Archive for November, 2007

Can SOX add value to IT?

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Yes - if handled right.

What values does it add? It will definitely stabilize the environment and avoid outages.

If SOX is embedded into day-to-day operations, SOX does add value. For that matter, any mature and proven process does add value.

However, SOX ‘values’ starts becoming visible when you formalize the changes - Systems, People, Day-to-day processes and Auditors.  For example, if there is a clear ‘training’ checklist to follow when a new hire is welcomed into the operations team or an employee is terminated, it avoids a lot of unwanted surprises due to changes performed by a new hire.

In our experience, SOX has specifically avoided surprises - people tend to ask questions, figure the rational behind the ‘urgent needs’ and tend to move towards a repeatable task.

When can SOX not add value? When SOX is not embedded within the day-to-day operations or when SOX is handled as a separate process from the day-to-day operational tasks.

Compliance - uninvited helper guest

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Compliance is definitely an uninvited guest - it lingers in your day-to-day operations however, it can help you in these area:

a. Your strengths and weaknesses - gone are those days where you would informally run processes over phone/email which could lead to potential miscommunications and unintentional malpractices. You can identify which areas are formal and which areas are not and fix them.
b. Potential areas of automation: Access granting and terminations, workflows and dashboards
c. Streamline areas of service continuity - Think about it - did we streamline our processing starting from building software through delivering them to production  and managing them before? Probably not. Now, we are forced to.

IT operations - Surprise or Cyclic?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

We see that IT operations department has their employees on-call and sometimes they are called at odd-hours. Even in this day of technical experience and automations, we still find technical people requested to perform at odd-hours. Is there something wrong here?

Lets ask ourselves these:

a. Are there Key performance indicators in place?

b. How often is this hapenning and do we have a clear set of root cause analysis?

c. Are we leveraging a mix of tools and skills?

d. Is the morale affected?

e. Are the business process owners driving us out of balance?

I would come up with a 90 day plan, get the business process owner’s buy-in of new plan including setting KPI (including up-time,  support turn-around time) and aligning remodelling portfolio management of projects,  root-cause analysis,  and leveraging tools and skills.  Meet your team members, review goals and objectives with metrics for most areas and help them align with the above - demonstrate your leadership.

 As your team members align themselves to your objectives, KPI and metrics you will start seeing what will work and what will not. You will definitely see some people leave but you will also see lots of improvements. Good luck!

Hello and welcome!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

We are a team of experienced IT executives serving 3+ billion dollar companies to keep the IT lights ON. Although, the ‘dial-tone’ service delivery is talked about in the past 5 years, this set of blogs is to present the challenges we are experiencing to offer ‘dial-tone’ level of services and how we are trying to solve them.