9. Challenges, Critical Success Factors and Risks
With every undertaking there will be challenges or difficulties to face and to overcome. This will be especially true when attempting to design new services and processes that meet the requirements of all stakeholders within the business. Experience has shown that the following will help to overcome the challenges:
- Understanding the business requirements and the business priorities and ensuring that these are uppermost in mind when designing the processes and the services.
- Communications will be vitally important both in explaining what is happening and how individuals will be affected and in listening to the requirements and needs of the individuals. It's vitally important to communicate with people about concerns that relate to their daily job.
- Involve as many people as possible in the design. Setting up focus groups or steering groups can be very effective in getting the right solution as well as gaining wider support.
- Gaining commitment from senior management as well as from all levels of staff.
Examples of challenges that may be faced include:
- The need to ensure alignment with current architectural directions, strategy and policies. An example of this may be that the procured infrastructure may have poor monitoring and control features.
- The use of diverse and disparate technologies and applications.
- Documentation and adherence to agreed practices and processes.
- Unclear or changing requirements from the business. This may be unavoidable in some cases because business needs are likely to change. The important thing is to ensure that there is a very close relationship between the IT service provider organization and the business customer of the service, so that any changing requirements can be identified as quickly as possible.
- A lack of awareness and knowledge of service and business targets and requirements.
- Linked to the above point, it may be that certain facilities are not built into the design. Again, it is imperative that representatives of every user of the designed service or process are involved throughout the process to reduce the chance of this happening. Details of service testing (an important element here) are contained within the Service Transition publication.
- A resistance to planning, or a lack of planning leading to unplanned initiatives and unplanned purchases.
- Inefficient use of resources causing wasted spend and investment.
- As mentioned previously, a good knowledge and appreciation of the business impacts and priorities is imperative.
- Poor relationships, communication or lack of cooperation between the IT service provider and the business may result in the design not achieving the business requirements.
- Resistance to work within the agreed strategy.
- Use of, and therefore the constraints of, old technology and legacy systems.
- Required tools are too costly or too complex to implement or maintain with the current staff skills.
- Lack of information, monitoring and measurements.
- Unreasonable targets and timescales previously agreed in the SLAs and OLAs.
- Over-commitment of available resources with an associated inability to deliver (e.g. projects always late or over budget).
- Poor Supplier Management and/or poor supplier performance.
- Lack of focus on service availability.
- Lack of awareness and adherence to the operational aspects of security policies and procedures.
- Ensuring normal daily operation or business as usual is considered as part of the design.
- Cost and budgetary constraints.
- Ascertaining the ROI and the realization of business benefit.
There are a number of risks directly associated with the Service Design phase of the Service Lifecycle. These risks need to be identified to ensure that they are not realized. They include the following:
If any of the PFSs for Service Design are not met, then the Service Design or Service Management process will not be successful.
- If maturity levels of one process are low, it will be impossible to achieve full maturity in other processes.
- Business requirements are not clear to IT staff.
- Business timescales are such that insufficient time is given for proper Service Design.
- Insufficient testing, resulting in poor design and therefore poor implementation.
- An incorrect balance is struck between innovation, risk and cost while seeking a competitive edge, where desired by the business.
- The fit between infrastructures, customers and partners is not sufficient to meet the overall business requirements.
- A coordinated interface is not provided between IT planners and business planners.
- The policies and strategies, especially the Service Management strategy, are not available from Service Strategy, or its content is not clearly understood.
- There are insufficient resources and budget available for Service Design activities.
- The risk of services developed in isolation using their 'own' assets and infrastructure. This can appear to be cheaper in isolation, but can be much more costly in the long term because of the financial savings of corporate buying and the extra cost of supporting different architecture.
- Insufficient time given to the design phase, or insufficient training given to the staff tasked with the design.
- Insufficient engagement or commitment with the application's functional development, leading to insufficient attention to Service Design requirements.