Getting rid of the bottlenecks

The market for application performance management is a relatively new one in IT.

Workflow systems have as much, if not a greater, role to play in the IT department as they do in the rest of organisations. A workflow system automates the flow of work in such a way that it is visible, and that it is tracked and escalated if it gets stuck.

That is what I wanted when I ran an IT function, a way of seeing where work is getting stuck, and moving it on. But thinking about workflow in IT opens up new possibilities for all IT work.

The definition of work in IT needs to be clarified. Goals and targets need to be defined, and tracked.

Workflow systems will assist the hour-glass organisation, with IT practitioners moving work between work stations when complete. More importantly, workflow systems allow you to adopt an input, actions, delivery and outcomes remuneration model, and take it one step further.

Work could be auctioned to IT staff, based on their inputs, and the assignment definition.

The obvious benefits of tracking progress on work and managing bottlenecks and difficulties is also evident in a workflow system.

The purpose of workflow systems in problem and incident management in the CIP environment is clear.

However, it is surely how you choose to implement such a system that is the important factor here. Will you use workflow as a way of managing problems when they occur, or as a way of making sure problems don't occur in the first place?

Of course, workflow allows you to bring end-users into the loop.

A workflow system also allows IT to work on the same assignments from anywhere, either as a telecommuting set-up, or as regional units working from anywhere in the world.

One thing is clear: your workflow system must help individuals do their jobs or it will definitely fail. Allow this to be the credo when examining and designing your workflow in IT.

The benefits of workflow systems in IT are obvious but must be woven into the approach and vision of the IT function.

You need to test these workflow ideas against your chosen direction and see where the fit lies.

l This is an extract from the bookRe-inventing the IT Department by Terry White, which was published recently in the Computer Weekly Professional Series

To order this book, telephone Elsevier Customer Services on 01865-474010 or e-mail: directorders@elsevier.com

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