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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.

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Conclusion: Traditional disaster recovery plans do not mitigate risks against frequent software and hardware malfunction, nor do they integrate with business continuity plans. As a result, a production service may become unavailable for up to two days in certain cases (e. g. recovery from a database outage or data corruption). In the digital world, the business impact of such a failure will be significant as clients may place their orders with a competitor when they face an unavailable service for a prolonged period of time. IT organisations should deliver recovery-as-a-service that provides non-stop business operations.


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Conclusion: IT organisations driving their business transformation should mature their internal consulting function to connect with business units’ service quality expectations. This should lead to consistent delivery, facilitate knowledge sharing and realise business benefits.


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Conclusion: While the increased adoption of public IaaS1 can reduce cost and simplify technology procurement challenges, IaaS does not meet all IT organisations’ sourcing requirements such as legacy applications maintenance and IT service management. Hence, IT organisations are left with no alternative but to use multiple service providers to satisfy all their needs. This will increase clients’ governance cost of service providers and extend the duration of external services acquisition. As a result, a service broker model has emerged to provide one single point of accountability to all sourcing deliverables, simplify go-to-market strategies and fulfil the Cloud migration requirements in a cost-effective manner. IT organisations should assess the applicability of this model to their environment.


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Conclusion: Forward thinking IT organisations wishing to create a service differentiation should analyse their value activities to construct a “uniqueness capability”. The outcome should convince business lines that IT services can generate business value at a competitive price. The value chain firstly requires to address service delivery processes by constructing the IT value chain1 , secondly to realise cost advantage2 and thirdly to create service differentiation (this note).


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Conclusion: Cost advantage can be achieved by firstly, estimating the existing services costs. Secondly, use cost effective external services. Thirdly, integrate services. Fourthly, retain cost advantage. This can be achieved by removing duplicated activities and influencing cost drivers.


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Conclusion: Many IT organisations are perceived by their business units as high cost/low quality service providers. Much of this perception is due to the IT group’s inability to successfully articulate service value, demonstrate cost competitiveness, and create internal service differentiation. IT organisations should construct service value chain models to diagnose the IT organisation’s deficiencies, improve image, and link to vendors’ value chains. This can be achieved by disaggregating the business of IT into its strategic activities (e. g. service definition and communication, customer service). This will result in understanding the cost behaviour and identifying existing and potential differentiation sources such as accelerating the release of business products to market and improving IT and business lines interaction.


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Conclusion: While technology is becoming increasingly critical to business transformation, IT organisations are becoming less important to business stakeholders. This is because enterprise architecture practice’s main focus remains on back-office systems and on initiatives that do not necessarily contribute to business performance improvement and business cost reduction initiatives. IT organisations should revive the enterprise architecture practice by delivering IT-as-a-Service with an outward focus targeting business, information, applications, and infrastructure domains. This will increase IT organisations’ credibility to become key players in business transformation projects.


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Conclusion: IT organisations should not be treating software releases to support the digital transformation as “business as usual”, because they may overlook the demand for extra-company IT management process integration, rapid application deployment, and speedy problem resolution. IT organisations should recreate their “release to production” processes to address the new applications’ unique requirements for appropriate security, resilient architecture, and elevated service level standards.


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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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