Thursday, May 25, 2006

American ITIL

Just like American Idol, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) got its start across the pond over in the U.K.

I recently attended an IBM Briefing on IT Service Management where I learned what IBM Tivoli and IBM Global Services are doing in the area of ITIL.

IBM's 3-layer approach approach to IT Service Management focuses on utilizing ITIL's standard process models layered on top of an open, federated Change and Configuration Management Database that serves as an IT Service Management Platform. At the base of the stack are IBM's suite of traditional IT operational management products that Tivoli has been providing for years.

The IBM Tivoli Unified Process (ITUP) details how IT Service Management can be achieved by making ITIL actionable. ITIL is a collection of best practices that are intended to help an IT organization measure its contributions in terms of business value by integrating internal IT processes across an integrated management database. In other words, managing IT using the same process and database techniques that are used for managing the business at large.

Traditionally, IT has often behaved much like the cobbler whose children wore no shoes. IT preached to business leaders the gospel about needing to integrate information, processes, technology, and people. But internally, IT was typically run as a collection of poorly automated technology silos. The challenge for IT Service Management is to turn this around by automating the delivery of automation.

Just as Technology Architecture organizes and classifies products into product categories, IT Service Management organizes and classifies IT processes into process categories. Where products in a Technology Architecture are tracked in terms of life cycle (e.g., emerging, mature outside your company, mature inside your company, end of life, etc.), the processes associated with IT Service Management must be broken down by roles that show who performs what activities, and when. Collectively, many different people and many different tools collaborate during process workflows.

Data and Process have been marching forward in lock step ever since DATA DIVISIONS and PROCEDURE DIVISIONS first appeared together in COBOL programs. These two -- Data and Process -- became forever intertwined at the start of the object-oriented programming revolution. Soon thereafter objects evolved into components, which today have emerged into services. ITIL and IT Service Management, together with SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture), are the driving forces propelling enterprise computing forward into the 21st-century.


Anonymous Robert Pearson said...

Thanks for this insight into a very confusing area.
From your article, for my own clarification, the three major players are:
2) IT Service Management
2) SOA

I have been having enough trouble trying to reconcile the ITscout "3-layer/4-model Technology Architecture framework" with my IT Strategy and Architecture. Or at least use your tools to develop something useful. Now you have introduced ITIL, IT Service management, and SOA as driving forces for the Enterprise. I sort of agree. Potential customers are asking me if I have any "Off-the-Shelf" ITIL, IT Service Management or SOA solutions.
They claim IBM, HP, HDS and EMC do. I find this hard to believe at the SMB mid-range and below which is mostly where I work. I have worked at the Enterprise as part of a team. As a one-man shop no Enterprise believes I can deliver a working solution for them. I tend to agree with them for their typically desired "point product" solutions. These "point product" solutions are a vendor generated and maintained mind-set. They sell a lot of product. To date, Strategy and Architecture have not been big sellers stand-a-lone.
What would be a good approach to use the ITscout "3-layer/4-model Technology Architecture framework" to deliver an ITIL, IT Service Management or SOA solution? I'm not asking for any inside or detailed information. Just sort of some guidelines or whatever you feel would be useful to use your product to develop and deliver an ITIL, IT Service Management or SOA solution.
My approach has been to identify first, two things:
1) Which of your Information generates 80% of your revenue?
2) Which of your Information, should you lose it completely, will put you out of business?

As you can see this leads into Content intensive efforts. To try and get a handle on Content, for which there are few or no good tools, I use the "tagging" method. The tags are:
1) Is this Content a "Profit Enabler"?
2) Is this Content a "Profit Enhancer"?
3) Other? Identify and Categorize.

I have been using the example of a land-line phone as a "Profit Enabler" and a cell phone as a "Profit Enhancer". Times have now changed so hat cell phones are becoming "Profit Enablers". I will have to find another example of a "Profit Enhancer" in the phone context.

At the "Lower Metric" level I identify the Units of Information or Technology.
The key here is that Units of Technology are "Profit Enablers" but don't make you any money directly.
Only Units of Information can ever make you money once they are enabled. In many Services businesses the common land-line phone is a Unit of Technology. The Unit of Information is the Service and the people selling and supporting the Service. These make the money.

