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assyst -out of the box
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f
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:27 pm    Post subject: assyst -out of the box Reply with quote

Hi,
could anyaone explain me technically what is the meaning of out of the box???

Thanks
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KiwiChick
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of the box literally means just that. If you buy a product and install it without doing any technical customisations to it then it's termed 'out of the box'.

A lot of software houses are now trying to sell these types of products as 'out of the box' because it lowers the total price to the customer. Usually when you buy something like Assyst you pay for the software and licensing etc, and then they charge you up to 1500 per day for cutomisation done by their consultants to "fit" the product to your organisation.

Think of buying something like MS Visio and installing it on your pc. That's a perfect example of 'out of the box'.

Hope this helps
Cheers
KC
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LizGallacher
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that that is a bit unfair - all tools will need to be made to fit your organisation. Out of the box could mean that the tool has priority levels with targets present, and automatic escalations as the incident reaches a certain % expired, such as 90%. You would customise it by specifying the target times for each priority, and the exact % expired that you wanted the escalation to happen, and the recipients of that escalation.
However, if you wanted different functionality - for example you wanted to create lots more fields, and , write rules about what happened when data was entered into them - that is not out-of-the-box.
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f
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 4:46 pm    Post subject: out of the box Reply with quote

Thanks ,

so out of the box (speaking for assyst ) means a system almost ready easy customised upon the clien needs.?

But I am wondering if assyst, needs a big space in a server and how communicates with other servers in a company , if anyone knows how
easy and with problems or not communicates with servers and Sap software.

Cheers

F.
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KiwiChick wrote:
Out of the box literally means just that. If you buy a product and install it without doing any technical customisations to it then it's termed 'out of the box'.

A lot of software houses are now trying to sell these types of products as 'out of the box' because it lowers the total price to the customer. Usually when you buy something like Assyst you pay for the software and licensing etc, and then they charge you up to 1500 per day for cutomisation done by their consultants to "fit" the product to your organisation.

Think of buying something like MS Visio and installing it on your pc. That's a perfect example of 'out of the box'.

Hope this helps
Cheers
KC


Hello KC,

This is a VERY important point that you're making. Most enterprises that take on the implementation of ITIL have no clue as to what they're getting themselves into. What this means is that they really have no idea how much they're going to spend on post purchase customizations. Since most organizations try to "make up" the attributes they need to track and since the cost of implementing them through customizations is high, there is a double edged sword... many customers fall short of implementing everything they need because they can't afford what it takes to continue to customize their tools.

In addition to "Out-of-the-Box", we pitch something called "On-Demand" which is "hosted Out-of-the-Box", meaning organizations simply connect to the platform through their browsers. It requires no post purchase customization and is fully hosted through the web. This offers multiple things to our clients:

1) They simply log on and have a more complete ITIL offering than they could ever implement themselves or get from anyone else,
2) They can provision a very elaborate ITIL platform to their organization in 30 to 60 days, rather than multiple years (which is really what it takes if you take on the implementation, yourself),
3) It's all done with a small fraction of the overall cost that they would normally invest, since they require no dedicated hardware, storage, data center, power, cooling, implementation resources, etc.
4) They get standardization and consistency, ensuring that the entities, attributes, and prepulated data is all consistent with what other companies are doing, and
5) They get our own staff as an ongoing development and support staff for the entire platform, meaning they don't need to invest as many dedicated resources as would normally be required, if they hosted it all, themselves. Since it's hosted, we keep adding new features and are accountable for maintenance and upgrades. This last point is VERY big, as it means that their platform keeps growing and moving forward, with no additional investment from them.

We have a link at "www.TraverseIT.com/ITIL" talks about the point you made, and multiple others. I hope you find the information useful.

Regards,
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizGallacher wrote:
I think that that is a bit unfair - all tools will need to be made to fit your organisation. Out of the box could mean that the tool has priority levels with targets present, and automatic escalations as the incident reaches a certain % expired, such as 90%. You would customise it by specifying the target times for each priority, and the exact % expired that you wanted the escalation to happen, and the recipients of that escalation.
However, if you wanted different functionality - for example you wanted to create lots more fields, and , write rules about what happened when data was entered into them - that is not out-of-the-box.


