So Many Acronyms, So Little Understanding

Hair Splitting and Quibbling

So far, we haven’t achieved much in the way of clarity. Some prefer the term SLM, some BSM and some ITSM—mostly based on personal preference and not, if there was such a thing, the IT dictionary. So beneath all this hairsplitting and quibbling over definitions, which term should CIO’s pay most attention to?

Erickson-Harris feels BSM adds the most value to CIOs, as they have to be cognizant of the value IT provides to the business and also of how the business perceives IT.

Because the CIO often sits at the table with the other line-of-business executives, he or she needs to present IT in terms that business executives can understand. Thus BSM solves one of the big problems for CIOs: Business cannot understand technical metrics and/or cannot relate those metrics to their goals and objectives.

Mendel and Collins, though, prefer ITSM as the umbrella term.

Collins is of the opinion that acronyms such as SLM and BSM will eventually be dropped in favor of the ITSM label, which he said, is more about using structured, measurable operational processes in the context of measurable service delivery, so that IT service delivery can be linked to business need.

“IT service management is a term that overlaps with several of the others,” said Collins. “Through the increased interest in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework and a more general acceptance of the term, ITSM is developing as a more acceptable marketing vehicle than those above, in the end user community.”

SLM Drivers

Whatever label it goes by, EMA found the SLM market—for which they combined both SLM and BSM even though, depending on who you talk to may be the same thing (or not)—to be $1.4 billion per year.

The leading vendors—BMC, CA, IBM, HP and Mercury Interactive—account for 58% of the market. So what’s driving this growing market forward at a 17% annual clip?

EMA found that SLM is in demand as it tends to lower IT costs, provides greater IT accountability, improves service levels, increases customer satisfaction and can help the business be more competitive.

Erickson-Harris cautions, though, that SLM (a.k.a. BSM, ITSM) is not a simple fix for an IT organization. It is a process methodology, which frequently requires reorganization of IT staff and the definition of new processes. Therefore, regardless of what you cal it—SLM, BSM, ITSM—IT must first have a good grasp on the business priorities in order to align IT with the overall corporate objectives.

If you can do this, then the only acronym you really need worry about is: SUCCESS.