The Department of Defence wanted to streamline its IT operations and improve both system performance and end user experience by implementing a proactive approach to IT health. Microsoft Premier Support helped assess their critical business platforms,
and subsequently integrated proven practices that would reduce issues and improve end user experience.
“Microsoft took a systematic approach to how we manage our infrastructure. They provided more than just technical resources, rather, they took a step back and looked at how we could be more efficient and effective and manage our technology proactively rather
than reactively.” - Daniel McCabe, Assistant Secretary, Infrastructure Architecture Branch, Chief Information Officer Group, Department of Defence
The Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG) is the Department’s IT division. It manages one of the largest IT networks in Australia and conducts business of about $1.3 billion in support of Defence operations around the world.
CIOG provides IT services to 11 major organisational groups, with more than 110,000 end users, including the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.
CIOG was facing significant challenges in maintaining and improving expected levels of service to end users. End user satisfaction and productivity was impacted by the number and duration of incidents. CIOG support teams were working in a reactive cycle,
caused by high workloads, limited visibility of system performance and incomplete support capabilities. Highly skilled personnel were being occupied by reactive tasks. These issues prevented support teams from effectively detecting and resolving issues prior
to end users being impacted.
With a number of large projects in the pipeline, support team managers saw the need to better align their teams to be more agile. However, they did not have the full ability to measure their team’s capacity to support additional systems or assist projects.
||Microsoft took a systematic approach to how we manage our infrastructure. They provided more than just technical resources, rather, they took a step back and looked at how we could be more efficient and effective and manage our technology
proactively rather than reactively.
| Daniel McCabe
Assistant Secretary, Infrastructure Architecture Branch, Chief Information Officer Group
“We were looking to maximise capacity utilisation. Were our teams working at full capacity? If not, where should we redirect the effort in order to free up resources? We needed Microsoft to assess the product stack and the teams, and tell us how we could more
effectively provide support services,” said Paul Boehme, CIOG’s Program Director, Defence Protected Network Foundations.
Core objectives were to:
Enhance the capability of multiple support teams to detect and correct issues before they impact the end user
Ensure the amount of effort staff needed to expend on supporting Microsoft technologies was measurable, predictable and controllable, and
Provide a mechanism for staff to continuously improve their environment and way of operating.
Premier Support partnered with CIOG to embed people and process improvement cycles across four support teams supporting five core Microsoft technologies. Aiming to increase support team capability, they remained focused on achieving the durable outcome of
changed behaviours and attitudes needed to support a proactive approach.
The agreed solution was to apply a sequence of improvement activities focused on people and process, rather than solely a technology focus. To achieve this they leveraged the combined technical and service management skills of Microsoft Premier Field Engineers.
As a part of this effort, Microsoft Premier Support employed intimate product knowledge combined with proven practices and industry frameworks, to ensure staff were undertaking the most effective proactive maintenance tasks. The labour effort of these tasks
were captured and a workforce calculation method was provided which allowed the CIOG to define both the current and future number, and type of roles they needed to support Microsoft technologies using a risk based approach.
In order to embed the changes, Microsoft and CIOG staff implemented team level activity based reporting and established ongoing service improvement plans. This allowed for staff to be freed from reactive tasks and able to undertake cost reduction activities
such as automation of maintenance and corrective tasks.
Higher end user productivity through reduced number and duration of outages
As a result of the partnership, a significant increase in proactive issue detection and correction was achieved:
“In one of our support teams, we detected almost 400 incidents caused by 10 to 15 problems in a six-month period, without end users reporting them. They were able to be resolved with no outages to the environment and problems were identified within a reduced
timeframe,” said Kathy Porecki, CIOG’s Technical Director - Application Hosting Services.
Reactive to proactive
Support teams are now spending much less time reacting to issues, and are focused on preventative and diagnostic activities. This has enabled more effort to be made available for other high value activities.
Demonstrable Return on Investment
Based on customer data, the following ROI were calculated and agreed:
200% direct ongoing labour ROI achieved by moving skilled IT resources into proactive work
1200% ROI for end user productivity achieved through increase in uptime of core services.
Partnering with Microsoft Services Premier Support has resulted in lasting outcomes. This is only achieved where the benefits are measurable, and staff are ready and able to own and progress the improvements.
“The most noticeable benefit was the increase in confidence at the team leader level. Getting access to industry best practice through Premier Support helped the team leaders feel a lot
more empowered to change their environment,” said COL. Kirk Batty, CIOG’s Director General of Service Integration
“Through the Premier Support engagement, we enabled our people to be more engaged in what we are trying to do to better serve our customers,” said Daniel McCabe, CIOG’s Assistant Secretary of the Infrastructure Architecture Branch.
Improvements leveraged across other technologies
The Technical Director - Application Hosting Services noted that CIOG is employing the same methodology and disciplines delivered by Premier Support to improve other services they support, including those based on non-Microsoft technologies.
The Department of Defence has demonstrated an effective partnership with Premier Services. This has accelerated the adoption and sustainment of the changes necessary to adapt to the increasing demands of an end user driven environment.
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.