Balance in Operation II

Last year I delivered an article on the challenges that IT organizations face in trying to balance opposing goal and objectives especially in light of the fact that in every organization the one constant is change.  The focus of that piece was the tension between the perspective that IT is a set of technology components (Internal IT view) and that IT is a set of services (External business view).   All process and functions in Design, Transition and Operation have been design to meet the changing needs delivered by Strategy and CSI.  Insuring that the resulting services continue to deliver defined and agreed levels of utility and warranty and doing so while delivering an overall value to the business.  This forms a conflict between maintaining the status quo and adapting to changes in the business and technological environments.  One of the key roles of service operation together with design and transition is to deal with this tension between these ever changing priorities.

So to reiterate, 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 these discrepancies. 
·         Internal  IT view vs. External business view
·         Stability vs.  Responsiveness
·         Service  quality vs. cost
·         Reactive vs. proactive
The one we will focus on here is the tension between stability versus responsiveness.  No matter how well the functionality of an IT service meets stake holder’s needs, it will be of little value if the IT infrastructure is unstable causing instances of unavailability and inconsistency in performance levels.  Many time changes in the environment can introduce these risks.  However at the same time the IT service provider cannot ignore these changing requirements without facing the risk of not being able to deliver value. There are some actions that organizations can undertake to help insure that an optimal balance is maintained.
·      Ensure investment in technologies and processes that are adaptive rather than rigid.  (Adopt & Adapt)
·      Build a strong service level management (SLM) process which is active in all stages of the service lifecycle.  This will prevent IT managers and the business from negotiating informal agreements.
·      Encourage integration between Business Relationship Management and SLM.  Foster cooperation and communication between SLM and other service design process.  Ensure proper mapping of business requirements to IT operational activities. This can be accomplished with a strong CMDB and service asset and configuration management process.

·      Incorporate the change process at the earliest appropriate stage in the service lifecycle. This guarantees both function and manageability requirements can be evaluated and built.

·      Make certain of IT involvement in business changes to guarantee IT services can support these changes.
It is crucial that we achieve a balance between these two views.  Services must be design and delivered around customer’s needs and requirements.  They must have the ability to create the desired business outcomes for the users and deliver necessary value to the customer.   At the same time however it can be possible to compromise those needs and requirements by not planning and properly executing on how those services will be delivered.


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