Introduction to Management of IT Services

Information technology is based on the use of computer based applications in performing business operations. Storing, transferring, transmitting, manipulating or interpreting of information are some of the tasks that are classified as a part of information technology. The application of this branch of science is very wide. Modern day administration is entirely guided by the omnipresence of information technology. In this report, the use of IT4IT by Delta Lloyd company has been presented. Right from the need to application, all the aspects are described in this assessment. The changes that have caused the company to move to a more advanced process of information technology and related challenges have also been discussed in this report.

Background and justification of IT4IT adoption

Delta Lloyd is an organisation that provides financial services to customers in the form of different types of insurances, pensions, banking services, etc. The major transformation that has shifted the strategic approaches to business operations is internet. It has decreased the distances and gaps amongst business organisations and customers through use of various social networking sites and mobile applications. The function of information technology in this aspect is to manage and organise operations in such a way that customer support is provided with efficiency. The new mobility perspective has encouraged businesses to develop mobile based applications which can be handled by clients irrespective of the time and place of operation.

The company has developed mobility perspective in the form of smart phone applications (apps). Delta Lloyd has about 700 employees working in information technology. About 404 million customers are being handled in one time frame by the organisation all because of the advanced tactics of information technology. This humongous task of handling 1200 servers with 600 business applications amongst such wide network of individuals is not easy. It requires efficient systems which can bring in more stability and faster response without affecting the security requirements. Hence, to operate in such a challenging business environment, Delta Lloyd requires a new system that is fast, flexible and more organised information technology.

The IT4IT Reference Architecture is considered as one of the most powerful and efficient techniques which can transform the entire IT operations scenario. The company finalised to adopt this reference architecture for gaining more stability in terms of information technology operations and customer requirements. Apart from Big Data and Cloud computing, asset management and operations management are enabled in this reference structure. The company decided to adopt IT4IT because security compliance of mobile applications was a growing issue. The storage requirements and access of information regarding this old IT architecture were not fulfilled effectively. Hence, the new reference architecture was adopted.

Implications of IT4IT™ for cloud computing

IT4IT Reference Architecture offers the IT operations functions, information flows, specifications regarding API, roadmap that helps in automating the different layers of activities. Current models which are applied by different business organisations for supporting their manual processes can now be automated or integrated with strategies more efficiently if IT4IT is applied. Cloud computing is a technology which involves dense network of servers that are hosted by internet for performing strategic information management in the targeted strategic information system. This model helps in providing access to shared resources whenever required by the user.

When selecting a cloud computing facility for the company, there are various requirements that need to be considered. For example: memory requirement, disk or storage, operating system, performance parameters, back-up requirements and availability. This indicates that organisation has to select the best possible option without getting affected from various attributes. Implementation of IT4IT Reference architecture, brings in more flexibility in selecting host and storage with a service platform that provides more scope for access, interfacing and data handling. Moreover, there is also a scope for applications and their configurations when considering the tools provided by vendors.

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IT4IT is considered as the futuristic model for information technology operations. Delta Lloyd has adopted this Reference Architecture in its IT operations because this system is more agile, simplified and inclines the workflow towards continuous improvements. Current operations are quite complex with involvement of more than 100 entities using more than 50 tools and 30 processes. This implies that management of information with such perspectives is quite difficult and it can incur more cost of operations. Hence, positive impact can be assessed on business environment when adoption of IT4IT is considered.

Adoption road map

Stage 1: IT4IT Blueprint

IT4IT adoption roadmap is was initialised by development of an idea in 2015. The company developed a vision which was defined and Strategic IT management blueprint was defined. This stage was referred to as IT4IT blueprint. It involved basic clarification regarding processes, tools and organisation with their significant impact.

Stage 2: ITSM Platform

Strategic information technology management platform was developed which involved service catalogues, request management systems, incidents, problems, SLA, CMDB and definition of change management. The service portfolio management function was also performed at this stage. Since, entire operations management and service management in terms of information technology has to be optimised and automated, this stage is crucial beginning.

