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Conclusion: Since the earlier IBRS contact centre trend report was released at the beginning of 20171, it is time to reflect on those trends and reassess what improvements have been made. Fortunately, there have been new trends that emerged to assist ICT managers in strategic planning for the necessary tools and management aspects in transformational activities through to replacing call centre technical debt with future technologies.

Conclusion: Today’s business activities are heavily reliant on constantly commoditising IT functions. Faced with this reality, few organisations would now deny that improving the delivery of critical IT services has a key role in helping to optimise overall business operations. The responsibility for realising the success of this optimisation lies squarely with the CIO and forms the very foundation of the ‘business of IT’ or IT service management – for which the UK Office of Government Commerce’s Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has been the leading standard for two decades.

And IT service management (ITSM) itself has become a commodity function sourced either in the form of comprehensive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions through to fully outsourced or automated Business-Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) offerings.

However, for an IT business to truly prosper, the CIO needs to engage with an ITSM partner who can assist their IT organisation to better understand itself rather than merely understand the needs of the business they serve. This means looking beyond ITIL process knowledge and service desk software certifications when selecting the right partner.

Conclusion: The adherence to the recently introduced guidelines under ISO:31000 20181 is key to every ICT manager’s responsibilities and leadership remit as they are key in driving and leading the adoption of risk management guidelines across an organisation due to the overarching responsibilities of creating and protecting value. These new risk management guidelines have been deliberately rewritten to be simplified and based around a new reviewed set of principles, framework and processes. Greater emphasis is now placed on leadership to ensure risk management is more integrated and to ensure more actions and controls are in place at critical stages of projects as well as business operations.

Conclusion: Despite being first published over 10 years ago, ITIL service design remains a pain point for both project delivery and service operations teams respectively. The former claims the latter requires the creation of additional deliverables at the point of service transition, while the latter expresses frustration at the lack of attention paid to service design during early stages of project delivery.

The reality is responsibility for IT service design extends beyond both these teams with all functions across IT having a role to play, from strategy all the way through to operations. When all aspects of the IT organisation contribute to the design of new, and modification of existing, services the artificial hump of service design can be avoided. The key is identifying who should be capturing and sharing what information to support service design – an outcome that can be achieved by adopting an end-to-end process integration model for the business IT.

Conclusion: When engaging the market for suppliers, the objective of the procurement process is to select the supplier with the most suitable approach, who is able to accurately define the scope, and deliver in an effective and risk-mitigated way. In the context of a full project, for a proportionally minor investment, and a comparable amount of time and effort from key stakeholders, a competitive and paid discovery phase, involving multiple prospective suppliers, can yield significantly better outcomes for projects than through request for proposal (RFP) alone. The benefits include the ability to trial the delivery team, more accurately define scope, validate assumptions and hybridise the best of several informed approaches.

Conclusion: ICT disaster recovery plans (DRPs) have been in place for many years. Fortunately, invoking these plans is rare, but just like insurance plans, it is wise to ensure the fine print is valid, up to date and tested on a regular basis to minimise restoration of business services reliant on the complex range of IT enablers in place. Adoption of general Cloud services and the ever-changing ICT asset landscape requires careful alignment with the DRP to be ready when the restoration is required.

Conclusion: In times of business disruption, the value of a pragmatic and accessible incident response plan (IRP) will become the main tool in getting the business back to normal operation, and minimising loss of revenue, services and reputation. This holds true during the time of stress when attempting to get back to normal operations. Using the analogy of taking out insurance, insurance is usually highly recommended or great to have, but hopefully rarely required and of little or no use when you need it to find it is out of date and/or incomplete. The same principle applies when you need to activate the IRP to quickly get that critical business function operating to sufficient levels.

Conclusion: Regular testing of the business continuity plan (BCP) has many benefits which go beyond ticking the mandatory compliance box to keep audit off the back of executives. Effective testing exercises ensure the BCP has been updated and includes sense-checking the completeness of resources required in the recovery strategies of critical business functions. Running regular BCP exercises also has the benefits of raising the importance of identifying weaknesses, aligning restoration time expectations and ensuring continuous improvement.

Conclusion: Conducting effective business impact analysis details the business functions and provides further insight into the relative importance of each function and its criticality. The information is then used as the main source to develop business recovery strategies, the priority of restoration and identification of resources to aid in the restoration of business services. However, there are many challenges in performing this critical step in order to be best prepared when those business disruptions do occur.

Conclusion: There are two broad groups of digital strategies – bold and defensive. Companies that choose bolder strategies tend to be more successful. However, there are good reasons why certain enterprises should consider choosing more conservative defensive digital strategies as there are still benefits to be gained from this approach. Strategy selection depends on a variety of factors, including industry forces and other factors which make each enterprise unique. It is important not to be half-hearted about digital ambition – defensive strategies are not sufficient in the long run. Strong and committed leadership at the top and throughout the organisation is still crucial to the successful implementation of digital initiatives.

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