Despite all the buzz about software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), IT as a service is nothing new. That is what IT, when provided by support organizations, always has been and always will be. However, making that service better and extending its reach and range beyond traditional boundaries is critical to forward movement. That is where service management comes in.
To emphasize the importance of these issues, IBM labeled its Pulse2010 conference in Las Vegas "The Premier Service Management Event" with the subtitle "Optimizing the World's Infrastructure." Given the magnitude of the conference, with over 5000 people, including IBM customers, partners and employees, plus a host of press and analysts in attendance, that claim is likely to stand up under scrutiny. IBM's Software Group—in which Tivoli had the major role—did yeoman's work in making Pulse a Las Vegas scale event.
Not Surprisingly, IBM led off Pulse by emphasizing its Smarter Planet strategy. Smarter Planet is not simply the media blitz, as seen in scores of TV, radio and magazine ads, but also represents a rationale for allocating current and future IT resources (people, time, and money). That will lead to the sale of new products and services, of course, but IBM's vision extends beyond that point. As a for-profit company IBM needs to make money now, but it also sees huge potential in evolving trends like Smarter Planet and understands that can accelerate that trend and potential revenues and profits with an intelligently placed push. Moreover, aligning its products and services for the needs of a Smarter Planet could well give IBM a competitive advantage over those competitors who do not act swiftly enough.
Integrated Service Management's Key Role in the Smarter Planet
One way that IBM is aiding the move to a Smarter Planet (with its three I's mantra of Instrumented, Interconnected, and Intelligent) is through integrated service management. To a large extent, service management is about how the connections between software and IT infrastructures can streamline or impede service delivery processes. The integrated service management concept that IBM wanted Pulse2010 attendees to absorb overcomes traditional piecemeal approaches where pieces of software are managed separately and often ineffectively.
IBM believes that three characteristics of integrated service management are necessary for the 3 I's to become ubiquitous, while at the same time reducing the risk and complexity of infrastructure management. Those characteristics are visibility, control and automation. Visibility denotes seeing services as they are being delivered. Control refers to the ability to manage service risk and compliance. Automation significantly changes the economics of service delivery. Integrated service management, as defined by IBM, requires all three characteristics if customers' Smarter Planet efforts are to succeed.