITSM tools and best practice outside of IT – enterprise service management – and the need for corporate service providers to change to meet the demands of the consumerization of service.


Part two of this blog series covers these two areas in more detail (The Future And Ongoing Relevance Of ITIL Part Two: “Change Is The Only Constant”) and how ITIL will need to change.


Image source: Flickr: Sakena's Photostream

In 2009, global research firm Gartner spoke to the rise of the Citizen Developer by 2014, based on: mass personalization, infrastructure industrialization, changing demographics, and developer tool evolution.


Well it’s now 2014 and, in my opinion, another force is now driving the rise of the Citizen Developer – Consumerization. As employee consumer experiences, and the associated elevation of expectations, are driving corporate IT organizations to improve their service delivery for the better through Consumerization-inspired technology.


It’s an enterprise-wide issue and opportunity


But it’s not just IT that’s impacted. These consumer experiences are also dictating employee expectations of service delivery, and the associated service experience, for other corporate service providers such as HR, legal, facilities, and finance.


Thus line-of-business service owners, who have seen the power and success of custom applications, the service catalog, and automation within IT, now want to exploit these technical capabilities to improve service within their own functions.


It’s a great opportunity for IT to better demonstrate its relevance and worth to business peers, but not necessarily an opportunity that’s easy to take.


The difficulties of matching line-of-business demand to IT supply


So, on the back of Consumerization, many enterprise IT organizations are struggling to keep up with the rising demand for line-of-business service-enabling applications. Where business peers, in particular, want to replace slow and error-prone manual service request mechanisms – often where the requester has to download a form, print it, fill it out, and then email it for approval, processing, and fulfillment – with a better service experience and improved efficiency.


However, the fact that IT lacks the resources to meet this increased demand is only part of the challenge. These business people also want greater input into how their services are structured and how their service requests are submitted and fulfilled. But they lack the technical skills to build, publish, maintain, and deliver such services themselves. Thus there is a dilemma. IT, with finite resources, needs to better support lines-of-business, while business people want to be empowered to do more themselves.


So how can IT:


  • Cope with these extra demands on its time?
  • Empower non-technical colleagues to allow them a more active role in creating and providing simple line-of-business services to improve the service experience?

3416808836_462c3087de_o.pngThe answer is ServiceNow Service Creator


Supporting ServiceNow’s founding vision – to “Build a cloud-based platform to enable regular people to create meaningful applications that route work through an enterprise” – and based on existing customer successes, ServiceNow Service Creator empowers non-technical business people to quickly build line-of-business services.


Service Creator provides a simple drag-and-drop experience that enables business people to create or modify services without programming knowledge or experience. Individuals then request the services by selecting a service catalog item.


For example, someone in HR might create a new service to automate continuing education tuition cost reimbursement. It’s easy for HR to design and create it themselves – from the information captured, how it looks, to the way that service requests are handled and fulfilled.


Service Creator can also take advantage of other ServiceNow capabilities. Mobile access can be enabled, service levels can be designated, fulfillers and requesters can be notified of new requests and status changes, workflow can automate fulfillment, and dashboards and reports can be created to help manage operational performance.


The result is a unified service request experience, higher service provider productivity, and increased customer satisfaction.


So what are you waiting for?


Your peers in other lines-of-business need help in meeting employees’ increased, consumer-driven, service expectations. You probably have insufficient time to support all of their requirements. So take a look at how ServiceNow Service Creator can help you to help them to help others.


With Service Creator, IT can help other corporate service providers to become Citizen Creators and to:


  • Improve the service experience. Empower them to deliver better services and a more consumer-like service experience that better meets service expectations.
  • Increase productivity. They can rapidly create, change, and publish new services on their own. Improving line-of-business productivity and freeing up IT to focus on business innovation and growth.
  • Improve service visibility. Make line-of-business services easier to find and access for employees. And give corporate service provider colleagues better insight into service demand and their operational performance.

