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Looking past fear, fragmentation and doubt

Jul 07, 20033 mins
Data CenterIT Leadership

* Drogseth looks to get past hurdles to IT management progress

Last month, I wrote a column looking at some of the psychological and cultural barriers to adopting a strategic approach to service management. This week I’d like to pass along a few guidelines for conquering IT stagnation fueled by fear, fragmentation, and doubt.

Since I’m not a psychologist, these guidelines are focused on pragmatic planning – and simple common sense. They have arisen from research Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is doing in conjunction with Computer Associates regarding drivers and roadblocks to IT evolution. Intermittently, I’ll be sharing some of these guidelines over the coming weeks and months.

This week, let’s start with a logical structure for framing the “investigation” in three key areas.

The organization itself

Too often in the past, the “organization” has been viewed as static – both by cynics who see no reason to believe in change beyond shifting personalities, shifting fiefdoms and shifting fads, as well as by what might be called “euphoric planners,” who posit a perfect, static Tomorrow Land with frozen “best-of-class” processes. However, the fact is that organizations are not static; they are fundamental drivers for improvement and change.

Today, the fact of organizational change is more visible than in the past, thanks to e-business teams from the late 90s, and the effects of consolidation and integrated outsourcing, as well as mergers and acquisitions in the present. Moreover, while there are many guidelines for how organizations should evolve – and we’ll talk more about them in future columns – no one can claim to know the endgame beyond certain bounds. Nor will the “right answer” be the same for every organization.

Processes for management

Processes control how infrastructure is maintained and kept available, how services are planned and assured and in some cases accounted for. The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is one of the best sources for process definitions, as is the TeleManagement Forum (TMF) for the OSS market. EMA believes that the future will reflect a converged set of best practices that bring OSS and IT closer together.

Technologies and products

EMA has evolved a semantic model for evaluating management technologies. Some areas you should consider are how data can be gathered, how your management products are integrated, your analytic capabilities, your capabilities for visualization, and your capabilities for automated action.

These three areas are all drivers for progress – and function in cyclical, interdependent ways. For example, improved technologies can enable improved processes and better organizational dynamics. A product that provides a common data source with role-based views can enable network and application performance management teams to work more effectively together, or in some cases even to conjoin in a single organization. Similarly, improved processes can enable more effective use of new technologies. And improved organizational dynamics, leadership and priorities are of course fundamental enablers and drivers for successful change.

Progress more often occurs by enlightened planning in small cyclic phases, as one type of investment (in organization, process or technology) cycles across the others. The fastest way out of fear, fragmentation and doubt is smart planning that leverages these interdependencies and strengthens and clarifies with each new investment.