Sunday, November 30, 2014

ITIL v3 (Foundation) - Service Strategy

The goal of Service Strategy is to determine how to think and act in a manner which provides value to the customer.  The way I like to think of it is, How does an organization determine what it will offer in the marketplace. It answers such questions as:

  • What services to offer to customers? (self-service portal, support via online chat, 1 year history of reports, etc.)
  • How to differentiate from competitors? (Will our organization seek to be best in class for a specific service such as data storage?  Or will we seek to distinguish ourselves by being a one-stop shop offering a wide portfolio of services?  Or will we pride ourselves in offering the least expensive solution among our competitors?)
  • How to create value for customers?  (Has the customer expressed a desire for a cloud computing solution?  If so, offering the customer more local physical data storage isn't necessarily offering value.)
  • How to make a case for strategic investments? (Based on the strategy, what are the most effective ways to invest capital?  Do we invest in a network upgrade this year?  Or do we open a local office in Seoul to support our growing customer base there?)  It is worth noting here that any budgetary questions/considerations will typically fall into the Service Strategy area.
  • How to define and improve service quality?  (Should the service desk answer resolve 90% of calls on the first try?  Should the network target 99.5% uptime?)
  • How to efficiently allocate resources across a portfolio of services?  Can the same service desk be cross-trained to support multiple services as opposed to having multiple service desks in different locations?)
It consists of 3 processes:
  • Financial Management - How to guarantee efficient and cost-effective service delivery.
  • Demand Management - How to preduct the purchase of products to balance demand with resources.
  • Service Portfolio Management (SPM) - How to manage all service management investments while balancing risks and costs.
Key Concepts

Value Creation: Value is determined by the customer's perception and combines the utility of the service/product and the warranty of the service/product.

Utility vs. Warranty: Utility (fitness of purpose) is what something does.  For example, the utility of the iTunes applications is to organize media (videos and music.)  Warranty (fitness for use) is a guarantee or insurance that a product/service will meet its requirements.  

ESP (External Service Provider) vs. ISP (Internal Service Provider) vs.Shared Services Unit: An ESP is a service provider that provides IT services to external customers.  An ISP is a service provider within your own company.  .  A Shared Services Unit is a service provider that provides shared IT services to more than one Business Unit within the same company.

Service Assets include:
  • Resources (hardware, software, money, people) used to deliver an IT service, and 
  • Capabilities (education, training, and knowledge learned about the customer over time that is difficult to replicate by a competitor)
Service Portfolio consists of:
  • Service catalogue: The actual and available capabilities of the service provider, which are offered to the customer.
  • Service pipeline: The future capabilities which are under consideration or in development for a specific market or customer.
  • Retired Services: Those capabilities which have been phased out or withdrawn.
Implementation of the Service Strategy ultimately leads to changes in the Service Portfolio, which introduce risk, which is an uncertain outcome which aligns pretty closely with the PMI definition of risk.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Artistic Obsessions: To Muse or Lose

IN HIS ESSAY COLLECTION, TRIGGERING TOWN, VICTOR HUGO wrote, "Most [poets] write the same poem over and over"--i.e., that most writers have a particular obsession, some well they keep dipping the bucket into over and over again. These obsessions make for the stuff of many a literary doctoral thesis, applying not only to the work of poets, but to short story writers and novelists, to visual artists and filmmakers.

In looking at my own work over 20 years, I see my obsession is race: what is it exactly, who defines it, who benefits from it, what are its consequences, how does it perform in American society, how does it perform in different areas of the world. As Sherman Alexie says in the attached quote, the writerly obsession can be a prison, especially as one seeks to grow as an artist. For myself, even when I sit down to not write about race, I feel its heat in the corner glowering, "I see you ignoring me."

So, my question to you, writers and other artists, What are your obsessions? And how do you break away from them? Or do you allow them to consume you, as say, an August Wilson with the city of Pittsburgh, a William Faulkner on Yoknapatawpha, or Toni Morrison on the subject of race?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Post-Election Blues?: We are the Ones We've Been Waiting For

ON TUESDAY, MANY OF US went to the polls to choose a candidate to "represent our interests" in Washington, DC, or in our respective state capitals. Many of us woke up on Wednesday morning disappointed that the results didn't turn out in our favor. But truth is, the most significant decisions in our lives happen on a much smaller scale, where we have more agency--in our community, in our household, in our mind.

When the politics of the world don't go our way, we still have choices: we can roll over and wait until the next election cycle, or we can invoke the spirit of our nation's founders. When Protestants in England found their voices silenced, they dreamed, they acted, they eventualized the United States of America. 

If the recent election didn't go your way, instead of wasting away, waiting years for election cycles, waiting for leaders who reflect your values, this is the time to become most active--in your art, in your family, in your church, in your self. If you're feeling shut out of the mainstream, look to organizations such as these for inspiration on being the change: Kundiman, Cave Canem, Nuyorican Poets Café, Busboys and Poets, The Watering Hole, Moore Black Press Publishing Inc., Sundance Film Festival, Def Jam Recordings, Svaha Paradox Salon, and Charis Books and More/Charis Circle.
As Mahatma Gandhi says, "Be the change that you wish to see," or as June Jordan reminds us, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

A River Runs Through The Valley: Darkness and the Creative Process

THROUGHOUT MUCH OF MY LIFE I'VE BEEN an optimist--a silver-lining, bright-side-of-things kind of guy. But life inevitably presents us with obstacles, valleys, and storms that challenge our faith, beliefs, and entire sense of being. My old self sought to fast-forward through those darker experiences to get back on a "happy note."

But how dull would life's song be if it were only played with one bright note? Or if the pianist only tickled the twinkly sounds of the right hand, played in a major key? How much deeper is our experience when we honor our darknesses and play them in a balanced composition? Not every darkness is an ailment: a stage, a soil, a skin.

I know a river runs through the valley. And I've seen the wildflowers there.