IT Production Services – Preface
Building Competitive Advantage
What ever happened to that sacred production environment where newly developed systems went through a stringent interrogation process before they were allowed entrance? It took an act of God, and then some, to bypass the thorough and intricate mainframe process to rush a new system onto the raised floor of the data center. What made the mainframe environment so successful were the commitments of the people and the robustness of the processes. Even though the tedious and complex operations of mainframes eventually led to their downfall, they built the foundation for what could become robust infrastructures of the future. In the quest to meet unreasonable budgets and impossible schedules at the cost of quality, however, today’s newly developed systems are frequently thrown over the wall and slam-dunked into production. Information Technology (IT) went from an environment that was extremely strict, structured, and disciplined to one that is now lenient, unorganized, and unrestricted.
In this book, we’re introducing a newly designed Production Services function, which addresses the needs of multiple departments within IT, including Applications Development and Computer Operations. Just as important, this function addresses the needs of the customers of all newly developed IT systems being transitioned from Applications Development into production. We also highlight the Production Acceptance process used for every new system moving from the development phase into a production mode. Production Acceptance is the most critical process for addressing:
- Infrastructure Support requirements
- Poor communication between IT and its customers regarding newly developed systems
- Lack of communication between Applications Development and Production/Infrastructure Support
- Support roles and responsibilities
- Training and system documentation
- Customer’s expectations (service levels)
One of the main reasons that 70 percent of all IT organizations today are still labeled as cost centers, and are failing miserably, is because of their infrastructures. Infrastructures are in horrible shape, as we will exhibit in our IT assessment data. We will share with you the data compiled from over 200 IT assessments from Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies, but more importantly we will share how this new Production Services function resolves many of those issues. We will show you how to design and change your infrastructure into a world-class Information Technology Service Provider (ITSP), not just a high-priced support center.
Let’s not forget organizational structure, which is the number one problem in IT today. We discuss the top organizational issues affecting the staff and executive management and how our ten commandments can help design a cost-effective and efficient IT organization.
To round it out, we will provide documented case studies of our experiences with several major companies across the country. These studies discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each company’s infrastructure environment, and of the lessons learned in addressing their Production Services issues. Finally, we will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions relating to IT infrastructures.
This book is intended for CIO’s, CTO’s, management staff, Infrastructure Services staff, and Architects responsible for building a competitive advantage to business IT organizations.