"Lower Metrics" is operationally defined to be those procedures and processes done regularly to stay in business. When I worked at Amoco they were tempted to compete for the Baldrige National Quality Award. They thought it would be a big feather in their cap. They hired two consultants to evaluate their chances. They fired the first when they didn't like his answer. Before they fired the second they asked him why he didn't recommend they try for the award. He stated, "Because you don't understand the Lower Metrics of your business.". They asked for an example. For an example he asked , "Why did you adopt the 9/80 work-week?". The Amoco guys said because it was the "right thing to do", "everybody else was doing it", "the employees liked it", etc. The about to be fired consultant said, "People who successfully compete for the Baldrige Award would know exactly why they adopted the 9/80 work-week and could show you how, and why, it affects the bottom-line. They paid this guy and then they fired him.

I believe Information should pass the same test. How and Why do we need this Information.

The next level up in the "Lower Metrics" is the Managed Unit of Information or Technology.
For a Unit of Information to become a Managed unit of Information it must be authorized by a human who assigns it a value, creates a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for it and enters it into the Service Level Agreement Management System.
At this point ITIL, IT Service Management or SOA processes and procedures begin to interact with it.
I spent a lot of time developing my own "home-grown" SOA called End-to-end Information on Demand (E2EIoD) because I was working in a vacuum.
Now I am adapting my terminology to the emerging standards; ITIL, IT Service Management and SOA.
I like SOA the best because of the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) concept. Very powerful.
ITIL is good if you have a lot of good Legacy processes and procedures in place.
I particularly appreciate your Java insights. They have been very helpful.
How do you feel about enabling languages other than Java and the Web Frameworks they enable?
Like Python and Zope?

10:06 AM  
Blogger ITscout said...

Long, personalized postings such as this one are, perhaps, better handled with emails rather than blog comments.

You can send me emails directly at

It's also very easy to send me emails from within ITscout or the Architecture Resources Repository.

In ITscout, click on FEEDBACK in the menu bar at the top of the page.

From within the Architecture Resources Repository, click on the SEND FEEDBACK icon in the task bar in the upper right corner of the page.

In direct response to your specific comment, I think you're possibly mixing apples and oranges. Technology Architecture is different than ITIL. Technology Architecture organizes, classifies, and categorizes the products that make up an organization's technology portfolio. ITIL is a collection of best practice processes (generally published as text within books). IT Service Management automates ITIL processes, especially by sharing informaction across tasks, roles, and tools, by using a Change and Configuration Management Database.

SOA is very different still. It's an instance of an Application Architecture. An Application Architecture's role is to specify how different components comprising an application are able to communicate -- both synchronously and asynchronously.

Finally, even SMBs can benefit from Technology Architecture, ITIL, IT Service Management, and SOA.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Robert Pearson said...

Thanks for the feedback. I will try to be brief with comments to the Blog.

My distress is perhaps caused by being totally trained on the job. I have a college degree but little formal IT training. I am doing a lot of the same things people who received formal training do but I have my own name for the process and the terminology to define it. The latest great example is SOA. I labored in obscurity for years developing End-to-end Information on Demand (E2EIoD) only to find that IBM had done a better job and called it SOA. The big difference is they tied it to Java and I tied it to a lower metric process I developed named the "Intelligent Storage Assistant". The Intelligent Storage Assistant is an evolution from the "Intelligent Programmers Assistant" I developed years ago to port working, tested code to every known platform at the time. A lot of the same principles apply.
Once I hear the concept name I know what it is and have no problem dropping my "home-grown" name and embracing the industry accepted standard. My contribution is uniquely combining defined structures in new and interesting ways to deliver solutions.

Your roadmaps, writings and conceptualizations have been revelations for me. I didn't know all of these had names.
The Revolution I am working toward is giving everyone who wants it, the ability to generate a roadmap, from Flashmap Systems, of their IT needs based on the way "We do business around here". With the roadmap, the "right" collection of elements from your repository and them at the wheel they can drive a Strategy and Architecture that will satisfy the "The Five Phase View of the Circular Process for IoD", as defined by me. The five phases are Assess, Strategy, Design, Implement and Manage.
I believe your work and products provide the components to build any vehicle needed to accomplish this.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Abhijit Mandavkar said...

I was searching blogs,and I found yours. This is an excellent blog. You are providing
a great resource on the Internet here! If you have a moment, please visit my ITIL processes site.

10:29 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home