Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Dana Gardner, Carmen Gonzalez, Shelly Palmer, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, .NET, Virtualization, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Effectively Shifting from a Maintenance to an Innovation IT Philosophy

Business Service Reliability – Critical to the Shift

Innovation doesn't just happen... it evolves out of business desires and it frequently involves changing your own view of the IT value statement. This article focuses on one of the key components needed to make the shift from maintenance to an innovation IT philosophy, Business Service Reliability. As a progressive IT department you must understand exactly what it is, how you can manufacture Business Service Reliability in real time so that you can measure and report your contribution in business language, and how adopting the framework shifts your organization into an innovative business partner.

What Is Business Service Reliability?
Because of our long-lived traditional IT department philosophies, most IT organizations, whether or not they realize it, focus almost exclusively on component availability rather than the overall reliability of their business services and the related customer interactions. The problem, of course, is that you can achieve decent availability metrics for individual tiers of IT services - but still wind up with customer interactions (the business services) that are unpleasant. And frequent painful customer experiences drive customers and their money away from your company. They cause your customers to say bad things about you... in public and online. They undermine your credibility, so that the business sees you as a maintainer of poor systems and an overall liability, not an innovative business partner. The shift to innovation starts with your customer, and understanding what gives them a good experience, and proactively transforming your operating model to manufacture what the customer wants.

Given this, it's obviously critical to define exactly what a good customer experience is and determine how to measure it. Good customer experiences occur when every link in the business service delivery chain performs properly. These links, by the way, are not just infrastructure components. They include calls, methods and other activities of software code that are not monitored on the typical enterprise management console. And it's not enough for these links to simply occur or be available. They also have to perform to the required level while maintaining data accuracy. That is, they have to retrieve or display the correct data in the correct way. In other words, a successful customer interaction occurs when every link in the chain is available, performs adequately, and actually does what it's supposed to do.

Manufacturing Reliable Business Service Delivery
"Reliability," therefore, can in one way be defined as how often you get the customer experience right; it is clearly not component availability. It's how often something - anything - goes wrong in the end-to-end service delivery chain. The exciting thing is that this shift to an innovative mindset can actually be mathematically expressed and measured in the real time. Examine, if you will, the following real-world formula and measurement for Business Service Reliability:

Where m = a link in the chain of delivering a customer interaction is doing exactly what it should, then:

Business Service Reliability = customer interaction link 1,2,3...(availability)m + (performance)m + (accuracy)m

And the Business Service Reliability measurement for any period (usually daily or hourly) would then be:

1-(defective interactions/total interactions)

Again, we aren't just looking at problems with component availability here - although an unavailable component will obviously result in us having a broken link in our service delivery chain. But now we're really looking at all the links in that chain and discovering where they are failing, where they are under-performing, and/or where they are not doing exactly what they're supposed to do. We get two benefits from this experience-centric approach. One is that we can now actually measure the real reliability of our service delivery. Now instead of patting ourselves on the back because we're doing such a great job of keeping our networks and servers up and running, we can take a look at a more meaningful measurement - where is our perfection rate when it comes to customer interactions?

But the second benefit is something even better. This Business Service Reliability approach doesn't just tell us how bad we're doing, it also tells us how to fix the defects in our ‘customer interaction manufacturing production line.' When we look at our defective interactions, we can begin to recognize patterns in our business service delivery. For instance, a critical Java method to get customer account information from the mainframe through the SOA layer has been randomly slow all day. In real time and related strictly to how this defect is impacting the customer interaction we provide, we can investigate the problem with only the resources related to that area of delivery, and then not only alleviate the problem, but eliminate it in the future.

How to Create the Shift
Business Service Reliability proves to the business that your IT philosophy is that of first understanding what the customer is expecting from you, and then creating that with supporting IT components only providing the means to the end. That ‘end' is what enables you and your department to develop ideas that actually mean something to your business and the framework allows you to actually deliver against the vision.

More Stories By Tony Davis

Tony Davis is a 23 year veteran of the IT industry with a specialty in IT service reliability and strategy. As Vice President & Sr. Consulting Fellow for CA Technologies Enterprise Management business, he provides prescriptive guidance to the company’s largest North American customer executive teams on transforming and evolving their IT strategy and maintaining reliable delivery of business services. Prior to CA Technologies, he held several leadership roles for FedEx, including accountability for improving total system reliability for fedex.com. You can follow Tony on Twitter at @td2926 and on CA Technologies Perspectives blog.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In their General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate at SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, to discuss how to take advantage of a multitude of compute option...
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every appli...
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Exp...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your de...
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? I...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using...
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the...
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speak...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic instit...
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss this shifting dynamic with ...
The emergence of cloud computing and Big Data warrants a greater role for the PMO to successfully manage enterprise transformation driven by these powerful trends. As the adoption of cloud-based services continues to grow, a governance model is needed to orchestrate enterprise cloud implementations and harness the power of Big Data analytics. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mahesh Singh, President of BigData, Inc., to discuss how the Enterprise PMO takes center stage not only in developing th...
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research dat...