Operational excellence plays a huge role in creating value for the products or services provided by any enterprise. This ensures long-term benefit and promotes sustainable growth of a company. In the current context, enterprise operations are deeply tied to their IT strategy so operational excellence cannot be achieved without IT excellence.
IT operational excellence is a cultural practice that enables enterprises to run processes in the best possible manner. It helps them achieve more with optimal resources. This strategy is not governed by a particular set of rules but is rather a mindset to drive continuous improvement. Since customer demands are always changing, IT operations need to evolve with time. These practices, however, need to be consistent to reap maximum benefits.
Most enterprises are switching to cloud-based operations to work through remote networks. By the end of 2020, 67% of enterprise infrastructure became cloud-based. This, however, has increased the complexity of IT operations due to the combined use of on-premises and cloud platforms. Such hybrid-cloud strategies need simplified management. A great partner can then help design elevated strategies that build on that foundation. You could get process automation using AI and ML. More technology yes, but for efficiency and impact. Simplification will not only save time, effort, and risk but also the overall cost of ownership.
Technology is ever-changing. Careful and planned upgradation will help the enterprise avoid technical debt and make the most of advancements.
Optimization of IT processes with modern technology adds unimagined power to the operations. For instance, enterprises could leverage AI to improve cognitive capabilities and help customers and users address technical incidents faster and easier. Modern analytics tools also enable easy access and insights from data derived from different sources to drive data-driven decisions. Technology also provides dynamic and cross-domain access to operational aspects which improves operational agility and resilience.
The more the dynamism in the environment, the greater the role of a well-laid-out plan. The SDLC is such a detailed plan that ensures the deployment of high-quality software in the enterprise driven by user and consumer needs. Implementing a comprehensive SDLC process that covers all stages from ideation to production puts in place all the necessary protocols for the different analyses required to avoid glitches later on, which can cost a lot. A robust SDLC takes into account all the aspects of building software - right from its relevance to the maintenance of it. This helps improve IT operational readiness and performance.
For any IT operation to be successful it is essential to clearly define the skills and talent required for its execution. An enterprise must form a specialized group of individuals that would fit that bill. Today, a variety of innovative talent models are available for enterprises to strengthen their project execution teams.
In addition to the workforce, selecting an appropriate vendor is equally important. This enables enterprises to have a project-specific workforce onboard which can provide a potential efficiency bump and cost-benefit.
In an enterprise, the investment in the team is as important as an investment in the infrastructure. It is critical to build a culture that promotes security & quality. Getting staff certified in quality processes is an investment that always pays off. In fact, paying attention to the team’s needs will not only be rewarding for them but also improves productivity, operational impact, and efficiency.
IT service management (ITSM) processes are a key marker of the overall quality of IT services in an enterprise. In today’s software-fueled enterprise, ITSM should address release planning, high change success rate, reduce the number of incidents & implement systematic problem management. It is an end-to-end approach to design, execute, deliver, and support IT services.
A well-established ITSM framework can operate as a systematic problem management system that will reduce the number of technical incidents. To keep the ITSM process up-to-date, it is important to conduct regular audits to find out gaps in the system. It is also important to keep a tab on relevant ITSM tools for future updates.
Configuration management database (CMDB) forms the core of an ITSM system. It acts as a data warehouse that stores all the information including all IT operations executed to date. Therefore, it forms the basis of risk management decisions to bring changes in an existing ITSM process.
CMDB also helps an enterprise to identify, promote, and sustain best practices for cyber defense. It stores data from different sources and puts together a complete picture of past IT operations thereby accelerating MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) response in case of any failure. Maintaining an accurate CMDB with up-to-date CIs & Event Management Playbook will also help feed operational data science as an input to drive digital transformation.
Automation of IT operations saves resources like time and manpower. This provides flexibility for easy implementation of cross-platform processes which can be modified based on the requirement.
It also reduces the risk of technical failures by ruling out the possibility of human error. Technologies like AI and ML have enabled complete automation of IT operations including independent decision making.
Repetitive tasks like regular updates and configuration of servers can be easily automated thereby making human resources available to focus on long-term goals for better productivity. One important thing to remember here is to embrace automation as a holistic enterprise-wide strategy rather than point projects that tend to fizzle out without delivering true value.
Using appropriate metrics for IT operations is critical. Metrics play a very important role in operational excellence. They enforce regular performance assessments to identify the gaps in IT operations.
Adjustments are then made to make the IT process compliant with the target goal. This helps in the establishment of an ideal work model to meet the ever-changing expectations of the end-users.
Two crucial metrics for IT operations are release success rate and customer impact availability. Release success rate metrics analyze the number of scheduled releases that were deployed in time. Underlying concerns are addressed if the percentage of planned releases decreases over time.
On the other hand, customer impact metrics focus more on business impact rather than just serving as technical analytics. Customer impact availability can be achieved by practicing transparency between business partners in terms of production services. It is important to focus on actionable metrics to drive maturity advancement rather than reporting defensive metrics that tend to distract and divert.
IT operations must undergo continuous modification to stay ahead of the needs of the customers, users, and the dynamic marketplace. In the years to come, the dependency on IT tools is only going to increase. This demands a rapidly evolving system. Hence, regular revisions on the ITSM framework, process automation, and a well-defined SDLC process will be required to achieve operational excellence.
Despite the scale of the challenge, the 10 principles outlined above can help drive enterprise IT operations excellence for software-focused enterprises as well as IT shops. If you'd like further assistance in achieving operational excellence, get in touch with us at www.itpeoplesnetwork.com.