Today's enterprise IT organizations are faced with a problem that seems as impossible to solve as the Penrose triangle. With stagnant IT budgets and resource/investment challenges, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the ever-growing mountain of work, let alone deliver major upgrade projects like Windows 10 or Office 365. And as any business-minded person knows, if you have more work, but you cannot resource it properly, you basically have only two options: you either do more work with the same number of hands (which means longer hours) or you become much more efficient to create capacity within the workforce.
Since we all know that productivity (and your employee happiness!) decreases with long working hours, your focus will quickly shift to increasing efficiency. But where do you even start? Of course, you can boost performance somewhat by implementing the usual suggestion when it comes to productivity: start with proper goal setting, improve your communication and team collaboration, streamline your workflows and approval processes, and turn off any distractions.
But you are probably already doing those things. To really make a difference, you will have to go far beyond the simple changes and look towards spending to save.
One area that could be ripe for efficiency improvement is your project delivery team(s). Today, I want to take a closer look at each of the key members of your IT Transformation team, their traditional roles, and how their workload and tasks change by leveraging a platform for automation, Big Data, and self-service. In other words, I'll show you what happens to your team's productivity level if you implement an IT Transformation Management Solution like Dashworks.
In particular, we will look at the following job roles (and how much additional efficiency you can expect to gain):
- Program & Project Managers (35%)
- Technical Architect (10%)
- Business Analyst (35%)
- Project Scheduler (35%)
- Deployment Engineer (40%)
- Desk-side Support (10%)
- Application Management (15%)
As we go through each team member role, I will quickly outline the responsibilities this job entails, as well as describe how this work would be accomplished without and with Dashworks.
Program & Project Managers (Increased Efficiency: 35%)
Your team of program and project managers oversees the entire migration project, providing governance, strategy, direction, and project and program task management. They are responsible for the overall success of the program, ensuring budgets are tracked and met, managing business engagement and driving best practice project management standardization.
Traditionally, program and project managers live and breathe in spreadsheets. Hundreds of them. They use them to prioritize and track project tasks, but since the data they are working with is often complex and needs to be shared, they create dozens of spreadsheets and try to version them. Proper project prioritization and tracking soon becomes inefficient, if not impossible. Spreadsheets are also used for status reporting, and to manage team collaboration which becomes quickly problematic, as it can take hours or even days to pull all the data together that senior leadership might want to see today. Worse, if every question asked takes time and resources to answer, project efficiency is reducing with every request for information.
With Dashworks, the focus of the program and project managers shifts entirely away from how they will manage each data point and towards the actual management of the project. Since Dashworks keeps track automatically of each and every asset and task in flight, and allows real-time reporting in the user interface or by exporting data sets for easy manipulation, every team member has the same access to always up-to-date information. Tasks can be assigned to your resources within Dashworks and everything is tracked with a full audit trail. Consequently, the project management tool becomes a single source of data in which all team members can collaborate in real-time during the project.
In addition, dynamic forecasting (e.g., who can go when based on data assumptions) becomes a breeze and to-be-migrated users can be prioritized via interactive modelling of the collective data & dashboards. Last, but not least, senior leadership can view customizable and live dashboard reporting online, receiving the information they desire without a single call to the project team.
Technical Architect (Increased Efficiency: 10%)
Technical architects are responsible for the technology underpinning a successful migration. The team's responsibilities include getting the infrastructure ready for the new platform, engineering the build, designing and building technical migration solutions, and developing or implementing automation to ensure scalable and efficient deployment delivery. They will also fix defects in their products and interface closely with the post-migration teams to ensure a positive end-user migration experience.
In their traditional roles, technical architects have to collate data from multiple sources to understand and support the direction of the project, while providing numerous different reports related to the existing IT estate to different project teams. They also are responsible for designing and building the target platform, as well as for scoping and sizing the technology migration methodology. But to do so, they have to extract information based on hand-cranked data manipulation. This means that a lot of their time is spent churning data rather than concentrating on the strategic goals and vision.
