Shift to Complete Remote IT Project Execution: Major Preparation

Abstract

Entire World spent a challenging year 2020 under pandemic situation. The threat is not yet over with Wave 2 making the life more worse. However, the lull between first wave and second wave provided opportunity to do the things better.

What is the best way other than leveraging the lessons learnt in the last year?

In this article, the author wants to share the observations and learnings that helped set the Process and policies to accommodate IT Project execution fully from remote. The remote execution had to be performed from large number of isolated locations of each member.

Set your Processes and Policies

While moving to new Working Model, You need to ensure there are no apprehensions, no ambiguities to all the Project members from Service Provider and Customer organization.  You will have to revisit the current Processes and policies and revise them where necessary and  add a few policies if relevant.

While the author can not list all the cases of policy and process changes required, a few typical cases are presented here.

Attendance system: 

Every organization has own mechanism(s) to record attendance of their employees, contractors and other stakeholders. In many cases the attendance has a direct relation with compensation. If you are paying the contractor on hourly wages, the “productive” hours spent by each worker are to be tracked. Such attendance is documented on daily basis by the worker as well as the Supervisor of paying organization. The confirmation of hours will also go through well defined approval process. You might have set the exceptions to these approval processes to handle deviations.

Automated systems

Many Organizations perform similar tracking of their own full time employees as well along with Contracted workers. While this process too has approval and exception processes in place, the severities are different.

For example, instead of reducing the compensation the employee may be asked to apply leave. The manager or other designated authority will have discretion to decide the time and need to apply leave.

There are cases when this entire system is automated. The Organization may incorporate sophisticated systems to capture attendance. These systems may offer provisions to enter the IN and OUT timings of each employee as well as Contracted workers. Organization issues each person, a special card. The person needs to  swipe this case at the time of entry and exit to record the hours.

Some organizations even went a bit ahead and track the amount hours spent in front of the Computer through mouse movements.

A few more started using facial recognition to track the IN and OUT timings in place of cards. This was because some colleagues may abuse cards provide proxy attendance to others.

When employees stop going to office this attendance system will not work. You need to ensure the the change in the working model does not impact the compensations due to the change in the working model. You need to immediately ensure uninterrupted compensation by quickly establishing new process and policies. Because compensation will be the biggest concern especially when the threat is on economy.

Organization Asset Usage:

The employees and some contracted workers may be using Organization assets such as:

      • Laptops,
      • VPN tokens,
      • Data Cards for Internet access,
      • Multi-Media Projectors
      • Specially designed desktops to perform performance heavy activities such as Engineering drawings

Organization allows you to use these assets at home for a limited time as per the policy. For example, you may use Company laptop in the Office network on daily basis. The process allows to work from home only a few days usually for not more than 3 days a month. Organization still restricts even this duration and want your manger to provide approval every time.

You need to change the policy  to accommodate usage of assets for entire period of Pandemic. In addition, Organization needs to document and share the Do’s and Dont’s of using such assets at home for more than 3 days (in fact for a long term). If required, You will impose certain restrictions in the assets to prevent the possible malpractice. These guidelines must also include additional lines based on Customer’s specific inputs. For example, one customer has sensitive content and hence doesn’t want the holder of assets to have access to Internet.  Customer may allow access only to customer’s systems through restricted path. Some customers insist to disable local storage of Laptop or equivalent systems.

Some Guidelines

The lessons learnt based on experience during Wave 1, also lead to new decisions such as

      • Usage of assets such as Chromebooks in place of your regular laptops or tablets.
      • Adopt remote desktop that locks the system to target (Customer) network and does not let the screen change to other windows
      • It is technically possible to scan the remote worker through camera and freeze the system from remote.
      • You may incorporate mechanisms to remotely capture the screen every 5-10 seconds to track any malpractices. This is Similar to a typical model adopted for Remotely held Professional certification exams.
      • Service Provider can use scanning applications on regular basis to  trace any unwanted entities in the Laptops used by remote workers

Waiting for what?

The author provided a few examples on how and where you may verify the  policies and processes , modify and publish them.

What are all other preparations that you need if you have to execute projects fully from remote in a typical pandemic kind of scenario?

What learnings of previous year can you adopt?

You may get to know through the UDEMY Course SAP ERP Implementation Fully from Remote (Experience Sharing)

You may check for special prices at the page Special offers

Post Implementation Issues

Written by Raja Mohan Ivaturi for the magazine “Digital Age”. I still find the article relevant to the current situation. It may not be just an ERP as narrated in the article, but is applicable to any Solution implementation. And the fact that the success of such implementations depend heavily on handling “human element” remains the same even today. The article is pubished with permission from the author. 

