New site, new organization

I have not had much time to update this blog recently.  Work has been busy.  I have also been working on a new way of organizing my blogging entries.

One of the things I am doing is migrating off wordpress.com to a hosted wordpress.org instance.  There might be hitches and problems as I get going with this.  As of today, you can see the old postings on health IT or healthcare IT under http://svfruitstand.com/healthit. I hope to add more posts to it soon.

I also have not abandoned commenting on what’s new in IT and trends in social media and software.  Those blogs have been migrated over to http://svfruitstand.com/swblog.

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Web 2.0 coming to a government website near you

I have been a big proponent of introducing Web 2.0 technologies such as RSS, Blogs, video, user survey, etc into enterprise software.  It is a little crazy if you think about it.  You use Facebook, LinkedIn and put all your crazy ideas on a publicly accessible blog but at work you are dealing with applications that look like they were designed in the dark ages – difficult to use and force you to jump through hoops to get anything done.

It looks like the Federal CIO Vivek Kundra agrees.  He has been trying to bring transparency to the federal government’s IT budget and now he wants to tackle usability of applications that the fed uses.  He also said data is no longer going to be nicely structured and relational, and the fed would have to start using some of the technologies already prevalent in the public internet to interact more effectively with common folks like you and me.

I for one would like to see how the fed picks up these innovations and put them to use.  The fed IT budget website is impressive and works better than what’s available in a lot of Fortune 500 corporations.  We have reasons to be hopeful yet.

The US Federal IT Dashboard

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VMware addresses the IT Finance question

Infoworld article VMware addresses virtual machine chargeback announces the arrival of VMware in the IT Financial Management space.  The product is called VMware vCenter Chargeback.

As a vendor of virtualization technology, VMware has made it possible for companies to use their hardware investments more efficiency, running multiple virtual server instances on an underutilized multi-CPU server. However, this technological advancement has compounded the problem that enterprise IT has in the ITFM space.

A few of the major ITFM pain points for corporate IT:

  1. IT is struggling to provide visibility into where all the IT expenditures are going.  Business Units want the ability to drill from dollar amount to the services they receive.  They want a multi-level chargeback statement.
  2. Business Units want to see why the services they use cost so much, and the unit cost of each service.  They have the option to bypass corporate IT and go with an external vendor.
  3. Business Units want to know if they can dial down a certain service to save money.  They want to be able to pick and choose service levels and investment.  Flat overhead allocation no longer satisfies them.

As you can see, VMware had injected themselves in the middle of this problem when they make sharing of IT infrastructure possible.  Now they have stepped up to provide the tools for IT finance to do showback or chargeback for virtual server resources.

Existing ITFM vendors better connect the dots and integrate this data into their systems.  If not, VMware may just move up the value chain and eat their lunch in a version or two, especially if spending on VMware products and services become a dominant component of IT infrastructure budgets.

Driving Continual Improvement

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article titled Begin from the beginning – IT Continual Service Improvement on a company blog about IT Continual Service Improvement (CSI).  Even though it was in the context of ITIL v3 and IT organizations, I think the points I raised were generally applicable to any process management situation.

You need to  measure, set baseline, choose realistic goals, refine process, measure and check again.  It is an ongoing process.  Even if you have succeeded in meeting your service and quality goals, you need to apply this methodology to keep the process within control.  Entropy is always increasing.  If you stop watching it, it will veer away from your target, I guarantee.

A colleague, Meri Gruber, provided some great insight after I told her about my blog post – once you have sufficient data, you can even apply business rules and predictive analytics for what she termed as “next generation CSI”.  Anyone interested in attempting CSI TNG?