Because these resources are often technically proficient, the efficiency gains for the technical architect role aren't as great as they are for other project roles. However, Dashworks does still generate significant benefits for these team members. For example, the team can provide information consumers with the ability to generate their own criteria-driven data lists, which lessens the burden of report generating significantly. In addition, they can record the infrastructure readiness and its impact on the in-scope devices centrally in the tool, and report on migration successes or look out for trends in the failures. Rather than spending time generating their own tools, they can rely on the Dashworks engine to perform the heavy lifting, leaving them free to concentrate on providing the best technical solutions that they can deliver.
Business Analyst (Increased Efficiency: 35%)
The business analysts are responsible for the analysis of data to generate project activities and ensure that tasks are prioritized effectively and delivered in a timely fashion to adhere to the program schedule. They own the data for the project and are the go-to team for information and data views to support project resources.
In the past, they have been the liaison for the end users (using email and phone to gather relevant project-related data for their line of business) and for the project scheduler to define the schedule for their line of business. As you might know, this involves a tremendous amount of information being shuffled around that must be tracked, auditable, and manageable in some way. Traditionally, this would be done in spreadsheets that need to be versioned and somehow refreshed with new data during the project at regular intervals. The business analyst would also require close communication with the IT teams to ensure that their plans are in sync with the migration efforts.
With Dashworks, their workload becomes significantly easier. By leveraging the real-time data dashboards, and simply extracting the data that they need, performance levels are improved significantly. Additionally, where further information is required, by utilizing the self-service portal, business analysts can ask their set of questions one time and then have the answers automatically distributed to every end user in scope. Further project dashboards can be filtered/organized by the relevant line of business.
Project Scheduler (Increased Efficiency: 35%)
Another team to see significant benefits is the team of project schedulers. This team is responsible for ensuring that the T-(minus) process is running on schedule and delivering information to the deployment/migration teams at the appropriate time. They will ensure that all parties are aware of forthcoming migration activities, and will work with the business liaison team to generate migration schedules that align with business requirements. Finally, they will perform re-scheduling for any migration failures and manage the forecast for migration events.
Without the use of adequate IT Transformation Management tools, this process involves — you guessed it — a lot of spreadsheets. The entire scheduling, rescheduling, and sharing updates of schedules with team members, as well as the readiness tracking is done in spreadsheets. Ensuring that the schedules fall within the capacity of the team becomes very hard, especially if application readiness and other task slippage is causing regular rescheduling. Finally, the project schedulers need to manually update the data based on employees leaving and joining the organization, understand and reflect any Business as Usual changes to the IT environment in their plans, and manually send multiple end-user communication emails for every user in scope for the project. Scheduling becomes an endless assembly line of tedious, manual, and therefore labor-intensive tasks.
This does not have to be the case, though. By using Juriba's IT Transformation Management tool, schedules are maintained centrally inside of Dashworks, where they can be constrained by the capacity defined for each group of devices. Schedule dates can be modified individually or in bulk, and changes in the environment are automatically reflected in the project. The overall readiness for each device is automatically calculated, based on the readiness factors defined in the project, and end-user communication becomes a snap as end-user emails are automated and triggered based on the schedule configured in Dashworks.
Deployment Engineer (Increased Efficiency: 40%)
The team that will, on average, see the biggest boost in productivity is the team of deployment engineers who are responsible for the end user rollout. Their responsibility includes owning asset inventory, performing the required pre-migration steps, ensuring resource availability (if required) and working with the project team to build an achievable deployment schedule. This team owns the migration delivery process, ensuring that all of the tasks associated with the rollout are completed successfully. They will also own the post-migration clean-up tasks such as the decommission of old machines, inventory updates and Day-1 support.
Traditionally, the deployment engineers would have to use spreadsheets to coordinate with the project scheduler to be able to understand the current schedule. They would also have to manually execute all pre-migration and migration activities and feed back any migration failures for re-processing. Any work would be manually tracked in time-intensive spreadsheets, with the likelihood of error heightened by the difficulty in maintaining master schedule lists for the engineers to utilize.
If the project is delivered using Dashworks, migrations can be automatically triggered on the schedule defined, and managed centrally in the tool. Dashworks can also automate pushing the device details to an orchestration tool at migration time or on a schedule. The schedule and ownership for pre- and post-flight tasks are stored within Dashworks and the completion of these tasks is tracked. Last, but not least, Dashworks can generate engineer drop sheets containing all relevant migration information. The process shifts from a manual, lengthy and inefficient work effort to a slick, automated and highly efficient stream of activity.