Want to know more? Download the Service Creator Data Sheet or view the Service Creator demo (requires registration).

Related blog: What's New In The ServiceNow Eureka Release?

Image source: Flickr: ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓'s Photostream

Following up on earlier posts about our new PPM training, here is an info graphic highlighting the training topics -



On the 17 June ServiceNow publicly announced its Eureka release. If you are full of interest but short of time then this blog is for you.


To quote from the official press release:


“The products and features in this new ServiceNow release give IT the ability to create a new service experience for business users and improve the framework on which IT can deliver those services across the enterprise.  For example, business users can use Service Creator to independently create and deliver services that automate mundane tactical activities typically managed in spreadsheets and email.  For larger projects, IT can use ServiceNow Demand Management to easily assess the demand from each business function and then use the new CIO Roadmap to drive conversations with business stakeholders about IT investment decisions. Services can be automated with applications that are purpose-built to solve specific business challenges.  These applications can be custom created by users or are offered as complete and customizable applications built by ServiceNow, such as ServiceNow Facilities Service Automation. And the underlying infrastructure can be managed with a comprehensive set of technologies, including ServiceNow Event Management, that enable fast remediation of the issues that could cause business interruptions.”



For more detail, please read on …


Service Creator


ServiceNow Service Creator empowers non-technical business users to quickly build applications on the ServiceNow Service Automation Platform. Individuals request the services provided by these new applications in a service catalog. Service Creator provides a simple drag-and-drop experience that enables business users to create or modify applications without programming knowledge or experience.


Facilities Service Automation


ServiceNow Facilities Service Automation automates the request and delivery of facilities information and services. Requests are automatically assigned to designated facilities specialists or teams using configurable rules. Integrated reporting provides insights into volume, types of requests and individual workloads so that facilities teams can optimize resources, improve preventative maintenance cycles, align services with company priorities, and demonstrate impact to the business.


Event Management


ServiceNow Event Management automatically creates actionable alerts from events captured by third-party monitoring tools. A configurable dashboard provides a consolidated view of all service-impacting events, including a list of current active alerts, impacted services, and associated incidents. In order to generate qualified alerts, events are processed through filters that normalize and de-duplicate the incoming stream. Alerts are then mapped to configuration items (CIs) in the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and rules may be applied to trigger automated actions.


Demand Management


ServiceNow Demand Management centralizes strategic requests from the business to IT and streamlines the investment decision process for new products and services – or enhancements and defect repairs to existing products and services. Demand Management enables the generation, development and communication of new ideas – supporting corporate initiatives to drive and grow the business. The application provides the ability to assess, manage and accurately forecast demand for products and services.


Visual Task Boards


Visual Task Boards are a new feature to organize services and other tasks using kanban-inspired boards that foster collaboration and increase productivity.


CIO Roadmap


CIO Roadmap is a new timeline visualization feature that displays prioritized investment decisions across business functions.


Field Service Automation


As mentioned in a previous blog, ServiceNow Work Management has been enhanced and rebranded as ServiceNow Field Service Automation.


Want to read more? Then check out:


The Shadow from kabooooom.com.jpgRogue from imgarcade.com.jpg


There's been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere, among the punditocracy and elsewhere lately about "shadow IT" and "rogue IT." Thought I'd join in.




To define our terms, "shadow IT" and "rogue IT" typically refer to the tendency of users to go around IT to get something IT-related done. Examples can range from spinning up an instance of Amazon Web Services without notifying IT first to building and deploying a custom business app without informing or involving IT. Such efforts are often triggered when requests to IT go unanswered or are denied because IT says it lacks sufficient resources to meet the request.




The risks are obvious. Every shadow or rogue IT initiative creates the possibility of breaking something critical to a department or the entire enterprise and/or requiring IT to fix or remove something about which it knows little or nothing.




Because of these risks, shadow and rogue IT are getting a lot of attention. But I believe some of it is…misplaced.




