Stability vs Responsiveness

In an earlier blog I spoke to the conflicts that all operational organizations face.  This struggle can be broken down into four general imbalances so that an IT organization can identify that they are experiencing an imbalance by leaning more towards one extreme or the other.  At a high level it can provide the service provider with the opportunity to develop some guidelines on how to resolve these conflicts and move towards a best practice approach in resolving discrepancies.  We talked to the first and most common which was the Internal IT view vs. the External Business view.  Today I would like to speak to the dilemma of Stability vs. Responsiveness.
IT operations must ensure that the IT infrastructure is stable, performs at an agreed and defined levels on a consistent basis and is available with the correct amount of capacity to meet the demands of ever changing patterns of business activity.
These changes can be evolutionary.  Needed changes in functionality, performance and technology can happen over a long period of time.  These types of changes can present the service provider with the opportunity to plan, design, build and test better levels of performance and create greater efficiencies and more effective use of resources.  In these scenarios it is much easier to maintain the desired stability IT is seeking, while enhancing customer satisfaction by delivering the new requirements their customers and users seek.
Although as service providers we would always prefer to have our changes presented and delivered in this manner, we know that in today’s business environment this is not always possible.  Many changes happen very quickly and come with considerable constraints on timescales and resources.  The ability to meet these types of deadlines and not impact the services that are currently live can often be a considerable challenge to any IT organization.
Given this tension between stability and responsiveness there are some actions an organization can take to enhance its ability to meet these challenges.
  • Ensure investment in technologies and processes are adaptive and incorporate the use of change models
  • Build a solid service level management (SLM) process with strong ties to all processes from service design all the way through to continual service improvement (CSI).
  • Through service asset and configuration management (SACM) ensure the proper mapping of IT assets to business services and IT operational activities
  • Initiate the change process as early as possible.  Ensure there are strong ties to the project management office (PMO) and the business change process.

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