Hi Liz,

We're finding that what you've described is actually the opposite of what we're hearing from the companies we speak with and sell to. Prospects and customers "want" to make sure that they're tracking and peforming functions just like other enterprises are doing so. They're viewing customization as a deviation from standards.

CIOs, CTOs, and COOs are realizing that one of the primary reasons everyone is turning to ITIL is for consistency. Companies don't want to re-invent the wheel. As a matter of fact, when most CxOs find out that they've implemented ITIL in ways that are different than other organizations, they cringe. Inconsistency means no standardization. No standardization means higher costs, longer time-to-market, poorer quality, more complicated environments, etc.

In the past, ITIL was all about "Intra-company", meaning that if you created an Incident, it only needed to be used within the confines of that company. However, now ITIL is quickly becoming about "Inter-company", which means that when you do something like create an Incident, that Incident may be passed on to other companies and used by them to perform their work, too. In order for this to happen successfully, the representation of ITIL related entities, attributes, reference data, etc. all need to be the same.

What's more is that when an employee is spending time defining ITIL, within their enterprise, they are most definitely not focused on their core business problems. For example, if your business is Investment Management and your employees are designing and implementing ITIL, then they're "not" focused on solving Investment Management problems that will help generate more revenue. As a result, more and more C-Level executives are moving quickly to procure pre-constructed and prepopulated ITIL solutions so that they don't waste their valuable budgets on re-inventing the ITIL wheel. They realize that there is absolutely no competitive edge in how they implement ITIL and, therefore, are willing to live with minor inconveniences in the solutions they purchase, simply because they believe the providers will overcome those conveniences, over time. This means that the CxO's staff is not the one doing that work.

The statement that there is no competitive advantage in back office functions is critical to understand. It means that if you implement ITIL solutions different than your competitors it won't make your organization better or more competitive than their own organizations. ITIL, to executives, is intended to be a steady state function... like dialtone. As a result, most executives simply "want any ITIL solution", as long as it meets their basic needs, so that they can move on to the next important problem on their radar.

In short, we see that C-Level executives understand the importance of ITIL and understand they need it. However, they want it very fast and very cheap. As a result of this, we're finding that they want someone who's job it actually is to provide such solutions to worry about them. They don't want this to be their own staff (unless they're in the business of IT, of course). Any executive in your organization will tell you that your highest priority is to help solve problems that make your organization more competitive in its industry, not design and implement ITIL. Again, this is not to say they don't think it's important or don't believe they need it. They do. However, they just don't seem to believe that the best results will come from their own employees, who are not professional, full time experts in ITIL.

I hope this helps,

Regards,
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LizGallacher
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think what Frank is describing suits one group of organisations, but is by no means universal. I was describing (without giving an opinion either way) the difference between out-of-the-box and not. Not everyone wants to customise a tools, anymore than everyone wants to accept default values. It is for each organisation to decide. Many tools have flexibility in setting the parameters (how long a target resolution time a Priority 1 Incident has, for example). The customer can set these, whilst still using the functionality, which is out-of-the-box. Others want to use the capability of the tool to support their own processes. THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER! If you look at Remedy, for example, some people use the Remedy engine and design solutions, some buy-in solutions such as Viatil, which is based on Remedy, but where the hard work has already been done. The danger with anything other than out-of-the-box is that there is a maintenance overhead, a need for in-house ITIL experts etc., and an issue with upgrades. Like everything else, it is a business decision. Assyst is actually pretty close to out-of-the-box.
An essential tenet of ITIL is to adopt and adapt. What level of adaptation is required will avry with the organisation. But as long as the essential framewwork of ITIL is adopteed, there will be a common approach, common language etc with other organisations. I have seen this with cross-governmental projects where each government department has implemented ITIL for themselves, and can work happily with other departments, because the concepts are understood, although the particular methods may differ. So - there is no one approach.
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Liz,

I've taken the opportunity to follow up. Please see my responses, embedded, below. I've tried to keep them opinion free.

