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Included in this document :
Step 1 - The Audit
Step 2 - Controlled Improvement Programmes
Step 3 - Continuing Review

Enterprise Consulting Programme

The SysAdmin Group specialise in the retrofitting of Industry Best Practices to mission-critical production computing environments through Controlled Improvement Programmes.

From the time that a host is first commissioned, it proceeds to move backwards in terms of the effort required to maintain it. This is just the logical progression of a continuing series of changes as any system runs and evolves. Log files begin to consume disk space, new users are added, new services commissioned, disk space augmented, support staff leave and are replaced. All these things are the normal daily operations of an IT environment and all of them contribute to the entropy of the site.

Left unchecked, the effort required to manage these continually changing environments quickly becomes unmanageable. More help desk calls are opened each week than are closed, system support staff become less proactive, leaping from fire to fire. Stress levels increase. Management look to the IT department for cost savings, and turn down requests for capital expenditure. Staff leave in frustration.

If all that sounds a little too familiar, then let SysAdmin help you fix these problems systemically.

Through use of detailed technical audits of system administration practices and security, we can quantify your business objectives, plot your present position, determine where you need to be relative to that position, and draw up a detailed project plan for the journey ahead.

Step 1 - The Audit

In order to determine how much entropy has set in, and how much work will be required to regain control of your IT environment, we must first assess your present position in the form of a formal audit. Of course, that assessment must be in terms of business objectives which are also identified during this effort.

SysAdmin specialise in performing audits as the controlling step in determining the road forward. The audit seeks to answer three interrelated questions:

    Where are we?
    Where do we need to be?
    How do we get there?

From these we can accurately answer the questions that management need quantification of:
    What sort of a mess are we dealing with?
    How much (time, cost) is it going to take to fix?
The result of the audit is a detailed report which methodically moves through each area of operations (e.g. policy, organisation, facility management, asset management, administrative practices, security) detailing the present position, the desired position and recommended corrective actions. This topical analysis is then turned into a temporal project plan which seeks to minimise the cost and impact on the user base.

Step 2 - Controlled Improvement Programmes

Having identified the problems, and determined how to proceed, the controlled improvement of the site begins.

Retro-fitting best practice to an existing mission-critical environment is an intricate, complex task requiring careful planning, phased deployment and thorough testing. Care must be taken not to degrade existing customer service levels whilst implementing improvements.

Under SysAdmin, these improvements take the form of Controlled Improvement Programmes. A detailed requirements analysis is performed, appropriate infrastructure put in place, and new standards, processes and technology deployed into production, all with minimum disruption to your user base.

We allow your team to remain focussed on the day-to-day activities of system administration, whilst we implement the infrastructure that will ease their burden (the month-to-month perspective). Of course, your team will be thoroughly involved in all stages of the project and trained in this new infrastructure as we hand it over to them in bite-sized chunks, ensuring that there is no unwieldy increase in their workload or reduction in your customer service levels.

Wherever reasonable, the site consolidation is broken into discrete projects for better control and management.

Step 3 - Continuing Review

It is important that any enterprise wishing to wage war against the god of entropy must regularly review and revisit their operational practices, and put in place industry best practices to minimise the overall effort required for system management. This review process should be a continuing budget line, and a dedicated amount of time devoted to these site improvement programmes. SysAdmin can help your organisation establish the necessary infrastructure and procedures for this continuing review.



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