Smart Watches, Kangaroos & Demand Management; Knowledge 16 – Day 1

It’s Vegas baby! Knowledge is an annual event hosted by ServiceNow to share, collaborate and promote their platform. To give you an idea of the scale of this years Knowledge16 event, it has over 11,000 people registered, 160+ sponsors & partners and there are presentations on everything from Agile to password resets.

This year’s event celebrates 10 years of Knowledge so here’s our recap of Day 1.

Opening Keynote: Frank Slootman, CEO ServiceNow

To say the auditorium was packed /out in anticipation of Frank’s opening keynote is a bit of an under statement:

Frank opened with this thought: “Speed is not an issue until someone comes along who is faster than you. Software enables speed and helps you get where you need to be”.

The next part of the keynote focused on ServiceNow as an enabler. Frank shared the stage with representatives from KPMG, Fiser and AGFA Healthcare who shared real life experiences of how ServiceNow helps them to drive their organisations. Frank talked about how the world of ITSM is constantly evolving and talked about how important SIAM and the Internet of Things were in terms of advancement and improvement.

The final part of the session was on innovation. As Frank put it; “our ultimate ambition is to change how people work” and offered up these three things to help organisations make that transformation:

  1. Subscribe & notify; reversing the flow of data so that people can be more purposeful.
  2. Connect & collaborate; applying context so the right people can collaborate in the right way with the right event.
  3. Predict; removing the temporal problem so that organisations can move to real time, using predictive analytics to prevent problems before they occur.

Frank then introduced the rest of his team to promote the ServiceNow take on wearable tech. The team were able to demo a smartwatch where an Incident can be logged with a single gesture.

The team role played a scenario whereby an Incident could be logged and escalated via the smart watch and progressed through the resolution workflow within seconds. Wearable tech which means I could keep an eye on things whilst making my kids dinner? Deal me in!!

Now on Now: How ServiceNow uses ITOM technologies to deliver the most reliable cloud platform – Sridhar Chandrashekar VP & GM of the ServiceNow ITOM Division

Sridhar rocked his session with this opening: “ we use ServiceNow for pretty much everything. We drink our own champagne.” He talked about the complexity of the ServiceNow infrastructure which includes:

  • 4 large datacentres
  • 12 smaller data centres
  • 3.5 million CMDB CIs
  • Over 7,500 servers
  • Over 2,000 network devices

In short, no small task.

Sridhar talked about the importance of maintaining SLAs and customer uptime and how ServiceNow use ITIL and other best practice frameworks to maintain services. ServiceNow process over 7,000 Changes and 6,000 Incidents a month, following a structured model.

The next part of the presentation focused on automation and the cloud. All 16 data centres run off a single instance of ServiceNow and complex automations are used to support service integration. As Sridhar put it “our aim is to automate pretty much everything” and to this end ServiceNow have lodged 25 automation patents. Sridhar explained why having automated cloning and failover processes were so important to ensure customers experience a seamless service and even demonstrated to the audience how easily it is to fail over an instance of ServiceNow to an alternative instance.

DISHin’ up a robust Service Catalogue – DISH Network Corp & Service Now

The next session was run by both DISH and ServiceNow as a team effort. DISH Network Corp are a Fortune 250 company with over 19,000 employees and are America’s third largest paid TV provider. They quite like kangaroos.

Their presentation was about the journey DISH went on to replace their legacy system with a cloud based Service Catalog. So far, so straightford right? Not quite.

DISH had a legacy system combined with a homemade web tool containing over 13,000 Service Catalog items. That’s right, 13,000 separate items. There was no self service option for Incident Management and Request Fulfillment and the CMDB was manually maintained. The asset tool was also a legacy in house app, and daily Change meetings were required to mitigate the risk of Change related failure. It also appeared that the IT department lived in a cupboard:

Enter ServiceNow. Their strategy was as follows:

  • Redefine item & categorisation
  • New tables for approvals & request fulfillment
  • Data driven forms
  • Data driven workflow

The biggest challenge was wrangling over 13,000 Service Catalogue items into a sensible format. Tables were used to great effect along with authorisation models. Check out the sample approval matrix:

Let’s face it, if I had to chose two people to resolve my Incident I’d pick Bruce Willis and Sandra Bullock as well 🙂

Data driven forms were used to support automation and the final product looked something like this:

Mission well and truly accomplished guys, well done.

IT work intake – using idea & demand applications; Debbie Balmos, IT Support Director, HMS

After a quick ice cream break it was time for Debbie’s presentation on Demand Management. Debbie’s session was about using Demand Management to increase transparency and collaboration with business partners with the help of business focused applications.

Debbie started by outlining some of the challenges her IT organisation faced. These included:

  • Unclear work intake
  • Inability to prioritise
  • Disconnect and silos
  • No collaboration with the business
  • No idea of cost per service

The plan? Project Unity to automate the end to end IT service.

