Frameworks for Developing Effective IT Processes

Executive Summary

This piece of work covers frameworks used to ensure reliable IT processes. Two frameworks have been covered namely: Six sigma framework and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).  The main purpose of the Six Sigma is detection of defects and developing solutions for them. A previous related study is discussed. Effectiveness of ITIL implementation has been supported. Two IT process, service management process and auditing, and how their importance have been elevated by the frameworks is determined.

Frameworks for Developing Effective IT processes

Several frameworks have been implemented in organizations to help improve effectiveness of processes undertaken within them. The key areas used to enhance effective running of these frameworks are determined by critical success factors (CSFs). Such CSFs include; teamwork of subordinates, support by top managers and creating a hospitable environment for implementing the framework. Once the factors fail the framework is negatively affected, thus objectives set are not attained. The importance of this paper will be to determine to what extent IT processes frameworks contribute to effectiveness of an organization.

Six Sigma

“Six Sigma is a popular approach to drive out variability from processes using powerful statistical tools and techniques” (Banuelas & Jiju, 2002, p.99). Motorola introduced it back in 1986 to measure performance of a product and work towards improving it. This is its major objective. This framework is used to determine defects in business processes such as procurement, budgeting, software process and IT value management.

(Banuelas & Jiju, 2002) state that Six Sigma frameworks have been tested on effect on a software process, which falls under IT industry. It was done on 100 software companies where each was given a questionnaire. Only 15 companies responded and only 10 of them were using the Six Sigma framework. The companies involved in the study were selected due to fame and global access. Among the respondents, 80% had a managerial position, whereas the other percentages were general subordinates. These questionnaires had two segments; the first segment was meant to determine issues like quality of six sigma, its use in the software process, financial benefits from the framework, and the second segment, which comprised of 12 CSFs, which were ranked in order of importance on scale. It was found that majority of companies that used the framework made very high savings. This is because of the ability of Six Sigma to identify and thus do away with defects of a product prior to its release to the market. The criteria used by the participants to determine how effective Six Sigma was were; financial benefits, ability to identify and reduce detection, ability to minimize costs of poor quality (COPQ), improving capability of software process and increasing consumer satisfaction. Additionally, the companies used the following tools to test their programs, a diagram showing flow of data, analyzing of a gap, process mapping and analyzing customer response (Banuelas & Jiju, 2002). The first two tools were used to indicate the flow in the process while the other two were used to capture what the consumers require and expect from an organization.

The CFCs were to determine to what extent collected data was consistent to enhance a secure Six Sigma implementation. The following features were considered more of much importance; engagement of leaders and top management, changes in norms of organization, aligning the framework to business goals and considering consumers satisfaction. The strategy is governed by strong principles, which will enhance it last many years to come.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

An increasing number of companies as a tool of improving their IT processes (Pollard & Cater- Steel, 2009) have also embraced ITIL. Having been evolved from the Government of British, this Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) framework is taking dominance in improvement of IT processes. Over years, incorporation of ITIL in institutions globally has been evident. A research carried out in the United States showed an increase in inquiries made by customers about implementing ITIL. Between July 2007 and July the following year, a field study was carried out which revealed almost more than 30% increment in inquiries about this framework compared to the same duration and year before (Pollard & Cater- Steel, 2009).

A report provided by Pollard & Cater- Steel (2009) justifying the effectiveness of ITIL towards four companies, two from the US and the other two from Australia, where they were equally divided from the private and public sector. Choosing the organizations from both sectors of the economy, and different continents was for getting a global view of the results. A case study was carried out, and interviews taken on these four organizations. Those in charge of these IT processes were interviewed one on one. The data collected was analyzed through content analysis. It was found that a noticeable improvement was present in these organizations due to ITIL implementation. Consumer fulfillment and cut costs were present. The CSFs that led to a triumphant ITIL framework were; support from seniors, collaborative departments, effective consultations, training and choosing the right software. All these had a positive impact towards achieving this framework. After the study, three more CFCs were developed which were; maintaining a hospitable environment for ITIL, focus on it wholeheartedly and work towards customer satisfaction. Therefore, in future, all these factors should be implemented in ITIL frameworks.

Implementation of IT Frameworks on IT processes in Organizations

ITIL Implementation on IT Service Management Process

Information Technology, even with its gradual improvement is a company asset not well attended to (Spremic, Zmirak & Kraljeric ….). Effective IT processes should be enhanced to ensure successful organizations. Effectiveness of ITIL methodology on IT service management process has been evaluated in previous research by (Spremic, Zmirak &…). A case study was carried on a company that operated in Croatia. Its IT service management program could not meet all demands of its customers. The company realized that implementing an ITIL methodology would help improve processes involved in the department. This would help to increase satisfaction of customers. Before implementing the framework, the firm had several negative encounters; “lack of quality control, undefined communication among people in IT department, undefined change execution, repeated tasks and unrecognizing goals from IT staff point of view” (Spremic, Zmirak & Kraljeric…., 245). Results to be gotten by the implementing ITIL were based on several Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which tested to what extent customer satisfaction was enhanced.

Positive results were observed after implementation of ITIL. Based on the KPIs, the company improved measurably, this led to its achievements. There were both direct and indirect benefits to the company; improvement in quality of services offered in the IT department, daily activities were improved, necessity of management was realized and number of problems encountered reduced. This is sufficient evidence that ITIL improves IT processes.

Six Sigma Implementation on IT Problem Management

To illustrate effectiveness of Six Sigma is in process improvement, a case study was carried out in reducing newspaper errors, specifically publishing (Snee, 2004). According to Snee (2004), accuracy of information published in newspaper must be established. The newspaper had published about a new executive in a US corporation but had the name misspelled. They received a call from an unsatisfied customer due to that. On a typical day, the number of errors that could be fixed was around 20. The implementation was categorized into four phases, definition of the project, measurement, analysis, improvement and finally the control phase.

After implementation of Six Sigma, error reduction was by 65%. As a result, savings per year was more than $226,000. Fewer pages required redoing due to this error reduction. Other benefits accrued include; missing of deadlines was fewer, reworking was reduced, the editors’ work was less and information source was reliable. It is evident that implementation of Six Sigma in the error reduction process was efficient. It benefited the newspaper company by reducing costs, therefore, increasing on profits.

Conclusion

According to the literature provided, it is evident that IT frameworks are one of the major contributors towards effective running of a company or organization. Six Sigma showed ability to give quantifiable financial data. With this, it is a powerful framework. The framework still has a future if it continues to provide the same.  ITIL too showed evidence of beneficence to an organization. The company evaluated, after implementing ITIL realized huge benefits.

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