Alignability® - History


It all started in 1998 when two seasoned IT service management consultants incorporated Service Management Partners (SMP). They combined TQM principles with ITIL® modules to form a process model for service provider organizations. Each of the modelís processes was documented in great detail. Thus, the model and the underlying process definitions became the standards that SMP used to speed up service management implementations for its customers.

These standards were used during SMPís first engagement. The customer liked the processes, but required numerous changes. After this engagement, SMP reviewed the changes that were made, and decided to update its standard process definitions with all changes that were likely to benefit future customers.

The updated standards were used as a starting point for the next engagement. Again, the customer wanted to change the processes, but not as much as the first customer. Having completed the second implementation project, the requested changes were reviewed. A few were found to be customer-specific, but the rest were incorporated in the standards.

It went on like this, until one evening in 1999 at an airport in Spain. There the idea was born to convert the standards to the HTML format. This would provide much faster access to the detailed work instructions than the documents were able to offer.

In March 2001, version 1.0 was made available on the internet under the name Alignability®. It was published there for potential customers to review the processes and the approach before they contracted SMP.

HP OpenView Service Desk 4.0 was released towards the end of 2001. This was the first service management product that was capable of supporting the entire Alignability® Process Model without a huge customization effort. Version 1.2 of the model was released in June 2002. This version included several minor adjustments to ensure an optimum fit between the Alignability® Process Model and HP OpenView Service Desk.

2002 was also the year in which the first partner organizations started to use the Alignability® Process Model. It helped them guide their customers through their service management implementation projects. Please refer to the "Implementation" section for more information about implementing the Alignability® Process Model.

Version 1.4 was released in February 2003. It was the first release that included a set of configuration files for an IT service management application. These files contain thousands of system settings that were used to automatically configure the HP OpenView Service Desk application for the support of the Alignability® processes.

The Availability and Capacity Management processes were added in version 2.0 of the model. This version was launched on June 17, 2003 at the OpenView Forum in Chicago.

May 2004 was the month in which version 2.1 was released. In that same month, the Alignability® Process Model became an HP OpenView Authorized Product. The Alarm Management process was added in this version and the model was split into two products. These products are now called the "Service Support" module and the "Service Delivery" module.

The Continuity Management process was added in version 3.0, which was released in September 2004. This version was not scheduled for release until late 2004, but the worldwide concern for terrorist attacks resulted in such strong demand for the Continuity Management process that its release was brought forward.

Immediately after the release of version 3.0, the preparations started for the presentation of the model at the annual itSMF conference in the U.S.A. As part of the preparations, a small survey was conducted among the Alignability® partners.

They were asked whether they thought their customers would prefer a strict usage of the ITIL® terminology in the model, or whether they preferred the version 3.0 Alignability® terminology. The response was unanimously in favor of the ITIL® terminology. This resulted in the development of version 3.1. The release of this version marked the start of a long-term commitment that links the maintenance of the Alignability® Process Model directly to the evolution of the ITIL® methodology. This allows customers to invest in standard ITIL® education for their staff, knowing that the ITIL® teachings can be put directly into practice with the Alignability® Process Model.

Version 3.2 was released in February 2005 and included, along with many minor improvements, a rewrite of the Service Level Management process.

The procedures of the Address Book Management process were added to the Configuration and Service Level Management processes in version 4.0, which was released in June 2005. This marked the end of the Address Book Management process. At the same time, the Release Management process was introduced. This process was added following a very positive experience in a company that had already implemented the Alignability® Process Model, but was struggling with a number of change requests which its run and support budget could not, and was not meant to, cover.

In Germany, Alignability® partner ncc stared to work on the translation of version 4.0 into German. This localization was completed in December 2005 and was prepared specifically for the German, Swiss and Austrian markets where the demand for mature service management processes had become as strong as in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

While the German Edition of the Alignability® Process Model was being developed by ncc, SMP started to work on the settings of HP OpenView Service Desk to add real-time cost tracking capability. This functionality provides service providers tight control over their IT spending by service. For each service, it allows service providers to see how much is being spent on different types of activities (e.g. incident resolution or changes for the improvement of the service), hardware and software license depreciation, support contracts and ad hoc supplier support. This additional functionality was made available in January 2006 with the release of version 4.1 for customers that use HP OpenView Service Desk 4.5. Shortly after that, SMP released version 4.2 for customers that already wanted to start working with HP OpenView Service Desk 5.0.

With the underlying tool capturing the financial input, SMP documented to Financial Management process and integrated it with the other processes. The addition of the Financial Management process was an important milestone for the process model. It was the realization of a vision held by SMP's founders for many years.

With all processes defined and integrated within the model, SMP was able to respond quickly to HP's plans to merge HP OpenView Service Desk and Peregrine ServiceCenter (which HP had acquired) into a single product called "Service Manager". This product would be built on ServiceCenter technology. SMP, together with its partners, launched a project to configure ServiceCenter so that it would be capable of supporting the Alignability® processes. Because SMP had already configured HP OpenView Service Desk for the support of the processes, there was a very detailed example of the functionality that had to be configured in ServiceCenter. The configuration effort took six month to complete, which was considerably longer than initially anticipated. The "Alignability® for ServiceCenter" was released in September 2006, and included the Financial Management process. It was to form the bridge for both Service Desk and ServiceCenter customers to HP's new Service Manager product.

SMP was acquired by BMC Software, Inc. on April 02, 2007. Before it was acquired, SMP has already initiated the development of the Alignability® configuration of the BMC Service Desk Express application suite. This effort resulted on October 09, 2007 in the release of "BMC Alignability for Service Desk Express". The goal of this product was to make IT service management affordable to mid-size organizations with mature process requirements.