Forrester Touts BSM as the Future of IT Management

“Everybody knows about ITIL these days,” said Hubbert. “ITIL is shaping IT and IT management. Its effects are being shown in the fact that connections across information silos are happening more and more.”

As ITIL takes hold, organizations move northward from managing individual elements of the infrastructure. Instead of watching server availability, CPU utilization and disk space, they grade up into an ITSM structure where they measure service availability, incident closure rates and monitor changes.

But that isn’t the end of the line. By moving into the realm of BSM, IT gains the ability to better serve the different lines of business as to their computing needs. They move further up the scale into managing the time it takes for processes to complete, eliminating backlogs, speeding transaction rates and facilitating better business performance.

“As you go up the scale, you talk about different things,” said Hubbert. “The higher you move, the less involved you become in the nuts and bolts of IT operations.”

CMDB Craziness

The new framework evolving is service driven rather than technology driven. Instead of trying to manage each system or silo, everything should be monitored centrally. The key to making all this work is the CMDB. The CMDB is held in common by many ITIL-related functions such as event management, performance management, service level management, capacity management, and of course, BSM.

“Once IT organizations have a fully trustworthy CMDB, dynamically updated of who does what, when and where, it will make it much easier to understand business impact, do planning and move from a reactive to a predictive IT enabling the business model,” said Hubbert.

By adopting this approach, IT is provided with an easy-to-manage dashboard from which they can implement virtualization, dynamic resource allocation, process automation, updates/changes, resource provisioning and job scheduling. Rules and policies, therefore, can be set at a high level which can then take effect throughout the enterprise.

This all depends upon the CMDB. But the very importance of CMDB, warns Hubbert, could also drive management to execute it improperly. Massive efforts have already been undertaken by companies expressing abundant faith in the glories of the CMDB. Yet without proper planning, this can turn into a never-ending nightmare.

“Implementing CMDB for its own sake is pointless,” said Hubbert. “Its overall purpose is to facilitate business service management.”

To make her point, she described an unnamed, large financial services player. This company assigned 120 dedicated people to compile a CMDB in a big-bang approach. After four years, they are only half way completed.

She suggests that companies begin CMDB by picking a couple of vital applications or services. By introducing this focus, it is possible to dynamically map these applications along with their related services, other applications and their underlying components.

“Do a CMDB a step at a time,” said Hubbert. “Chose two or three smaller elements and complete that part of the CMDB.”