You won the war on CMDBs

When we started this blog, CMDBs were all the rage. ITIL was at its peak. Practically every single customer asked us about our “CMDB strategy”.

From the start we had the vision that passing event, performance, and business context data through the already overloaded CMDB was a terrible mistake.

First, it was not a “best practice” as opposed to the rest of ITIL initiatives. Back then the number of existing companies around the world that had finished such a CMDB was zero. And it remains zero.

Second, software vendors just relabeled their inventory products as CMDBs, resulting in nice repositories for assets, financial, and change management, but a real mess when used to represent dependencies. If you are going to use these dependencies for something important such as calculating uptime status, hey, you need computable dependencies, not esoteric user-defined relations that make no sense.

Third, the whole process was broken. The CMDB got populated by auto-discovery tools (this was the easy part) that produced thousands of CIs. Then people felt good, thinking they were half done: “now it is just a matter of connecting them”. No wonder nobody could.

We always proposed an RTSM (Real Time Service Model), a lightweight, easy to change dependency model as the basis of service delivery, performance and availability management – even before Gartner named it so. We had real projects, real customers and real success with it. What we used was the best practice, not ITIL’s.

Then there was the Agile movement, DevOps, and the rise of APM tools, which basically restore some sanity by moving people away from the Almighty CMDB.

But we are not done yet. By elevating the application at the top of the monitoring efforts you are not really aligned with the business, it is just another fantasy. The real thing to be modeled is not the application: the actual business services and processes are. And security and compliance initiatives also require business context.

The problem? There was not a straightforward way to do it. Some people use dashboards created with Business Intelligence tools, but frustration kicks in very rapidly as these products were not created with that goal in mind. Some tried with costly do-it-all BSM monitoring frameworks that just scratched the surface of business modeling. Some tried with BPM tools. Some did not care at all.

Which brings us to why we created Alignia.

Alignia was crafted to bring total visibility to any IT-supported business process and online service, in real time, starting where APM tools stop. Alignia is a silo killer. Alignia makes lives easier. Alignia aligns.

Alignia lets you control and manage IT exactly the way Business wants you to do it. Alignia at its heart is a generator of service models: fill in the blanks of some forms, and you have what matters most for your services and processes represented in minutes. Dashboards, models, reports, screen to screen navigation, root-cause indication, impact analysis, uptime and SLA calculations, Continual Service Improvement data… everything gets done with a few clicks.

Alignia has built-in processes and methodology. Alignia forces outside-in thinking because the starting points are business elements, not an array of network routers. And it makes you think beyond the IT controlled environment, letting you add cloud services, partner applications, interfaces, data integrity checks and everything that matters to ensure great customer experience.

Alignia is agile. You can change the model at any time by adding or removing service elements, and the whole model gets regenerated. So, you can start with a Minimum Viable Definition of your services or processes and refine it as you go.

And yes, I know, you have to feed this model somehow. So we used a “Bring-Your-Own-Monitoring approach”. We made it very easy to integrate whatever you have, including APM products. Just place Alignia on top, add some water, and stir.

Alignia will radically change all your conversations with the Business. No more need to put lipstick on SLA reports. No more angry executives pointing that critical business functions are not working for the most strategic customer while your team swear that everything is OK. No more technicians trying to fix the five dollar problem before the one million dollar one.

Last but not least, we see the IT guys leading this initiative being commended and even promoted after a couple of quick wins. No, this is not the famous reality distortion field (also known as “marketing”): if you think of it, it is quite logical. These guys are showing that they care for the business side. How many were promoted after buying these costly mega-frameworks that generated zero business value? Not many, I’m afraid.

And the best part of Alignia? No CMDB is required.

To demonstrate all of this, we created this short film.

I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Coming soon to a Congress near you: The Dilbert Factor

Dilbert Factor

Do you want to be much, much more successful? After introducing The Dilbert Factor at the Buenos Aires University in December and last month in an exclusive session for Catalonian entrepreneurs, I’ll be presenting at the itSMF/ISACA Congress in Barcelona this very Thursday (April 16th) the one and only “Engineering Success: The Dilbert Factor and other stuff I was not taught at the University”. Dilbert sessions coming up: one for Tango/04 customers in Argentina (May 5th) and hopefully many, many more (stay tuned).

The Dilbert Factor is my new keynote speech based on 30+ years of business / technical / life experience: a not-to-be-missed collection of academic and pragmatic practices to achieve success and be happier, taller and more handsome. Not all the stuff is guaranteed to work, though.

Happy and Aligned 2015!


Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Got this quick 2014 summary for you, from Barcelona with love.


We launched Alignia, encapsulating the knowledge from hundreds of successful monitoring projects into a revolutionary software product.

Alignia allows you to control, optimize and align these nasty Business Applications, Business Processes, Online Business Services and Business Security in the Interconnected Era (hey, the Extended Enterprise is finally here… and you need to be ready for it).

It has been a major, multi-year, multi-million effort, and we can’t be happier with it. Alignia is rapidly getting traction among leading companies like yours all over the world as they realize that they can unlock lots of value in a matter of hours. (Yes, hours. And not that many.)