Shadow and rogue IT are not "the problems" per se. Rather, they are indicators and symptoms. They indicate that users perceive, rightly or wrongly, that IT is unable or unwilling to meet those users' requests for IT resources those users believe are important or critical to their work. And they are symptoms of larger challenges facing IT – challenges often indicating a need for transformation.




Of course, IT has the right and responsibility to deny or redirect requests that aren't supported by meaningful, credible declarations of business need or opportunity. But IT must maximize its value to the business – and improve how that value and IT itself are perceived by the rest of the business.




To accomplish these goals, IT must find more ways to say "yes" more often. Which means that IT needs to transform its tools and processes to focus less on infrastructure and more on service delivery and management, automation and user enablement.




These are, not at all coincidentally, areas in which ServiceNow shines. With the new Eureka release (available now!), ServiceNow customers are increasing and extending their IT teams' abilities to deliver higher levels of consolidation, automation and consumerization, within and beyond IT. The latest example: Vitamix using ServiceNow to automate and scale services in HR, operations maintenance and facilities management. And in IT, by the way.




The more often IT can say "yes" to requests for new or improved custom applications or other IT-powered resources, the less IT has to worry about shadow or rogue IT. And the more IT can focus on delivery and management of effective services, the more often it can say "yes" to those requests that make business sense, and say "no" to those that don't without retaliation.



Shadow and rogue IT – opportunities and incentives to initiate or accelerate the transformation of IT into a key enabler of the service-oriented enterprise. Sounds a lot more promising than threatening, doesn't it? Let me know what you think, please, and let's see if we can't help to convince those pursuing shadow or rogue IT efforts that, as the Borg Collective used to say on "Star Trek:"

The Borg Collective from mbtimetraveler.com.gif

But in a good way…


(Image credits: "The Shadow" from kabooooom.com; "Rogue" from imgarcade.com; "The Borg Collective" from mbtimetraveler.com.)

(Disclaimer: any resemblance between the Borg Collective pictured above and any actual IT people is purely coincidental.)

As recently announced, our ServiceNow Education Services team just introduced a new PPM course -/community/learn/blog/2014/06/06/servicenow-education-services-team-introduces-project-portfolio-management-training-course and I wanted to chime in and give you a glimpse into what your project teams are learning in this class:


  1. How to bridge the gap between IT and the PMO (or business operations) by taking advantage of our single system of record where all tasks – planned or operational - live on the same platform. We teach you how to create traceability to ITSM processes outside of PPM and monitor schedule impacting work right on the project's Gantt chart.
  2. Use standard platform capabilities to add efficiency and automate manual tasks – How about automated weekly team reminders to update task progress or submit a time card? Or a system generated notification whenever a project task is updated or closed? Or a live feed post to keep teams and project stakeholders informed?
  3. Eliminate the need for paper based Word reports that become obsolete the minute you send them by learning to build custom project summary and detailed project work reports and post them to status dashboards. Or schedule them for weekly delivery to stakeholders.
  4. Build a project schedule from the grounds up or reuse a project that follows a similar framework. Take advantage of project and task creation utilities to efficiently create the project scope and schedule. Your work is in MS Project? Import it!
  5. Use the project’s Gantt chart to view the current Project schedule, forecast completion dates, identify the critical path, view key task dependencies.
  6. Modify the project schedule and create parent-child relationships, finish-to-start relationships, extend, add, and delete tasks and relationships, all right here from the Gantt chart.
  7. Simplify monitoring of the project progress and health by implementing a risk register, an issue log, a milestones list, leveraging SLAs for critical tasks, and setting up alerts for important events (state, priority, risk changes, etc.).
  8. Learn to manage resources using the Resource Management application and track capacity, utilization, allocations, and actual time worked in real time with resource reporting.
  9. Master the internals of project costs and effort tracking. Learn to estimate and plan, populate actual spending and time worked over the course of the project, and automate to have terminal level work elements update their parent and the project overall with actual financial and effort information.
  10. Leverage the Knowledge Base to implement and maintain a lessons learned database – essential for improving project processes going forward.


