G2SF Solutions: IT Organizational Assessment

Executive Summary

As an Information Technology consultancy, G2SF is exclusively focused on implementing enterprise solutions that improve the business value that our clients derive from their IT investments. Through the practical application of industry recognized best practices for the effective support and delivery of IT related services, the company has acquired more than a decade of hands on experience educating, assessing, planning, implementing, managing, and improving the overall effectiveness of the IT organization in support of the business or mission.

Over the past 10 years, the owners and managing consultants of G2SF have been involved in over fifteen (15) IT organizational assessments within a variety of commercial and government entities such as AT&T, STG, Raytheon, United States Marines Corp and Los Alamos National Labs. Having pioneered, influenced, and actively participated in the early adoption of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) and IT Service Management (ITSM) best practices within the United States Government, G2SF stands alone as one of few companies that can bring credible experience, perspective, and “lessons learned” to ensure, with a high degree of confidence, that Client will derive significant insight and value from the results of a G2SF assessment. Results and recommendations that can be used as a basis for cultural and organizational transformation initiatives.

It is difficult to plan for the future state without awareness of the current state. Therefore, the first critical step in planning for organizational transformation is to conduct a baseline assessment of the organization’s relative IT and service management maturity. Given the significance and critical dependencies on the assessment and its impact on all future initiatives and strategic investments, there are many critical success factors that should be taken into consideration when conducting the assessment. For example:

  • The assessment should be well planned and managed in accordance with accepted project management best practices.
  • The assessment should be an objective baseline measure of the organization’s relative maturity based on globally accepted industry best practices and standards such as ITIL®, ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO 27000.
  • The assessment should evaluate major aspects of the organization including for example the technology infrastructure and components, the service support and delivery capabilities, customer satisfaction, organizational structure and culture, and the skills and experiences of IT personnel.
  • The assessment results should be described in terms of a CMMI-based maturity rating across a variety of relevant dimensions for future comparisons indicating measurable improvement.
  • The assessment results should be organized in a logical manner that provides actionable recommendations and meaningful information (vs. data) from which effective decisions can be made and detailed implementation plans can be developed.
  • The assessment results and recommendations should be aligned with the organizations overall mission and prioritized according to initiatives or action items that will provide the greatest value in the shortest period of time while contributing to the accomplishment of the organizations strategic goals and objectives.
  • When selecting an IT Organizational Assessment Service Provider, there are many factors that should be taken into consideration. For example, the service provider should have:
  • Reference-able past performance and years of practical experience conducting assessments (and implementations) within similar organizations with comparable complexity and cultures
  • Highly experienced consultants with a variety of skill sets and disciplines and who have the ability to provide an end-to-end evaluation of the organization representing multiple perspectives including the people, the processes, the technologies and the organizational structure
  • Prior knowledge and experience as an organizational change agent capable of recognizing and proactively mitigating potential risks that can derail enterprise-wide initiatives
  • Experience serving as a trusted and objective advisor to the senior leadership team

G2SF meets or exceeds all critical success factors listed above and our proposal will demonstrate our unique approach and strong qualifications to provide our Client’s with superior assessment deliverables that will provide valuable insight regarding opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Clients’ CIS organization.

Engagement Overview

With the goal of continual organizational improvement, Clients’ are interested in obtaining an objective evaluation of their CIS organization. This evaluation or assessment will begin to help answer a variety of critical questions with regard to the people, the processes, the technology and the organizational structure. Such questions include for example:

People

  • Is CIS adequately staffed to meet current and future business needs?
  • Do CIS resources have adequate skills necessary to support current as well as future technology requirements to meet current and future business needs?
  • Are CIS resources properly allocated across the organization based on business priorities?
  • Are CIS resources fully utilized?
  • Who is responsible for the IT strategic direction and the corporate vision for IT?

