Monitoring as a Service, Part 4: Running the Business

This blog was first published on Service Management 360 on 07-Aug-2013.

http://www.servicemanagement360.com/2013/08/07/monitoring-as-a-service-part-4-running-the-business/

In this four-part blog series I have been developing my idea of a Monitoring as a Service business. First, in part 1, I argued for the value of this business idea. In part 2, I defined the service catalog and in part 3 decided on the implementation architecture . Now the final question to answer is how to efficiently run the business.

The service catalog

For different customer requirements we have to have dedicated service catalogs with a special focus on their interests. I believe that two categories should be good enough in a Monitoring as a Service business, one offering for very small customers sharing one monitoring environment, and another offering for customers with a dedicated monitoring infrastructure. Both offerings will be composed of the same deliverables and will be handled similarly, but they will be differentiated by access to the monitoring data. The shared environment will not be accessible for the customer by default.

Infrastructure installation and maintenance

The SmartCloud Application Performance Management Entry Edition is available as a VMware image install and can be deployed into supported VMware environments. If we expect customers who have non-VMware environments we should have an automated install procedure for the IBM Tivoli Monitoring (ITM) and IBM Tivoli Common Reporting (TCR) infrastructure, so that all customer environments look similar after deployment. These routines are part of a Tivoli service engagement package in Germany and might be made available in your region on request. The routines are on an as is basis and do not include any warranty.

The solution packages

Monitoring is about having the correct monitoring rules, the correct analysis, the specialist views and so on in place. These assets will evolve over time, and the service provider has to have procedures in place to maintain these solution packages across many ITM environments. A monitoring solution package might consist the following components:

  • Agent builder solutions

  • Historical data collections

  • Navigators

  • Situations

  • Workspaces

These solution packages should be developed on the kind of reference system and procedures that have to be in place to unload these packages and load them into any target customer ITM environment. These procedures are also part of a Tivoli service engagement package in Germany.

The invoice procedure

The billing system is closely attached to the service catalog. The service items have to be easily countable and measurable. I have the following selling points in mind:

  • Tivoli Monitoring infrastructure countable services

    • Operating agents registered: This gives us the number of operating systems images we monitor.

    • Any application agents registered: This gives us the number of managed databases, Microsoft Server components and so on.

    In ITM, we call these the managed systems. The bright red circles in the picture above highlight these selling points. This data is a good reference by which to measure the delivered services. Services in this category are easy to deliver on a flat rate basis.

  • Event engine based

    • Number of handled events/incidents

    Events forwarded and handled by the service provider are also good to measure. In this area, a lot differentiation between customers could be introduced. Different quality of services could be implemented targeting the customer requirements. The dark red circles highlight these selling points.

  • Report delivery

    • Operating system reports

    • Application component reports

    • Response time reports

    • Availability reports

    The number of reports delivered to the customer is easily countable. Reports could be delivered on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or even yearly basis. The yellow circles highlight these selling points.

As a result of the monitoring services delivered to your customer, additional customer specific services might be introduced, such as:

  • Additional support for hardware and software problem resolution

  • Capacity planningand hardware sizing

    • Disks

    • Memory

    • CPU

These services should be counted on a time and material basis, because the effort might differ tremendously among different customers.

Conclusion

So what do you think about this business model? Is it worth discussing? What are your ideas? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below. I’m looking forward hearing from you.

P.S. Do you remember the last question in my first post of this series, about this business idea? What’s the role of my wife now? Well, she is working as a financial auditor, and in that role she is a great help in verifying my business ideas. She pushes me to frequently review my ideas not only from a technical point of view, but also from an economical perspective. I’m lucky to have a partner supporting me in all areas of my life, including my business.

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