Need another reason to attend the class?  How about no prior experience required? In this class we do not assume prior knowledge of the platform and we teach the fundamentals of navigation and usage as well as the necessary administration skills to configure the Project, Time Cards, and Financial Management applications.


Whether you are a Project Manager, a member of the PMO, or an individual contributor without project management background, this training will quickly ramp you up on the PPM application and teach you to leverage the ServiceNow platform for all things Project Management.


The first upcoming course will be in a virtual classroom on June 25-26. The first live course will be in San Diego from July 17-18.


If you have any questions about the course, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at anna.scheib@servicenow.com

In his previous (guest) blog post – A Lean Approach To Getting Started With ITAMMartin Thompson of The ITAM Review explained how Lean thinking can be applied to IT asset management (ITAM). He also promised seventeen ideas that could be considered “minimal viable ITAM services” to tackle, to start to show a return from ITAM investment.



Each one of these could potentially be implemented in isolation, and most of them just require some human horsepower rather than major organizational change:


  1. AWOL Hardware – Review “asset last seen” data and hunt down hardware that might have gone astray or hidden away under desks or in drawers. Upside: Surplus hardware (and potentially software) stock to issue against new requests to avoid buying new hardware.
  2. Inventory Accuracy – Compare inventory against other enterprise sources such as antivirus, Active Directory, or the CMDB. Measure and improve inventory accuracy. Good quality, trustworthy inventory allows for sharper and more efficient procurement. Upside: The business can make smarter decisions about purchasing choices, deployment of new projects and supporting customers if it has accurate inventory.
  3. Service Ownership – If not already incorporated within a CMDB, keep an accurate record of each physical and virtual server, what function and value it brings to the business and who is responsible for the service(s) on them. Upside: It’s much easier to renew maintenance agreements accurately and spot redundant or expired servers to be removed.
  4. Change Management ITAM Savvy – Once an organization has base-lined and reconciled assets in the datacentre. Maintaining a good ITAM position can largely be attributed to good change management processes. Ensure your change management has ITAM smarts and appreciates the risk and costs of changes. Upside: Avoid expensive software licensing true up bills in the datacentre around virtualization and the configuration of servers, which is an area where organizations are typically tripped up during a vendor audit.
  5. Software Amnesty And Reclaim – Survey your software users and reclaim any unused software titles. You could use software usage tracking technology or simply ask them in an email. “We’re trying to save the company money so please let us know of any applications you don’t use” can sometimes work wonders. Upside: Build a stock of spare licenses to avoid buying software against new software requests.
  6. Quantify The Cost Of Software – Most software in the enterprise costs money. Even open source titles cost money to maintain. Make your employees aware that software costs the company money and seek management approval for all software requests to smoke out inappropriate requests. Upside: Save money by only buying software the company actually needs.
  7. Monitor Rebuilds – Keep an eye on machines that have been rebuilt or maintained by the service desk. Has the correct software been reinstalled when the machine was reimaged? Are there opportunities to remove unused software or swap expensive applications for cheaper alternatives? Upside: Identify money saving opportunities as assets transition through their lifecycle.
  8. Quarantine New Projects – Check new projects before they are deployed to customers or installed on the network. Assess how the project is licensed and how that license cost might change throughout the lifecycle of the project. Upside: Avoid nasty financial surprises from mismanaged projects. Identify cost savings against original project budget plans in order to save the project money.
  9. Monitor New Software Installs – Keep track of all software changes across your environment. Marry these changes against software requests on the service desk and change requests in the datacentre. Jump on any discrepancies and look for root causes to establish how the discrepancy might be avoided in the future. Upside: Remove the financial risk of software audits exposing weaknesses in your lifecycle processes.
  10. Align With Human Resources – Keep track of joiners, movers, and leavers via HR. People changing jobs, moving on from projects, or leaving the company altogether are a great source of change throughout the asset lifecycle. Upside: Claw back surplus devices and applications as employees leave the company. Cancel subscriptions and logins. Identify redundant applications as employees change roles.
  11. Proactively Manage Maintenance Renewals – Only renew maintenance contracts when it is clear the assets are a) still in use and b) are still valuable to the company. Upside: Avoid paying for unused software and services.
  12. Avoid Lease Fines – Avoid the cost of expired leases or lost hired assets by actively managing the last seen date, ownership, and expiry dates of assets. Upside: Reduce lease fines and only hire assets that are actually being used.
  13. Functional Overlap – Do applications or devices exist that offer overlapping functions? Are there opportunities to streamline to more suitable applications or devices that offer better value for money whilst still meeting functional requirements? Upside: Reduce software costs.
  14. Cheaper Alternatives – Are there commodity applications that would do a perfectly good job at a better price. Often user education is the only barrier to adoption. Upside: Reduce software costs.
  15. Charge Internally For Assets: There is nothing better for making business unit owners question their use of assets than being sent a bill for them. Charge internally for assets against a budget and provide levers for making changes and incentives for positive behavior. Upside: Reduce waste.
  16. Asset Strip Retired Assets: Sell unwanted software licenses (EU only) and sell unwanted or retired hardware assets or asset parts, components, or minerals. Upside: Squeeze maximum value from the whole lifecycle of assets.
  17. Exploit Product Use Rights: By working through the product use rights (what you are allowed to do with the software) for your high value or high volume software titles, you might identify acceptable uses of the software which will reduce costs e.g. some software manufacturers allow secondary use of software on another device. Upside: Squeeze maximum value from existing contracts and reduce future software costs.


