Managing the digital product lifecycle: more speed, less chaos

Lit up cityscape with buildings connected by boucing network of digital lines linked to icons within circles including cogs, globe and cloud

There is now a huge demand for digital IT products and the services they support.

This is no surprise, as cloud-based software as a service is easier to maintain, make changes to, upgrade or swap things in and out. Servers can be rolled up and rolled down, adding or reducing capacity as needed with less physical infrastructure than previously.

If one server fails, it is automatically switched to a back-up facility by the service provider. For consumers this is life changing, as services are there 24/7. That’s just as well, as people expect services to be there. This has become even clearer during the current global lockdown and increased demand for digital tools such as video conferencing.

As a result, IT today is compelled to be high-velocity IT. It is becoming a native way of working because there isn’t time to follow rigid processes; we need to be more agile. Digital is the best platform for the way we’re working now and so we’re becoming “digital high-velocity” companies.

At a time like now – when IT hasn’t got a choice but to become a high velocity operation – you find it’s a much better way of doing things. This culture change was happening already, but the current Covid-19 situation has accelerated it.

What do consumers expect from digital products/services?

When something goes wrong with digital services, consumers want help immediately.

That could be a portal where they are one click away from getting answers, a virtual agent or a real agent to speak to. And they want this at their fingertips; working via their computer and without picking up the phone. So, if digital service performance is lagging, people expect the provider to resolve the issue almost instantly.

As people won’t wait for hours while something is turned around this means the business-as-usual backlog has to remain at its lowest level to ensure users get support within their timeframe. As a result, a high-velocity approach gets things up and running; adopting a minimum viable process to go live rather than nothing at all. And you don’t need a full documentation pack or approvals to go live: it may be a case of checking with a technology lead or peers rather than waiting for full approval at the next Change Advisory Board (CAB) meeting. In other words, minimum viability but not chaos.

These ideas are reflected in the latest evolution of ITIL. Where, previously, ITIL guidance specified formal (CAB) meetings for IT changes, ITIL 4 encourages greater agility through the digital product lifecycle

ITIL 4 and the digital product lifecycle

The digital environment is now dictating the pace of work and IT departments need to adapt to deliver results and value in the most effective, minimal and fastest way possible – while remaining 100% reliable and accurate.

  1. Exploration
     
    What does the service user want? How do we build it and roll it out?

     
  2. Onboarding
     
    Help users know how to work with a service through training and supporting them day to day.

     
  3. Co-creating value
     
    It’s a two-way street: understand and give the customer what they want and – potentially – be able to use the same tool in another scenario if it’s needed.

     
  4. Offboarding?
     
    When the service is no longer required, you can ramp it down, remove the equipment rapidly and archive everything. If it’s needed again in the future, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel; just take the application or system out of storage and ramp it up again.

     

Both the general trend in organizations and the impact of a global pandemic mean IT organizations are providing value in a completely different way, with high-velocity IT and continual improvement becoming the normal way of working.

The digital environment is now dictating the pace of work and IT departments need to adapt to deliver results and value in the most effective, minimal and fastest way possible – while remaining 100% reliable and accurate.

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts by Paul Jones

ITIL 4 High-velocity IT: the digital enterprise

ITIL 4 Managing Professional: agility and structure for the real world

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