Desk-Side Support (Increased Efficiency: 10%)
Desk-side support is responsible for both pre- and post- migration service delivery acceptance. They will often act as the ‘feet on the street’ during the migration events, ensuring that end users are productive post-migration and into Business as Usual operation.
In the past, this literally meant that this team would provide a second line of support for devices being migrated.
With Dashworks, this team can generate reports of all migration activity to aid desk-side support, and engineers can increase their efficiency by looking up migration details for any given device or user. As an example, a user complaining that an application is missing post-migration would involve a complex re-trace of system information to ascertain what the user had before, how they got it, and how it was missed. With Dashworks, they simply look at the current-to-target state mapping, review the audit history, and can very quickly provide a better explanation of events, along with some proactive information on whether remediation of the issue is possible (i.e. the required application is ready).
Application Management (Increased Efficiency: 15%)
This team is responsible for the end-to-end application readiness process. They will drive application discovery and ensure a consistent and up-to-date application inventory. Their job is to assess the applications for relevancy and compatibility with the chosen desktop platform, before deciding on a forward path for those applications. Application readiness will be managed here, ensuring that applications are packaged for the new platform, pass user acceptance testing and finish the deployment process. They are also responsible for application rationalization and work with the PMO on application prioritization.
Application compatibility is a major roadblock when it comes to IT transformation projects and the traditional way of handling this task doesn't make this any easier. First, the discovery of all applications needs to be constantly refreshed to ensure proper coverage. Then, an inventory of all discovered apps needs to be built before moving on to normalizing, rationalizing and categorizing the list to create a MAL (Master Applications List). Then the team will manage compatibility testing, packaging, end-user testing and deployment of applications. Again, all of the application readiness tracking, application prioritization for packaging and team communication is done via spreadsheets or in-house tools. Performed manually, this critical input into the IT migration process can be siloed and the team can be swamped with information requests while trying to manage both incoming and outgoing readiness tasks. The MAL often becomes static and out-of-date, and decisions for each application are difficult to track, change or revert. Applying the current state to target state mapping becomes a difficult and lengthy exercise.
In contrast to spreadsheets, Dashworks provides a global, local and departmental view of the app estate as well as an impact score against all applications in their current state. Utilizing Dashworks Analysis+ to categorize, rationalize and normalize the applications list, all the heavy lifting is performed in minutes, enabling the team to start work on identifying the priority applications much faster. In turn, this allows the team to identify quick migration wins or low hanging fruit (e.g., assessing which applications will turn the most users green for readiness within a site or department).
Automated application rationalization can also be enforced on the app estate based on rules set by the business, and each application can be shown with its compatibility status (Dashworks Analysis+ required). The tool manages the entire end-to-end application lifecycle process, including any decisions on the target state lists. Within Dashworks, applications are also automatically linked to users and/or devices to ensure that end users get the apps they need/are entitled to, and readiness can be tracked on an application by application basis. Finally, Dashworks can automate pushing application provisions to an orchestration tool such as SCCM at migration time to simplify deployment workload.
Spreadsheets and hand-cranked databases are simply not adequate to handle the increasing complexities and dependencies of enterprise IT migration and transformation projects, and will cause inefficiencies that you will not be able to overcome — no matter how many people you put onto this project. It only results in a very costly, lengthy and disruptive project that often leads to failure.
The traditional approach to managing IT migration projects is both outdated and cumbersome. But still project managers and project resources continue to rely so heavily on these processes that have caused so much pain in the past, rarely learning from previous efforts or taking a strategic approach to project delivery. Now is the time to consider a new way.
By implementing an enterprise IT Transformation Management tool like Dashworks, alongside the right project management frameworks, you can not only increase your existing project team's productivity by 27% on average, but can also ensure that, in the future, you have a repeatable and scalable platform and process in place to handle whatever comes your way — whether it be a Windows 10 rollout, Office 365 migration, hardware refresh or Business as Usual change initiative!