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: 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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Conclusion: With the migration to complex hybrid sourcing strategies, traditional IT organisations based on ‘plan/build/run’ models will not be suitable for acquiring Cloud services in an increasingly changing market. This is due to a vague understanding of service total cost of ownership and limited contract negotiation and management skills. IT organisations wishing to rely on external services must evolve to ‘plan/procure/govern’ structure to emphasise strategic service planning and hire specialised service providers’ governance skills. This shift should ensure mutual trust and respect between parties, well-defined service levels and clear roles and responsibilities. IBRS estimates the cost of the governance structure and services to be 3 %-7 % of the annual contract value. This must be considered during the business case preparation.


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Conclusion: IT-as-a-Service is an initiative launched by IT organisations to fix an IT problem, whilst digital transformation is another initiative launched by business lines to fix a business problem. However, fixing both problems remains an enterprise’s critical issue. Hence, organisations wishing to remove the duplication between the two programs should unify both programs and ensure sufficient funds are available to implement the unified program in a timely and cost effective manner.


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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to select quality services at competitive prices should rate themselves against an IT procurement maturity model to leverage economies of scale. This will enable IT organisations to reduce cost while meeting business needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.


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In this interview, Dr Wissam Raffoul outlines a practical and effective approach to migrating to an As-a-Service model. 

Sydney-based IT analysis firm IBRS has launched maturity assessment and methodology tools to assist organisations with the task of SaaS migration.

In order to improve business performance, or reduce the cost of doing business, forward-thinking IT organisations are trying to run IT as a service (ITaaS), said Dr Wissam Raffoul from IBRS.

“There are many challenges; for example, long software implementation time lines, fragmented delivery processes, as well as insufficient skilled resources to meet business demands,” said Dr Raffoul.

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Conclusion: While IaaS and PaaS adoption has been increasing, most IT organisations are hesitant to migrate their legacy systems to public SaaS. This is primarily due to the applications being highly customised resulting in a significant effort being required to retrofit existing systems to migrate them to public SaaS architecture in the Cloud.


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Conclusion: There are distinct differences between traditional outsourcing, managed services and as-a-service contracts. Traditional outsourcing and managed services are input-based contracts with a fixed price based on the number of the supplier team members delivering the service, service levels that do not reflect business operations and significant financial penalties when exiting for convenience.

As-a-service contracts are outcome-based contracts, priced on a consumption basis, measured by service levels that reflect end-user experience and no exit fees.

IT organisations should analyse the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative whilst formulating their sourcing and Cloud migration strategies.


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