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The Strategic CIO by Philip Weinzimer

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4
How to excel at
operatIonal StaBIlIty
Succeeding at operational stability has enabled us to work with the busi-
ness and focus on improving processes that have saved billions of dollars.
David Kepler
Corporate Vice President of Shared Services and
Chief Information Ocer of e Dow Chemical Company
Understanding the importance of delivering basic services is a rst
step in working with your business peers to establish credibility for
your information technology (IT) organization. Delivering services
exceptionally well requires a well-tuned IT infrastructure that achieves
operational stability, the subject of this chapter. We will explore a
framework that can help you improve the operational stability of your
IT infrastructure. Following is a high-level overview of the objective,
key points, and examples used in this chapter.
A. CHAPTER OBJECTIVE
1. Reinforce the importance of operational stability as a
foundation for delivering basic services exceptionally
well.
2. Share a framework chief information ocers (CIOs) can
utilize to achieve operational stability (Figure 4.1).
3. Explore how two CIOs ensure operational stability
within their respective companies.
B. KEY POINTS
1. As the CIO or IT Director, your number one issue needs
to be the operational stability of the business services
you provide the enterprise.
66
the strategiC Cio
2. A well-thought-out and sound architecture is required
to support the business strategy.
3. Don’t get caught building an architecture that resembles
the physical architecture of the Winchester Mystery
House in San Jose, California (see Figure 4.3).
4. Implement an eective change management process.
5. Measure whats important: ensure that uptime, abnor-
mal terminations, performance issues, and defects meet
or exceed the service level agreements (SLAs) your busi-
ness peers require.
C. EXAMPLES
CSAA Insurance Group
Fox Entertainment Group
D. KEY TEMPLATE
See Figure 4.1.
Less is more Sound architecture Change management process
IT infrastructure is a complex
array of equipment, wiring,
hundreds of business
applications, and other
components that have to work
in harmony for the business to
run efficiently without disruption.
IT personnel want to do the right thing.
But sometimes haste makes waste.
A simple 5 minute fix on a production
system without going through a rigorous
change management process to test any
changes can result in many days of
unnecessary downtime.
Having fewer servers,
routers, cables, hardware
vendors, service providers,
contracts, etc., to manage
will lower your risk for a
malfunction and/or failure to
occur.
The time applications are
available and functional within
the parameter of the Service
Level Agreement (SLA)
(measured in minutes/week or
month.)
Uptime
Defects
The number and associated
details when an application
isn’t performing as
advertised (missing data,
incorrect calculation, etc.)
Performance issues
The number and associated
details of when a user is not
experiencing the performance
expected from the application
(delay in populating data,
screen refresh time, etc.).
Operational stability remediation processes
Services Portfolio
Business Services (examples)
Product development
applications
Engineering
applications
Sales/marketing
applications
Help desk E-mail Telephony Network Data center
Support/technical services (examples)
Customer support
applications
Manufacturing
applications
Logistics
applications
Rigorous processes and oversight to mitigate operational stability issues and meet and/or exceed service level agreements
Abnormal terminations
The number of occurrences
that an application terminates
abnormally over a specific
time period (blue screen,
application shutdown, etc.)
Measure What’s Important
Guiding Principles
GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK—OPERATIONAL STABILITY
Figure 4.1 Governance Framework—Operational Stability.

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