Hey IT – Forget ITIL, Say Hello To BDIM!

There's A New IT Management Process In Town - BDIM
There’s A New IT Management Process In Town – BDIM

The world of IT is changing once again, are you ready? We have evolved a great deal in the last thirty years and it looks like we’re getting ready to make another great leap forward. This time around we have a name for what’s going to happen and it’s called business-driven IT management (BDIM)!

Antão Moura and Claudio Bartolini have been looking at how IT is managed and they’ve discovered that we’re getting ready for another change. Back at the end of the 1980’s IT management was all about tracking boxes and routers. This was the era of IT infrastructure management.

Stability and control were the key drivers behind this effort. IT acted as a technology provider – IT folks were technical experts and their goal was to minimize down time.

In the past few years this style of IT management has changed. Now IT looks less at the infrastructure and more at the end user. IT now practices what is called IT Service Management (ITSM). The thinking is that IT services use groups of IT infrastructure components to help corporate users (and customers) to do business with the firm.

Viewed this way, IT has become a service provider. The downfall of this is that IT is still viewed as being separate from the rest of the business. The rest of the business believes that IT is mainly concerned with expense control. This has caused one of the firm’s greatest concerns to become the issue of business-IT alignment.

We’ve come up with a whole bunch of technical ways to keep track of how the IT infrastructure is performing in order to ensure that our services are meeting their performance levels. These tools include quality of service (QoS), service level agreements (SLAs), and when you combine both of these you get service level objectives (SLOs).

The arrival of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) set of best practice standards has provided a way to deliver IT governance which seeks to ensure that IT risks are mitigated, IT is aligned with the rest of the firm, and that the expected results are achieved.

The problem with all of this is that the best practices, such as ITIL, are very useful, but they just don’t go far enough toward providing concrete solutions.

This has led to the creation of the business-driven IT management (BDIM) approach to IT management. The goal of BDIM is to move IT one step further and start to use a full business perspective to mange IT. This means that we would need to stop using technical metrics measured at the IT level.

This can get a bit difficult to grasp, so here are a few IT management questions posed in BDIM format:

  • Of all the IT incidents that are occurring RIGHT NOW, which is impacting the business the most and thus should be worked on now?
  • Which services should we invest in to improve business results?
  • How many standby servers should we have for our e-commerce site?

Since I know some you may still be struggling, here is a formal definition of BDIM:

“BDIM is the application of a set of models, practices, techniques, and tools to map and to quantitatively evaluate interdependencies between business performance and IT solutions – and using the quantified evaluation – to improve the IT  solutions’ quality of service and related business results”

BDIM is still in the development stages. Models have to be created, how it related to the ITIL processes will have to be worked out, and creating BDIM decision support related tools will have to be done. However, yet another IT management change is almost upon us – and it’s name is BDIM.

Does your IT shop still use the IT infrastructure management approach or have you moved on to the IT Service Management approach? Is your IT shop seen as separate from the rest of the business or do you think that you’ve achieved business alignment? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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