The IT Process Trap


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The IT Process Trap

  1. 1. WHITE PAPER Automation | January 2009 the IT process trap Unleashing latent productivity, savings and measurable business advantage through end-to-end IT Process Automation Rob Crutchley Solutions Architect we can
  2. 2. White Paper: The IT Process Trap table of contents executive summary 01 Section 1 Where IT process traps hold businesses back 02 Section 2 A fresh look at IT Process Automation opportunities 03 Section 3 Case history: Unleashing IT to drive business innovation 05 Section 4 Conclusions 07 About the Author 08
  3. 3. White Paper: The IT Process Trap executive summary Challenge Within even the most efficient Australian organisations, convoluted and inefficient IT processes still lurk that not only dampen productivity – but also, more insidiously, hamper business and competitive agility. Long-entrenched productivity traps in IT processes such as human dependencies, single points of failure, and cumbersome workflow sequences lengthen delivery times and incur unnecessary cost. Worse, they retard a business’ ability to respond quickly to market threats and opportunities. In these circumstances, IT is viewed as a constraint rather than a contributor to achieving business goals. Compounding these problems: unwieldy processes frustrate skilled staff by forcing them to devote inordinate time to manual or mundane procedures that could be easily automated. Opportunity While IT Automation has existed in one form or another for decades, today a new level of IT Process Automation offers potential to unleash unprecedented levels of productivity — and put IT front and centre in achievement of business goals. The greatest opportunity lies in examining business-critical IT processes from a fresh perspective — evaluating their contribution to defined business goals — and then streamlining and automating their operation end to end, to eliminate unnecessary duplication or delays. With this higher level of IT Automation, even the most efficient enterprises can unleash substantial ”trapped” productivity and savings — transform IT’s reputation — help reinvigorate and retain skilled technical staff — and contribute directly and measurably to business success. Proof CA has developed a new model for end-to-end analysis, redesign and automation of IT Processes that reaps significant, immediate dividends. Working with a major financial organisation to redesign just one technology supply process, CA has assisted the customer to: • Slash human effort from more than a month to less than a day • Reduce standard software installation time from 10 days to 5 hours • Reduce the total average supply time from more than 100 days to just 10 In addition to these immediate benefits, the redesign has also: • Given IT’s internal reputation a massive boost – enabling the business to plan new initiatives confident that IT can deliver in a timely way • Armed the enterprise with a replicable platform for addressing future automation projects and quantifying IT’s contribution to achieving business goals 01
  4. 4. White Paper: The IT Process Trap Section 1 Where IT process traps hold businesses back Despite ubiquitous computerisation, automation is far from fully leveraged From corporate mainframes to iPhones, computer technology has transformed the way that business works. However, while computerisation has streamlined or eliminated many business processes, it has still, in many cases, delivered evolutionary rather than revolutionary change. Many business-critical IT processes are a legacy of simpler times – often digital replication of paper- based processes from long ago. Why aren’t these processes automated? The biggest trap of all: “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it” Inertia and entrenched practices are the most common enemies of IT process efficiency. Processes don’t get reviewed because they’re well understood, established and comfortable. If a process isn’t explicitly linked to and measured against the business goals it’s tasked to achieve, it won’t receive intense management attention — and will simply continue to be done “the way we’ve always done it”. And at an operational level, employees are prone to comply with established Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or internal expectations, without any incentive to overhaul the basic services being delivered. The implications of this go far beyond departmental inefficiency… Undermining corporate responsiveness and business agility In today’s commercial environment, business agility and innovation are critically dependent on technology. Inefficient or dysfunctional IT processes can severely limit the ability of an organisation to respond rapidly and flexibly to opportunities or threats in the marketplace – and undermine the achievement of business goals. Some of the most common IT process traps: • Dependency on human initiation or intervention • Single points of failure or congestion that can derail or delay an IT process • Cumbersome workflow sequences As well as frustrating specific business initiatives, inefficient IT processes can fuel a broader organisational malaise: a lack of trust in the ability of IT to contribute to the achievement of business goals. IT is seen as a constraint rather than contributor This can prevent the incubation of otherwise viable innovations because IT is seen as an insurmountable barrier to their timely, successful delivery. 02
