IT Operational Excellence

When IT departments are tuned to run their best, they achieve more, spend less and drive success back into the organisations they support.

IT operational excellence is an approach that helps to ensure IT departments run efficiently and deliver great service. Without an operational excellence philosophy, IT departments lack vision and strategy, are slow to adapt and are more likely to be bogged down by trivial issues.

Achieving IT operational excellence isn't about implementing one particular framework. It is a mindset geared towards continuous improvement and performance that incorporates multiple principles designed to align team goals around delivering value to the customer.

IBRS can help organisations achieve IT operational excellence by revealing the most effective ways to leverage resources and identify the most valuable activities and differentiators in a given IT team.

Procurement of PCs, software, servers or services can seem overwhelming due to the complexity inherent in the process, market and business volatility, and uncertainty in the vendor community. Buyers should use a formal process - including the establishment of documented best practices and standard document templates - tailored to that organisation’s culture and structure to bring discipline to the process. Ultimately such an approach will reduce TCO. A successful negotiation requires a complete understanding of the product or service, how it will be used, user profiles, and identification of vendor negotiating levers.

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IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity have always been issues that have figured prominently on our list of priorities but continually get pushed to the back of the queue, replaced by other operational issues that assume greater importance and that can be seen to return some immediate benefit. It is not that the company does not recognise its importance, its more of a “laissez faire” attitude that “nothing has gone wrong so far so we will continue to take a short to medium term risk on anything happening in the future”. It is typical of the approach to risk in the company where construction risk is everything and other risk is considered insignificant.

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Conclusion: Server consolidation has become widespread as budget pressure is maintained and corporate mergers and reorganisations continue. Although the overwhelming majority of consolidation projects are viewed as successful (at least in terms of the reduction in number of servers) when failures occur it is usually because of poor planning. Vendor endorsed programs often appear very attractive, but unless the full implications of your particular environment are taken into account the only goal that will be met is the vendor’s revenue target.

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We first investigated the benefits of video conferencing in late 1996. The main driver for the initiative came from Leighton Holdings’ major shareholder Hochtief, based in Essen in Germany. Their objective was to have access to a more efficient form of communication between themselves and Sydney and thus reduce the amount of travel that board members and other executives had to undertake.

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Conclusion: In today’s business climate in which discretionary capital is scarce, CIOs, or equivalent, need to be confident and able to convince the Executive they can deliver the benefits expected in proposals to invest in IT Infrastructure1. To meet the needs of stakeholders when real time services are at stake, the arguments must be compelling and presented in a way that leaves the Executive no alternative but to approve the proposal.

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Conclusion: Short-term targets have affected planning but many companies will want to ensure that a qualified planning procedure will remove any shocks. This process can be isolated into various scenarios depending on market conditions. Scenarios minimise risk while maintaining the firm’s potential for reward relative to competitors.

The status of a market is affected by the number of competitors. This a major variable which could change rapidly, so it is significant to create a scenario for such a possibility and plot the effects and outcomes on the firm.

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