Change and disruption doesn’t have to equal chaos

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20 October 2016 | 0

Change and collaboration were the primary themes of itSMF 2016, the national IT service management conference.

Paddy Baxter, a consultant on digital disruption, described how service oriented change and collaboration can help organisations to understand the impact of change, while taking advantage of the opportunities.

“Change and collaboration are joined at the hip – to make a change, you have to talk to people,” said Baxter.

Continuous change model
Baxter characterised the fast change world cycle with a Moebius Strip diagram comprising a cycle of interpret, design, implement, improve, learn and share formed the continuous progression. He said continuous change must cover development, integration, deployment and developer operations (DevOps) from end to end.

Organisations that have successfully implemented such plans, said Baxter, benefit not only from increased ability to change and adapt, but also to collaborate at a similar pace, bringing benefits to business units, outside of IT.

Spotify delivers changes to its application every two weeks, reported Baxter, adding “this is entirely unfamiliar to many corporate users.” GroupOn can do as many as 400 changes a week, he said.

“These [cultures] are very different to traditional organisation cultures. And some will block it,” said Baxter.

Collaboration pace
Collaboration must transition to this fast pace too, said Baxter, permeating to all levels.

“If the manager cannot understand what his team is doing, the system is broken.”

In the digital Age, the pace has changed, but there are still guides to understand how best to implement and manage change, said Baxter.

“What makes ITIL great is that it is a SERVICE management framework,” he said.

Baxter then introduced the concept of team as a service.

This is where teams are service-oriented, and accountability and responsibilities are closely aligned. The teams are comprised of peers and are multidisciplinary, and critically, appropriately autonomous while being sufficiently coupled. There is a dynamic alignment with both demand and culture through managed stakeholder feedback mechanisms, such as contracts and agreements with other teams.

“Services remain at the heart of it,” said Baxter.

Change challenges
Eddy Pauwels, of Clarive Software, highlighted some of the reported challenges in this new world of fast-paced change.

End-to-end issues were real-time change and collaboration insights, reported Pauwels, followed by change impact and analysis, reflecting the fact that organisations often struggle to gather sufficient data for insights, as well as turning that data into intelligence.

Under the heading of deployment, Pauwels reported that quality is an issue, as are change lead times, agility and maintenance, and change orchestration across platforms.

With regard to execution, the challenges were process orchestration across platforms, collaboration and sharing development and operations teams, cross-platform sharing and scheduling, and DevOps strategy alignment to application type.

Within all of this, said Pauwels, the goal remains — to maximise business value, at the speed of business.

Lean concepts
Pauwels said that lean IT concepts can be applied to application delivery under five dimensions, with five focus areas; customer, process, organisation, performance and attitude and behaviour being the former and pull, flow, perfection, value stream and customer satisfaction being the latter.

Pauwels said that value stream mapping is critical to identify waste and bottlenecks that could slow progress.

“As articulated by the analyst firms and seen at our customer base,” said Pauwels, “organisations are transitioning their IT architectures, as well as their delivery processes, to maximise business value and deliver faster.”

Most organisations are in transitioning from a situation of highly interconnected architectures, used to large, infrequent, change on a waterfall-based approach with top down release management that is very much operations driven, he said. The goal is for loosely coupled architectures that facilitate smaller, more frequent or continuous changes in an Agile environment with bottom up release management in a customer-oriented architecture that is delivery driven.

DevOps solutions
“Unfortunately many DevOps solutions today,” said Pauwels, “assume that organisations are already far progressed towards [this], which is in most cases untrue.

This is why we offer a DevOps Platform for the evolving enterprise.”

“We want organisations to start now, and increase automation and sharing for the delivery of all their applications, regardless where they are on the spectrum. We want to be able to provide ultimate sourcing flexibility by support every platform, from mainframe, cloud, mobile, open systems, IoT to ERP.”

“By doing so, and providing end-to-end visibility,” said Pauwels, “better measurement and management becomes possible, lean principles can be applied and the organisational cultural can change.”

Both Andrew Humphrey of Autotrader, and a team led by Mark Kellett of Bank of Ireland, described their respective journeys on the spectrum towards that delivery-oriented, fast change model.

Humphrey described Autotrader’s experience in a positive light, saying “Agile was enabling us to dismantle bureaucracy, not just challenge it.”

With the emphasis on collaboration, he said, “We were collaborating much more by standing around and talking about it, rather than sending tickets and hearing nothing.”

“We can adapt quicker to change because of our service management capability,” said Humphrey.



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