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How IT executives can drive a successful operations bridge implementation

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Matthew Smith has over 20 years IT experience ranging from R&D to process and software solution consulting and has been with HP for the past 11 years. As the BSM Global Practice Manager for HP Software Professional Services, he is responsible for packaged solutions and the services catalog and works with HP customers to create solutions to align their IT operations across people, process and technology to meet the demands of the business.

 

When did the Network Operation Center (NOC) become the operations bridge? The hub of monitoring IT services historically has been the NOC, and still is for some organizations. But is it really a NOC? The name has outgrown what your IT monitoring hub is responsible for. Historically, one of the primary services provided by IT was connectivity. As service monitoring has matured, it now includes creating a holistic view across the network, servers and applications, and has become an integral part of creating IT value chains such as the “detect to correct” value stream (which you can read more about in this Value Streams e-book).

 

The ITIL v3 framework embraces the operations bridge as a part of the service operations process. This is descriptive and easily visualized. It is the command post, where all available information should be gathered and decisions made. But IT is struggling with creating the operations bridge, technically and organizationally. Too often, when problems arise, you still must pull all your best technical staff into a “war room” to troubleshoot the issue. These sessions can last hours, tying up the technical experts’ time so they can’t focus on anything else. How do you get beyond this and create an operations bridge?

 

HP Software can provide the solutions you need, of course, but there is more to it than that. An operations bridge involves bringing the IT organization together and often initiates organizational change, which can instill fear within IT. A few weeks ago, I met with a customer about establishing an operations bridge. As the conversation moved into the details, it was not long before a technical person in the room flatly stated it could not be done because their tools just could not provide the data required and be integrated as needed. His technical rejection created doubt on the part of the nontechnical stakeholder. We worked through the technical objections and showed it could be done, but this situation is quite common. Creating an operations bridge must start internally, with some organizational groundwork.

 

3 keys to overcoming organizational challenges associated with establishing an operations bridge

I have seen organizations fail at implementing an operations management solution, because they had not done any work upfront to bring all stakeholders to the table—regardless of whether they tried to implement on their own or with the help of consultants. Successful organizations tend to do the following:

  • Think of the operations bridge technology model as a blueprint for how to align people and processes: The ops bridge makes system data available in one place. Your goal with people and processes should be similar in that they work toward the same goal—even though they have diverse roles and expertise in different domains.
  • Secure organizational buy-in from the top down and the bottom up: When execs push an IT initiative without getting buy-in from folks on the ground, they’re more likely to encounter resistance. Some people just don’t like change, period. They may argue the technical impossibility of what you want to do, causing nontechnical stakeholders to hesitate and generally creating friction and delays.
  • Apply key principles of management of organizational change (MOC): My colleague Joshua Brusse masterfully sums up the keys to MOC in this blog post. In particular, I have seen how the fundamentals of communication and engagement around change—as well as internalization of the change—make a huge difference in an initiative’s success or failure. On a certain multi-month project, I witnessed how lack of internalization can completely undermine a stakeholder’s goals. The initial project started as a management edict and though the customer representatives went to enablement, they did not participate; they neither learned from nor engaged with the consulting team. After the implementation was complete, during the handover process, the entire operations team claimed they were not ready or able to take on responsibility of the solution.

You don’t have to be an expert in MOC or a business service management guru to achieve success. But by laying a bit of groundwork, you help move faster toward the overall goal of greater efficiency and lower costs.

 

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