2.3 Framework benefits

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Implementing a framework, such as ITIL or MOF, provides several benefits, including improved IT service quality, better alignment with business requirements, better ability to demonstrate the business value of IT, enabling the enterprise to be more competitive, better communication with users, better user perception of IT, better IT service cost effectiveness, and better IT staff motivation and pride.

Improved Information Technology service quality

More and more, CEOs see IT services as a key factor for business success. The entire enterprise's fiscal profitability is dependent on the availability, dependability, reliability, security, and performance of mission-critical IT services. Frameworks enable IT organizations to deliver better services by applying a coherent, consistent, comprehensive, and quality approach to the management of IT services-independent of technology, management model, and others. ITIL and MOF are based on industry best practices, and they do work. Frameworks help improve IT service quality in several specific ways, including the following:

  • Availability management provides the ability to identify and protect areas of vulnerability, providing greater availability of services. The frameworks further enhance availability management by the use of change information collected through the change management process.

  • The improved capacity management ensures the optimal use of IT resources.

  • The improved change management facilitates efficient handling of changes in an orderly, less error-prone way. This improves the IT staff's ability to handle rapid change and large volumes of changes, thus allowing the enterprise to implement innovative business ideas more quickly. Because you perform a risk assessment for all potential changes, the process reduces the potential negative impact of changes on the quality of IT services. The process also reduces the number of IT service changes that have to be undone and increases the ability to back-out changes more easily if necessary.

  • The availability of configuration management information facilitates timelier root cause analysis and improved impact and risk analysis.

  • Improved incident management facilitates more effective and timely handling of incidents, thus reducing the business impact of incidents and ensuring continuity of the service levels. It eliminates incorrect, 'lost,' or poorly managed incidents and service requests and ensures an escalation process to minimize the adverse impact on IT service quality and business operations. The database of existing solutions and configuration information facilitates quicker and more accurate responses to incidents-especially recurring incidents, improving response time, and improving the resolution rate from the first-level help desk support. Reduction in the overall number of help desk calls and the reduction in average incident resolution time lead to productivity gains.

  • Improved service continuity management ensures quick recovery after a disaster.

  • Proactive problem management helps IT organizations detect and eliminate problems before they occur, thus reducing the number of incidents that interrupt normal business operations and increasing overall IT service quality. Problem management also helps reduce the number and impact of recurring problems as permanent solutions are developed.

  • Release management ensures that only authorized software modules are placed into production. The testing requirements mandated by the release management process reduce the number of failed changes. Version control ensures that you can reinstall a previous version of a product should it become necessary.

  • The improved service level management process ensures that there is a common, documented understanding of business requirements and how you will measure service quality. The process also ensures that you have integrated management information and that you have addressed all aspects of service quality. Improved monitoring facilitates accurate measurement of performance against SLAs and provides measurable trending data to improve service delivery.

Better alignment with business requirements

Business process re-engineering (i.e., the redesign of business functions as processes) has become an important strategy for many sales, marketing, and manufacturing departments because the redesigned processes reduce costs, shorten cycle times, improve quality, and improve customer satisfaction. As business units implement their own new processes, they begin to recognize the key role that IT services plays, and they begin to expect more from the IT department. They also demand an expanded role in developing the IT strategy to ensure the alignment of business and IT planning.

Although almost all companies have an IT strategy, few have an IT strategy-that they truly align and measure against the enterprise's business strategy. By knowing the enterprise's strategic direction and IT user requirements, IT can begin to improve its own internal processes to meet user demands. IT organizations must improve customer focus to deliver services tailored to the specific needs of their users. ITIL and MOF cause IT managers to look at functionally separate IT activities as connected, cooperating processes that rely on common information. Viewing IT activities as connected processes causes IT managers to create cross-functional teams with shared accountability and responsibility. Including users on the IT services design team makes the IT staff and the users mutually responsible for the success of IT projects, eliminating the finger pointing that could otherwise exist and enabling the IT staff to offer services that better match the user's goals and objectives.

Better ability to demonstrate the business value of Information Technology

There is constant pressure to keep IT costs in line (i.e., to keep the costs low). However, IT departments cannot think strictly in terms of cost savings but must also think in terms of business benefits. More and more, IT managers are being held responsible for ensuring that IT investments provide quantifiable business benefits, and there will be increasing pressure in the future to goal, fund, and measure IT on the basis of the business benefits and value it provides to the enterprise.

IT managers must be proactive in identifying the business benefits of IT investments. However, many enterprises lack the ability to track, quantify, and qualify the business benefits of IT investments, and there is a growing opinion that few IT projects will actually deliver financial benefits that exceed the implementation costs. The collecting and tracking of financial business benefits is a weakness for most enterprises, and correcting this problem should be a priority. MOF and ITIL help make the business case clear by providing the process that enables managers to demonstrate and to quantify the business value of IT investments.

Enabling the enterprise to be more competitive

Business and market conditions change quickly, and a company's ability to succeed depends on its ability to adjust to these changes. With the increased emphasis on technology as a competitive tool, much of the responsibility falls on the IT department. The principles and processes found in the ITIL and MOF frameworks help enterprises more rapidly change their internal processes to compete effectively, therefore IT processes become a competitive advantage.

Better communication with users

ITIL and MOF facilitate improved communication between the IT staff and users by providing an uncomplicated and easily understood framework. The processes ensure that contact points for questions or discussions about IT service requirements are identified. The change management process ensures visibility and communication of proposed changes to users and to the IT staff.

Better user perception of Information Technology

Higher service quality, service alignment with business goals, reduction of disruptive incidents, greater service availability, and more professional approach improves user satisfaction and user perception of IT. These frameworks stress improving and measuring user satisfaction, internal processes, and service quality by ensuring that you provide IT services according to auditable, documented procedures. Users will feel more comfortable paying IT charges because they know the IT department is regularly monitoring and reporting on compliance with mutually agreed to SLAs and can provide information to justify charges for IT services. All of the ITIL and MOF improvements will enhance the IT department's image as a contributor toward business success.

Better Information Technology service cost effectiveness

There is constant pressure to reduce IT costs and to improve cost effectiveness-without affecting throughput and time to accomplish activities. Enterprises ask IT managers to better use existing (or reduced) IT staff and to achieve greater efficiency. However, because of rapidly changing economic conditions and competitive pressure to reduce costs while maintaining profit, many companies believe there is not enough time or money to spend on process improvements.

However, process improvement is possibly the only solution to the problem. These frameworks are designed to facilitate delivery of quality IT services that satisfy business needs in an environment affected by an insufficient workforce, shrinking IT budgets, rapid change, constant interruptions, continually increasing system complexity, decreasing employee satisfaction, and growing user expectations. They improve resource use and productivity by eliminating redundant work and by decreasing the amount of repeated work. The procedures and discipline help provide a better assessment of the cost of proposed changes before you incur these costs and provide the data you need to justify the cost of service quality.

Better Information Technology staff motivation and pride

Most people prefer working for a professional organization that is viewed positively by its customers. The ITIL and MOF procedures, discipline, and resulting user satisfaction increase IT staff motivation and the pride they take in their work. The IT staff can spend more time on their planned proactive activities and less time reacting to crises and being subject to constant interruptions. They also make better use of their skills and experience.

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Monitoring and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
Monitoring and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 (HP Technologies)
ISBN: 1555583024
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 128

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