By Dick Stark
Does the old adage, “you have to spend money to make money,” apply to IT? If it does, what are the most compelling IT investments today for both commercial organizations and government agencies bent on cost reduction? And specifically, what really matters in the Business Service Management (BSM) space?
Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson in the classic Harvard Business Review article, “Investing in IT That Makes a Competitive Difference,” argue that those firms with the best processes (order fulfillment, field installations, job closing) win. They recommend a three step strategy, which I’ve applied towards BSM IT investments.
1. Deploy a consistent technology platform, rather than stitching together a jumble of legacy systems. At a local commercial organization, RightStar is implementing BMC Capacity Optimization, BladeLogic Server Automation (BBSA), ProactiveNet application performance management with Remedy OnDemand (RoD) as the Service Management toolset. This is a perfect example of an integrated BMC BSM solution, which BMC also markets as its Cloud Lifecycle Management suite. While not every customer wants to “rip and replace” with BMC, the benefits of an integrated “ERP for IT” are significant.
Last week I visited a large BMC account. They utilize BMC (BBSA, RoD), HP (RealOps, LoadRunner) and IBM (Netcool) BSM products. The IT Vice President understood the value of a consistent technology and promised over time to consider consolidating to more BMC products.
2. Innovate better ways of working. Last week, we also met with a large asset/property management prospect. There we presented MagicWand, RightStar’s asset management barcode add-on to SDE as a better way of reconciling what they “think they have,” with what they actually have. Money was leaking out of the organization and the annual inventory “find percentage,” while getting better, still had room for improvement. With MagicWand, RightStar has six years of technology innovations and improvements under its belt, and last week another suggestion was offered up: use MagicWand as a document management tool by barcoding and tracking case folders.
3. Propagate these process innovations wildly throughout your company. One of the first questions asked during the asset management sales call, was, “does your organization have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Asset Management.” And it was the same answer that we’ve heard time and time again, “yes, but they are a work-in-progress.” The ITIL framework makes these SOPs easy to propagate, yet hardly any organization places process SOPs high on the to-do list. Process innovations if properly adopted, represent the absolute highest return on any investment in IT and the biggest difference in performance improvements.
We all know that it is not easy to successfully deploy BSM. The toolsets are somewhat complicated to configure, and getting users to adopt new software and processes is even more challenging. RightStar can assist with both technology and process, thereby assuring a profitable return on investment.