Over the past 10 years I have learned that people can only get on board with you and support your vision for improvement if they understand what you are attempting to do. Sharing concepts or a perspective once is never enough; I have found that continual reiteration of the benefits your vision will provide throughout your entire initiative or improvement program promotes the opportunity to engage in two way dialog building trust and credibility as you progress.
In 2013, while engaged by a large Government Transport agency to support the ICT Strategy and Architecture group with an initiative focused on understanding and establishing a ‘Proof of Concept’ (POC) example of an ITIL® based IT Services model. The intent was to explore opportunities to strengthen the relationship between the business and ICT while introducing a formal approach for IT Services to meet business demand.
A series of previously discovered Business Function to Technology capability mappings were used as a starting point for the POC. The mappings indicated approximately 70% of business functions being mapped and contextualised into technology capabilities leveraging the TOGAF framework. While it’s not an impossible to combine two separate frameworks it certainly provided an element of complexity that needed to be carefully worked through. TOGAF provides guidance to a technology component layering framework whereas ITIL® provides guidance on an end to end IT Service’s Lifecycle concept.
As part of the initiative I spent time reviewing the mappings and ascertaining the context of the work previously undertaken. As the high level Business to IT Services alignment started to emerge, I knew that the business benefits of an IT Services model were to be understood and realised – the journey would need to be initiated and explained in simple terms and facilitated to the business through the Strategy and Architecture relationships already established.
My focus then moved to understanding the level of IT Services Lifecycle knowledge across the working group of architects I had established. It’s fair to say that the predominant level of expertise among the architects was reflective of the TOGAF framework, and therefore a working ‘IT Services’ hybrid model was required. I facilitated workshops to share my IT Services knowledge and work through the various terminology aspects to ensure we were all talking from the same reference point, from there I was able to mock up a common set of terminologies that we could use to frame up and work through simulations.
As an outcome of this initiative I was successful in building an example ‘Business to IT Services Model’ that articulated the value of the business to IT alignment. I was able to take the model one step further by including the ‘end user customer requirement’ (I want safe, reliable on time Public transport) that provided even more context to the model. The customer requirement then mapped to the available ‘Business Services’ that were then underpinned by a series of ‘Business Processes’ that were then supported by a series of IT Services. Each IT Service included a cluster of IT Service Components that were wrapped together to deliver the IT Service.
The real value of this model was that it enabled discussions as a rolled up model for discussion with the business or extended out for detailed technical discussion with the IT audience. The model was very well received by the IT leadership team as it provided a tangible example of how to model their future IT Services in alignment with core business requirements.
Operational Support Model Creation
I thrive on contributing to continuous improvement and I find it exciting to be involved in turning difficult situations around. In 2010, I was engaged by a Singapore owned utilities company to undertake a review of their current IT Service Support capabilities. The utilities company IT Group was formed out of the consolidation of two Internal IT departments operating two separate IT Infrastructures, networks, and multiple parallel applications and systems. The strategic intent was to rationalize cost and consolidate a number of ‘in-flight’ initiatives across the two legacy IT departments into a single program of work.
My role reported to the Group General Manager for Architecture and Strategy where I was responsible for the creation of an IT Service Management Service Improvement Plan (SIP) that would form the basis of an organizational transformation program.
To understand the current state situation, I reviewed a recent ITSM Assessment to evaluate the current maturity levels across both IT operational landscapes. I prepared and presented a summary of the findings to the Senior Leaders and shared my thinking for a tactical and strategic enhancement. (Focused on People, Process and Tools capabilities). In alignment with Best Practice I culminated my thoughts and concepts into an Operations Support Model ‘strawman’ for discussion. With Senior leaders onboard I was able to complete a gap analysis between the current and future state requirements and articulate these findings into a simplified list of recommendations to seek formal endorsement. On the approval to move forward I prepared a ‘Business Case’, ‘Statements of Work’ and facilitated sign off across the leadership team. I designed and built a repeatable ‘Services on-boarding’ process to ensure a consistent approach could be taken for new services transitioning into the live IT infrastructure.
My focus and hard work throughout this engagement resulted in my recommendations being endorsed as a clear way forward and a program to undertake the activities was initiated. I was also asked to provide further input, guidance into other areas of the business across the larger group businesses including carrying out due diligence and discovery on an impending ‘Major Government Regulated Utilities Program’ to understand the specific IT support and transition requirements.
ITIL Process Implementation
In 2006, I was engaged as a Senior Process Consultant to assist with an ITIL® process based implementation for a leading IT Services provider. My role was responsible for implementing ITIL based processes within the recently created ‘after sales’ support team that supported the launch of a number of new IP-Tel offerings targeted to the Small and Medium size business market.
I facilitated workshops to understand and gather business requirements across all levels of the business this included meeting with program managers and executives to understand the overall strategic business goals and operational process boundaries and scope. Furthermore, I prioritized efforts to focus on the critical operational requirements including Incident, Service Request, Change, Release and Configuration Management. I grouped various high level activities into streams of work and allocated these between my self and my BA. As part of the People activities I assessed the organisational Change impacts and provided guidance and recommendations for ‘Process Owner’ concepts and shared thoughts and practical ideas on other functional activities. I created various Change & Release Management process models and share these with stakeholders and management to invoke discussion, feedback and validation of concepts. I created and refined the process documentation as the team come on board. An appropriate legacy toolset was already in place so I gathered the specific toolset requirements and worked with the technology support teams to implement and test the various changes to support the new processes and support framework. I worked up and combined all of the activities into an appropriate phased ‘go live’ approach.
