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 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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Conclusion: in the publication ‘Running-IT-as-a-Service part 4’, IBRS defined how Service Value Agreements can be constructed by correlating business performance metrics with IT service levels. This note describes how Service Value Agreements can be constructed by aligning IT service levels with business service levels and processes. As a result, meeting or exceeding SLA targets will demonstrate the IT organisation’s contribution to business performance improvement and cost reduction undertakings.


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Conclusion: IT organisations adopting IT-as-a-Service practices are often challenged by limited resources to meet service demands, especially in the IT Operations space. IT operations groups should develop supply/demand models that link to business priorities and ensure funds allocation. These models will enable IT organisations to meet client necessities, clear workload backlogs, and set the foundation for effective resource management methods.


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Conclusion: with the increased adoption of SaaS for business systems (e. g. ERP), new SaaS providers continue to appear in the market. While those providers are offering easy-to-use products and low start-up costs compared to running in-house business systems services, there is a risk that some service providers might cease to do business. As a result, SaaS clients will be at risk recovering services on time and without data loss. To address this issue, several escrow services have been evolving. IT organisations wishing to migrate critical services to public SaaS should explore escrow1 services. Unfortunately, escrow service costs have to-date been fully absorbed by the buyer. In this light, IT organisations should incorporate the escrow services cost into the SaaS migration business case.


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Conclusion: Running IT-as-a-Service requires offering broad IT services tied to external-value that goes beyond meeting or exceeding SLA targets. This is because the majority of existing SLAs are IT centric and vaguely relate to business value. Much of this issue is related to IT Groups’ lack of business analysis skills and IT ad hoc methods to comprehend business strategic requirements. As a result, business lines perceive IT as a support function instead of being a strategic business partner.


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Many Australian IT organisations have been implementing Configuration Management practices since 1994. However, with limited success when assessed against the key objectives of Configuration Management process and its associated database (CMDB).


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Conclusion: Cloud migration should not be a quick and dirty job just to upload the current business systems with their inefficiencies, only to get rid of the in-house hardware ownership. It should be considered as an opportunity to clean IT and business inefficiencies at the same time. IT organisations wishing to migrate to public Cloud require a new methodology to avoid incurring unforeseen consumption cost and to address business processes overheads. Strategies are needed to measure code inefficiencies and develop a remedy roadmap whilst building the case for public Cloud. Only efficient code should be released to public Cloud unless there are other benefits which make the overall migration cost-effective. This will ensure IaaS usage remains within IT budget.


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Conclusion: To reduce Service Desk costs and improve resources scheduling, some IT organisations are exploring the potential of Virtual Service Desk Agents to either improve self-service and/or reach to the right subject matter expert at the right time. However self-service success depends on the quality of information available to the virtual agents. It is critical for the virtual agent tool to be enabled by a mature service management engine that describes the service’s known errors and their resolution alternatives. Failure to do so will leave the virtual agent with no alternative but to call the live agents, thereby making the investment in virtual agent technology questionable.


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