LizGallacher wrote:
I think what Frank is describing suits one group of organisations, but is by no means universal.


I agree, few things are ever universal. However, you will find that the majority of ITIL is "common" across all enterprises: What entities you need to track and work with, what attributes these entities require, what prepopulated reference data you need, what reports you need, what tools you need, etc.

Quote:
I was describing (without giving an opinion either way) the difference between out-of-the-box and not. Not everyone wants to customise a tools, anymore than everyone wants to accept default values. It is for each organisation to decide.


True, however, you will find that if you speak with any technical leader, such as a CIO or CTO, most will want consistency and standardization. They do not want anyone re-inventing the wheel or putting custom solutions in place. Custom = high costs, high complexity, high time-to-market, etc.

Quote:
Many tools have flexibility in setting the parameters (how long a target resolution time a Priority 1 Incident has, for example). The customer can set these, whilst still using the functionality, which is out-of-the-box. Others want to use the capability of the tool to support their own processes. THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER!


What you're describing is that the details of the processes, themselves, need room for flexibility, not that the tools need to be "custom". The allowance for putting in process rules can be common across all tools. The value put in is process-related, not tool-related.

Quote:
If you look at Remedy, for example, some people use the Remedy engine and design solutions


It is important to note that Remedy "requires" customization. It is rather useless without it. Customization is the premise of the tool, not necessarily a willing choice by the consumers of the product. Such "required" customization doesn't mean that the implementation of an Incident Management solution within the tool has to be different for every organization. As a matter of fact, the people customizing the tool, within an organization, are typically new to ITIL and will make critical mistakes in how they customize the tool(s). As a result, they will pay later. Many CxOs understand this. Their employees are not experts, nor do they want their employees to be experts. It diverts their resources away from their core business problems.

Quote:
...some buy-in solutions such as Viatil, which is based on Remedy, but where the hard work has already been done.


Viatil is an example of standardization over the tool. They're offering a solution that says "Buy a preconstructed answer and get back to work as quickly as possible... because our solution is more than good enough for you." In other words, "don't waste time customizing..."

Quote:
The danger with anything other than out-of-the-box is that there is a maintenance overhead, a need for in-house ITIL experts etc., and an issue with upgrades.


This is true. However, please be aware that if out-of-the-box means that you install that tool in your enterprise, even the out-of-the-box tool will require dedicated resources and infrastructure. It is our opinion (one that seems to be growing in the industry) that on-demand (hosted out-of-the-box) provides the greatest return with the smallest investment. On-demand means that outside organizations are "constantly" working to improve the solution, maintain it, upgrade it, etc. You get the platform as a service, not a tool. And, the service exists to constantly improve, itself, using dedicated experts that could never exist in your own organization... people who's full time job it is to build ITIL platforms.

Quote:
Like everything else, it is a business decision. Assyst is actually pretty close to out-of-the-box.


Yes, it is a business decision. It's always interesting to put yourself in the shoes of the business decision makers. You'll find that if you were in those shoes, with a limited budget, pressure to perform, limted resources, and had to pick where to spend your money, you (like most everyone else) would most likely want to focus your money on growing your business, not consuming your funds on managing the logistics of it. Most business leaders want logistics implemented as cheap dialtone services that they don't have to worry about and would prefer to focus their funds on business growth.

Quote:
An essential tenet of ITIL is to adopt and adapt. What level of adaptation is required will avry with the organisation. But as long as the essential framewwork of ITIL is adopteed, there will be a common approach, common language etc with other organisations. I have seen this with cross-governmental projects where each government department has implemented ITIL for themselves, and can work happily with other departments, because the concepts are understood, although the particular methods may differ. So - there is no one approach.


This is interesting to me for a number of reasons. First, because standardization is the premise of our business model. Second, because when I sit down with a leader to speak about an ITIL implementation, I can almost always convince him/her that he or she requires absolutely no customization and shouldn't want it, at all. In those cases, where I can't, they usually seem to come around, later.

I hope we can discuss this more. It's been a pleasure exchanging information with you.

