Begin with the End in Mind - BSM Solution Development Series and Demo Development
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Over the past year I've continued to consult and advise our global clients along their unique BSM journeys recommending various courses and speeds they should expect to take based upon their current organizational maturity, corporate culture and attitudes on the deck plates. Many BSM Solution Administrators or Monitoring Team Managers come to a point along this journey where they are asked to provide the "holy grail" of BSM in many people's minds - the "BSM Dashboard".
I guess I've become one of the de-facto go to guys for making our BSM Solution "look pretty" with reference to exploiting all of the dashboard like capabilities we currently have within our generally available products. Many moons ago I created some training materials to teach our global services teams how to apply the tricks of the trade to build, deploy and maintain these BSM dashboards and while the general techniques remain the same, there are now enough subtle changes within the new products that it's worth sharing an updated approach to what I typically teach our clients, IBMers and business partners to do.
Last year I spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to put our BSM Solution Methodology together offering the community insight into an approach for helping them gain clarity and meaning to what value they might expect from their BSM investments. The discussions and feedback on this work have been tremendous and I'm happy many of you have found this work of value. I encourage you to share and contribute to that effort. BSM as we know it is changing in the eyes of many in the industry but in my eyes, and as I've defined what BSM is, it will always be the same and offer the same transformational value proposition to those who are capable of adopting BSM for what it is above and beyond any one tool, product or solution.
One of the key outputs from the BSM Solution Methodology and associated workshop is a pretty concrete area for where to start your BSM journey with a specific high value opportunity within your company. Through the course of the BSM Solution Workshop we're identifying a target business service or application area, associated high value use cases and the content required to provide target roles the ability to consume the data, interpret it properly and make the best decisions about what to do next. This ultimately takes the form of various visualization and presentation layer components such as that sought after "BSM Dashboard".
Many clients are unsure of where to start and what to build. I think one of the leading causes of this is an inability to really carry on a good lively discussion with folks like the Line of Business executives or application owners and to really think about things from their perspectives with a focus on what matters most to them. I see far too often a tool administrators or their management simply ask "what do you want?" and not be able to offer practical suggestions or guide the discussion to end at a realistic starting point that can be successfully implemented. This really requires a consultative approach and a level of comfort along both business and technology lines. You’ve really got to “talk the talk and walk the walk” as they say.
I'd like to start out the series with an example "BSM Dashboard" prototype that might be appropriate for a Line of Business Application Owner, Application Developer or Support Engineer, Service Delivery Manager, Business Relationship Manager or similar role who desires quick access to the most important information relative to a critical business application and expected business outcomes. One of the rules of thumb with dashboard design is to control the amount of information placed on a dashboard at any one level. In this case, the prototype contains three areas of content focus with Online Order Performance, Order Processing KPI and Technology Health organized for easy consumption. (I'll share more guidelines on dashboard design in a follow on posting.)
The target persona may be very comfortable operating at a high level and may only require a dashboard similar to this. You should consider that the target persona may also be equally comfortable and receptive to drilling down into more of the technical insights and details involved with application delivery and support. One of the desires frequently seen within the Line of Business application teams is to gain simple visibility into the technology services and offerings provided by their IT suppliers and partners. Giving them a means to drill down into the technical details in a controlled manner can go a long ways in establishing transparency, trust and meaningful communication amongst business and IT organizations.
Over the next few posts I will describe the process for designing and implementing the following key components of the BSM Solution and the "BSM Dashboard".
I look forward to hearing from you and interacting as you might try to build similar for your organization.