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"Compuware Acquires Proxima Technology. In January 2007, Compuware acquired Proxima Technology. Demonstrating the business value of IT services and investments to appropriate stakeholders can be a difficult task for IT operation leaders. The misalignment between IT and the business makes it difficult for IT to: understand the business impact of IT service quality, prioritize IT resources and problem resolution based on business needs, communicate real-time business-relevant performance metrics, create value by leveraging existing IT management investments."
Source : Compuware
The Business Value of Business Service Management
Business Service Management is also known as :
Service Level Monitoring,
Service Level Agreements,
IT Service Management,
Business Process Management,
Business Transaction Management,
Business Information Services Library,
Business Process Management,
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) ,
Business Process .
As business is increasingly conducted in the electronic universe, the need to understand and
improve IT service quality becomes even more critical. As organizations try to come to grips
with the value of their IT resources, a discipline called Business Service Management (BSM) is
rapidly becoming a key part of IT management practices. BSM requires the IT department to
manage IT resources in a way that is meaningful to the business, yet for most IT vendors
touting BSM solutions, their BSM solutions carry no real business value-BSM is just a new
buzzword to describe existing products. This paper provides an overview of BSM for business
people-to show how BSM can improve operational efficiency, reduce decision-making latency
and reduce costs.
Modern business is now so dependent on Information Technology (IT) that it could not happen
without it. This immediately raises questions about accountability. Is the IT service provider
accountable for this service, or is the business process owner ultimately accountable for the
success or failure for the business process? The correct answer is "both!"
For those responsible for keeping IT systems running, this creates a significant challenge. IT
systems management is by no means an easy task. The recent economic recession means that
IT management resources are no longer plentiful, forcing IT to provide better service at greatly
reduced cost. To achieve more with less, many organizations are putting BSM solutions in place.
Business service management applies the adage that if you improve IT, you improve the
business, and this is increasingly appropriate as more business is conducted in the electronic
BSM tools analyze system quality, report on service as experienced by users, and then initiate
improvement activities where service levels fall short of that required by the business. A vital
byproduct of this process is the alignment of IT services with the business processes they
enable, allowing service decisions to be made in the context of the business. As a result, the
cost of poor quality is reduced in critical business areas.
Information about business status, including IT service quality, can be communicated to
operational business managers through digital dashboards. Digital dashboards provide real-time
information intended to help operational business managers achieve their objectives. Although
the term "digital dashboard" is used consistently throughout the IT industry to mean a real-time
information display, the subject matter of these digital dashboards varies greatly.
Proxima Technologys digital dashboards are designed to improve the operational efficiency of
critical IT dependent business processes. The dashboards provide insight into how well the
technology enabling the business is running, together with status information about the
business processes themselves-creating an inextricable link between IT and business
processes. Clearly, it makes sense to use a single management solution to address this problem
in its entirety at the same time being careful not to force technical information on business
managers. The strength of Proxima?s Centauri digital dashboard is its ability to correlate
technical and business information, report exceptions, and then identify the root cause of the
This paper describes the business activity monitoring and business service management
capabilities of Centauri Business Service Manager. It then describes how digital dashboards are
implemented to improve operational efficiency on a tactical basis before describing how Six
Sigma is used to bring about process improvement on a more strategic level.
Managing Electronic Business Processes
Introduction to Business Activity Monitoring
Business activity monitoring (BAM) defines the concept of providing real-time access to digitized
key business performance indicators. Operational business managers use this information to
improve the effectiveness of business operations by taking appropriate actions to deal with
problems and bottlenecks. BAM targets operational business managers, giving them information
about currently running business processes.
Business Service Management
Business service management (BSM) is a natural complement to BAM. It aligns IT services with
the business processes they enable and then manages these services in a way that is consistent
with business priority. Many benefits result from this, including:
- Investment in service delivery is appropriate to business benefit and, in particular,
over-capitalization does not occur.
- Problem resolution is prioritorized in line with business requirements.
- Service improvement programs are initiated where there is a real payback to the
- Operational business managers are aware of service disruption and can take action
to mitigate the consequences to the business.
As organizations increase their dependence on IT, business service management becomes more
critical and the adage "if you improve IT, you improve the business" can be applied.
The Role of Digital Dashboards
Centauri provides a real-time business service management dashboard, embracing both IT
service level management and business activity monitoring. Although the dashboard appears to
be a simple representation of business services-and this is very much its strength-it actually
hides a sophisticated behind-the-scenes data collection and correlation operation. The data that
determines the state of the business service (OK or NOT-OK) will have many sources and
- Event and performance data gathered from enterprise management systems
(EMS) that monitoring IT components (i.e., servers, databases, network
- Operational performance indicators gathered from applications themselves.
- Other sources such as data gathered from data warehouses provided by research
This gathered data is correlated and presented on the dashboard as a convenient reference
point. Operational business managers have instant access to operational performance indicators
and are alerted when preset thresholds are breached. Data about IT systems supporting the
business is then further analyzed and correlated to show overall service levels. This accounts for
the fact that an IT service is comprised of many components: databases, network connections,
Web servers, etc. Only when all of these components operate in harmony can the service level
be satisfactory. The dashboard must provide this aggregation capability.
In addition to real-time data about current service levels, the dashboard also contains historic
information about service breaches. If a breach occurs within an application, the dashboard
shows the history of the "failure mode" causing the service breach, how the IT Department
handled the problem, and the estimated cost to the business. Operational business managers
are finally equipped with the necessary information to manage IT problems and they no longer
need to fly blind at the mercy of IT problems.
