Month: November 2009

Technical Architecture Component – Service Delivery Model

In a previous blog posting, I provided an exhaustive list of almost all technical components.  Each one of the component plays a role to enable holistic IT service to support business function.  However,to run a successful IT organization, does the IT organization required to have a handle on each component in the list?

Lately, my former  colleague and good friend, who works for GE now, have been discussing the importance of oral and written communication skills in an executive level job.  During those discussion, it occurred to me that the next generation corporate communication will be much more simplified and tailored to individual audience. An executive from Gen Y, may not have patience to read a document to understand the status of a company or progress of a project.  The type of communication tools and channels will be used by Gen Y executives are yet to discovered but it is  incubating for evolution.

Keeping those thoughts in my mind, instead of using a traditional method like Venn diagram to communicate direct  involvement level in technical components  by an IT organization, I would like to use the  abstract pictures to demonstrate current involvement and transition to a different level by adapting managed service and cloud computing concepts.

When IT organization is  a cost center (it means it does not directly generate revenue for the company), the organization required to focus on technology stack which provides competitive advantage to its core business. It is particularly essential during this challenging economical time to focus on technologies that impacts business bottom line. The IT organization must have no or minimum direct involvement in non strategic technical components.

The figure 1. abstract picture provides current IT direct involvement in four categories. I have seen, still companies have internally maintain and manage payroll systems for its employee. For an instance, if an IT organization is supporting financial service or retail business, there is absolutely no competitive advantage for that organization to manage internal payroll systems. The reason is not just for cost saving, but the key point is focus.

Around fifteen years ago, the options were limited to leverage outsourced payroll service but now, there are lots of options available to receive world class service on common business services. Common business services are, but not limited to, payroll, badge system, email, infrastructure system softwares, infrastructure monitoring, corporate communication tool set, learning and development, pension, benefits,  IT asset management, IT Finance management and etc. These services are readily available from a third party providers as a service. These services are all required for any IT organization but, generally not a differentiator for cost center IT organization.

IT organization’s senior executives and CIO wanted their organization to focus on technologies directly contributes to their business bottom line.  The systems/technologies that  touches the end user of their core business, and the systems directly used to support the business process.

Managed service and cloud computing are two solution available to let the organization focus on differentiator technology and let the partner perform the rest.

Managed service is a concept to leverage partners to provide a pre-term service.  IT organization manages the partner in a SLA level with no or very minimum involvement in solution design. Managed service deals are designed for fixed terms for fixed service portfolio. This deal package limits organization’s agility to fluctuate their service portfolio requirement based on its business needs.

Cloud computing is  an elastic managed service concept and it provides flexibility to scale up or down based on business needs with no prior commitment  on terms and service portfolio.  On cloud computing service offering from various providers like google & amazon, IT organization required to FOCUS on differentiator technologies and manage the rest by managing the SLA but not by technology (technical component)

Google Workshop

Fifteen years ago, seeking for useful information in a public domain  was a challenge and where as today, we have the opposite problem.  IMG_0161There are lots of information available on any topic. 

The social networking sites enables the right  information  come to us instead of we seek for it.  But still, filtering the information is a key challenge.  We more often go to search engine like google  for information and filtering techniques in the google helps us to receive the most relevant information quickly.

Recently, I wrote a  job aid/reference  on “How to google effectively” and there are few beneficiary of that document personally stopped by my desk at work and thanked me  for that  job aid. That was signficantly modified by other team members in the organization and published to the entire organization.

We decided that live demonstration on utilizing google search engine using  the job aid  would  give more clarity on usage.  A work shop was scheduled and opened up  to entire organization with the limit of 40 users and it  filled up almost immediately.   I  conducted the work shop to the signed audience from business and IT area on how to google effectively using google keywords  like file type, site, define, “wiTHin qUoTeS”, and etc.

I took a simple scenario (#1), search for presentation material in educational institutes containing our company name. Run the scenario as a novice search engine users and showed the total number of relevant documents returned by google was around 1.2 million documents. Used various google key words and step wise demonstrated how the results can be narrowed down and eventually reached 9 most relevant documents.  In scenario (#2), demonstrated  how to search effectively to understand the basic definition of crowd sourcing, scenario (#3) was to find the patterns registered in core business. Had few more scenarios and explained, in high level, how google works using their pagerank algorithm and the required knowledge level for internet marketing group to increase pagerank of our web sites and eventually to increase the number of potential customer visits to our web sites.

IMG_0164A scenario (#n) given by an audience on how to search satellite images of a used car dealership in America. The scenario is so broad and the criteria required refinement before we jump into  search of  ocean of information.  The criteria was narrowed down just to Michigan. The results  returned as a map data (kml extension file) and these files read by free software like google earth. The kml extension files contained locations of all used car dealership in Michigan with the satellite images. Since I didn’t have google earth installed in my laptop , I could not demonstrated the results back to the audience. The purpose of the write-up is to display the results of the kml extension file and  raise the question if google should consider to directly read the kml extension file in their google maps.

carskml