As IT organizations struggle to do more with less, the Oracle Insight team wanted to understand how enterprises are improving their IT effectiveness while at the same time excelling in IT efficiency. To answer this question, we conducted a survey of CIOs around the world, and had in-depth conversations with multiple Global 1000 companies. Based on the results, we strongly believe there is a distinct premium for building core strategies for IT organizations. Enterprises that implement IT best practices while spending the optimal amount on IT can generate new revenue sources, lower operating costs, and reduce risks for their companies. Here are five successful strategies that companies are implementing to achieve best practices in their IT organizations, and beyond.
1. Establish a service portfolio that optimizes the needs of varied business objectives To meet changing business objectives, craft a portfolio of services with appropriate service levels and costs. Manage this service portfolio as you would your company’s product portfolio by regularly evaluating the priorities of these services to reflect the business priorities. The economic impact of this prioritization is that you’ll spend less on maintenance activities and be able to concentrate more on helping the business become more competitive.
2. Architect underlying services to enable agility and reduced costs Service architecture used to be handled as a stand-alone, ‘ivory tower’ exercise. Now, companies are adapting their architecture so that the functionality exists for what the business needs today as well as three years from now. More companies are also exploring new technologies like virtualization, clustering, and storage compression to achieve architectural agility and reduced costs. Best-in-class companies architect service programs based on the needs of the complete service portfolio. It’s important to clearly understand the priorities of the services, before architecting them to meet service levels. To enable this practice, companies need to build a solid foundation by rationalizing, consolidating, and standardizing underlying platforms.
3. Enable touch-free operations Smart companies are learning to operate with minimal cost, minimal risk, and maximum flexibility. They have designed touch-free, highly automated IT operations, enabling a smaller IT staff to administer and operate the entire system. Touch-free operations reduce the costs associated with provisioning, patching, customer care, and the constant need for manual monitoring of resources to ensure performance and availability. This type of automation also allows businesses to scale up and down more easily.
4. Employ agile working methodologies The classic workforce model was a specialized workforce that operated in silos, and didn’t necessarily work well across any of them. From a business perspective, it took a long time for IT to get things done. Now, more and more best-in-class companies and IT their organizations encourage the pulling together of cross-functional teams who can quickly, solve a problem, then disband. This lean-oriented approach motivates people to solve problems quickly.
5. Focus on continuous service improvements Investing in ongoing and continuous service improvements is what allows best-in-class companies to avoid major negative surprises in their service availability and performance. To achieve best-in-class status, performing semi-annual service business reviews with the business owners ensures compliance and ongoing business support for services.
Venki Rajah is Senior Director of Industry Strategy and Insight and Head of Global Data Center Strategy at Oracle. He is based in Silicon Valley, California.