Monday, 23 June 2008

performance - more than just a technical nice

I just read this article The #1 reason IT often fails to deliver value and it stirred some further thoughts:

  1. IT fails because it doesn't know how to measure success
  2. IT fails because it overcomplicates service delivery, and all sorts of phoney KPIs are used
  3. at the end of the day, IT is about cost-effective service delivery to the business. Measurement of IT as a whole should focus on:
    1. functional alignment to business
    2. cost-effectiveness
    3. agility to meet changing business demands
Performance in these key areas will enable IT to consistently deliver value to the business by:
  1. delivering what the business needs
  2. doing so at the right price, but remaining effective in supporting business volumes
  3. whilst supporting change and allowing innovation

Thursday, 19 June 2008

... performance is alignment

woah -- Buzzword alert! "Alignment" what does it mean, and why is it relevant to performance?

Let me explain this by reference: when you go to the local PC superstore to buy a piece of software, on the back of the box will be a "minimum requirements specification" looking a bit like this:
  • 2 GHz processor
  • 1 Gb RAM
  • VGA graphics adapter
  • ...

But when you buy enterprise class software, there's no spec like this on the box! That's because performance of the software is directly related to the workload it's servicing: how many users, how much concurrency, how many transactions...

Performance alignment means that whatever resources you allocate to a task should be proportional to the workload it is processing. This kind of alignment means your investment is proportional to the business demand: right-sized for the job in hand.

Friday, 13 June 2008

... performance is agility

High performance businesses flex to meet changing market conditions. They capitalise on change, they innovate to drive change. This CIO blog from Forrester CEO references the frustration CEOs derive from the lack of innovation from IT -- "Innovation was a mystery to most CEOs, they are not getting it from IT.”

Yet where IT is integral to the business, then innovation is essential - and is a characteristic of high-performance enterprises. Innovation, agility, the ability to change the market as well as respond to it - all are influenced by the understanding of IT service provision to the business, the concept of customer demand, and the correlation of the demand to technology investment. High performance businesses with an IT footprint require this information to be captured and shared, to enable innovation and alignment between technology functions and the ever-changing market conditions.


Friday, 6 June 2008

... performance needs dedication

Performance doesn't happen on its own. Just like any top athlete, performance of any system needs dedication. Dedication towards improvement, dedication towards achievement, dedication to quality. If you have dedication, you have 50% of the equation towards achieving performance. The rest is down to enlightenment and self-awareness.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

... performance is optimization

Optimization is getting the best from your investment. When shares are performing well in the market, their value increases quickly and the returns on the initial investment are high. Optimization of IT systems requires the same measurement of value, through
  • measuring the increase in revenue due to Optimization
  • measuring the cost avoidance due to Optimization
  • measuring the productivity improvements due to Optimization

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

... performance is efficiency

Do what you do, do it with the maximum of effect and the minimum of effort. A good guiding principle for any systems management. Provided you meet the service standards, then minimizing costs should be the priority. Costly overprovision of service can damage your ability to invest in other innovations.

Take the example of a football player, he scores a goal by investing effort in running up and down the pitch. But too much running early in the game will impact his ability to score later in the game. His performance is measured over the whole game; efficiency of his own game has a direct impact on that performance.

So it is with systems. Cost/effectiveness service provision is only possible when you understand how much running that system has to do - and what goals need to be scored.