As an outcome of being able to apply my experience and undertake a well coordinated implementation approach I created a repeatable and stable Operating Framework for IP Tel support team. The Process implementation included Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management and Service Desk Functions. I created a solid ongoing maturity roadmap to ensure ongoing continuous improvement efforts were realistic and appropriate to the ongoing needs of support team. In addition the new Operating Framework also formed the basis for a formal ‘Transition In’ approach for other Service Line’s to align too, which received much praise from the product management team.
The success of this initiative also provided the opportunity for wider service improvement teams to challenge and influence the alignment of existing work across the new best practices standards.
Design, Develop & Implement Formal Environment Management
In contrast to most technology focused IT initiatives, implementing effective Service Management requires a well balanced approach between leveraging best practice guidelines and understanding the specific needs of an organisation.
In 2012 I was engaged by a Government Transport Agencies Service Delivery Practice to design and implement a formal Environment Management Process capability. The objective for Environment Management was to ensure that the appropriate environments, test data and versioned software is available to the portfolios & projects at time when they need it and for the right purpose. I was responsible for the design, build and implementation of the Environment Management across the ICT Portfolio Delivery teams.
My responsibilities included carrying out a detailed review of the Environment Management best practice guidelines. I discovered a lack of formal guidance from the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) so I researched alternative Environment Management concepts and process models. I facilitated workshops with the relevant stakeholders to understand the landscape and define the specific process requirements. I drafted a set of overarching operating principles for discussion with management and stakeholders and highlighted perceived gaps and issues. I drafted a high level (3 phased) Environment Management process and ‘worked up’ the activity descriptions with the key stakeholders validating each activity to ensure the process was appropriate to organisations specific needs.
Consequently, the Environment Management process is now a formally adopted fit for purpose process. The process has also assisted the team to define a list of ‘Service Provider’ requirements to support the process. The formal Environment Management Process will also support further discussions and workshops within the wider transport cluster Service Management initiatives.
Enterprise Release Management
Significant IT Improvement Initiative – Enterprise Release Management 2011
Between 2011 to 2013 I worked on a number of improvements within the Portfolio Delivery team for a Government Transport Agency.
In 2011, I was engaged as a Senior ITIL Process Consultant to assist with the implementation of Enterprise Release Management (ERM). The main objectives for the ERM Program were to ‘Establish a Structured Release Framework’ ‘Reduce Risk of Major Changes being introduced into the ICT Infrastructure’ and ‘To Minimise Potential Business disruption’.
As part of the program my role was to assist with the ERM process planning, analysis and implementation activities and to lead the Organisational Change activities which included the formal embedding of ERM as a capability within RailCorp. I reported to the ERM Program Manager.
I assisted with the preparation of an initial ERM business case and helped to articulate the value of the initiative to Senior ICT Management. My responsibilities included developing and building the ERM Process documentation, including detailed role based overviews & work instructions in alignment with both best practice guidelines and specific organisational requirements. I provided guidance and assisted with the creation of the overarching ERM Framework, including ERM Policy and interim tool set solution. As lead for the organisational change initiatives, I facilitated the delivery of the business & ICT road shows, workshops and facilitated formal and informal communications including bulletins & stakeholder packs across RailCorp. I provided guidance with the establishment of the Enterprise ‘Release Manager Role’ and assisted with establishing other supporting ERM operational roles (eg: Release Coordinators).
My contribution ensured the program was extremely well received, the program team received positive feedback and recognition from the ICT executive. Due to the success of ERM program the ICT Executive sponsored other operationally focused improvement initiatives (eg: Environment Management, Configuration Management) and encouraged the establishment of the Service Delivery Practice group. The ERM framework is now a well embedded Service Management capability and has introduced a new level of Application change control while reducing the amount of system outages to the business.
High Profile IT Service Management Transition
In 2009, I was the Service Management lead for a major IT Services transition program as part of Australia’s largest telecommunication contract between Australias largest Telco and a well known financial institution. The contract (valued at $100m per year for 10 years) included the transition and supply of 12 core telecommunication services delivered by the Telco to the bank.
I was responsible for the build of 32 Service Management Processes (including People, Process & Tools). Each process underpinned various aspects of the 12 core services agreed. I led a team of 5 Service Management business analysts and providing guidance to 8 indirect Service Management subject matter expert process leads, my direct reporting line included both the Service Management Program Manager and Program Director.
My initial focus included a detailed review of the contractual agreements to understand the agreed formal obligations. With an understanding of the legal aspects of the contract I then facilitated an expectation analysis across both organisations to understand and negotiate an acceptable level of ‘Process Maturity’ for each of the 32 processes. I designed a Service Management implementation roadmap that provided context and sequencing to the People, Process and Tool build activities. My other tasks included negotiating with the technical project teams and management to align Service Management priorities and scope. I led and facilitated the various People; Process and Tool build activities in alignment with the plan. Furthermore, I provided strategic advice and guidance to the team to ensure each aspect was integrated appropriately.
Due to the programs ‘high profile’ the media tracked and reported progress with close regard, as an outcome of my dedication and leadership of the Service Management stream, the program achieved its first key milestones ‘Effective Date of Readiness’ (EDoR) & ‘Effective Date of Control’ (EDoC) on time and under budget. I received positive recognition for the Service Management Streams contribution to achieving these first major milestones from the Program Director. My success also led to the Telco management asking me to review and provide strategic guidance across other enterprise client contracts and make further recommendations for ongoing improvement across the business.