Regards,
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, Liz, I noticed that you're an independent ITIL trainer and consultant in the UK. Would you be willing to have some conversations, offline, to address some questions that I have about operating in the UK? If so, you can contact me at Frank.Guerino<@>TraverseIT.com.

Regards,
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LizGallacher
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we have just about flogged this one to death - I am not arguing either way - and in fact I would advise my clients to question whether they really need customisation ( they may have brought me in to advise, but - and this may surprise you - although I am a consultant, I do NOT want to have a client tied into using me or another consultant for ever. I want them to be able to operate without outside help.)
The original question was looking for a definition of out-of-the-box. We are now discussing the upside/downside of different suppliers' approaches.What I would say, though, is that implementing ITIL is about a lot more than implementing a tool - the people, the culture and the new ways of working are much more of a challenge. Those organisations that realise that there is no quick fix (and that there is no reason to re-invent the wheel either), that understand the challenges and give themselves a realistic time-frame and sufficient resources, will find that the money is very well spent. I would not be doing what I do, if I did not believe that the end result of such an implementation saves huge amounts of money, and allows real control over IT now and in the future.
So no quick fixes, no massive re-engineering, just proven best practice, whatever tool appraoch you decide to use.
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have to agree with this belief, wholeheartedly...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
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rjp
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing my experience has taught me is that a vendor's analysis of any business problem has a remarkable affinity for conclusions that support their own products Smile

The truth is that the complexity and variations of IT ifnrastructure reflects the fact that the core 'back-office' functions make up only a part of what IT brings to any business. IT is is becoming less a supporting infrastructure (like there's some alternative Smile ) and more the medium within which the business operates.

I actually think we will eventually get to a point where much of IT can be 'comoditised' ( a pre-requisite for 'standardisation'). In fact, hardware is just about there, while software is quite some way off. But 'solutions' are light years away.

For now, above the SME level, (maybe even the VSME level), I seriously doubt there is a ITSM automation and control suppport solution that is deployable OTB.

But then, consider the way things actually are in areas considerably more 'standard' than IT service management processes - say financial managment or human resources

The implementation of systems like, say SAP, just to call up a wild example, are heavily 'customised' (depending on how you want to define that). Having seen one or two myself, they not only cost a pretty penny they take quite a bit of time to deploy as well.

Has any enterprise scale process management/business automation system ever gone it "Out of the Box". Seriously - why do so many professionals spend years and dollars building their Cisco/SAP/Oracle certifications and credentails. And if IT business solutions are just standard 'back-office' functions, what are all those consultants doing for a living? 'Customisation' accounts for a huge percentage of the production acitivity of our industry - accross the board!

Of course it goes without saying that C-level people will want fast, standardised, 'OTB' implementations of any capability - even bog-standard accounting systems. What is wanted and what is deliverable are two different things.

The way solutions are now, if you buy one, one (or both) of two things will happen:
a) you will customise the soultion to fit your organistation
b) you will customise the organisation to fit your solution.

A vendor will frequently sell option b by highlighting the cost and difficulty of option a, but not say too much about the costs and risks of option b - which are very very real.

To my mind the most common mistake is to opt for one option to the exclusion of the other. Ironically many buyers start out with an 'option b' mindest and about a year down the track find themselve inadvertantly tangled up in an 'option a' situation they never planned for.

It might seem counter intuitive but it is usually cheaper and involves less risk to undertake both 'a' and 'b' than to exclude one.

So my advice is, 'buyer beware'. Plan to adapt both the solution and your organistion to each other, with a framework such as ITIL (among other things) as the reality check.
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Ed
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RJP wrote:-
[The way solutions are now, if you buy one, one (or both) of two things will happen:
a) you will customise the soultion to fit your organistation
b) you will customise the organisation to fit your solution. ]

And

[To my mind the most common mistake is to opt for one option to the exclusion of the other. Ironically many buyers start out with an 'option b' mindest and about a year down the track find themselve inadvertantly tangled up in an 'option a' situation they never planned for.

It might seem counter intuitive but it is usually cheaper and involves less risk to undertake both 'a' and 'b' than to exclude one.]

