IT Process Practices in Kenya
Stanley Mwangi Chege
Head QA, Co-operative Bank of Kenya
IT processes are the functions and duties that IT performs. These activities include development and maintenance of applications, supporting infrastructure (e.g., hardware, systems software, and networks), and managing human resources. All of these activities have some dependence on each other. Information Technology (IT) processes is a practice of ensuring that the IT organisation serves the needs of the business in a systematic manner for good performance of the enterprise. It is a set of practices and procedures brought together in unison to ensure IT alignment with business needs. Such practices that are prevalent in the IT industry include IT Infrastructure Library, (ITIL) Control Objectives for Information and related Technology, (COBIT) and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) best practices. Keywords: IT process, COBIT, ITIL, ITSM, ISO 20000, COSO, CMMI, ISO 38500 Introduction
IT processes are the strategic, tactical, and operational activities/tasks that IT performs. The actual names, amount of resources devoted, and total number might vary from one firm to another, based on the organization‘s emphasis. However, they are all required for IT to deliver effective and efficient services. All processes must be performed whether you are a Global 1,000 organization, or you are managing a single PC in the home. Organisations the world over have realised that IT can help transform an organisation in terms of business performance. More and more organisations are leveraging on IT to bring about innovative ways of competing in the industry. IT is being seen as an enabler and driver of business. Some organisations have employed proven IT process frameworks to help align IT with business for improved business performance. Some of the most popular IT process frameworks that have been touted as helping make IT efficient and effective are Control Objectives for Information and related Technology, (COBIT), IT Service management (ITSM) and IT infrastructure library (ITIL) and ISO 38500. Figure 1. 38 IT Management Processes
Figure adapted from Luftman, J. Managing Information Technology Resources,3rd edition, 2012. From the above diagram, to address the IT processes in a coherent fashion, the processes are categorized into three distinguishing layers for added clarity. The first layer is the strategic layer. The IT processes associated with the strategic layer focus on determining the long-term goals of the firm and how IT can enable/drive their achievement. The second layer is the tactical layer. The tactical layer consists of IT processes that work towards achieving the strategic goals. The third layer is the operational layer. The IT processes that comprise this layer deal with day-to-day production activities. These processes affect the maintenance and monitoring of services, systems, applications, and networks. Processes that involve training, staffing, accounting, scheduling, and administration are included here. This list of 38 processes comprises all of the planning, organizing, and administering processes that are required to effectively and efficiently manage IT (Luftman, 2012). By categorizing the IT processes into these three layers, it will be easier to see the interdependencies among the IT functions. For example, it will be apparent that the strategic layer will influence the tactical layer by changing the services, technologies, tools, and methodologies that will be applied in the tactical processes. As an additional consequence, new services, technologies, tools, and methodologies will also affect the operational level by changing the requirements of staff, their training, and job functions. As the tactical processes are completed and moved to production, the impact on the operational layer is visibly altered in adding or subtracting schedules, changes, and...
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