Corporate alignment between IT and the Business has never been this easy. Get the whole story here. You’ll thank me later :-)

We kept adding talented staff, moved to bigger and better offices in Barcelona and we are remodeling our offices in Buenos Aires.

We keep gaining more and more customers in the financial sector. In some countries we help more banks that the whole competition together.


My mother passed away at the age of 86 on December 8th. She will be surely missed.

I also returned for a while to an old love of mine, cinema direction, and directed The CIO’s Office, a funny mockumentary that warns CIOs about the horrors they may face without Alignia :-) It premiered with a warm reception at our Tango/04 Monitoring Symposiums. Academy Awards, here we go!

I also celebrated the 25th anniversary of graduation from college at the University of Buenos Aires, which also invited me to give a speech there this month; it was a pleasure and an honor for me.

Well, thank you fellow readers, customers, friends, partners, suppliers, colleagues and teammates.

Have a really really really WONDERFUL (and ALIGNED) 2015!

How to be a Great CIO (X): Attend the European Monitoring Symposium


It is not because it is the only European event solely dedicated to Monitoring, it is not because we are going to present a radical change in the way leading companies do business, it is not because of the fine Mediterranean cuisine, the nice people or the awesome venue.

Well, it is because of all these as well. And it is because of the nice surprises (many of them), but the main reason to attend the Monitoring Symposium is to propel your career forward, to go further faster, whether you are a CIO or a CISO or you are one in the making.

Particularly now, when not advancing means going back.

Because monitoring, understood as Corporate Visibility, is really powerful stuff (hey, that’s what I’ve created this blog for). A wonderful opportunity that many pass on, and regret when it is too late. 

And what we are introducing is completely new. Promise.

Well, I said it already. Now it is up to you.

Hope to see you in Sitges this Friday (May 23rd)!


Preparing the upcoming Symposium…

Oficina Raul

Where have I been? Quite busy, after the (awesome) inauguration of our new offices, preparing the super ultra mega wonderful amazing Tango/04 Monitoring Symposium 2014.

(You’ve already saved the date, right? May 23th in Sitges, a beautiful town near Barcelona).

But before talking about it, some photos of our beautiful new offices.  

And yes, we do have a gym at our offices. :-)

(Thanks to the great Egue y Seta studio for the spectacular project).

You are invited.


Where have I been? Learning with leading entrepreneurs in Manila, Hamburg, Dublin, working with our talented team in both Barcelona and Buenos Aires, observing real-time monitoring in China (more about this soon), visiting the Maldives (hey, I need some rest from time to time) and above all involved in the phenomenal transformation of Tango/04. Yes, what we are cooking up with the new Knowledge Modules is nothing short of revolutionary (more about this quite soon, too). And recently, we moved to beautiful and more spacious offices in Barcelona, too. And that’s the point of this post. You are invited to come to our inauguration on Thursday, February 13. Don’t miss it. Just please contact your Tango/04 rep before we run out of space! It will be wonderful to give you a hug then. More details here. See you soon!

How to be a great CIO (IX): Focus on the smiles, not the trains

Service Management guru Ian Clayton posted a great paper from one of his customers, about why Outside-In thinking is paramount to avoid frustrating everybody and yourself, as the article wisely says:

“For most organizations, it is a natural tendency to look inward at what they do. They are focused (sometimes totally) on how the work is designed and accomplished, and performance measures are geared toward achieving internal goals. (…) 

Failure to please the customer leads to, well, failure.” 

The article is short, download it from and while you are at it, subscribe to Ian Clayton’s blog.

CMDB is dead


We are being asked less and less about how to integrate a monitoring system with a CMDB.

Main reason: in the past, people thought that building a full-fledged, galaxy-comprehending CMDB was kind of easy and even mandatory (blame ITIL). But nowadays, people are aware of the horror stories and more wary about using a CMDB beyond Asset Management (yes, CMDBs are great for that!). 

Only exception: people who arrived late to the party, and still think that a CMDB as defined by ITIL is beneficial or even doable. (If you are among them, please read this, this, this, and this).

By the way, the most popular post last year has been “CMDBs: butterflies or caterpillars?”. For a reason. And I am happy about it.

So what’s all the rage right now? Well, people went too fast from loving an all-encompassing Service Management solution (as proposed, and with sound reason, by ITILv3) to adore a tactical, scope-limited and still inside-out patch called APM. Again, APM tools, as CMDBs, are a good thing, if used properly. But they are not being used properly. I gave my two cents on it here.

Have a great afternoon.

How did you do in 2012?

Were you able to achieve more Visibility during 2012?

Did you remove blind spots in IT operations and business processes, did you align infrastructure management, did you get a holistic, consistent, real-time view at every level for critical services?

And, thanks to that, did you notably improve overall services, generating more value for your business and adding more meaning to your position?

Whether you did or not, remember: right now it is time for your New Year’s resolutions. A great occasion to decide that 2013 will be the year you are going to create the highest value for your company.

From this friendly blog we’ll try to continue helping you achieve that as much as we can.

Happy Visibility in 2013!

A big, big hug from Barcelona.