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  • Writer's pictureAndy Jonak

Process Maturity within the IT Datacenter

As we move into 2014, I want to discuss something that we've seen become increasing important within our customers. It has to do with Process Maturity. What do we mean by Process Maturity? Customers and businesses are so reliant upon technology within their organization for so much of their needs that the technology itself is often equated with helping the organization succeed or in hindering it success. But what Process Maturity really comes down to is the efficient use of technology along with the processes and governance (roles and responsibilities) in place around the use of that technology to drive company success. And the processes in place and their effectiveness of those processes are directly tied to their maturity and how they embraced and used within the organization. So Process Maturity is about having proven effective processes that are followed by the organization to allow it to succeed.

We interact with organizations of all sizes and types and here's the thing: we see organizations falling into two areas when it comes to processes, and this by no means absolute, but this is what we see: Organizations that feel that they have no processes in place (which is not true, as they may be informal but they are there) or organizations that have feel they have effective processes in place already, whether they actually do or not. In many cases this becomes a very subjective observation from within the organization. The point is that organizations often do not know where their stand and are in need (whether they know it or not) of an outside, objective view or their processes and governance, which is really about roles and responsibilities.

A straight forward way to gauge where an organization's processes would stand (and what Vicom uses with its customers) is based upon a model from Carnegie Mellon called the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMi). It's a well adopted standard used throughout many industries and is used to gauge an organization's capabilities when it comes to process. And it boils down to a very simple approach: the more mature an organization's processes and capabilities are, the less risk to the organization as whole; and the converse holds true as well. What this model does is to help objectify something that most organizations look at in a subjective fashion.

An organization can identify where it stands in terms of the maturity of their processes and where they could strive towards moving up the scale. After identifying where they are, then they would need a roadmap as to how to move up this scale and improve their processes and governance. And that is where an organization such as Vicom can help, and our Process Maturity Assessment Service does precisely that.

Our customers have engaged us to come in and look at where they stand in terms of their processes for the technology they use, including servers, storage, virtualization, networking, cloud and DRBC and other areas as well. And we find in most cases that it's not the technology that is the cause of the issues that they are experiencing, it's how they are using the technology and therefore the processes and governance associated with the use, or lack thereof, that is the issue.

And this service helps our customers in 4 fairly straightforward ways:

Identify areas of improvement

Identify areas such as governance, process and program maturity, monitoring and availability

Make recommendations for improvement

Helps to categorize risk, recommend technical and non-technical areas to improve, and identify options to mitigate risk and improve service levels

Scope, Plan and Prioritize

Provide a roadmap to implement recommendations, identify perceived risks if no action is taken, and provide timeframes and resources required

Socialize Plan

Present findings and recommendations to key stakeholders for approval

So as technology continues to be critical to business operations, the processes in place for the use of that technology becomes even more critical, hence the need we see of organizations to look in depth at their processes to see where they stand, and how they can improve. Many organizations have the ability to do this in house (and often have dedicated people to focus upon it) while others have a need to reach out to outside organizations to get unbiased, outside perspectives. However it's done, it will probably reveal a lot of good things that are being done in terms of process and technology, but will most likely uncover some areas that are need of improvement and guidance.

So we would encourage you to continually revisit and review the processes and governance in place within your organization around the use of technology to determine if they are effective and use it as an opportunity to improve. And those effective and mature set of processes can provide you with clarity (see blog post here) to use your technology to truly help your organization succeed.



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