We're back with another edition of the Modern Service Management for Office 365 blog series! In this article, we review the function of IT with Office 365 and evolution of IT Pro roles for the cloud. These insights and best practices are brought to you by Carroll Moon, Senior Architect for Modern Service Management.
In this installment of the blog series, we will dive into the "Business Consumption and Productivity" topic. The whole point of the "Business Consumption and Productivity" category is to focus on the higher-order business projects for whatever business you are in. If you are in the cookie-making business, then the focus should be on making cookies. The opportunity is to use Office 365 to drive productivity for your cookie-making users, to increase market share of your cookie business, or to reduce costs of producing or selling your cookies. This category is about the business rather than about IT. We all want to evolve IT to be more about driving those business-improvement projects. However, in order for IT to help drive those programs with (and for) the business, we need to make sure that the IT Pros and the IT organization are optimized (and are excited) to drive the business improvements. We all need to look at the opportunities to do new things by using the features and the data provided by the Office 365 service to drive business value rather than looking at what we will no longer do or what we will do differently. I always say that none of us got into IT so we could manually patch servers on the weekends, and none of us dreamed about sitting on outage bridges in the middle of the night. On the contrary, most of us got into IT so we could drive cool innovation and cool outcomes with innovative use of technology. I like the idea of using Office 365 as a conduit to get back to our dreams of changing the business/world for the better using technology.
For IT Pros
If you are an IT Pro in an organization who is moving to Office 365 (or to the cloud, or to a devops approach), I would encourage you to figure out where you want to focus. In my discussions with many customers, I encounter IT Pros who are concerned about what the cloud and devops will mean to their careers. My response is always one of excitement. There is opportunity! The following bullets outline just a few of the opportunities that are in front of us all:
The bullet list above is not exhaustive for Office 365. The bullets are here as examples only. My hope is that the bullets provide food for thought and excitement. The list expands rapidly as we start to discuss Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. There is vast opportunity for all of us to truly follow our passions and to chase our dreams. When automobiles were invented, of course some horse and buggy drivers were not excited. I have to assume, however, that some horse enthusiasts were very excited for the automobiles too. For those who were excited to change and evolve, there was opportunity for them with automobiles. For those who wanted to stay with the status quo and keep driving horse-drawn-buggies, they found a way to do that. Even today in 2017, there are horse-drawn-carriage rides in Central Park in New York City (and in many other cities). So, there is always opportunity.
For IT Management
In the ~13 years that I have focused on cloud services at Microsoft since our very first customer for what is now called Office 365 the question that I have been asked the most is â€œhow do I monitor it? The second most frequent question comes from senior IT managers: How do I need to change my IT organization to support Office 365? And a close third most frequent question is from IT Pros and front-line IT managers: How will my role change as we move to Office 365?
Simplicity is a requirement. As you continue on this journey with us in this blog series, I encourage you to push yourself to keep it simple from the service management perspective. Change as little as possible. For example, if you can monitor and integrate with your existing monitoring toolset, do so. We will continue to simplify the scenarios for you to ease that integration. From a process perspective, there is no need to invent something new. For example, you already have a great Major Incident process you have a business and your business is running, so that implies that you are able to handle Major Incidents already. For Office 365, you will want to quantify and plan for the specific Major Incident scenarios that you may encounter. You will want to integrate those scenarios into your existing workflows with joined data from your monitoring streams and the information from the Office 365 APIs. We have covered those examples already in the blog series, so the simplistic approach should be more evident at this point.
From an IT Pro Role and Accountability perspective, it is important to be intentional and specific about how each role will evolve and how the specific accountabilities will evolve in support of Office 365. For example, how should the â€œMonitoring role change for Email? And how will you measure the role to ensure that the desired behaviors and outcomes are achieved?
What about the IT Organization?
