IT Service Operating models in an agile world

How to facilitate the dialogue for business led IT and how this complements the bi-modal IT idea

What is happening: Business Led IT is growing, business functions are procuring IT services and building their own facilities to support these services. Not always without risk. <more about business IT>

Why is this happening: The cause of this bypassing behaviour is that the value that the IT function can add is not always clear and the therefore The IT Function is often not seen as an enabler for achieving business goals.

What is the danger: A Business Functions may not always be aware the control and operate requirements and as a result unwillingly expose our organisation to undesired security and reliability risks.

What can we do: IT and business relation should shift to the partnership model and away from the internal supplier / customer model. IT people can advise the business functions on the operational governance that is needed to be able to provide secure and reliable operations and help design an operating model that covers the service end to end. This nicely fits in with the Gartner Bimodal IT ideas[1]. A service can start as mode 2 and gradually, seamlessly move over to mode 1 as it matures.

Operating model Variants

The key goal is to manage risk. Of course risk is acceptable, there is no perfect world but we need to ensure that risks and consequences are well understood, documented and accepted by the relevant stakeholders. The operating models below are there to help set a reference target state to work towards. Each indicates an ambition; they are not intended as a policy dictate.

Start with formulating an ambition:

  • Aim for IT Operated – End to End Application & Infrastructure >> If end-to-end IT operations of an application service by the IT Function is desired.
  • Aim for Business Operated –with IT Support for Technical Interfaces>> If IT support is desired for the technical interfaces of an application that has integration with the organisations other systems and where the Service Provider contract is Business Owned.
  • Aim for IT and Business Operated – Customized operate model (mix & match) >> If a tailor-made operate model is required
Reference Model A Reference Model B Reference Model C
IT Operated – End to End Application & Infrastructure Business Operated –with IT Support for Technical Interfaces IT and Business Operated – Customized operate model

(mix & match)

  • Suitable for all Business Critical Services
  • IT OPS is fully accountable for the operations of the service as per agreed service level objectives
  • Only applicable when the Support Contract Holder can reside with IT OPS
  • Selection Guidelines: choose this option if your application is business critical or has a high CIA rating.
  • Suitable If you want support for an application that has integration with other systems and where the vendor contract is Business Held
  • IT OPS is not responsible for application performance and support
  • IT OPS is responsible for supporting interfaces that facilitate the integration into the organisations landscape
  • Selection Guidelines, choose this option if there are Integration needs but IT Operations cannot be the contract holder or in case of BPO with Integration needs
  • Suitable for applications where support performance needs to be tailored to a vendor contract or best effort is sufficient. Service delivered will be according to vendor contract terms and conditions.
  • Not suitable for Business Critical applications
  • Details of service scope, service performance and costs will need to be worked out during the project Phase.
  • A customized support model can lead to (significantly) higher transition and Operational Expenditures.
  • Selection Guidelines, choose this option if IT Operations cannot be the contract holder.

 

Operating Models and their process accountability*

Operating Model →

——————-

Support Process ↓

IT Operated – End to End Application & Infrastructure Business Operated –with IT Support for Technical Interfaces IT and Business Operated – Customized operate model

(mix & match)

Application & Interface Application Interface Application Interface
Request Mgmt IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Incident Mgmt IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Situation Mgmt IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Problem Mgmt IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Change Mgmt IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Enhancement Mgmt IT Delivery IT Delivery IT Delivery t.b.d. t.b.d.
Release Mgmt IT Delivery IT Delivery IT Delivery t.b.d. t.b.d.
Service Level Mgmt IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Configuration Mgmt IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Supportability & Transition Mgmt IT OPS t.b.d. IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Business Continuity/ Disaster Recovery IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
Software License Mgmt IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
(Vendor) Contract Management IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.
IT Control Ownership & Execution IT OPS Business IT OPS t.b.d. t.b.d.

*Accountability means that the listed organization is end responsible for the operation and governance of the respective process. This does not per se mean that they are involved in the day to day operation of this process. Take incident management as an example. You can have a support model where this function is provided by a vendor and the Business is accountable. In this instance, we will utilize

the support desk of the vendor, however the responsibility for SLA performance remains with the Business. The Businesses responsible for managing performance and escalation, When the contracted vendor does not perform according to expectations the Business is on point to step in and resolve the situation.

 

How to start the dialogue

Start with establishing the operate ownership aspiration: IS the application solution to be operated by the IT Function? In this scenario:

  • the IT function will take end-to-end accountability for the secure and reliable operations of the application service
  • the IT function needs to be the contract holder for the IT elements of a service. This is necessary for the IT function to be in a position to effectively manage vendor’s contract performance

When the aspiration for the application service is to be business operated, make the expected benefits from this approach explicit and explore if these expectations can be validated.

Often a support model design session can help in discovering the areas of operate activities. It will help you gain insight on needed operational governance and identify the areas where the IT function can add value. Opsasto has facilitation material for such a session, look for “The Support Model Design Workshop” reader”.

 

  1. https://research.gartner.com/definition-whatis-bimodal?resId=3216217&srcId=1-816332510 

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