  5. 5. White Paper: The IT Process Trap It can also encourage individual departments to bypass centralised IT for hardware and software procurement — a trend with severe operational, financial and security implications. Losing staff hearts and minds Cumbersome IT processes may also contribute to high turnover of skilled and hard-to-recruit technical employees. The tedium of managing manual or mundane business procedures saps employee enthusiasm — and increases the attractiveness of roles elsewhere that may offer more direct IT contribution to business achievement. Section 2 A fresh look at IT Process Automation opportunities The many faces of IT Automation IT Automation has existed for decades. Since the early days of IT batch automation and batch scheduling, it has evolved into a number of distinct forms including: 1. Workflow automation such as ITIL-based incident reports and change requests — typically occurring at a tactical level and at certain functional levels to achieve service fulfillment. 2. Data centre automation using virtualisation technology such as VMware to automate IT processes within a data centre, making it more responsive to business needs. Monitoring tools track when an application is running short of resources and reallocate resources on the fly to avoid disruption. 3. Run Book Automation, as coined by Gartner, which provides end-to-end automation for IT operations by documenting and automating all the tasks that occur in an operations “Run Book”. Beyond operations — the next level of end-to-end IT Process Automation While Run Book addresses some process inefficiencies, most business-critical IT processes don’t reside in operations alone. They cross organisation and IT silos, and involve tasks well beyond the typical IT operations “Run Book”. The next level of IT Process Automation requires granular evaluation of all the component tasks of a major IT process across all silos and parts of the enterprise — to map the entire process, and identify exactly why and how it contributes to achieving specific business goals. True end-to-end IT Process Automation at this level produces significant benefits beyond Run Book automation alone, including: • Streamlining all aspects of a process to eliminate unnecessary duplication or delays • Producing dramatically faster turnaround times and better SLAs • Unleashing significant efficiency dividends and cost savings • Improving business agility and time-to-market with new initiatives • Transforming IT’s reputation from “constraint” to “contributor” 03
  6. 6. White Paper: The IT Process Trap • Enriching the professional development experience of skilled employees • And most significantly: • Contributing directly and measurably to achievement of defined business goals New methodology for the next level of automation The CA-designed approach to end-to-end IT Process Automation examines IT processes from a fresh and independent perspective, and draws on global resources and best-of-breed tools to: The case history following provides dramatic proof of the immediate and longer-term benefits that can be achieved through this higher level of IT Process Automation… Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Analyse steps to Evaluate steps to Re-engineer the understand what identify which ones process using the current process can be parallel automation, process looks like in rather than engineering and granular detail sequential standardisation Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Map and road Match the process Implement and test the to the best available benchmark gain new process tools such as from the CA IT Process new process Manager 04
  7. 7. White Paper: The IT Process Trap Section 3 Case history: Unleashing IT to drive business innovation An inefficient process was undermining business agility One major financial organisation in Australia learned the hard way that inefficiencies in business- critical IT processes were undermining their ability to compete… Innovative plans for an Australian-first product introduction were derailed by a technology delivery time of nine months — allowing a competitor to introduce a rival product two months before they could get theirs to market. Recognising that technology procurement and deployment was fundamental to launching new products and meeting business goals, the organisation and CA undertook a project to redesign the core technology procurement system. Overhauling the process from end to end Initial analysis identified the average time to deliver and deploy technology from the date of order was more than 100 days — with the longest delay just two days short of a year. The process also required more than a month of actual human effort. Even the relatively straightforward procedure of installing standard software regularly took as long as 10 days. After consulting stakeholders from