My Path to Advisory Services

The journey from support to advisory

To me everything seemed obvious, surely no one would NOT understand why having the need for services that were business management focused. The concept that having penetration points along all key elements of the lifecycle to me, has been obvious for years.

I thought I’d share some insight into my career to date so the path to today is a bit clearer – I tried to include some of the key highlights! There’s been far more excitement but that’s for another day.

IT as a business because of games?

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My Virtual Whiteboard: The differences between Enterprise, Solution and Technical Architecture

I often find in a number of organisations people are unclear about the differences between the different roles (EA, SA, TA) so I thought I would put together a very simple poster to demonstrate the differences. I’ve put together the image and PDF version. I hope people find this useful, I’m thinking I might do a whole series on IT architecture from conception to implementation.

EA-SA-TA Continue reading

$5,000 dollar TCO reduction with a Chromebook?

I wrote this a month ago and remembered I hadn’t posted it. It’s no work of art but it should demonstrate how far people will go trying to use TCO as a hook….

So I’m writing this from a ChromeOS vm. First things first we’re going to have to make a few assumptions to verify this 5k figure. So we’ll go head to head on hardware to start with. Chromebook Samsung ​​is $249 when googled. To compare I’m going to grab a dell latitude 5000 with an Intel vPro chip for $729. So we’ve got more expense but far more bang for our buck, oh and an Ethernet port with the all important vPro AMT features.

Now we need some software, again using list prices we’ll go for SA desktop and office for our PC device and we’ll use VDA for our BYOD access on the chromebook. so SA per year is $50 and VDA is $100. Continue reading

Making Millions appear

So your writing a business case or trying to justify a crucial or innovative solution that will bring wonders to your/your customers organization. The only problem is it’s going to require money being spent before we get to this wonderful end state. Now I’m sure a number of people have utilized vendor TCO/ROI tools and have been amazed at how the numbers come out by clicking next, next, finish etc.

Well apart from the usual “default” values of 100% benefit on day 1 that they seem to provide they also almost always utilize indirect benefit analysis. Indirect benefit analysis is a way of providing financial numbers for an intangible event. For example: Continue reading

2014 the digital age? haven’t we had that already?

So I read a lot of analyst blogs and CIO top priority lists/predictions etc.

Sometimes what I struggle with is the idea that we as humans progress at anywhere near the rate of technological change. To give an example, I was at MS TVP for a partner Server 2012 launch event where we discussing cloud private/hybrid/public and the features, benefits and impacts this could have on our customers. I raised a question “considering how advanced technology used to be and how it is even greater these days, what do we do about the fact that organization IT maturity seems to be lagging so far behind the technology curve?”

Well there was some humming and pondering and a response of “well that’s a good point!” and then we continued to talk about technology features etc. etc.

My point here is that if we look ahead to the 2014 predictions we will see “mobility”, “BYOD”, “security”, “digital”, “SDDC” and all manner of other lovely acronyms and buzzwords. What I’d like to see is some thought about how we get there.

Let’s take this PDF:

On page 3 you will see a diagram that outlines something similar to that of a Maturity model. Here we can see that Gartner say that we are between “IT Industrialization” and “digitalization”. I would argue that we are not quite there yet, true in isolated areas in companies I’m sure we could find pockets where we are there, but as a whole I’ve yet to find a large number of customers who I would place at the “we are here” line. Sure from a high level viewpoint and from an Industry perspective I agree with the concept. What I’m failing to see is how we drag ourselves (and yes I believe it will require some heavy lifting) from today’s buzzwords into a reality whereby we are at a “rationalized” maturity which is capable of moving into this “Digitalization” phase.


Use a tablet instread of a PC! Great idea right?

So I’ve been conducting a number of studies recently and a client asked me why in a recent study I hadn’t considered tablet’s as a PC replacement (primary device) when looking at VDI DaaS solution. When the question was posed it was something that I had actually not given a lot of thought, luckily with a brain full of VDI knowledge I worked in in nanoseconds that replacing my thin client with a tablet (non Full windows device)essentially had the same effect (just with now a mobile management effort required as well). Now having had some more time to ponder this in detail I thought I would give some further insight (any tablet donation’s are welcome!)

VDI = Reduced TCO??? Continue reading

Re-inventing the wheel

Recently I’ve spent some time looking at Microsofts System Center Service Manager 2012. In doing this i’ve been investigating not only the technology aspects but also the service management aspects. Often implementing a service management tool these days would normally be to replace an exiting system, however there are still a number of businesses who do not have tools.

With this in mind i’m developing best practises based on standard frameworks to provide a summarised view on recommended approaches to implementing a new service management tool. Whilst drawing from information in my head is useful i deci to go back to the books. A recent conversation made this statement stand out:
“a fool with a tool is still a fool”

I think its important for us not to underestimate the complexities of implementing or changing a service management tool. I have a tool (i know i just said about tools)that i created based on ITIL’s PMF (process maturity framework) to help assess clients ITSM maturity and give me greater insight into the environment (this tool requires knowledge to be effective).

Both ITIL and TOGAF have guidance on how to make change successful, my advice is to follow the standard rules, however good a product (component in this case) can be, if you don’t have the people, process and technology in alignment then your heading down a path for an upset user base, late nights troubleshooting and most likely increasing call volumes.

So the fruits of my research so far:

  • Use existing reference architectures (ITM tools have been deployed before)
  • Follow the guidance of ITIL, while it may not be specific for this product the advice is sound and having the correct policies, processes and procedures is key.
  • ITIL has tool selection guidance.
  • A framework that is iterative should be used (damming’s based)
  • Understand the as-is not just in terms of technology, but also in terms of people and process.
  • Don’t rush, getting this right should be more important than getting this “installed”
  • Requirements, Communication and Training…you need all three

If your embarking on a ITSM tool greenfield or refresh implementation then good luck, if you follow the well established guidance you should be moving to a good place.

(Here is a reference I came across (SDLC), haven’t had time to read all the content yet but it seems like it has some good material in it –