Lack of a Production Control Organization
If you still believe in discarding this function from your infrastructure support and development organization, consider the following issues.
Ineffective Enterprise-Wide Processes
Most infrastructure support organizations lack many of the key processes required to maintain RAS. The very few that have the proper processes lack centralized ownership and accountability throughout the enterprise. Ownership and accountability of critical processes (such as production acceptance and change management) are part of the overall production QA function. If processes are ineffective or missing, RAS is unattainable.
System Management Tools Not Fully Implemented
System management solutions cannot be fully implemented and customized to effectively manage the enterprise. Senior technical staff simply don't have the time or bandwidth to do it right; they're too busy resolving production issues. Highly paid senior technical staff should not be spending most of their time resolving problems. Problem resolution should only be 20% of their job function. Senior staff should be performing strategic initiatives:
Planning/architecting a cost-effective infrastructure
Designing/analyzing enterprise-wide system management solutions
R&D on the latest and greatest technologies
The Focus Is Heavily Weighed Toward Technology
Throughout IT there needs to be some focus on the organization, people, and process issuesnot just technology, technology, and more technology. Technology is important, of coursewithout it, IT would not be around. But instead of 99% of the focus being on technology, the ratio should be 50/50.
Many IT executives are still looking at technology to resolve all their issues. Technology focus should be secondary. The more difficult issues to deal with are people and process issues. In order to design a cost-effective infrastructure, the focus needs to be on the organization, people, and process issues.
Poor Communication Within and External to IT
Ineffective communication practices run rampant between applications development and infrastructure support in just about every shop we've assessed. The key role of production control is to ensure effective communication practices via the production acceptance process.
RAS Doesn't Exist
The production control function is the heart and soul of QA for IT. Without this function, there is no RAS. Production control's job is to ensure RAS. As mentioned earlier, in today's IT environment RAS often doesn't even exist. The biggest reason for this is the demolishing of the production control function.
Lack of a Production Acceptance Process
IT infrastructure support requirements are not being addressed early on in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Systems are being thrown over the wall into operations. There is also very little or no communication between IT and its users. For IT to ensure customer satisfaction and preserve RAS, the production control function must be a priority that affects all areas of IT.