Processes

  • Have CIS services been clearly defined and documented within a Service Catalog?
  • Has CIS’ support been defined in terms of specific services offerings each having properly documented and accepted service level agreements?
  • Have operational level agreements between various teams within the CIS organization been developed to ensure a common understanding of who is responsible for what?
  • Is CIS able to accommodate service requests and/or changes to services in a timely manner? If not, why?
  • Is the Client user community satisfied with the level of support currently provided and if not what are the opportunities for improvement?
  • Is there a formalized approach to defining, documenting, and validating user requirements to ensure development efforts meet expectations?
  • Is there a formal process for making IT investment decisions, developing budgets, and acquiring and tracking IT assets?

Technology

  • Where should technology investments, divestments be made, when should they be made, and what will it cost?
  • What is the cost to provide a specific IT service today?
  • Where are the greatest opportunities for savings within CIS?
  • Is there an overall technology roadmap or plan representing the steps to be taken to achieve a future desired end state with regard to IT?
  • Does the technology plan consider the lifecycle of existing IT services and infrastructure components that comprise the services (applications, databases, networks, etc.) and include a targeted retirement, replacement, or enhancement date?
  • Is the organization exploring and evaluating existing as well as emerging technologies and tools that could increase the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the operation?
  • Are tools and technologies properly aligned to meet current and future needs of the business?
  • How well do the components within the infrastructure support the minimum functionality requirements, and information required by the user community?
  • What are the critical gaps in technology to meet current and future business requirements?
  • Have future business requirements requiring IT support been identified and properly planned?

Organization

  • Is the organization properly organized to scale and meet current and future business requirements?
  • Are individual and organizational roles and responsibilities clearly defined, documented, and communicated?
  • Based on established Client’s organizational goals and objectives, is the IT organization adequately prepared to support future requirements to include the ability to scale the operation as necessary?
  • Is the culture of the organization sharply focused on providing IT services (vs. providing technology)?

The first step to begin answering the questions above, identifying the “gaps”, and developing improvement plans to address the gaps, is to conduct a baseline evaluation of the organization’s current IT capability across a number of key dimensions related to the people, the processes, the technology, and the organization itself. Armed with information regarding the gaps, improvement plans can then be developed to ensure improvement initiatives are properly prioritized and scoped to achieve maximum value in the shortest period of time.

Through the practical application of industry recognized best practices for the effective support and delivery of IT related services, G2SF has acquired more than a decade of hands on experience educating, assessing, planning, implementing, managing, and improving the overall effectiveness of numerous IT organizations. The following sections summarize the activities G2SF will conduct to assist our Client’s in taking the first critical step in answering the questions, identifying the gaps, improving the organization, and planning for the future.

 

Assessment Approach

The approach to this assessment is to evaluate the CIS organization across four primary categories representing a broad spectrum of dimensions related to the people, the processes, the technology, and the CIS organization. The focus will be on evaluating the IT infrastructure consisting of the various technologies and the core service management processes that are used to deliver and support the IT services that are required by the business. The IT infrastructure as a whole will be evaluated in relation to the people developing and delivering the IT services, as well as the organization within which CIS operates. The diagram below depicts the Market served, the Client’s Business as a whole, the IT Services provided to the Business, the entire IT Infrastructure supporting the Business, the Service Management Processes used to manage and deliver the IT Services supporting the Business, and the Technology Environment consisting of the various technologies or configuration items that together constitute a “service” (e.g. applications, networks, databases, desktops, etc.). The various technologies within the Technology Environment and the Service Management Processes represent the specific dimensions that will be evaluated as part of this assessment. It is important to note that the Service Management Processes identified below are part of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library ITIL® Lifecycle Phases and Processes.

Although not represented in the diagram above, the CIS people related dimensions to be evaluated include the following:

[table “18” not found /]

The CIS organizational related dimensions to be evaluated include the following:

[table “19” not found /]

Once the gaps and the associated consequences or risks are clearly defined, our Client will then be able to begin to develop improvement plans and/or further investigate areas that may warrant additional attention and action.

