The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Services and outcomes – what does the business really need?


choices.jpgAlmost every IT and service organization is looking at where to focus their operational energies in order to remain relevant in the new style of business that is expected today.  Each of us are constrained by our own preconceptions of service management and how it has traditionally and should be measured.


Recently, HP produced a paper titled: Link Services to Outcomes that tackles this issue. I am not sure that it went far enough, to drive home the value and shift in behavior and perspective that’s required.


I see situations all the time where an organization tries to straddle the line between traditional IT SLAs and more agile IT approaches without ever shifting the measures of success to what business really need – business-based service level.


These new kind of partnering efforts need to look for KPIs that the business cares about – the position paper does provide a few of those examples. These need to be key measures of the performance of the business. Another thing the paper brings forward are a few questions you need to ask yourself about your business and what approach it will accept. Is your organization:

  • Mature enough to deploy and fully use an outcomes-oriented service environment?
  • Willing to invest the time and resources needed to align IT and the business model?
  • Able to create and continually use the necessary metrics, thresholds, and reporting systems?

And that is not even covering the issues in the legal and purchasing spaces.


One thing that is interesting is how this business measures approach is almost the exact opposite of the public cloud-based service approach where there are few guarantees and the services providers actually don’t want to know anything about your business – at least how it is implemented today. Legal and purchasing may not be involved.


I sometimes wonder if those who are committed to one camp or another can see the world from the other perspective or is it totally outside their context.



Metrics usage in an agile approach

change.pngA couple of months ago, I did a post on: The supply and demand issues of governance, including issues that cause organizations to be blindsided by events.


Lately, I’ve been thinking about this a bit more but from the metrics side -- defining and collecting the leading and lagging indicators of change associated with governance. There is quite a bit of material on this concept, but this link to a definition on leading indicators is focused on economic leading indicators. The concepts for business processes are similar.


Leading indicators show progress, lagging indicators confirm completion (examples on this perspective made me dig up a post I did in 2009 about measuring cloud adoption). Most organization’s processes only have lagging indicators. These are metrics that identify we’ve hit milestones… This can allow efforts to get fairly far down a path before they can do course corrections. More predictive approaches are possible and needed to adapt to this changing approach to business.


When I look at applying gamification, I usually come up with numerous leading indicators since gamification is about influencing the work in progress. When approaching change, look for items that show improvement or change and not just validation of achievement.

Misconceptions about private cloud

Cloud notice.pngGartner had a post on The Five Things that Private Cloud is Not. They stated that Private Cloud is not:

  1. Virtualization
  2. Just about cost reduction
  3. On-Premise
  4. Only IaaS
  5. Always going to be private


This was a good list of things to keep in mind. I have to dispute the last one a bit though, since many times organizations as they get larger will move to a private cloud to keep costs down and have greater control over their SLAs.  For the variable part of the workload, public cloud can be more effective though, since you may be able to structure the environment so you only pay for that variable portion.


I would add a few more that we discussed in a #convcloud twitter session the other day.


  • Private clouds are not always the security answer – Organizations that use private cloud still have to address security concerns. It may be within the organizations firewall… But remember most security leaks are inside jobs.
  • Private clouds are not always the best way to get started with cloud – They are definitely a way to get started, but many organizations do public cloud first and then as they understand their demand develop a private cloud.
  • Private clouds don’t need SLAs – Just like any shared resources, there need to be rules and an understanding of how the environment is working and value is being generated. Metrics will serve a key role in the on-going care and feeding of a private cloud.


Are there things about private cloud that you believe the market is confused about?

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.