Taking the "BS" out of BSM…

15 Dec, 2016

The topic for this blog is one of the most hyped subjects in recent memory, other than the CMDB possibly… Business Service Management.

Also, it’s something that every ITSM software vendor I’ve worked for has obsessed about because they see it as the “key” to reaping huge deals from prospects without being bothered by all of those pesky IT people with their questions about features, functions and architecture.

Of course, as with any majorly hyped idea, there lies a nugget of truth… and potentially some power behind the idea, so it’s definitely worth exploring, albeit from our narrow metrics perspective. I’m sure this topic could take on many different dimensions as well. In any case, with ITIL v3, you’ve probably seen that there is more of a focus on “Business” Service Management. But what does business service management mean? How can it be applied in IT? And how can it be applied to benefit my organization?

First, it’s probably good to quickly state the primary purposes of all businesses:

  • Increase Revenue
  • Reduce Cost
  • Reduce Risk

If your definition of Business Service Management doesn’t take into account the core goals of business, then please consider…

Business Service Management – the methodology by which an organization determines (with the business unit leading the discussion) those functions which are most important for their continued success for the purposes of prioritizing resources to meet the shared goals of increasing revenue, reducing cost and risk (This would be modified for a public entity).


Next, we’d like to introduce a few concepts at this point that might help to clarify the terminology:

  • Critical Business Services – Critical business services, as defined by the appropriate business unit, are services that, when unavailable reduce revenue, damage credibility, increase cost or present significant legal or financial risk to a company. Critical business services may only temporarily be critical (consider the famous Intuit Tax day outage lesson). Some Examples might be (across different verticals): – Web Store, Trading, Transaction Processing, Clinical, Emergency Room, Pharmacy, Radiology, Accounts Receivable, Messaging, Customer Support
  • Critical Business Roles – These are roles within the company that support a critical business service or project. The criticality of a role can be transitory based on whether or not the role is associated with a critical business service or project (more typically temporary). The criticality of the role is best understood when compared with another role in the same department. Examples: ER Nurse vs. Floor Nurse, Sr. Account Manager vs. Associate Account Manager, Lead DBA for Accounts Receivable vs. back-up DBA for AR, etc…).
  • Critical Business Projects– A large-scale company activity in a temporary state of criticality that requires additional attention for a certain time period… and therefore additional company (and IT) resources. Examples: Regulatory Compliance, Website improvement, ERP roll-out, New Product roll-out etc…

So, what’s the purpose of these definitions? To drive Service Level Agreements that could be temporary in nature… or… what we call dynamic SLAs (better word) that take into account different variables at different times depending on business needs.

Does this need to be complicated? No, not really, it’s just a realization that IT needs to be flexible enough to meet business needs. The Service Level agreement that doesn’t take into account important people, deadlines and business objectives isn’t going to be as meaningful at aligning IT with the business.


What can Northcraft do?

Well, not all ITSM platforms are equipped to handle different variables in their SLAs. Some are; some aren’t. So, we can leverage what’s in the Configuration Management Database if you have it implemented (for critical business services and roles), your project management system (for critical business projects) and tie it together across platforms (typically PPM and ITSM are on different platforms) in our data warehouse to show you performance against business-aligned SLAs. With our platform, we can eliminate integration headaches, but more importantly help IT to be more flexible and business-minded.