Stage 3: Request to fulfill

The next milestone in this roadmap was to develop a request to fulfill requirements and provisioning of required resources which were concerned with cloud. Servers, storage, databases, access rights, etc. are some of the components of cloud which were updated according to current requirement of new architecture. CMDB was automated for up-date.

Stage 4: Detect to correct

The cloud services once activated have to be monitored or supervised so that threats and complications which occur to security can be managed effectively. Hence, a detection mechanism was activated with event management i.e. monitoring of usage and capacity with automated recovery options.

Stage 5: Requirement to Deploy

ITSM i.e. information technology strategic management/CMDB were integrated with ALM platform. Application was also released with automation at this stage by the company.

Stage 6: Application performance monitoring

The initialised application once deployed has to be monitored for gaining the insight whether any sort of dysfunctional factors are dominant or not. Hence, the company implemented performance monitoring system which had log analytics, root cause analysis, business chain/processes monitoring. Overall performance was supervised from every perspective so that easy detection and resolution of flaws can be performed.

Stage 7: Strategy to Portfolio

A portfolio is created In 2017 regarding the investments and integration of prepared application. This shall help the company to gain sponsors who would provide sufficient finance regarding this proposal.

Challenges encountered during adoption process

The overall process of adoption of IT4IT™ Reference Architecture by Delta Lloyd was supported by strategic planning and efficient project management systems. Despite of this fact, there were some challenges which were faced by the company during the entire process. These include:

Integration of entire idea

Once a vision is developed, it is important for the entire project to be aligned with this mission. The objectives and goals which were defined for different stages helped in sticking to the plan that was strategically designed.

Maintaining the flow

When a information system is designed, a flow of instructions is developed that helps in understanding every activity of the process and its application in respective areas. Project management can be efficient when this flow is not broken and is maintained until the entire application process is complete. Delta faced this challenge but managed to restrict the effect simultaneously.

Architectural fit

The design which is prepared and executed is at high risk of meeting the architectural requirements. Company was posing a severe challenge at the execution stage regarding appropriateness of the structure. It had to be accurate because a lot of time, efforts and resources were applied in building one set of design. Any sort of mismatch would result in more investment of resources and development of greater risks.

RECOMMENDATIONS

IT4IT™ is a value-chain based model which helps in managing business process in terms of information technology with open standards from the vendor. While developing the roadmap, the most crucial is vision and objective which drives entire activities related with the plan. Hence, IT companies should develop SMART objectives and a realistic vision which helps in maintaining other processes with proper alignment. Moreover, it is recommended that provisioning and listing of requirements has to made precisely and accurately so that misfits are not produced.

CONCLUSION

Through this report, it has been evaluated that current information technology operations that are utilised by businesses for simplifying manual processes can be made better with adoption of IT4IT. It is a Reference Architecture not so popular in the present scenario of business environment. Delta Lloyd the financial service providing company has implemented this IT architecture in enhancing its IT operations with regards to mobile applications and security management. The company adopted IT4IT™ for gaining more command and flexibility in performance as compared to the previously proposed information technology structures. Moreover, the challenges or roadblocks which have been experienced by company are also mentioned in this report.

REFERENCES

  • Audi, R., 2013. The Architecture of Reason.The American Philosophical Association Centennial Series.
  • Josey, A., 2015.The IT4IT™ Reference Architecture, Version 2.0–A Pocket Guide. Van Haren.
  • Maes, S. H. and et. al., 2016.Execution of end-to-end processes across applications.
  • Marković, D. and Brodersen, R.W., 2012.DSP architecture design essentials. Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Osório, A.L., 2016, October. Towards Vendor-Agnostic IT-System of IT-Systems with the CEDE Platform. In Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises.
  • Segall, M. M. L., 2010. Experimentation and the understanding and mastering of languages in the design process in architecture’s academic environment: critical or relatively unimportant?.

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