Although a digital dashboard provides a valuable means of communicating IT application service
levels with operational business managers, its value is greatly increased when it is part of an
overall service improvement program that allows practitioners to measure service, identify
problem areas, and help find the best way of removing defects from an IT service-defects that
currently inhibit business success.
When armed with the dashboard, operational business managers are equipped to deal with both
the cause and effect of IT problems and are in control of the business processes for which they
are responsible. Clearly, the value of the dashboard increases with the dependence a business
process has on IT, but in today?s modern organizations most, if not all, critical business
processees are supported by IT.
Implementing Business Service Management
Proxima?s Centauri provides a solution to the issues raised in this paper. This section presents
an overview of the steps taken with Centauri to minimize risk from IT service shortfalls and
establish a process of business service improvement. The steps are:
- Understand the current operational risk.
- Manage risk on a day-to-day basis and improve business decisions.
- Initiate service improvement activities to minimize long-term risk.
Step 1: Understand the Current Operational Risk
Centauri initially allows the CIO to understand the current situation in terms of risk and
exposure from any problems that occur with IT service. The IT services that support critical-to-
quality (CTQ) business processes are measured over a short period of time to assess
compliance with agreed upon service levels. Associated with each IT service is a measure of the
cost of poor quality (COPQ)-the cost to the business arising from each service breach.
This immediately presents a big picture of the current status of IT operations and highlights
areas of high risk that require attention. Because this risk is calculated in pure cost terms,
rational decisions can be made about how much investment is required and the priority for such
expenditure. No longer is the IT department reacting to logged problems from field staff and no
longer are resources being allocated to address these problems on an ad-hoc basis.
Step 2: Manage Risk on a Day-to-Day Basis / Improve Business Decision
Since the data collected to establish the current risk is meaningful to all operational business
managers affected by the IT services, it makes sense to share this information with them on an
ongoing basis. Centauri provides a number of mechanisms to support this including the digital
dashboard. The Centauri dashboard is a Web application that presents real-time views of
current IT service levels. This information can also be combined with operational performance
indicators to present a more meaningful view of a business process. Although balanced
scorecards have been used for many years with varying degrees of success, the overriding
value of the dashboard is automatic data collection, correlation, and dissemination. Eliminating
manual data collection significantly reduces the costs and latency of making this available as
well as increasing the accuracy of the information presented. Thus, operational business
managers are able to make informed decisions and take immediate actions when problems
occur. This will have a measurable impact on the operational risk of IT and the business
processes that depend on IT for their execution.
Step Three: Initiate Service Improvement Activities
At this point, the organization has a clear understanding of the current risk expressed in terms
of business cost. A real-time balanced scorecard has been set up to improve decision-making
and reduce the latency of these decisions so that their impact is quickly seen. This dashboard
will have two distinct types of users: operational business managers and IT operations/support
staff. Reports can be created to show recurring problem areas that set the scope, priority, and
objectives of service improvement programs-the objectives being defined in cost reduction and
business improvement terms.
Centauri uses the Six Sigma quality management method-fast becoming a standard in large
successful organizations-to bring about necessary improvements and eliminate recurring
defects from IT and business services. Six Sigma provides a standardized measure and target
for quality, a management process of improvement (called DMAIC); and a series of techniques
that help practitioners isolate problems and investigate solutions.
By supporting Six Sigma, Centauri addresses both strategic improvement and tactical problem
resolution. Other systems management products provide a solution to tactical problem solving
only. They identify a problem, bring it to the attention of the appropriate personnel, and provide
information that will help them quickly affect a repair. Although this significantly reduces the
mean time to repair, the root cause of the problem is often missed and the effected repair is
only temporary. Dissatisfied users that find they are experiencing the same problem again and
again very much characterize this scenario.
Organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on IT. To ensure this investment is fully
realized and that business goals are not compromised, a CIO must ensure adequate tools and
procedures are in place that:
- Identify technical problems affecting service and provide information to allow
technicians to deal with them quickly and efficiently.
- Measure IT service and highlight defects that are causing degradation in this
service leading to unacceptable risk to the business.
- Support a process of ongoing service improvement.
Apart from the benefits of automation, an upside of this dependence on IT is that organizations
have a wealth of data at their fingertips in a form that can be retrieved, analyzed, and then
used to improve the quality, speed, and effectiveness of business operations.
Proxima Technology?s Centauri Business Service Manager provides a solution that retrieves and
analyzes data from transactional data sources and systems management applications that:
- To ensure service levels are adequate.
- To provide meaningful business and IT information to executives that aids their
- Enables quality improvement measures that lead to greater business efficiencies
In short, Centauri completes the IT/business alignment mantra, ensuring that IT?s value is
effectively communicated to the business and prioritizing every IT activity based on business
impact-and those are benefits that translate directly to the bottom line.
About Proxima Technology
Proxima Technology, Inc. provides software and services to improve
business service and accountability through service-level measurement,
reporting, and problem notification in distributed computing environments.
Australia 02 9458 1700
Germany 040 32005-405
United Kingdom 0870 870 0732
United States 720 946 7200
©1998-2003 Proxima Technology, Inc., Centauri, and Centauri Busines s
Service Manager are trademarks of Proxima Technology. Specifications are
subject to change without notice. All other brand or product names are
trademarks of their respective owners.