Cloud Provisioning System

A Fortune 100 IT managed services company provides the on-demand infrastructure and hosting services to their customers. Their in-house infrastructure provisioning team has a 2 month long queue of customer orders on an average. This is affecting the customer sat, order booking and hence revenue recognition. The head of Infra delivery team selected Andor Tech team to study the problem, suggest the solutions and deploy them on approval.

Andor consultants went about this in four steps:
Study:

Analyze:

Study:
Andor team went about the process of conducting online surveys and reviewing and analysing the data to understand the complete nature of the problem. Some of the findings are:

Analyze
The team started by critically examining each of the process, sequence and stated pre-requisites.

It sounds difficult to believe but true. This seems to be a result of couple of things:

This aspect is touching upon the company offering to it’s customers which is much more strategic than the mandate offered to the Andor team. So, the team decided to focus on optimizing the processes within the constrained environment.

Proposal:

  • Why is the delivery team waiting for the formal creation of the customer record in the system rather than placing the hardware order?

  • This seems to have been result of very tight financial processes in place at times over riding the operational flexibility. Apparently, some customers who had “committed” did not end up being the customers. Consequently, the “financial” decision was made to ensure that equipment is order only after the customer record is created.

    While this decision is financially sound in the specific context, it is creating a customer satisfaction issue and is making the very offering “on-demand” questionable.

    Proposal:

    Why is the deployment of software platform on the hardware manual and why does it take 36-72 hours ? Why are there no specialized teams ? Why is this team located on geographic location ?

    The stated answers are

    “The company is focussed on the enterprise market as opposed to consumer market. So, the offering is very complex and deployment of that can not be automated”

    “We have so many different offerings. Automation would mean so many different automation threads. Maintaining of that is going to be more difficult”

    “We do not really restrict the customers to a particular version of the software out there. They can pretty much choose any version that they want. So, we can not pre-configure a particular platform for the automation to happen”

    All the statements are true in principle and this again points to the company offering which we are keeping as fixed element in this analysis.

    Still, the team sees this as a classical 80-20 situation: 80% of the work or elements of the work is standard and can be fully automated. 20% that varies from order to order will be manual. In reality, though not admitted, the team does not have a band width and direction to build the automation platform. Since they are fighting the fires for being slow (54 days time), they are not in a position to invest on the important element of building automated provisioning system.

    Global specialized teams Vs Regional teams: A very important questions. Obviously, we can’t have both. The answer largely depends on the context. In the context of largely manual process, it makes sense to have specialized on the technologies so that we can get the productivity improvement. So, that makes sense for this company at the moment. However, when the company have an automated provisioning system, it really makes sense to have regional teams supported by a centrally located excellence team.

    Proposal:

    Proposal:

    The above proposals are made to the head to provisioning groups. They are largely accepted. Andor is now mandated to deploy these proposals without touching upon the larger questions of company offerings. Given the constraints on the provisioning team, Andor was asked to build the automated provisioning system and deploy it along with the other proposals. Also, Andor was asked to provide a regional provisioning team to support the Asia Pac business needs.

    Deployment:

    Results:

    The proposal to pre-order the hardware for the standard offering is still in the deployment level.

    Average provisioning time came down from 54 days to 17 days. For the standard offerings, the average provisioning time came down to 32 hours.

    Chart1

    APS