It would be great to hear your feedback on these types of projects and if you’ve already experienced success with them on the ServiceNow platform. Please let us know.

Image source: Flickr: brad.coy's Photostream

This blog (and its follow up) has been contributed by Martin Thompson of The ITAM Review ...


In this blog I hope to answer a number of questions raised during my IT Asset Management (ITAM) best practices session at Knowledge14.


In summary, the ITAM key concerns from ServiceNow customers were:


  1. “How do I get started,” and
  2. “I’m a bit afraid to switch on ITAM within ServiceNow for fear of the fire hose of data.”


Embarking on ITAM can certainly feel like opening Pandora’s Box when you first get started due to the enormity of the challenge, the complexity of modern assets, and the sheer volume of data.


But ITAM is a beast that can be tamed. And a recent ITAM Review salary survey suggests closer alignment between ITAM and It service management (ITSM). With it becoming less of a financial and audit function to more of an important part of the ITSM lifecycle.


So how do I get started?


The advice I shared during my session at Knowledge14 was to:


  • Don’t try to boil the ocean - severely limit scope to ensure success
  • Focus on end outcomes and what “compliant” or “measured” actually looks like
  • Practice continual service improvement in ITAM.


A copy of my slide deck can be found on Slideshare here.


How do you eat an elephant? Piece by piece


In terms of building the business case and implementing an ITAM practice, I recommend borrowing some concepts from Lean and Agile. Rather than a grand project implementation, focus on short, data-driven, incremental improvements.


This experimental, data-driven approach is likely to be much more credible that going cap-in-hand to senior management asking for several hundred thousand dollars to build an IT project rocket ship based on assumptions of potential savings made by analyst firms.


Eric Ries in his book the Lean Startup says:


“If startups invest their time into iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers they can reduce the market risks and sidestep the need of large amounts of initial project funding and excessive launches and failures.”


Whilst the focus of Eric’s book is primarily aimed at startup software companies – we can apply the same methodology to building ITAM services.


Applying Lean to ITAM


To maximize the credibility and longevity of your ITAM practice you should run it like a business;


  • “These are the services we are going to provide as part of the ITAM practice”
  • “This is what these services will provide in terms of value”
  • “This is how much they will cost and aim to achieve.”


