How can today’s IT leaders achieve the balance between agility and control?

The IT department of a typical organisation has never been more in the spotlight. All business processes rely upon IT to function, and all customer facing transactions are performed with some form of IT system, be it a web page, a mobile device or an application running on a server.

The business demand change more rapidly than has ever been the case before. Business projects are initiated with diminishing lead times causing pressure upon IT to react and stand up project teams to support the change. In some cases, IT finds itself playing catch-up to business projects or being circumvented altogether, as the business can procure cloud services or applications easier than ever before. And these services work. And they’re cheaper. So IT leaders are asked, “Why do we need an IT department?!”

And once delivered into production, IT is asked to support a system that it may have had limited involvement in designing, implementing or testing.

Against this somewhat frightening scenario, technology leaders must develop robust methods for achieving four things.

Firstly, engaging with the business to understand what their strategic and tactical plans are, not to mention getting connected with the decision makers who sanction projects on a whim.
Secondly, developing robust processes for capturing strategic and tactical demand, and reacting to the unexpected left field demands, by adapting to the rate of business change.
Thirdly, the ability to design and transition these services into a reliable live environment.
Finally, maintaining these services in a highly reliable state, despite the high rate of change expected by the business. One CIO we work with calls it, “move fast and don’t break anything”!

Capturing the dynamic business demand is vital. Once captured, service design and transition approaches must be flexible enough to understand the business requirements in sufficient details, and apply an appropriate level of control and rigour, whilst not constraining the business in its desire to move quickly. A delicate balancing act of agility and control.

Once in production, IT must be able to do the basics well in terms of logging incidents and requests from end-users, making it simple and efficient for them to engage with IT. Failure to do this will only exacerbate the tendency to bypass IT altogether.

Finally, IT must be able to absorb incremental and operational change, to “keep the lights on”. This involves robust approaches to the assessment and authorisation of change, which once again, strike the right balance between agility and control. IT should have the ability to assure its own operational change, and that initiated by the business, to preserve the reliability and performance of the IT systems, and subsequently the integrity of the business processes described at the beginning.

In today’s high complex technology teams, it is critical that IT processes are able to consistently deliver the expected outcomes. In a practical sense, this includes reducing unplanned downtime, recovering from major incidents quickly and supporting the business in their growth plans through robust demand management and performance monitoring.

Syniad IT are specialists in the design and optimisation of IT operating models, that deal with this full end-to-end lifecycle of an IT service. We develop robust processes, select underpinning tooling and design governance, performance and reporting models.

Our work typically begins with a baseline assessment, to better understand the challenges and the issues being experienced. Every organisation is different after all. We make no assumptions, and enter into each engagement with an open mind. As an output of this assessment phase, we develop an improvement roadmap, working alongside our client’s own team to develop and implement solutions.

We pride ourselves on our ability to execute on our plans. We bring about rapid and sustainable change to IT ways of working, helping organisations meet the demands being placed upon them by the business for highly reliable IT services.

We are specialists in IT Operating Models, IT Service Management (ITSM) and Service Integration & Management (SIAM). We also help organisations maximise their investment in their IT tooling, particularly ITSM tools, such as ServiceNow, Cherwell and BMC.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do, and download our free white papers. Drop us an email to discuss your specific requirements, and don’t forget to follow @SyniadIT on Twitter for up to the minute technology news, opinion and content.

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