 

The Mechanics

The assessment will begin with a Kick-Off meeting to ensure there is a common understanding of what is going to be done by whom and by when in accordance with an agreed upon schedule. The kick off meeting will also be used as a basis to confirm the goals and scope of the assessment and to determine what constitutes success. Upon approval to proceed, the assessment team will then begin Data Collection to include a combination of individual/group interviews, anonymous online survey(s), documentation reviews, and direct observation as appropriate. Once the team has collected a sufficient amount of data, the assessment will move to the Data Analysis phase where gaps across all dimensions within each category (people, process, technology, organization) will be identified and documented. Gaps are typically identified by comparing current practices against defined industry best practices, standards, regulations, requirements, stated goals and objectives, or expectations. The objective of this phase is to be able to distill the data into meaningful informational views that can be used to help make the best recommendations for improvement.

After completing the Data Analysis phase, the team will then begin formulating actionable recommendations to close the gaps as part of the Strategy Development phase. The observations, findings, consequences and recommendations will then be organized within an Assessment Report that will be provided as a deliverable and presented to the leadership team for consideration. During the presentation, decisions can be made by the Client as to the next steps in addressing the recommendations as part of an overall improvement plan that may include individual plans for specific improvement initiatives. Alternatively, our Client may determine that based on the results and recommendations, further investigation is required before proceeding with the development and implementation of an improvement plan in a particular area. The overall objective is to identify and prioritize those initiatives that will offer the greatest value to the organization in the shortest period of time. A summary of each phase of the assessment is outlined below.

Conduct Kick-Off Meeting

  • Review the draft Client IT Organizational Assessment Project Plan
  • Confirm the Assessment scope
  • Identify the engagement primary points of contact and their roles/responsibilities (G2SF and Client)
  • Identify key stakeholders, managers, customers, and support personnel to be interviewed and/or surveyed
  • Identify opportunities for observation of the various assessment dimensions (e.g. Service Desk(s), Network Operations, Data Center Operations, Change Control Board Meetings, Application Development, Network Management, etc.)
  • Review the list of available documentation related to specific assessment dimensions
  • Review proposed assessment announcement memo used to properly notify CIS personnel of the assessment
  • Discuss management’s roles, responsibilities, and expectations
  • Review outstanding action items, due dates, and responsible parties
  • Obtain approval on the proposed Project Plan/schedule

Data Collection

  • Distribute a secure and anonymous web-based online survey to key stakeholders, managers, customers and support personnel to measure on a 0-5 CMMI scale the perceived maturity of existing processes/functions
  • Conduct one-on-one follow-up interviews with key stakeholders, process owners, and managers, as well as a representative sample of customers or end users to validate survey results
  • Conduct group interviews with individuals responsible for administering, supporting, and managing the technology environment
  • Observe related activities involving for example the service (help) desk, network operations, change management, and other processes or functions as appropriate
  • Review existing technical, service management, organizational and staff related documentation such as organization charts, training plans, exiting process charters, workflow diagrams/documentation, SOPs, supporting tool/system configurations, and defined roles/responsibilities

Conduct Analysis

  • Assess exiting CIS operations against industry best practices and standards such as the Information and Communications Technology Infrastructure Management (ICTIM) ITIL® ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO 27000
  • Analyze and interpret the data and benchmark the assessment results to established standards and best practices
  • Identify gaps between current operations and industry best practices or standards
  • Provide a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) 0-5 rating for each of the dimensions evaluated within the Technology Environment and the Service Management Processes
  • Plot the maturity ratings graphically

Strategy Development and Recommendations

  • Determine actionable recommendations to close the gaps and improve the processes, technologies, organization structure, and supporting human resources
  • Prioritize the recommendations according to that which will provide the greatest value in the shortest period of time
  • Assessment Report Development, Delivery, and Presentation
  • Prepare an IT Organizational Assessment Report including meaningful informational views representing key findings and the consequences, recommendations, and associated benefits
  • Prepare and present an executive overview of the assessment results, recommendations, and logical next steps

Summary of Assessment Deliverables

The following primary deliverables will be provided to our Client’s upon completion of the Assessment:

  • Kick Off Meeting and IT Organizational Assessment Project Plan
  • Survey and Survey Results
  • Interview Results
  • Assessment Findings and Gap Analysis
  • Listing of Recommendations
  • IT Organizational Assessment Report