Debbie talked about engaging with ServiceNow and how she was able to use it to combine and replace three separate legacy systems. This gave her organisation a holistic view of critical services and enabled her to balance supply with demand.

The second half of Debbie’s presentation focused on demonstrating her new environment and talking through how it worked in real life. The new process routes all Incidents and Service Requests through a single HMS branded self service portal and a defined workflow supports the process. The result? Happy customers!

 

That’s all for now, come back soon to read our recap of Day 2!

Image Credit

Knowledge14, steal like an artist

In this article, I hope to capture my thoughts and experiences from Knowledge14, the ServiceNow annual conference. See an early preview from the first day here [Live from Knowledge14 – ServiceNow preview Kanban visual tasks boards]

Steal like an artist

Fred Luddy, CPO and Founder of ServiceNow, quoted Steve Jobs during his keynote:

“Good artists copy, great artists steal” ~ Steve Jobs

Fred was referring to the creative process and innovation. He stated that in the last decade 70% of the Fortune 1,000 consisted of new companies. The life span of companies at the top is getting shorter, the churn is getting faster.

Big ‘ole corporates don’t stick around like they used to. To survive companies must innovate or die. A key part of the innovative process is to be inspired by, mash-up, and build upon previous work.

Creative Destruction - 70% of Fortune 1000 consists of new companies in last decade.
Creative Destruction – 70% of Fortune 1000 consists of new companies in last decade.

The Penny Drops

I attended the ServiceNow London forum last year when Frank Slootman urged us to “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way”. For a company whose market valuation and pitch to investors is based on expanding outside IT, the company demonstrated precious little leadership on how a company might actually get there.  It was clearly the customers doing the leading.

In the short time since those forums the penny seems to have dropped. Knowledge included a number of initiatives to empower customers and encourage them to borrow (steal) the best ideas from each other and build solutions outside the IT department:

  • Pointing customers in the right direction with a Service Taxonomy
  • ServiceNow Share – “an online exchange where customers and partners can upload and download applications and development content.”
  • Special interest groups (Human Resources, Portfolio Project Management, Higher Education, US Public Sector and Life Sciences Cloud Initiative)

Freddy Luddy launching 'Share' the ServiceNow App exchange
Freddy Luddy launching ‘Share’ the ServiceNow App exchange 

The Business Engagement Managers Playbook

In terms of new features announced at Knowledge14, my personal highlights were the Kanban visual tasks boards and new features to assist Demand Management.

I can see the Demand Management features being a great toolbox and playbook for Business Engagement Managers or those tasked with direct interaction and responsiveness to business requirements. In theory – you could collect all suggestions and develop them right through to delivered services. But also include the reality check of business impact, risk and resource constraints.

Showcasing demand management - assessing and prioritizing potential projects by size and risk
Business Engagement Managers Playbook: Showcasing demand management – assessing and prioritizing potential projects by size and risk

ServiceNow Partner News

  • Cloud Sherpas delivers cloud services around Salesforce, Google and ServiceNow. ServiceNow is said to be the fastest growing of the three business units (1,000th project completed). The company also announced a further $12M investment in the business.
  • Fruition Partners were showcasing the launch of their App Factory with some specialist solutions for the Healthcare market. The ‘Healthcare Management Suite’ is a set of apps built on the ServiceNow platform with Healthcare standards and compliance in mind. More info here.
  • KPMG stated that they had historically worked with alternative service management software providers but were now a 100% ServiceNow business. To support their growing function the firm announced a ServiceNow centre of excellence in Denver, Colorado.
  • Platf4Mation picked up the ServiceNow 2014 Innovation of the year award for their Facility Management App, as voted for by the Keynote attendees.
Fred Luddy and Craig McDonogh from ServiceNow awarding the 2014 Innovation of the year award to some snappily dressed duded from Plat4mation
Fred Luddy and Craig McDonogh from ServiceNow awarding the 2014 Innovation of the year award to some snappily dressed dudes from Plat4mation

Was it worth it?

As an analyst, it’s all too easy to become cynical of events, marketing hype and stock price hysteria in the technology space. With your nose pressed close to the industry effluent pipe, an observer can become jaded from the sheer volume of bilge.

Whilst Knowledge14 had it’s fair share of chest beating and hyperbole, I found the energy and enthusiasm from the event infectious. Cranky Frank the CEO gave us the company perspective and spoon-fed cute lines to journalists, the main man Fred Luddy entertained us and painted a vision of the future – but for me the main event was the attendees.

There was a genuine energy about the place as IT departments were beginning to realize they could perhaps become an enabler again and take a seat at the table of the business. The realization that ITIL and other frameworks are important, but they should be the wiring under the board – not what the customer experiences.

Don’t get me wrong, the streets of San Francisco were not paved with ITSM gold, organizations attending were still facing the same old incident-problem-change daily grind and curve balls as the rest of us – but there is a light at the end of tunnel.

