How to excel at
Succeeding at operational stability has enabled us to work with the busi-
ness and focus on improving processes that have saved billions of dollars.
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
2. Share a framework chief information ocers (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.
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 eective change management process.
5. Measure what’s important: ensure that uptime, abnor-
mal terminations, performance issues, and defects meet
or exceed the service level agreements (SLAs) your busi-
ness peers require.
• 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
Having fewer servers,
routers, cables, hardware
vendors, service providers,
contracts, etc., to manage
will lower your risk for a
malfunction and/or failure to
The time applications are
available and functional within
the parameter of the Service
Level Agreement (SLA)
(measured in minutes/week or
The number and associated
details when an application
isn’t performing as
advertised (missing data,
incorrect calculation, etc.)
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
Business Services (examples)
Help desk E-mail Telephony Network Data center
Support/technical services (examples)
Rigorous processes and oversight to mitigate operational stability issues and meet and/or exceed service level agreements
The number of occurrences
that an application terminates
abnormally over a specific
time period (blue screen,
application shutdown, etc.)
Measure What’s Important
GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK—OPERATIONAL STABILITY
Figure 4.1 Governance Framework—Operational Stability.