Technology is a critical component of any successful modern business.
Intuitive technology platforms are a baseline so internal business operations run smoothly and external users to access your product or service. In the constantly evolving world of technological advancement, there always seems to be a system upgrade or migration on the horizon.
How do you ensure that your technology systems continue to operate through IT transitions and your team knows how to use the new systems?
It starts with great planning -- having the right people and right technology in place to ensure that your service recovers quickly and business can proceed without major disruption.
IT Service Continuity Management (ITSCM) is a set of standards, procedures, processes and tools that enable businesses to plan for a full spectrum of scenarios when upgrading technology systems -- ranging from disaster recovery plans to response protocol for more routine system disruptions.
By planning for all imaginable system failure scenarios in advance of upgrading IT platforms, companies save precious time and resources when upgrades don’t go exactly as planned (which is always a possibility). This minimises the risk of small system failures snowballing into full-blown IT disasters.
Expecting the unexpected and planning service recovery contingencies is usually the difference from an IT system upgrade being successful and low-profile versus a major ordeal that impacts the entire company.
At ICEFLO, our collaborative ITSCM platform helps you manage system upgrades starting with preliminary planning all the way through service recovery checks to confirm that all systems are running properly.
We break IT Service Continuity Management into five stages:
Before upgrading to a new technology system, businesses must plan every step of the transition in painstaking detail. Delegating responsibilities and planning a sequence of events down to the nearest minute should be standard operating procedure during cutovers.
These planning tasks are critical, but there is another category of pre-upgrade planning that sometimes goes overlooked. What happens if your perfect plan goes awry? Do you have emergency protocols in place to right the ship if systems fail?
It’s wise to think outside the box and draw up action plans for all possible scenarios where the transition doesn’t go exactly as you envisioned. With ICEFLO, it’s easy to build “if-contingency” plans so that you can follow separate protocols if necessary.
Build out your runbooks with your desired route clearly identified and also include fallback routes that allow you to follow different paths forward even when obstacles arise.
Without clearly defined risk prevention systems in place, the likelihood that you have to abort the system upgrade and start from scratch increases substantially.
Develop critical business processes and the impact tolerances if they go down before the actual cutover event and increase your odds of a successful cutover and smooth transition.
Most cutovers include people with wide ranges of experience and different levels of involvement. Educating everyone -- from IT assistant to CEO -- on the key objectives pertinent to their roles helps everyone understand how their individual responsibilities contribute to the collective event.
Managers need to understand the entire plan and how to proceed depending on a wide variety of scenarios. Depending on preliminary runbook results, leaders must determine whether to follow Option A, Option B or Option C. Collaborators responsible for subsequent runbooks need to be prepared to follow paths depending on a wide variety of scenarios.
Leaders need to be adept at assigning appropriate recovery time allotments. With limited time and resources available, allocating the right amount of time for service recovery can result in successful software integration instead of confusion.
Aiming for a best-case scenario and building out a detailed plan to achieve that is great, but it’s also imperative that you have detailed fallback plans in the event that service recovery takes longer than expected.
Technology system upgrades typically run on very tight timelines. Many companies, especially banks, plan to execute cutovers on a weekend so systems are only down for a few hours between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
It’s paramount that every task has an accurate length assigned to it. With thousands of contingent tasks all occurring in a finite period of time, it’s easy to imagine how a single task taking longer than expected can have a domino effect and delay all subsequent tasks.
Rehearsing cutovers prior to the actual event provides data with the exact amount of time each task took. It’s important to run multiple rehearsals because task speed often varies.
If a runbook sometimes takes 5 minutes and other times takes 15 minutes in rehearsals, it’s prudent to develop two plans so that subsequent tasks can run regardless whether the task is completed quickly or slowly on the big day.
Especially in the final stages of service recovery when preparing the new platform for users, make sure you rehearse runbooks multiple times with awareness of where system failures might occur.
By erring on the side of caution and running thorough rehearsals, you will be prepared for all scenarios and mitigate risk of systems failing.
When the event deviates from the plan, people tend to panic. When people panic, incidents that could’ve been managed with minimal damage tend to spiral out of control.
Maintaining control and visibility is imperative for getting the train back on the track and managing technical incidents.
With Excel and other traditional service recovery documentation systems, tracking event sequences gets messy, often leads to confusion and consolidates visibility to a small group of event leaders.
ICEFLO chronicles all runbook data clearly and intuitively so all event personnel know exactly what happened and how they should proceed.
Every IT system upgrade produces valuable lessons. Some tasks run smoothly, others leave room for improvement.
ICEFLO produces post-cutover reports that analyze what went well, what didn’t and key takeaways for the next cutover.
Maybe early runbooks took longer than anticipated and delayed later runbooks. In such a case, the data would suggest running more involved rehearsals before the actual event.
Maybe multiple systems failed during service recovery. The reports could suggest developing more intricate plans to follow at various stages where problems are likely to arise.
ICEFLO produces post-cutover reports for both highly technical IT managers who dig into the data and non-technical upper management who want big picture takeaways.
Successful businesses take time to learn from each IT system upgrade to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes twice. ICEFLO reports identify trends and quantify results so you don’t have to waste precious time.
When IT professionals prioritize learning and continuous improvement, efficient service recovery becomes simpler and more successful. ICEFLO drills down to the most important lessons so companies can run successful IT Service Continuity Management operations.
Do you want to make sure your next cutover event runs smoothly?