itSMF Speaker Summary: Automate, Consolidate, Simplify

By Dick Stark

Last Thursday I attended the itSMF National Capital Local Interest Group meeing in Washington DC. Mike Brown, Director of the Information Technology Services Office at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told the group of service management professionals, that his office is providing better IT by reducing complexity, consolidating IT services, and automating and standardizing processes. He went on to say, “DHS has made significant progress in the past few years by rolling up smaller data centers into larger ones, deploying a standardized infrastrure across the enterprise, and deploying private cloud services such as SharePoint, CRM, and workplace as a service.”  Cost savings is now top of every government CIO’s list and the changes DHS is affecting can have an immediate impact as I’ve summarized below. 

 Automate. Virtualization is still red hot because of its very rapid ROI. According to a recent study, the Virtualization Vacuum, published by MeriTalk, the government should save as much as $30 billion by 2015 thanks to 82% user adoption of Virtualization at Federal agencies. Already Federal agencies have saved 19% of IT budgets or $15 billion thanks to virtualization efforts the past three years.

DHS, like most Federal agencies has invested significant resources in provisioning, upgrading, and adhering to security compliancy requirements, which can be automated with tools such as BMC’s BladeLogic Server Automation (BBSA).  Couple the virtualization efforts with BBSA and agencies such as DHS can automate key tasks as applications and systems are consolidated.

Consolidate. In addition to rolling up aging smaller data centers into larger ones, DHS is focused on application and infrastructure consolidation. The goal is to transform DHS’s data centers into private clouds offering basic hosting, care of the systems up to the operating system layer, and hosted applications.  An agency wide consolidated email hosting project is in the works, along with hosted SharePoint and CRM applications.

BMC is the market leader in cloud lifecycle management (CLM), with tools that allow organizations to build and manage their own private clouds. CLM would offer DHS an “engine room” for its own private cloud, as it allows for automatic provisioning, self-service portals, and flexible metering and billing offerings.

Simplify. Mike Brown also discussed the simplified service catalog that DHS offers its customers and described DHS as the “largest government IT fee for service organization.”

Mr. Brown then mentioned that although he has processes in place to manage a service catalog, he has not automated this process yet.  Since DHS is a very large existing BMC Remedy ITSM customer, building a service catalog based upon BMC’s Service Request Manager, is a good place to start.  For example, at US Customs and Immigration Service, RightStar worked with an integrator to implement a service catalog for hardware, software, and cell phone requests across the organization.

Mr. Brown wrapped up the session by concluding, “I wish I knew then what I know now—having solid processes makes all the difference.”

About dick1stark

I am the President and founder of RightStar, Inc, an XTIVIA company. RightStar is a leading ITSM and DevOps consultancy and BMC Software Elite Solution Provider and Atlassian Gold Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. In 2019, BMC selected RightStar as its DSM North American Partner of the Year for its sales and partnership excellence. Finally, in November 2020, RightStar was acquired by XTIVIA, an innovative IT Solutions Provider. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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