IT staff to internal customers and conducting granular evaluation of the process across all areas of the business, CA redesigned the technology provisioning process from end to end… • Eliminating unnecessary steps • Automating a number of previously manual steps • Creating parallel activity paths for steps that did not need to occur sequentially CA also helped unleash further savings by organising for the company’s supplier to store equipment at its data centre, and raise invoices only once technology was commissioned. The immediate efficiency and business rewards Since implementing the new provisioning system, this CA customer has: • Slashed the human effort required from more than a month to less than a day • Reduced standard software installation time from 10 days to 5 hours • Reduced the total average supply time from more than 100 days to just 10 05
  8. 8. White Paper: The IT Process Trap One of the most Reaping longer-term dividends for IT significant and For this organisation, CA’s IT Process Automation project produced more than just a dramatic lasting benefits of breakthrough on one business-critical process. It armed them with: this level of IT • A replicable framework for future automation initiatives addressing traps in other business-critical Process Automation processes is its ability to transform IT’s role • A tool to help IT people meet SLAs and KPIs and demonstrate quantifiable business benefit from IT and reputation services and expenditure within the One of the most significant and lasting benefits of this level of IT Process Automation is its ability to organisation. transform IT’s role and reputation within the organisation. Rather than being viewed as a cost and a constraint, IT can become a business enabler — delivering a level of accountability to defined business goals that is simply impossible in an organisation that relies on ad hoc or manual processes. For example; by automatically monitoring the level of services being requested and delivered, IT Process Automation enables IT to monitor its ability to meet demand and define a standard “unit cost” for its services. At a tactical level, this revolutionises IT reporting– taking it from “exception-based” reporting of service failure to compliance-based reporting of IT’s contribution towards achieving business objectives. At a strategic level, IT Process Automation can equally transform budget-time requests for additional technology expenditure. When IT can demonstrate that its year-on-year unit costs are declining and that increased expenditure is required to supply growing demand from the business, the “conversation” is about business priorities rather than the cost of technology. . 06
  9. 9. White Paper: The IT Process Trap Section 4 Conclusions Though some aspects of IT Automation are already well¬established and exploited, the full potential of true end¬to-end IT Process Automation is only beginning to be realised. The higher level of IT Process Automation demonstrated here holds the potential to: • Unleash latent productivity in even the most efficient enterprises • Produce significant, immediate cost savings • Quantify IT’s contribution to meeting defined business goals • Transform IT’s role from cost and constraint to enabler of innovation • Reinvigorate the interest of hard¬to¬recruit and retain IT professionals • Help the business compete with greater economy and agility in fast¬moving marketplaces 07
  10. 10. About the Author Robert Crutchley has more than 29 years experience in a variety of information technology management and technical roles. This experience has included roles in both New Zealand and Australian corporate, government and retail organisations. Over the previous 18 years, Robert has been primarily focused on designing and implementing solutions based on CA’s Unicenter and BrightStor, eTrust and iCan technology’s. Robert’s broader expertise includes Operations Management, Enterprise Management, Desktop Management, Security Management and Storage Management. Robert has also been involved in designing, implementing solutions from a variety of other vendors. He has supported Intel and Unix hardware platforms from Compaq/Digital, IBM, Sun and HP, as well as IBM Mainframe. In recent years Robert has been involved in architecting solutions and reviewing and re¬designing IT processes based around ITIL best practice for a number of CA’s major customers to assist them in providing enhanced IT services. Copyright ©2010 CA. All rights reserved. All trademarks, trade names, service marks, and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies. This document is for your informational purposes only. CA assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information. To the extent permitted by applicable law, CA provides this document “as is” without warranty of any kind, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non- infringement. In no event will CA be liable for any loss or damage, direct or indirect, from the use of this document, including, without limitation, lost profits, business interruption, goodwill, or lost data, even if CA is expressly advised in advance of the possibility of such damages. 2280