Most of the time, when I get the IT organization question, customers are asking about whether they should reorganize. My answer is always the following: there are three keys to maximizing your outcomes with this cloud paradigm shift:
I tell customers that if they get those three things right, the organizational chart becomes about organizing their talent (the accountable people) into the right groups. If one gets those three bullets right, the org chart does not matter as much. However, no matter how one changes the IT Organizational chart, if one gets those three bullets wrong, the outcomes will not be as optimized as we want them to be. So, my guidance is to always to start with these three bullets rather than the org chart. The combination of these three bullets will drive the right outcomes. The right outcomes sometimes drive an organizational chart adjustment, but in most cases, organizational shifts are not required.
Think of it this way, if you move a handful of workloads to the cloud, the majority of your IT portfolio will still be managed as business-as-usual, so a major organizational shift just for the cloud likely will not make sense. If I have 100 apps in my IT portfolio and I move 3 apps to the cloud, then would I re-organize around the 3 apps? Or would I keep my organization intact for the 97 apps and adapt only where I must adapt for the 3 cloud apps?
The IT Organization is about the sum of the IT Pros
From a people perspective, the importance of being intentional and communicative cannot be overstated. Senior management should quantify the vision for the IT organization and articulate how Office 365 fits into that vision. It is important to remember that IT Pros are real people with real families and lives outside of work. Many IT Pros worry that the cloud means that they do not have a job in the future. That, of course, is not true. Just as the centralization of the electrical grid did not eliminate the need for electricians, the centralization of the business productivity grid into the cloud does not eliminate the need for the IT Pro. But just as the role of an electrician evolved as the generation of power moved from the on-premise-water-wheel to the utility grid, the role of IT Pro will evolve as business productivity services move to the cloud. The electrician's role evolved to be more focused on the business-use of the electrical grid. So too will the IT Pro's role evolve to support the business value realization of the business productivity services. We intend to help with that journey in future blog posts focused on the Consumption and Productivity category.
As senior management plans through the cloud, we recommend that they dig into at least the following role groupings to plan how each will evolve with respect to Office 365 workloads:
As you spend time in the Monitoring and Major Incident Management content in this blog series, I encourage you to think through how implementation of the content may change things for the IT Pros using that example. If you implement the monitoring recommendations, will it be simply business-as-usual for your monitoring team? What about the Tier 3 workload team? Or, perhaps is it a shift in how things are done? Perhaps for your on-premise world, the monitoring team owns the monitoring tool and the installed Exchange monitoring management packs. Perhaps in practice, when there is an outage on-premise, the Service Desk recognizes the outage based on call patterns, and then they initiate an incident bridge. Perhaps once the bridge is underway, someone then opens the monitoring tool to look for a possible root cause of the outage. Will that same approach continue in the cloud for Exchange Online, or should we look to evolve that? Perhaps in the cloud we should have the Tier 3 workload team be accountable for missed by monitoring for any end-to-end impact for Exchange regardless of where root cause lies. Perhaps we should have the monitoring team be accountable for the monitoring service with metrics like we describe here. And perhaps we should review both the Exchange monitoring metrics and the Monitoring Service metrics (and any metric-misses) every month in a Monthly Service Review (MSR) with the IT executive team as covered in #3 above. What I describe here is usually a pretty big, yet desirable, culture shift for most IT teams.
Some customers want hands-on assistance
As I mentioned, I get these questions often. Some customers want Microsoft to help guide them on the IT Pro and organizational front. In response to customer requests, my peers and I have created a 3-day, on-site course for IT Executives and IT Management to help them plan for the people side of the change. The workshop focuses on the scenarios, personas and metrics for the evolution discussed in this blog post. The workshop also helps develop employee communications and resistance management plans. The workshop is part of the Adoption and Change Management Services from Microsoft. Ask your Technical Account Manager about the â€œManaging Change for IT Pros: Office 365â€ workshop, or find me onTwitter @carrollm_itsm.
My goal with this blog post is to get everyone thinking. I hope that the commentary was helpful. We'll jump back into the scenarios in the next post which will focus on Evergreen Management.
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