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Wissam Raffoul

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Dr. Wissam Raffoul 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.

Conclusion: IT organisations revisiting their service contracts as a result of mergers and acquisitions should establish a federated vendor management arrangement. The rationale is to ensure central consistency while retaining local autonomy to address tactical matters. For example, the central consistency demands leveraging the economy of scale to reduce cost, whilst the local autonomy allows the extension of services scope to cover local requirements without the need to change the local vendor management arrangements. However, the local autonomy should be governed by verifiable policies.


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Understanding quantum computing principles is essential to prepare IT staff for future quantum jobs and influence new IT strategies and algorithm development.

Market Situation: It is believed by many researchers that a quantum computer of 50 quantum bits (qubits) can comfortably be used for general business and scientific activities and can surpass any supercomputer available in the market today. Three years ago most of the quantum computing development effort only resulted in low-power prototypes with less than 5 qubits. However, in 2017 IBM built a 50 qubits machine and in March 2018 Google announced 72 qubit chip. In July 2018, Google released Cirq, a software toolkit that lets developers create algorithms without needing a background in quantum mechanics. Cirq is an open-source initiative, which means anyone can access and modify the software. 

However, becoming proficient in quantum computing requires significant and lengthy re-skilling of IT staff in areas such as matrix algebra, assembly programming language and the ability to work with probabilities to handle uncertainties. It is anticipated that the following new jobs will be needed to exploit and manage quantum computer environments:

  • Architect/Strategist – To determine which business problems can be fixed by quantum computers
  • Algorithm Designers – To design quantum computer software tools
  • Programmer – To effectively use quantum computers assembly and high level programming languages
  • Support Engineer – To understand the quantum computer architecture and support the production environment
  • Security Specialist – To create new security strategies and capabilities to mitigate quantum computers risks

What is next: Exploiting the power of quantum computers requires forward thinking IT organisations to start building elements of quantum computers training in their staff career progression plans. Triggers include:

  • Career development review
  • New IT Strategy development
  • Long term Security Strategy development

For further discussion with IBRS please contact info@ibrs.com.au.

Conclusion: During the last two decades, service desks delivery had the following shortcomings:

  • The service desk voice communication channel was characterised by a long waiting time to connect with service desk staff.
  • Service desk staff with limited skills minimised the number of issues resolved at the first point of contact.
  • There was a lack of online channels and limited self-service offerings, e.g. password reset.
  • The service charges were based on the number of incidents that discouraged providers to reduce the number of incidents.

To address these shortcomings, IT organisations should transform to Service Desk-as-a-Service. It should be powered by self-service virtual agents that can identify most of the solutions without the need to connect with service desk officers. The charges should be based on the number of users instead of outages to encourage providers to address outages’ root causes. Online services covering reporting on issues and following up progress should be favoured over voice communication.


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"Can IBRS identify what Service Desk software is most prevalent in Australia?" IBRS, 2017-04-30 11:16:50

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"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 43: Service level penalties and incentives for hybrid Cloud" IBRS, 2018-07-05 03:11:03

Conclusion: Given that multi-Cloud is a combination of public/private Cloud and customised systems governed by in-house and/or outsourced arrangements, end-to-end service level management becomes a critical success factor. IT organisations should implement a complete set of service level practices covering people, processes and systems that allow IT organisations to efficiently deliver services in accordance with service level agreements (SLAs).

The SLAs should span across the full service lifecycle. Service level foundation requires defining the:

  • services provided
  • metrics associated with these services
  • acceptable and unacceptable service levels
  • liabilities on the part of the service providers and the buyer, and
  • actions to be taken in specific circumstances.

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"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 38: Successful hybrid Cloud requires multi-provider governance framework" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:08:33

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Conclusion: Penalties and incentives are designed to ensure agreed critical service levels are achieved. Penalties are enforced whenever service levels are not met. Incentives are rewarded whenever agreed service levels are exceeded. However, there are cases whereby providers prefer to pay the penalty instead of improving the service level. For example, it is easier to pay a penalty of $10,000 instead of fixing a service issue that might cost $50,000. The purpose of this note is to prevent such situations from occurring and maintain the focus on meeting the service level in all circumstances.


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"Public Cloud Success requires Mature Governance" IBRS, 2014-01-30 00:00:00

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"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 38: Successful hybrid Cloud requires multi-provider governance framework" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:08:33

Conclusion: Traditional outsourcing and managed service contracts primarily focus on incident management service levels and give little attention to problem management. For example, incident management service level might be 95 per cent of Severity 2 outages resolved within four hours. In general, a temporary fix is sufficient to meet the incident management service levels. However, this might not prevent the outage from reoccurring because the outage root cause was not addressed. To address this issue, problem management root cause analysis must be used. This necessitates the integration of incident and problem management to govern multi-providers’ activities managing hybrid Cloud1.


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Conclusion: Private Cloud1 managed by an as-a-Service contract has become the inevitable replacement of managed services arrangements. The main difference is that an as-a-Service contract is charged on consumption instead of on a fixed price basis and the service levels are tightly linked to end user experience and delivered at a lower price. However, unlike the common perception that Cloud migration is relatively easy, transitioning to private Cloud still requires thorough planning especially whenever the scope covers the full IT functions.


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Conclusion: Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are largely developed in isolation. The result is ineffective recovery arrangements that do not meet the fundamental business needs. With the variety of Cloud service continuity solutions, IT organisations should initiate a unified business and IT continuity project to intimately involve business units in defining and deploying complete service recovery facilities, including mitigating the risks such as ransomware attacks and the lack of SaaS escrow1 services. This will tightly couple recovery services to business imperatives. The use of Cloud for service continuity (which was not available eight years ago) will reduce the overall cost of recovery.


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Conclusion: Many IT organisations have adopted business transformation1 strategies to help their businesses increase revenue. However, while digital transformation has succeeded in making the communication with the enterprise more convenient (e. g. mobile applications), it has been difficult to substantiate digital transformation contribution to the financial performance improvement. As a result, justifying new software projects has become more difficult. It is recommended to shift the digital transformation focus from technology point solutions to building quality products and services that increase profit and elevate customer satisfaction. The success should be measured by increased sales instead of only technology charms.


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Conclusion: Many Cloud service providers manage their own systems but do not take any responsibility for working with other providers in a multi-sourced environment. As a result, IT organisations wishing to maximise the benefits of hybrid Cloud should develop a governance framework to address technology integration issues, optimise the interaction among service providers managing the multiple Clouds and define policies to operate in a multi-sourced environment. This will ensure business operations remain unaffected by service providers’ potential disputes.


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