15 December 2016 blogs 4min read
At Savision, we recently held a webinar entitled ‘Tearing Down IT Silos – Addressing the Human Side of IT Ops’. The webinar was hosted by Microsoft MVPs Kerrie Meyler and John Joyner, and Savision’s Product Strategist, Dan Merritts. Some of the webinar’s highlights were defining the six levels of Infrastructure and Operational Maturity, the personas within the IT organization and how to eliminate silos.
We have compiled the top asked questions that were raised during the webinar. You can read them below:
1- What steps can a Director of a Network Operations Center take to reduce the silos within the organization?
By definition, the Operations Center is a fusion center. It takes reports from desperate data collections, doing a triage in correlation, and in that action is the opportunity to share knowledge. Quite often Operations Centers are under a lot of pressure due to the business demands so they try to solve the problems efficiently. However, they hardly have time to amplify and distribute lessons learned and provide an information knowledge-based feedback to their organization. They fix the problem, they close the ticket and move on. It’s up to all discipline leaders to find constructive ways to share any information that could contribute to reducing the likelihood of that same issue ever happening again. This helps to spread the burden and helps to build conscientious departments leaders, helping them in doing their part to bring their whole organization further along.
2- What is an effective trend that will get an executive to buy-in to an IT transformation strategy?
The IT Silos phenomenon is not often recognized as a negative component in an organization. Usually silos develop subtly and steadily over time, often based on an executive trusting a silo leader. It is just an inescapable effect based on a lack of awareness. The next step is to understand that executive, whether it’s the CEO, CIO or CFO and determining what are their goals and objectives. Then it’s only a matter of helping them see how those goals and objectives are being circumvented by the existing silos.
3- Where is it recommended that an organization start with the transformation process: People, Processes or Technology?
Silos can be subtle, they can develop over time, and management may not even be aware of them. We really identify this problem as a People problem, although silos could be amplified and strengthened by the processes and technologies in place. What it really comes down to is how the people are using those processes and technologies and how to get past the walls that have been put up that are creating those silos. This is why the focus must be first on the people and their hurdles. If you don’t address the people issue first, it could prove to be a waste of money, resources, and time.
The first step, then, is identifying the silos leader. There will usually be consistency on who the silos leaders are. For example, if you have a kick-off meeting and you have all the department leaders, imagine the top silos leader will be seated next to the CIO and will have the loudest voice, speaking on every topic. That loud speaker is, in fact, the bottle neck for everything.
The second step is to determine whether the silos leader is a good leader or a hostile leader. Most silos leaders don’t want to do anything negative. They don’t realize they are doing something negative so it’s vital to determine if the silos leader is amenable to constructive suggestions or if they are going to be obstructionist and defensive. The worst outcome is that you can determine that you are working with a hostile silos leader, and then what do you do? Just recognizing that this could happen, gets you thinking about ways to solve it. Describing that is the process we go through.
4- When it comes to innovation, what are the possibilities with tools like System Center except Orchestrator?
In the near term there are infinite ways to innovate with System Center components by combining component features, often with PowerShell, to perform hybrid tasks. For example, have SCOM alerts with specific criteria use PowerShell in an Automatic Recovery to launch a back-up process with SCDPM. Longer term, identify System Center functions that are not duplicated or migrated to Azure and build offerings around those.
Can DevOps contribute to removing silos?
Investing in CI/CD automation is helpful in getting all teams to work together on the deployment side. Everyone must agree on all the requirements and work together to enact them. DevOps often collapses certain functional roles into a single team that speeds how people communicate. However, DevOps may not be the best for all applications or infrastructure deployments.
What are the steps we need to take while working on a new technology which the organization wants to implement or integrate?
We’d recommend that before considering any technology decision that you first look at the people side of the problem. By examining the people and organizational need, you’ll make better technology decisions. On the integration front, ensure that you understand how the technology will enable a workflow that makes your process more efficient and consistent.