In my last blog, I described the situation at Olfama and the challenges facing Peter Sommer, when he joined the company as CIO.
When Peter sees the results of the COBIT maturity assessment, the first thing that catches this CIO’s eye is the process of configuration management. It is at best rudimentary; where it — according to the prioritized business goals — should be one of the most important processes. A clear action point identified!
Peter also considers improving the service request and incident management process, as a way to improve the service desk response time. When he digs into the statistics from the service desk log, he learns that a significant portion of the logged service desk calls is related to systems unavailability; and that underpins what he learned during his interviews for the position – general systems availability is not good enough. Peter realizes that it is possible to improve service desk response times, almost immediately, by quickly distributing information in case of systems failures. Peter instructs operations staff that the service desk should be informed immediately in case of a system failure. The service desk then has to put the message in, as a first step, in the voice response system of the service desk phone, to avoid wasting the time of both business people and service desk staff.
From the interviews with key IT operations people during the COBIT assessment, Peter learnt that a major reason for poor systems availability is the deficient configuration management – it simply takes a long time to diagnose a systems failure, due to missing or outdated information. An improvement of the configuration management process has the potential of improving both systems availability and service desk response times – this is great news to Peter.
Peter knows that change, release, and configuration management are closely related in the sense that the overall quality rarely is better than the worst of those processes. For this reason, Peter initiates a process improvement project that involves these processes. An external consultant shall contribute with best practices and COBIT experience.
Peter is now confident that the biggest IT operations issues will be reduced significantly within a short timeframe. But he also knows that this is not enough to make IT a strategic partner to the rest of the company. He needs to take a few more steps to build confidence and trust. From experience, Peter knows that a way to shift IT resources from maintenance to development and innovation is to decommission a bunch of old, outdated, redundant and obsolete systems. So he needs to engage a consultant to help internal system managers making a quick application landscape assessment to categorize major systems and identify candidates for decommissioning.
Peter is looking forward to the successful completion of both initiatives he just started and hopes that it will be enough to change the dialogue with top management from reporting operations status and issues to advising on future development and IT-based business opportunities.
In the next blog, I will talk about some of the next steps Peter can take to increase top management confidence and trust, eventually changing his role from being operations director to being a trusted advisor.