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Monthly Archives: June 2015

3 Simple Steps for Benefits Realization throughout Your IT Transformation Program

Keng Leong ChoongBy Keng Leong Choong

An IT Transformation initiative to build a Software Defined Data Center or cloud does not end with the completion of technical delivery (i.e. deployment and migration to the new infrastructure and automation tools). Many organizations have invested huge sums on their IT transformation initiative only to achieve no sustainable benefits because of loss of enthusiasm and resistance to change.

To avoid letting your IT Transformation initiative rot and die, you need to ensure that the benefits you envisaged at the start, usually in your business case justification, are being realized at the end. This is done through a benefits realization management process.

What is Benefits Realization Management?

John Thorp, author of “The Information Paradox”, wrote that:

“It is a central tenet of the Benefits Realization Approach that benefits come only with change and, equally, change must be sustained by benefits.”

Benefits are only realized if the organization changes the way it operates, and the organization will only change if they see motivation to do so.

“Benefits do not just happen. They don’t just automatically appear when a new technology is delivered. A benefits stream flows and evolves over time as people learn to use it.”

You must set expectations that realization of the full benefits of transformation will not be immediate and will only grow over time as your organization adopts the new technologies and processes.

“Benefits realization is a continuous process of envisioning results, implementing, checking intermediate results and dynamically adjusting the path leading from investments to business results.”

It is important to establish regular tracking and reporting of the benefits realized and ensure that is communicated across the organization. 

Changing the way people think, work and manage is critical to achieving IT Transformation goals.

3 Simple Steps for Benefits Realization Management

So how do you establish a Benefits Realization Process? These 3 steps should be part of your IT Transformation plan.

Step 1: Define Expected Benefits

At the beginning of the IT Transformation initiative, it is very likely that you would have developed a business case for embarking this journey. Also, you will probably have identified the tangible and intangible benefits which will be achieved at some time in future (e.g. 2-3 years).

If this has not been done, you need to do it now!

Step 2: Run the IT Transformation Initiative as a Program

As I mentioned above, the initiative doesn’t end when you completed your technical delivery. To justify the investment, you have to produce results and show business benefits accomplished during the time span defined in the business case.

To do this you need a program office that manages the transformation program for the entire time span.

Step 3: Monitor, Track and Report on Benefits Realization

As John Thorp pointed out, to realize the benefits, you need to change. The best way to achieve this is to adopt a balanced scorecard to track IT transformation benefits realization from financial, people, process and customer perspectives.

Balanced Scorecard for IT Transformation

Tracking and reporting on SDDC/ Cloud adoption and usage is also important, as the faster workloads are migrated to the SDDC, the faster you achieve the cost saving goals. The longer it takes, the financial benefits become opportunity costs.


Consistently tracking and communicating benefits realization throughout your IT transformation to executives, senior management, the IT organization, and even the business at large is not only vital to the overall success of the program but can determine whether your IT organization is seen as trusted innovators and strategic partners, or just a necessary (and replaceable) cost center.
Choong Keng Leong is an operations architect with VMware Professional Services and is based in Singapore. You can connect with him on LinkedIn

6 Processes You Should Automate to Provide IT-as-a-Service

kai_holthaus-cropBy Kai Holthaus

IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) is one of the current paradigm shifts in managing IT organizations and service delivery. It represents an “always-on” approach to services, where IT services are available to customers and users almost instantly, allowing unprecedented flexibility on the business side with regards to using IT services to enable business processes.

This brave new world requires a higher degree of automation and orchestration than is common in today’s IT organizations. This blog post describes some of the new areas of automation IT managers need to think about.

1&2) Event Management and Incident Management

This is the area where automation and orchestration got their start – automated tools and workflow to monitor whether servers, networks, storage—even applications—are still available and performing the way they should be. An analysis should be performed to study whether events, when detected, could be handled in an automated fashion, ideally before the condition causes an actual incident.

If an incident already happened, incident models can be defined and automated, implementing self-healing techniques to resolve the incident. In this case, an incident record must be created and updated as part of executing the incident model. Also, it may be advisable to review the number of incident models executed within a given time period, to determine if a problem investigation should be started.

It is important to note that when a workflow makes these kinds of changes in an automatic fashion, at the very least the configuration management system must be updated per the organization’s policies.

3) Request Fulfillment

Automation and orchestration tools are removing the manual element from request fulfillment. Examples include:

  • Requests for new virtual machines, databases, additional storage space or other infrastructure
  • Requests for end-user devices and accessories
  • Requests for end-user software
  • Request for access to a virtual desktop image (VDI) or delivery of an application to a VDI

Fulfillment workflows can be automated to minimize human interaction. Such human interaction can often be reduced to the approval step, as required.

Again, it is important that the configuration management system gets updated per the organization’s policies since it is part of the workflows.

4&5) Change and Configuration Management

Technology today already allows the automation of IT processes that usually require change requests, as well as approvals, implementation plans, and change reviews. For instance, virtual machine hypervisors and management software such—such as vSphere—can automatically move virtual machines from one physical host to another in a way that is completely transparent to the user.

Besides automating change, the configuration management system should be automatically updated so that support personnel always have accurate information available when incidents need to be resolved.

6) Continuous Deployment

The examples provided so far for automating activities in an IT organization were operations-focused. However, automation should also be considered in other areas, such as DevOps.

Automation and orchestration tools can define, manage, and automate existing release processes, configuring workflow tasks and governance policies used to build, test, and deploy software at each stage of the delivery processes. The automation can also model existing gating rules between the different stages of the process. In addition, automation ensures the correct version of the software is being deployed in the correct environments. This includes integrating with existing code management systems, such as version control, testing, or bug tracking solutions, as well as change management and configuration management procedures.

In an ITaaS model, automation is no longer optional. To fulfill the promise of an always-on IT service provider—and remain the preferred service-provider of your customers—consider automating these and other processes.

Kai Holthaus is a delivery manager with VMware Operations Transformation Services and is based in Oregon.

Top 5 Tips for Organizing the Cloud

You’re ready to reap the rewards. Is your organization ready to deliver?

5 Tips for Organizing the CloudThe technical and business advantages of the software-defined cloud era are well understood. But all too often a critical aspect of adopting the cloud model is overlooked: the organizational impact. The fact is the transition to the cloud changes roles, skills, processes and organizational structures. Yet, many IT leaders become so focused on the vision of the cloud—or its technological requirements—that they lose sight of whether their IT staff is properly prepared for the new world.

The resource, Top 5 Tips for Organizing the Cloud, will help you prepare for—and execute—a successful move to the cloud.

Green vs. Grey — Rethinking Your IT Operations

Neil MitchellBy Neil Mitchell

Can you really create a new greenfield IT organization with no legacy constraints?

In this short video, operations architect Neil Mitchell explains that while anything is theoretically possible, most IT execs need to face the reality of impact on legacy IT operations.

Neil Mitchell is an operations architect with the VMware Operations Transformation global practice and is based in the UK.