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: IT organisations driving their business transformation should mature their internal consulting function to connect with business units’ service quality expectations. This should lead to consistent delivery, facilitate knowledge sharing and realise business benefits.


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Conclusion: While the increased adoption of public IaaS1 can reduce cost and simplify technology procurement challenges, IaaS does not meet all IT organisations’ sourcing requirements such as legacy applications maintenance and IT service management. Hence, IT organisations are left with no alternative but to use multiple service providers to satisfy all their needs. This will increase clients’ governance cost of service providers and extend the duration of external services acquisition. As a result, a service broker model has emerged to provide one single point of accountability to all sourcing deliverables, simplify go-to-market strategies and fulfil the Cloud migration requirements in a cost-effective manner. IT organisations should assess the applicability of this model to their environment.


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Conclusion: Forward thinking IT organisations wishing to create a service differentiation should analyse their value activities to construct a “uniqueness capability”. The outcome should convince business lines that IT services can generate business value at a competitive price. The value chain firstly requires to address service delivery processes by constructing the IT value chain1 , secondly to realise cost advantage2 and thirdly to create service differentiation (this note).


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Conclusion: Cost advantage can be achieved by firstly, estimating the existing services costs. Secondly, use cost effective external services. Thirdly, integrate services. Fourthly, retain cost advantage. This can be achieved by removing duplicated activities and influencing cost drivers.


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Conclusion: Many IT organisations are perceived by their business units as high cost/low quality service providers. Much of this perception is due to the IT group’s inability to successfully articulate service value, demonstrate cost competitiveness, and create internal service differentiation. IT organisations should construct service value chain models to diagnose the IT organisation’s deficiencies, improve image, and link to vendors’ value chains. This can be achieved by disaggregating the business of IT into its strategic activities (e. g. service definition and communication, customer service). This will result in understanding the cost behaviour and identifying existing and potential differentiation sources such as accelerating the release of business products to market and improving IT and business lines interaction.


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Conclusion: While technology is becoming increasingly critical to business transformation, IT organisations are becoming less important to business stakeholders. This is because enterprise architecture practice’s main focus remains on back-office systems and on initiatives that do not necessarily contribute to business performance improvement and business cost reduction initiatives. IT organisations should revive the enterprise architecture practice by delivering IT-as-a-Service with an outward focus targeting business, information, applications, and infrastructure domains. This will increase IT organisations’ credibility to become key players in business transformation projects.


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Conclusion: IT organisations should not be treating software releases to support the digital transformation as “business as usual”, because they may overlook the demand for extra-company IT management process integration, rapid application deployment, and speedy problem resolution. IT organisations should recreate their “release to production” processes to address the new applications’ unique requirements for appropriate security, resilient architecture, and elevated service level standards.


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Conclusion: IT organisations establishing business relationship management to excel at coordinating business and IT strategic matters should assess the current maturity of this role. The rationale is to allow IT to deliver solutions that improve business performance, reduce the cost of doing business and mitigate business risks.


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Conclusion: The Service Catalogue required by the ITIL framework has undergone several variations during the last 20 years. The rationale was to address the emerging service trends in in-house and outsourced modes of operations. However, while the original service catalogues’ objectives were achieved, they are inadequate in acquiring hybrid Cloud core services (e. g. storage) that should be delivered under outcome-based service contracts.


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Many IT organisations are trying to change their perceived image from high-cost / low quality to value-added service providers. However, many of the adopted approaches revolve around improving just few processes (e.g. problem management). While these processes are important, they are insufficient to produce the desired effect for IT groups to deliver value-added services. 

In this IBRS Master Advisory Presentation (MAP), IBRS outlines the high-level issues, surrounding Running IT as a Service from both business and technology viewpoints.This MAP is designed to guide and stimulate discussions between business and technology groups and point the way for more detailed activity. It also provides links to further reading to support these follow-up activities.

The MAP is provided as a set of presentation slides,  and as a script and executive briefing document.


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Conclusion: There is debate within the IT industry whether or not DevOps can replace ITIL1. From ITIL perspective, many IT organisations, especially in Australia, have been implementing ITIL processes since 1994 with significant investment in technology and professional services. Hence, it is impractical to just drop ITIL and adopt DevOps. This is because firstly, DevOps covers only Release Management which is only one process of the 26 processes of ITIL v3 and secondly, DevOps in not different from mature2 ITIL Release Management. In this light, existing ITIL organisations embarking on digital transformation should plan to mature Release Management to match DevOps principles. DevOps3 sites need to leverage the lessons learnt from ITIL implementation to enjoy a smooth business transformation as fixing only the software release process without integrating this with the remaining 25 ITIL processes is insufficient to raise the overall IT performance to the level needed by the digital world. This research outlines that ITIL and DevOps can co-exist in the same organisation once brought to the right maturity level.


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Conclusion: Since 1994 many Australian IT organisations have been implementing Configuration Management practices. However, it has been done with limited success when assessed against the key objectives of Configuration Management process and its associated database (CMDB) in terms of service availability and configuration items interdependencies. IT organisations should review their Configuration Management plans in view of the latest public Cloud offerings and adopt a phased implementation approach.


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Conclusion: One IT-as-a-Service strategy remains to migrate legacy systems to SaaS to reduce cost, improve service level and achieve excellence in end user experience. However, large-scale ERP SaaS migrations are still not imminent, primarily due to the significant ERP customisation made by Australian organisations during the last twenty years, which prevent the use of standard SaaS architecture without re-engineering the business processes. However, it is worth noting that there are third party ERP maintenance and support services, which used in the short term may result in up-to 50 % reduction in the current yearly maintenance and support cost.


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Conclusion: IT organisations adopting IT-as-a-Service strategies tend to acquire the best of breed services from the market instead of building them in-house. This leads to increased adoption of multi-sourced services, whereby reliable governance processes are critical success factors to realise the desired business benefits in a timely and cost-effective manner.


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