Wissam Raffoul

Wissam Raffoul

Dr. Wissam Raffoul is an IBRS advisor who specialises in transforming IT groups into service organisations, with particular expertise in IT Service Management (ITSM), process optimisation, outsourcing and Cloud strategies, enterprise systems management solutions and business-centric IT strategies. Prior to joining IBRS in August 2013, he was General Manager strategic consulting in Dimension Data advising clients on applying technology to improve business performance. Prior to joining Dimension Data, he was a Vice President in Gartner/META Group and issued various research publications covering service delivery processes, centre-of-excellence models, managing outsourcing vendors, benchmarks, maturity models, IT procurement evolution and supply/demand models. In previous positions, he headed HP ITSM consulting Practice in Australia. He also acted as an infrastructure manager, reporting to the CIO at a number of large organisations in government and in the financial and petrochemical industries.

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Conclusion: Given that multi-Cloud is a combination of public/private Cloud and customised systems governed by in-house and/or outsourced arrangements, end-to-end service level management becomes a critical success factor. IT organisations should implement a complete set of service level practices covering people, processes and systems that allow IT organisations to efficiently deliver services in accordance with service level agreements (SLAs).

The SLAs should span across the full service lifecycle. Service level foundation requires defining the:

  • services provided
  • metrics associated with these services
  • acceptable and unacceptable service levels
  • liabilities on the part of the service providers and the buyer, and
  • actions to be taken in specific circumstances.

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Related Articles:

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 38: Successful hybrid Cloud requires multi-provider governance framework" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:08:33

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 42: Incident and problem management integration is critical for hybrid Cloud" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:14:55

Conclusion: Penalties and incentives are designed to ensure agreed critical service levels are achieved. Penalties are enforced whenever service levels are not met. Incentives are rewarded whenever agreed service levels are exceeded. However, there are cases whereby providers prefer to pay the penalty instead of improving the service level. For example, it is easier to pay a penalty of $10,000 instead of fixing a service issue that might cost $50,000. The purpose of this note is to prevent such situations from occurring and maintain the focus on meeting the service level in all circumstances.


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Related Articles:

"Public Cloud Success requires Mature Governance" IBRS, 2014-01-30 00:00:00

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 31: Maximising relationship management ROI" IBRS, 2017-06-04 03:41:00

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 38: Successful hybrid Cloud requires multi-provider governance framework" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:08:33

Conclusion: Traditional outsourcing and managed service contracts primarily focus on incident management service levels and give little attention to problem management. For example, incident management service level might be 95 per cent of Severity 2 outages resolved within four hours. In general, a temporary fix is sufficient to meet the incident management service levels. However, this might not prevent the outage from reoccurring because the outage root cause was not addressed. To address this issue, problem management root cause analysis must be used. This necessitates the integration of incident and problem management to govern multi-providers’ activities managing hybrid Cloud1.


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Conclusion: Private Cloud1 managed by an as-a-Service contract has become the inevitable replacement of managed services arrangements. The main difference is that an as-a-Service contract is charged on consumption instead of on a fixed price basis and the service levels are tightly linked to end user experience and delivered at a lower price. However, unlike the common perception that Cloud migration is relatively easy, transitioning to private Cloud still requires thorough planning especially whenever the scope covers the full IT functions.


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Conclusion: Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are largely developed in isolation. The result is ineffective recovery arrangements that do not meet the fundamental business needs. With the variety of Cloud service continuity solutions, IT organisations should initiate a unified business and IT continuity project to intimately involve business units in defining and deploying complete service recovery facilities, including mitigating the risks such as ransomware attacks and the lack of SaaS escrow1 services. This will tightly couple recovery services to business imperatives. The use of Cloud for service continuity (which was not available eight years ago) will reduce the overall cost of recovery.


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Conclusion: Many IT organisations have adopted business transformation1 strategies to help their businesses increase revenue. However, while digital transformation has succeeded in making the communication with the enterprise more convenient (e. g. mobile applications), it has been difficult to substantiate digital transformation contribution to the financial performance improvement. As a result, justifying new software projects has become more difficult. It is recommended to shift the digital transformation focus from technology point solutions to building quality products and services that increase profit and elevate customer satisfaction. The success should be measured by increased sales instead of only technology charms.


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Conclusion: Many Cloud service providers manage their own systems but do not take any responsibility for working with other providers in a multi-sourced environment. As a result, IT organisations wishing to maximise the benefits of hybrid Cloud should develop a governance framework to address technology integration issues, optimise the interaction among service providers managing the multiple Clouds and define policies to operate in a multi-sourced environment. This will ensure business operations remain unaffected by service providers’ potential disputes.


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Conclusion: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to focus on business efficiency improvement. This requires shifting focus from addressing IT internal issues (e. g. operating system upgrade) to improving business operations. It requires building IT skills and capabilities to leverage the emerging IT trends, technologies and services in the areas of artificial intelligence, analytics, Internet of Things, cognitive learning and multi-Cloud management.


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Conclusion: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to focus on efficiency improvement. This requires shifting focus from control to service improvement. The outcome will be end-user experience enrichment, cost reduction and business/IT operations synchronisation. Failure to do so will force IT to remain a utility provider offering insignificant innovation and playing a negligible role in business transformation.


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Conclusion: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to outsource the IT delivery capability to multiple service providers. However, the IT organisation remains accountable for the success of the outsourced arrangements. This requires the IT organisation to have a mature procurement and service provider governance function. The rationale is to acquire services and negotiate contracts that go beyond meeting the traditional IT needs to provide business innovation, performance improvement, cost reduction and risks mitigation covering IT and business vulnerabilities.


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Conclusion: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to build an in-house capability whereby the IT organisation is accountable for the full service delivery according to commercial practices. This requires the IT organisation to play the role of an internal service broker, expected to acquire external services and coordinate internal and external services delivery to meet the business needs. The service broker should at least be flexible, reliable and cost effective.


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Conclusion: Transitioning to hybrid Cloud might include migration from the current outsourcing contracts and some in-sourced activities to IT-as-a-Service models. The rationale is to accelerate efficiency gains realisation in a timely manner. One of the Procurement Manager’s options is to seek a service broker (e. g. prime contractor) to efficiently undertake the migration without disrupting the current business operations.

IT Procurement Managers should:

  • Establish governance arrangements underpinned by an effective organisational structure, tools and processes to select the service broker
  • Request the acceptance of the transition plan to become a prerequisite to contract signature
  • Manage the new contract until the business objectives are met

One of the migration critical success factors is a detailed transition plan covering the service provider selection and setting the foundation of a healthy relationship between both parties throughout the contract duration.


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Conclusion: IT organisations initiating efficiency improvement programs should automate inter-process interaction, focus on measurement and refine inter-group communication. This will enhance service availability, reduce delivery cost and enrich end user experience.


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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to maximise the ROI of as-a-Service contracts must transform the relationship management role from contract focus (i. e. whereby the mindset is to create a win/lose scenario) to a value focus whereby business benefits are realised. This demands building advanced skills in negotiation, communication and consulting. It is also necessary to extend the Relationship Manager’s role to one which ensures as-a-Service policies are developed, security policies are adhered to and external providers’ deliverables are synchronised with those of internal service providers.


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