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Wissam Raffoul

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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.

Conclusion: Public Cloud is not the solution to all IT organisations’ technology and services problems. This is because most IT organisations use a portfolio of environments such as legacy systems, in-house and outsourced services, customised IT service management tools and standard applications (e. g. email) that cannot be all retrofitted in a public Cloud architecture without major rework. As a result, hybrid Cloud has become the preferred direction because it allows the multiple environments to co-exist in a cost-effective manner. However, a convincing business case is needed to gain business and IT senior executives’ sponsorship to adopt hybrid Cloud. While Cloud migration benefits and risk mitigation are critical success factors, the deployment-hidden cost is a major contributor to failure. The objectives of this research note are to provide a framework1 to develop the business case and to ensure its cost includes the following:

  • Hybrid Cloud strategy development,
  • Risks identification and mitigation,
  • Go-to-market strategy, providers’ selection and contract negotiation, and
  • Ongoing governance to realise the desired business benefits. This can reach up to 7 % of the yearly cost.

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Conclusion: While the current artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives are data-driven, there are instances whereby the current data is insufficient to predict the future. For example, answering the following questions might be challenging if the available data is only of a historical nature irrelevant for forecasting purposes:

  • Q1: What will be the effect on sales if the price is increased by 10 % as of the next quarter?
  • Q2: What would have happened to sales had we increased the price by 10 % six months ago?

The purpose of this note is to provide a framework that can be used to derive sales principles to answer the above questions. The same approach can be used to derive other business processes principles such as procurement, customer service and client complaints tracking.


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Conclusion: Artificial intelligence technologies are available in various places such as robotic process automation (RPA), virtual agents and analytics. The purpose of this paper is to provide an AI maturity model in the analytics space. The proposed maturity model can be applied to any type of industry. It provides a roadmap to help improve business performance in the following areas:

  • Running the business (RTB): Provide executives with sufficient information to make informed decisions about running the business and staying competitive.
  • Growing the business (GTB): Provides information about growing the business in various geographies without changing the current services and products.
  • Transforming the business (TTB): Provides information to develop and release new products and services ahead of competitors.

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"Artificial intelligence Part 2: Deriving business principles" IBRS, 2019-01-06 22:40:36

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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to create value should initiate selling processes to define business needs, establish SLAs for mission-critical systems and provide IT solutions to key business issues. This will result in boosting IT staff confidence and managing business lines’ expectations more effectively.


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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to create value are challenged by long implementation time-scales and inability to change the business perception of IT capability. To address these challenges, IT organisations should adopt an accelerated approach by deploying key processes within a six-month period, to demonstrate service quality and commitment to meet business needs in a rational fashion. Failure to do so will brand IT as a support function, and will make IT desire to earn strategic partner status virtually unachievable.


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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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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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"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 42: Incident and problem management integration is critical for hybrid Cloud" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:14:55

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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Related Articles:

"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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