Five ways to inject more agility into your IT

The term 'IT agility' is an oxymoron at many organizations. Time to fix that.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

To some, "IT agility" is an oxymoron, much like "business intelligence" and "bipartisan cooperation."

However, it is something worth striving for, and may be attainable on some levels. But don't listen to the vendors who promise automatic agility if you buy their solution. In a recent post, Philippe Abdoulaye, a seasoned IT leader, pins down some of the practical steps IT and business leaders can take to inject more agility into their IT infrastructure. He makes five recommendations for implementing IT agility:

Take advantage of a structured teamwork approach to IT transformation: "Put key stakeholders into effective cross-functional teams, to accelerate problem solving, consensus building and decision making," Abdoulaye advises. A structured, well-focused approach helps "mitigate risks, control cost and time so that targeted business objectives are achieved."

Hold workshops to spread the vision: Time must be allotted at all levels to communicate the executive vision around IT transformation. "Trying to implement IT agility without the executive vision and related business drivers is like building castles built on sand," Abdoulaye says. "The executive vision provides the big picture that correlate the IT operating model and the expected competitive advantage."

Leverage a use-case diagram: Doing so "provides the visual support that facilitates discussions, communications, collaboration and decision making around the IT roles, responsibilities, processes, governance and tools needed to enable IT agility," says Abdoulaye.

Always involve the IT folks: Much of the criticism of IT initiatives is that it tends to be suboptimizing IT and not the rest of the business. But at the same time, IT needs to stay intimately involved with the process. And here's where DevOps takes hold -- Abdoulaye recommends both developers and operations types be included in the service catalog and SLA definition workshops.

Take advantage of the industry's proven IT service management frameworks: This includes IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), IT Service Capability Maturity Model (CMM), and eSourcing Capability Model for Client Organization (eSCM-CL), Abdoulaye states. "Cloud computing is about delivering IT services; 90 percent of recommendations and best practices of IT service management framework such as ITIL, IT Service CMM, and eSCM-CL," he adds.

(Thumbnail photo: CNET.)

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