For example, you might start by building a service that states: Our ITAM function will deliver inventory of our entire server estate with 95% accuracy and manage the license compliance position of three major vendors in the datacentre. Is this a comprehensive ITAM practice? No. But will this very tight scope allow you to begin making progress? Yes. Our goal will be to reduce the risk of audits with those three publishers and save money by only buying exactly what we need. Using real data and results from our initial experiment you can expand your ITAM practice.


“Minimal viable service”


Eric also uses the concept of a “minimal viable product” (MVP). Which is a “version of a new product which allows the team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort”.


We can also borrow this MVP concept when building an ITAM practice. We can build a minimal viable service. Our goal is to try small, incremental projects that allow us to collect data and deliver a return, which allows building credibility and momentum in the practice.


In a follow-up blog, I’ll cover seventeen ideas that can be considered minimal viable ITAM services to tackle, to start showing a return from ITAM. Each one of these could potentially be implemented in isolation, and most of them just require some human horsepower to deliver rather than major organizational change.

Finally, my time at Knowledge14 is encapsulated in:




Image source: Flickr: bdesham's Photostream

If you haven't yet, you should immediately read my friend and colleague Stephen Mann's recent take on User-Centric IT. It is not only thought-provoking and incredibly relevant, but timely (and, of course, well-written).


A mere two days after Stephen's post landed on the ServiceNow Community Web site, Tom Pisello, "The ROI Guy" and founder of sales and marketing tools provider Alinean, posted "It's All Greek to Me." In that post, Tom argues that to get frugal buyers moving, sales and marketing efforts need to take an approach first described some 2,300 years ago by Aristotle. Those efforts need to focus on pathos (emotions), logos (logic and reason) and ethos (credibility). In other words, the things about which buyers care most, and not the things on which vendors tend to focus – their own offerings and messages.


Only two paragraphs in, and I'm sure you're already asking why the heck any of this matters to you. Here's why.


Whether you're in IT, technical support, sales, marketing or any other field that involves interaction with other humans, you face a constant challenge. That challenge: to interact with your constituents in ways most meaningful to them. In many instances, this requires a shift in your focus, away from what you care most about or had planned to say, and towards listening to and learning from those constituents.


This is a key element of the shift from IT's traditional "inside-out" focus to the more user/service-centric "outside-in" approach at the heart of the Universal Service Management Body of Knowledge (USMBOK). It's also an approach championed by a growing number of IT decision makers and influencers, such as ITIL pioneer and consultant Ian Clayton and Dr. Shue-Jane Thompson of Lockheed-Martin, a Distinguished Professional in Service Management and ITIL expert who has presented at several Knowledge conferences. (If you registered for Knowledge14 and are a ServiceNow Community member, you can download her presentations from that conference at the Knowledge14 Exclusive Registrant Content folder.)


When I was an industry analyst at a firm that consulted with enterprise IT decision-makers, we used to advise them to bring one person to each vendor meeting with two stopwatches. That person was to use one stopwatch to measure the number of minutes the vendor spoke, and the other to measure the number of minutes the vendor listened. We then advised our clients to throw out every vendor who talked more than they listened.


The result of all that listening is supposed to be to tailor the words you say to align as closely and credibly as possible with the primary concerns of each constituent. This is definitely not the same thing as telling the constituent "whatever they want to hear," a common and sadly, frequently valid criticism of sales and marketing people and their messages. What it is instead is carefully choosing the words that strike the optimal balance between your intended message and your constituents' concerns. (Just one reason why there are multiple ways to say or describe anything.)


Some 26 years ago, soon after I first met my wife, we got into a spirited debate over a now-long-forgotten topic. When I asked her to clarify something she'd said, she retorted that I was now "just quibbling over words." And before my internal editor could seize control, I found myself grinning at her and saying, "What else you got?"


Words matter, in every exchange you have with every human being you encounter. The more mindful you are when choosing your words, the better those exchanges will go, for you and everyone else involved. Makes for more effective storytelling, too.

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