Business & IT Performance

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IT Governance aligns business objectives with high-level organizational goals.   The people, processes and technologies that manage and control the IT services and IT infrastructure are referred to as the IT Service Management (ITSM) with objectives provided from the IT Governance.   ITSM identifies the services its customers need and focuses on planning and delivering those services to meet availability, performance, and security requirements. In addition, it manages the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that are both internal and external in meeting quality and cost targets mutually agreed upon.  In complimenting SLA best practices and recommendation services to our clients, we offer CA Oblicore Guarantee™ tools that help structure the defined service catalogs and metrics and manage and monitor actual SLA performance targets against contractual obligations with internal and external clients.  More information on these products can be found by clicking here ‘Resources, Partners, & Tools’

IT Governance is defined as the “what” the IT organization should achieve and ITSM is defined as the “how” the organization will achieve it.

ITIL

The framework of best practice processes and concepts for ITSM is ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library).   ITIL includes the structure, roles, metrics, measures, processes, practices, technology, control, and people to support the framework.

ITIL can appear overwhelming at first for many IT organizations.  Acolyst’s success is based on being able to communicate with process owners and managers the grouping within ITIL related to their business functionality and outline the information so it becomes easy to understand and manage.

Back in 2003, Acolyst worked with partner, CA Technologies (formerly known as Computer Associates) on generating assessment templates and checklists that helped organizations with a roadmap.  Since then, ITIL has evolved to version 3 and so have the process maps.

Today, Acolyst has certified analysts, templates, comprehensive checklists, procedures, and tools in offering our ITIL implementation services that can be tailored to any IT organization’s needs.  We utilize CA ITIL Process Maps by bringing best in class detailed descriptions with our strategic and analytical consulting services.  For detailed image on the CA ITIL Process Maps please click here ‘Resources, Partners, & Tools.’

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There are inputs and outputs to each ITIL process for which individual members of an organization are responsible for.  During the requirements gathering phase, Acolyst utilizes the series of templates and checklists derived from lessons learned and best practices to expedite the process improvement cycle.

We outline the as-is process flow and the to-be steps by working with process owners and assigned team members to create the Gap Analysis which includes industry standard and recommended Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  Once approved by the stakeholders, the implementation is quick, smooth, and seamless, as the key players are engaged throughout the process and have visual representations of the flow.

Balanced Scorecard (BS)

In supporting IT Governance, the methodology of Balanced Scorecard is used as a measurement and management system that provides visualized information into the organization, operation, user impact, and the future direction.  As organizations evolve, management and executives need a way to review and monitor the performance measurement and targets set in place for improvements needing to be met.

The Balanced Scorecard, as developed and termed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, is a strategy-focused approach to performance management that includes performance measures derived from the organization’s vision and strategy. The Balanced Scorecard is used to provide a visual snapshot to the ITSM structure for continual process improvement.  In implementing a Balanced Scorecard the performance measurement and the target goals are both needed.  The measurement and target goal are the metrics that define the scorecard.  Measures without targets are reports that cannot help define success.  Success could be defined differently for different organizations such as meeting strategic initiatives, compliance, and audit requirements.  Targets without measures cannot help determine if what measures were chosen were valuable and can lead to risk.

With the Balanced Scorecard, we can see that there needs to be a cause and effect relationship to create the success of the strategic initiative.  It is not about picking from a list of metrics, identifying the data source, and pulling that information into a graphical view.  A true scorecard is much more than that.

If a hotel’s initiative is to increase revenues, one way they can do this is by increasing customer experience to gain repeat customer and generating word of mouth marketing.  In order to increase customer experience the hotel invests in improved check-in and check-out systems, new and upgraded mattresses, complimentary shuttle services, and advancing technology services for guests (free Wi-Fi connection and Movies On-Demand).  To improve the type of check-in and check-out system, mattress, shuttle, and technology needed, innovative and creative employees are the drivers to help with the input.  Continual employee learning and growth is the basis for their innovation and creativity.

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From the hotel example above, we see that there is a cause and effect relationship that takes place which is used to evaluate and help refine the strategy as necessary.  The strategic objectives and performance measures within the hierarchical Balanced Scorecard framework are derived from the vision and strategy of the organization.  The framework includes financial performance resulting from customer satisfaction, customer satisfaction comes from business process improvement, and business process is drawn from innovation and creativity through the evolvement of employee learning and growth.  Within each four of the hierarchical framework perspective includes four components that create the Balanced Scorecard.  The four components include objectives, measures, targets and initiatives.

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The strategy map is created and linked to demonstrate the cause and effect relationship of the Balanced Scorecard framework.  When working with clients and making recommendations, Acolyst also considers leading, lagging, strategic, operational, and problem-oriented metrics.  A critical component in creating and implementing a Balanced Scorecard is to make sure the metrics chosen have gone through a thorough analytical process and achievable targets can be set.

Many think that creating a dashboard or scorecard is about the view and how the graphs or charts should look.  It is actually about the way the analytics of the data is presented and what the user decides what they want to do with the information they have, whether that is predictive analysis, forecasting or making strategic decisions.  There will always be pretty charts or fancy graphs that are even now being displayed on iPads, but the question is if the information can be interpreted to the needs of a specific user and can they make decisions based on a particular view?

I thank colleague Bernard Marr for finally coming out with a book that highlights the key value that is often overlooked when putting together a performance management or balanced scorecard system in place.  He has provided insightful information and outlines the importance of data and analysis to the evolution of Business Intelligence systems in his recent book titled ‘The Intelligent Company: Five Steps to Success with Evidence-Based Management’.  Bernard explains thoroughly and throughout his book that IT infrastructure and business intelligence tools are enablers of presenting data.  The core is about the process of gathering meaningful and relevant data that allows users to act and make decisions with.  The overview of his Evidence-Based Management (EbM) Model five steps are:

Step 1: Intelligent Strategies – by identifying strategic priorities and agreeing to real information needs.
Step 2: Intelligent Data – by creating relevant and meaningful performance indicators as well as qualitative management information linked back to strategic information needs.
Step 3: Intelligent Insights – by using good evidence to test and prove ideas and by analyzing the data to gain robust and reliable insights.
Step 4: Intelligent Communication – by creating informative and engaging management information packs and dashboards that provide the essential information, packaged in a way that is targeted and easy-to-understand.
Step 5: Intelligent Decision Making – by fostering an evidence-based culture of turning information into actionable knowledge and real decisions.

Bernard is CEO and Director of Research at the Advanced Performance Institute in the UK.  A direct link to his best-seller book available on Amazon is provided under our Resources, Partners, & Tools.’

Mapping Balanced Scorecard with ITIL

In looping the Balanced Scorecard to ITIL, we have aligned the following to provide a snapshot of how it fits together.

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Information Visualization

Acolyst is a certified MicroStrategy partner.  Acolyst has a thorough understanding of the documentation involved, design techniques, dataset considerations, and the ability to create dynamic MicroStrategy multi-panel dashboards.  Within the link on the right “Resources/Partners/Tools”, we have sample MicroStrategy Scorecard and Dashboard demos including videos of the mobile output dynamic views presented on the iPhones and iPads.

When creating advanced visualization systems, the following is a pictorial view of what Acolyst considers and offers services around when working with clients.

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Should you have any questions or want to request our services, feel free to contact us at contact@acolyst.com