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Business service management (BSM) is an approach used to manage business-aligned IT services. A BSM philosophy promotes a customer-centric and business-focused approach to Service Management, aligning business objectives and priorities with IT or ICT from strategy through to operations and continual improvement.
A BSM approach can be used to understand the impact of business needs on IT Services and infrastructure, helping in the process of planning to ensure the portfolio of Business Services and IT Services aim to support these changing needs and objectives. This approach also helps to understand how technology, including incidents, changes and new developments, impact the business and customers. BSM can provide a dynamic method for linking key service components and capabilities to the goals of the business. It can help prioritize the activity and response of IT staff and service providers based on business priorities, and identify the impact and cost of service outages.
Advocates of BSM often use it to support a cultural change from one which is very technology-focused to a position which understands and focuses on business objectives and benefits. Rather than supporting an internalized technology view, there is a shift to recognize and support customer needs and the delivery of value to business stakeholders including shareholders. A BSM initiative often underpins a shift in maturity for an IT department or service provider towards a more proactive and predictive operating model rather than the reactive and fire-fighting behavior which has been common in many IT operations. IT departments and Service Providers who reach this level of maturity often report improved relationships with their customers and business colleagues, being recognized as 'Trusted Business Partners' and 'Competent Suppliers' who deliver added business value rather than being considered a commodity or 'Necessary Evil'.
Business Services and IT Services
Business Services are delivered to customers, supporting their needs, sometimes through the support for a business process or directly supporting a service or product delivered to end customers. A business service may be supported by one or more IT Service(s), and may consist almost entirely of IT Services especially where the IT Service is directly customer-facing. Examples include online banking and online shopping.
An IT Service may not be customer-facing, for example an IT Service which is seen as 'back office' as it supports the execution of an internal business process, such as the support for a billing process which the Finance department would own and manage.
Service Management is a generic activity which didn't originate from the IT industry, and therefore is much bigger and more widely applied than IT Service Management or Business Service Management. BSM and ITSM can be considered as applications of Service Management in a specific context.
IT departments and IT Service Providers may only deliver IT Services, but could also be providers of Business Services.
Compared to traditional network monitoring
BSM software is an outgrowth of network management systems as the software tracks the performance and availability of the networks components across a data center. Traditional network management systems focus on measuring and monitoring the technical metrics and trends of IT applications and infrastructure. The primary users of these systems are technicians and systems administrators in the IT operations organization. Although these systems enable the IT operations team to identify problem areas from a technical point-of-view for a given piece of the infrastructure, significant gaps exist in determining the business impact of a specific problem. For example, if a router and a server fail at the same time, these systems offer no way for the network operations center operator to determine which of these is more critical or which business services have been impacted by the failure of these devices.
Additionally, newer technologies such as service-oriented architectures (SOA), virtualization, cloud computing, portal frameworks, grid architectures, and mashups within an organizations make troubleshooting and monitoring of business services very difficult. A single business process or service may be supported by a number of composite applications, all of which could be dependent on a diverse set of distributed computing and communications elements. An isolated issue anywhere in this complex web may impact one or more tasks in the business process. Traditional network management systems and technology-centric monitoring approaches are incapable of determining the business impact of an issue in such a complicated infrastructure environment. This has given rise to Application Performance Management and the Real User Monitoring (RUM) technology that now monitors the End User Expereince (EUE) in real-time.
Newer BSM systems provide a unified view of the data center, allowing data center administrators to view and manage applications, networks and events, usually from a common dashboard. This means data center managers can see and troubleshoot problems before business customers do