POST IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES
ERP Vendors are very happy to declare that their ERP software is Live. Clients are equally relieved and start expecting results from the next day. But is making ERP live is the end of work? The real problems start only when people start using the Product.
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Integrated Service Management

Integrated Service Management

Abstract

Integrated service delivery refers to a number of service providers working together to collaborate and coordinate their support, services and interventions to Customers. The focus of such delivery models is generally on end Customers, or Customer target groups, who have complex needs that cannot be met by playing by their strength. The strengths may be local presence, best of breed services , additional capacity and customer confidence , Low cost and high efficient proven services and statutory requirements . Some services however may be one time, but more typically, there will be a system developed that enables multiple service providers to meet or communicate and jointly refine & streamline value streams, and to provide ongoing coordination with common end goals and objectives. The primary purpose of integrated service delivery approaches is to improve outcomes for Customers. How this is achieved, and the factors that are important, will vary according to the service settings, service provider capabilities and specific needs of the Customers. In this document integrated service delivery and management is synonymously used as the standard industry term SIAM (Service Integration and Management).

Integrated Service Management

Integrated service delivery refers to a number of service providers working together to collaborate and coordinate their support, services and interventions to Customers. The focus of such delivery models is generally on end Customers, or Customer target groups, who have complex needs that cannot be met by playing by their strength. The strengths may be local presence, best of breed services (Like Services of Penetration testing), additional capacity (Example is taking members from external vendors for services like Testing) and customer confidence (Customer is confident on BI Services of some specific Service Provider and may insist to include in the set of on the specific service providers) , Low cost and high efficient proven services and statutory requirements . Some services however may be one time, but more typically, there will be a system developed that enables multiple service providers to meet or communicate and jointly refine & streamline value streams, and to provide ongoing coordination with common end goals and objectives. The primary purpose of integrated service delivery approaches is to improve outcomes for our Customers. How this is achieved, and the factors that are important, will vary according to the service settings, service provider capabilities and specific needs of the Customers. In this document integrated service delivery and management is synonymously used as the standard industry term SIAM (Service Integration and Management).

Some of the major parameters include:

  • Improving communication between service providers to monitor progress of customer’s business and Operational changes and be more responsive to these.
  • Identifying areas of duplication, working at cross-purposes, or what is creating confusion for Customers about who is doing what. In other words, customer should always know who is the one person or team that is accountable
  • Developing one Integrated Plan for the Customer which includes the work being delivered by all providers with full clarity on individual and end goals, deadlines, SLAs, KPAs and other parameters. The integrated plan may also include actions and responsibilities the Customer agrees to do.
  • Building understanding and capacity between the service providers – Establishing the common understanding and practices in such a way that the services will be ensuring the one brand of services and enable all the service providers work together consistently, more effectively collaborate with each other in their service delivery. Some examples include
    • Arranging visibility and access to all practice frameworks to adopt and follow
    • Documenting and making aware of legal and funding limitations
    • Visibility to End SLAs along with individual SLAs along with the visibility to the progress of dependent tasks to adjust the timelines and meet the end date collectively
  • Identifying Setbacks and system issues that may result in to issues for the customer, and for services in their efforts to meet Customer needs. The model must accommodate identification of Customer groups or requirements that may come under function and system gaps. The mechanism should be in such a way that such issues are brought to the notice of the sponsors and decision makers so the right team from customer can address the gaps.
  • · Development of robust and clear process that helps assess the progress and performance of services in all the value streams with visibility to the customer

Definitions

      • Stakeholder: The person or the body which is impacted by the decisions taken and the services that are performed
      • KPI:Key Performance indicator. In the context of this document, the metric that measures the performance of the entire service group as well as the individual service provider as part of the Integrated service delivery model.
      • SLA: Service level agreement. The level of service agreed under different possible circumstances are defined as SLAs. Usually it is combination of response and resolution times against each issue, possibility of impact and criticality of the issue.
      • Service management: The body responsible for managing the delivery of IT services from within a Service Provider, as described in the core ITIL publications.
      • Service provider: An organization or team providing one or more specific IT based services to the business. It can be either internal or external to the business organization.
      • Service integration: A set of practices and an accompanying model and approach that adapt and augment the guidance for managing, governing, and coordinating the delivery of services provided by multiple suppliers (internal and external to the business organization and integrated service Provider’s team & partners).
      • Service integration and management (SIAM): SIAM has the same meaning as Service Integration. SIAM is a term that is used as an abbreviation for Service Integration and Management, and is also used to describe a service capability for Service Integration and Management, or a function providing that capability. Governance in this publication is the application of techniques for evaluating, directing and monitoring to deliver the agreed levels of service and meet business and corporate requirements.
      • Systems integration: SI function is responsible for getting solutions, differing technologies, applications and infrastructure to work together, with a focus on technology integration. Implementation of SIAM models often requires some element of Systems Integration, but it is important to understand the differences between the two definitions.
      • Tower: A set of services typically determined by technology type or by specific applications, provided by one or more suppliers, for example, a Mainframe Tower which provides applications that run on a particular mainframe technology. It is preferable in a SIAM context to use the term ‘service’ rather than Tower, as SIAM models can be applied to any grouping of services, irrespective of any technology.
      • Service line: The grouping of services under SIAM management and governance, grouped by either business function (Business service line) such as Retail or technology (Technology service line) such as Oracle TechStack. Defining and maintaining services, service boundaries and service lines is part of the key to effective SIAM.
      • Business: The organization that commissions the SIAM. This is not necessarily same as the customer who buys an IT service and may be a different organization to the one that pays for the SIAM.

Integrated Service Delivery Model – Most possible functions

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