Strategic IT Application Management Model; Creating Enduring Value & Building Competitive Edge

Dnyanesh Joshi, Head - Technology Innovation Centre, TMF GroupTMF Group enables businesses to setup businesses internationally as per the respective country’s regulatory compliance policies, through its suits of services that include HR & payroll, accounting & tax, corporate secretarial, global governance & administration services for structured finance, private equity, and real estate investments.

In the Digital world, organisations including IT product and services companies spend millions on new client acquisitions. Having effective client retention and account expansion strategy coupled with new clients’ acquisition strategy almost certainly yields exponential dividends. A client as an account for an IT product or services company is willing to expand in terms of accepting any cross-sell/up-sell propositions or awarding new IT projects basis the execution confidence and trust quotient with the delivering IT company. This execution confidence and trust quotient could be built-up as capital through timely, cost-effective software product or software services delivery and post-delivery management of solutions. A standardized, well-engineered model based application management promise could indeed turn-out be a future revenue gainer through the engendered trust with the clients. This also builds up the company reputation around delivery capability and thus becomes a completive edge in terms of enduring value delivery.

Let me begin this article by introducing the subject of the article as CIO/CTO’s Enterprise Application Management Strategy Model to gain client delight and thereby achieve a decisive competitive edge. What I am talking about is an innovative application management framework strategy that amalgamates top-down and bottom-up approaches in delivering lean, efficient, measurable and highly productive global IT application management that leads to higher degrees of client satisfaction and strategic business lead.

The Strategic Model
This IT application management strategy model, which acts as means to achieve high degree of client satisfaction and which in turn attributes to stronger retention, is constructed based on the following practitioner’s approach.

Model Part I: The Measurement Framework
The first part of the model deals with building measurement framework around tightly integrated teams based on the guiding principles of Efficiency, Effectiveness, Scalability, Reliability, Productivity and Velocity. The Model mechanics based on these co-existing principles ensures the targeted trust and client satisfaction.

Efficiency: Doing things right by economising the conversion of input to output eliminating the waste

Effectiveness: Doing right things by moving highest priorities on the stack

Scalability: Fault tolerant infrastructure &highly integrated human structures
Reliability: Consistent predictable results through repeatable mechanisms resilient to spikes/unforeseen events

Velocity: Speed of quality deliveries achieved through mechanised operation by integrated teams and tooling

Productivity: Magnitude of quality throughput at optimized cost

Client Satisfaction: Function of productivity and velocity. Measured via automated composite formula with parameters coming from system inputs

"Deploying hybrid techniques such as Scrumban, coupled with test driven development (TDD) and testing automation further adds to the speed of delivery"

Define KPIs and associated metrics rolling-up to each of the guiding principles as individual indexes viz. Efficiency Index, Effectiveness Index, Reliability Index, Scalability Index and Client Satisfaction Index. These indexes will be composite functions of the underlying KPIs. The KPIs are required to be engineered to have a quantitative function that derives their values from set of key system generated metrics. The parent indexes then find their place on CIO/CTO dashboard presented to the top executive committee of the organization on periodic basis.

Model Part II: The Process Mechanics
One of the most critical elements in global application management is the creation and maintenance of set of 'live' Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs). This set lists all the tasks that are essential for effective management of global applications. An apt set of SOPs define ‘what needs to be done’ and ‘who does it. These SOPs involve standard troubleshooting scenarios and associated structured problem-solving techniques. Therefore, the SOPs help increase performance, maximize efficiency,and safeguard the quality of application support.

The following diagram depicts Global Application Standard Operating Procedures(GASOP)at a broader level mapped to their respective cores as part of GSOPs – well-defined path of resolution of every application impacting scenarios viz. Global Application Issue Resolutions(GAIRs).

It is recommended that every GASOPs are represented by a process flow diagram to depict the steps or actions to be initiated as part of the embedded GAIR. SOPs also ensure improved quality at reduced training costs, faster deliveries and elimination of waste and the subjectivity factor in system and human performance evaluation.

Model Part III: The Resources - Ownerships and Competency/Skills Mapping
This part of the model talks about mapping competencies to the defined GASOPs and GAIRs. This helps in assigning ownerships, evaluating performance and identifying individual training needs. An example resource mapping could be as follows.

Additionally, this exercise helps us to identify the demand-supply position between number of applications and resources or skip-set gap. Missing or insufficient skills can be fulfilled through training or new resources hiring. Improve scalability of application through cross-skill trainings without any additional spend.

Model Part IV: Strengthening & Maturity Process
This part of model focuses on enhanced client experience through process maturity, technology excellence and adoption of latest trends and techniques in execution space. Process maturity largely comes from further mechanisation of SOPs through additions of granular scenarios of issue resolutions. Staying compliant with global standards such as GDPR is mandatory from process governance perspective.

Technology excellence is achieved via integration of complimenting enterprise application management and monitoring software. Automation of calculating indexes and associated metrics through system parametric data mentioned in Part-1 of the model are part of the technology excellence.

To achieve highest degree of client satisfaction, the measure of DevOps lab is highly recommended as part of model maturity.Deploying hybrid techniques such as Scrumban, hybrid of Scrum and Kanban, coupled with test driven development(TDD)and testing automation further adds to the speed of delivery.

Complementing the DevOps best practises,the basic actions of technical governance viz. defect correction,software updates adaption,long-term design perfection and defect prevention ought to be performed on a continual basis.