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VIII. Thou shalt design the infrastructure as an internal XSP.

We've been involved with IT since the late 1960s, and as long as I can remember the emphasis has been on software development. One of the first methodologies designed by MIS was the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). SDLC is practiced religiously, regardless of the technology (Cobol, Fortran, Java, and so on). Even with the technology/Internet craze of the past 10 years, this methodology is still practiced on a daily basis. But the key to building a world-class infrastructure is designing, implementing, and religiously practicing an Infrastructure Development Lifecycle (IDLC 0) methodology!

IT needs to change the infrastructure's mindset to that of a service provider. The IT infrastructure organization can no longer be labeled as a support group. IT must do all of the following:

  • Rapidly transition the traditional back-office IT infrastructure function into a full-scale development and support environment.

  • Architect and implement the complex networks and hosting environments that new applications require.

  • Satisfy demanding new service levels.

IT must have three fundamental elements to be a successful internal XSP:

  • A comprehensive IDLC with these phases:

    • Planning

    • Analysis

    • Design

    • Construction

    • Deployment

    • Ongoing Operations

  • Don't forget the necessary services and tools:

    • Back-office tools (project management, service tracking, and so on)

    • Systems-management solutions

    • Customer satisfaction survey

    • Charge back methodology

  • And the appropriate organization and processes:

    • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities

    • Inscribed career-development program

    • Managed communications

    • Documented procedures

    • Minimum/sufficient processes

    • Service Level Agreements

    • Three-tier support model

    • Metrics

    • Architecture and standards

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