RJP

I agree with most of what you say, but would be interested in getting you to expand on the second quote as I am in the position of actually having mindset A and am very wary of collapsing into mindset B - I don't really see any benefit of moving away from a framework that is ostensibly ITIL because the solution can't be changed to get nearer to what I want.

Can you help me understand better please?

Regards

Ed
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Ed,

Fair enough. If you are confident you have set up your processes and your organisation in a manner that satisfies your service management objectives then I agree, why would you want to change?

Of course one of the points of my post is that general cases don't necessarily apply to specific situations. So it would be contradictory to claim my 'advice' is universally applicable.

With regards to changing a product or changing an organisation each is to a certain extent the opportunity cost of the other. If you do gap-fit, and there is a gap, there is always a choice as to which is going to change. And really, it should be the one that delivers on your objectives most effectively - providing the best cost benefit trade off.

As an aside I have noticed that with regard to these systems (actually systems in general) some people take an information approach; seeing a single integrated source of shared inforation as the 'thing' that effectively does all the work. Others look at tools as an analogue of their activities, seeing them more as process modelling and automation technologies. (Of course the better ones are both to some extent).

The information approach tends to work practices that are prescriptive - to achieve the control objectives of management. But it also tends to less customisation, as the tool is seen primarily as a data repository, and by and large the one thing most sites are happy to refer to their tools is their information architecture. The process oriented approach tends to allow for work practices aimed at enabling the creativity and initiative of agents because managment controls are achieved as 'gates' on actions in real time and not sates in data. This approach however tends to more customisation, as there is far more variation in real-world activity than in information states.

Of course these approaches are not mutally exclusive. But I would hazzard to guess that if you a jigging the tool to fit your organisation, you are in the workflow modelling camp. I think that's a reasonable place to be, but you should keep an eye out for where objectives can be achieved by simply ensuring everyone is access shared information, as there will be cases in every organisation where this is the simplest and most cost effective way to achieve your goals.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentlemen (RJP & Ed),

We intentionally do not offer a structured process solution, embedded with in our platform, such as Manta's ViaTIL offering. Process is something that we intentionally leave open to definition for the customer that buys into the platform. The platform is an enterprise data management platform that allows for ITIL software solutions, through a hosted web interface. Our solution allows users the flexibility of having a very elaborate and mature ITIL tool offering with the flexibility of defining their own processes, independent of the tool. However, there is a reality component to this that is associated with "all" tools. "No tool" is perfect and all are constantly evolving. Our business model is to evolve around ITIL, faster than anyone else.

RJP, you mentioned two types of customizations:

Quote:

a) you will customise the solution to fit your organistation
b) you will customise the organisation to fit your solution.


You missed the most critical and common customization, which is:

c) you will customize the your processes to fit the tool.

No one tool has everything you need and some are more limiting than others. Therefore, you will "always" have to do some level of customizing your processes around the tool(s) you select.

BTW, RJP, we've found that not a single organization that is working with our platform has had to customize their organization to leverage it. They've left their organizations "exactly" the way they are. Therefore, I believe we're safely eliminating the need for "b) customization of organizations around the tool". As a matter of fact, because the platform is open to their entire enterprise and web-based, it makes it easier for them to continue to work in whatever structure their organization currently has. In some cases, they've actually been able to break down organizational silos and save money on dedicated resources and data & tool integration.

Also, RJP, on the comment about "vendor's analysis of any business problem has a remarkable affinity for conclusions that support their own products"...

I understand that it's a gentle and humorous jab and I take no offense, at all. As a matter of fact, my staff uses them to jab at me, even more! However, I do want to point out that I have been (many times over) on the purchasing side of tens of millions of dollars of software solutions, for some of the largest financial firms in the world (one being "the" largest). I also have a great deal of experience in multiple large scale ITIL implementations (I'm not even counting all of the smaller and medium sized implementations). I and my staff probably have far more experience than you think or might care to acknowledge. When I speak to you and others on the forum, I always try my best to give you the most neutral information I can. I'm sure I slip, sometimes, but I really do try my best. How you translate the contributions are always up to you.

As always, it's a pleasure exchanging knowledge with you.

Regards,
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