Was it worth it? Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thanks for the ServiceNow team for looking after us at a very well organized event.

Knowledge 15 is April 19 – 23, 2015

PS – I recommend a good book on creative stealing: “Steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon.)

Steal

The Business and IT Love Requires Lubrication

This article was contributed by Peter Lijnse, Managing Partner and IT Management Consultant at Service Management Art Inc.

For years we have been talking about Business-IT alignment and to be honest limited organizations have successfully accomplished that. In most organizations the relationship is “dry”, which causes friction. We are getting to the point where we need to realize that the love between the Business and IT requires more than just alignment… we need to make sure that the fusion between business and IT is well lubricated to avoid friction.

(Note: any weird images in your head are yours and yours alone).

Focusing on the Business Relationship Management capability in the enterprise will help the Business-IT Love, but just focusing on the capability is not enough. We see relationship management in different levels in the organization:

Peter Lijnse
Peter Lijnse
  • Service Desk
  • Technical Analysts
  • Project Managers
  • Program Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • IT Executive Team
  • Enterprise Architects
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • etc.

Most of these roles are focused on the IT organization. The problem is there are pockets of IT in the whole enterprise, examples are:

  • Shadow IT groups (to use a new buzz word)
  • Technology that supports the primary business process
  • Super Users that represent a department
  • etc.

On an operational (and tactical) level in the IT Service Provider we often have roles in place that talk to the business, but is it often unclear how this is done on a strategic level.

The consumerization of IT and the business becoming increasingly technology savvy and self sufficient, drives the need to the convergence of the Business and IT. When we talk about Business IT alignment, we need to align all these groups… to make the overall enterprise successful.

The BRM Role

The role of the strategic Business Relationship Manager (BRM) role is a connector, facilitator, and orchestrator. I like to translate that to “lubricator” to make the connection between the Business and IT working smoothly. This role needs to be assigned in organizations. Not assigning the role in the organization leaves the relationship with the business mainly focused on a tactical/operational level. Or the activities are executed with other roles (like for instance the enterprise architect), which often means they are not able to focus on what they should be doing.

This role is accountable for the ensuring that the strategy of the business and IT are aligned and work smoothly. The BRM represents the business to the IT service provider, and the IT service provider to the business.

The purpose of the Strategic BRM Role is to stimulate, surface and shape business demand for a provider’s products and services, and facilitate the capturing, optimization, and communication to maximize business value captured from the provider’s products and services (as defined by the BRM Institute).

The activities for the BRM can be categorized in four main groups (processes).

Demand Shaping

Aligning the business expectations for demand with the service provider offerings and portfolio. The stakeholders in both the Business and the IT Service provider are defined, these stakeholders will help shape demand and influence the supply capabilities. The BRM plays the role of facilitator.

Example questions to focus on:

  • How does demand enter the value chain?
  • How are decisions made when demand exceeds supply?
  • How do we handle demand changes?
  • How is the backlog of demand tracked?

Exploring

These activities focus on identifying and rationalizing demand. The BRM role helps apply business and technology trends to facilitate discovery and demand management.

Example questions to focus on:

  • What demand is not on the radar and should be?
  • How much can we invest in exploring?
  • How do we break down demand in workable initiatives?
  • How can we innovate while operating the current services?

Servicing

As orchestrator, the BRM ensures engagements that shape business demands and then translates them into effective supply requirements. During the servicing process, the BRM facilitates business strategy and road mapping with the business as well as facilitating portfolio and program management for the provider organization.

Example questions to focus on:

  • How do we ensure that through use of the services the value is realized?
  • How do we ensure the service provider understands the value of the services they deliver?
  • How do we maximize business value, while taking into account risk and cost?

Value Harvesting

The value harvesting process also includes activities to track, review performance, identify areas that increase value of business outcomes and initiate feedback that triggers continuous improvement cycles. This process provides stakeholders insights to results of business change and initiatives.

Example questions to focus on:

  • Where do we see waste in the value chain? How do we reduce waste?
  • How do the stakeholders participate in realizing value?
  • How is value measured and monitored?

NOTE: As seen in these activities, there is a requirement to have Portfolio Management in place. This is where we see the requirement for making sure all parties work well together. In the Program and Project part of the IT Service Provider we often see a Portfolio – a list of opportunities that clarifies the demand. In the Service Provisioning side of IT Service Provider we start seeing Service Portfolios. Capturing what is in the pipeline (link to the project portfolio) and what is currently in production. It is key for a BRM to have access to both Portfolios… and hopefully have a consolidated view. 

Introducing the BRM role in your organization will help with shaping the opportunities for the business and aligning it to the IT’s ability to deliver.

This article was contributed by Peter Lijnse, an IT Management Consultant with over 20 years of IT Management and Leadership Experience. He has in-depth knowledge of IT Service Management and IT Governance in different industries. Peter is also a accredited ITIL, COBIT, BRM trainer. You can read his personal blog here.