Measuring the Internet2 Network Using the ISO 20000 Standard
Since joining Internet2 earlier this year as Associate Vice President for Operations and Management, I’ve been immersed in ensuring the operational excellence of the Internet2 Network. Through programs like the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and ISO/IEC 20000, formal benchmarking and measurement of best practices have been tailored for organizations like Internet2. Both approaches describe documentation, workflow and management practices related to how a mature IT services organization develops and manages its services with key areas including: service strategy, service design, availability management, capacity management, service continuity, management systems and change management.
As Vice President of Network Services Rob Vietzke mentioned in his last blog post, Internet2 has recently worked with members of the community and a consultant to draft a report reviewing Internet2’s operations vis-à-vis the ISO 20000 benchmark. A thumbnail sketch of the ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 standard calls for six policies, 11 plans, 14 processes and 25 procedures. Each of the words Policies, Plans, Processes and Procedures have clear and explicit definitions within the standard; in total 256 requirements that lead to a clearer benchmark of excellence. I will be the Service Owner for Network Operations working with the Planning and Project Management Office, which is charged with leading the ISO implementation for the Network Services division of Internet2.
At the end of October 2014, Internet2 received the consultants’ report, detailing proficiency in several areas and opportunities for improvement in others. The report identified that some of the historic service-delivery approaches, based more on individual excellence than documented process, could be improved to provide a better foundation for Internet2’s growing service portfolios. The report also indicates that opportunities exist to tighten and document processes and to upgrade custom-developed support systems with standard systems, which provide both improved member/customer-facing tools and the opportunity to better integrate service management best practices.
Throughout the benchmarking process, Internet2 staff has been cognizant that the goal is to assure we can deliver excellent operations across an expanding service portfolio while still maintaining agility and creativity as a service delivery organization. Benchmarking assures improvements can be measured over time. But, it is an imperative to remain extremely focused on maintaining the Internet2 culture of agility, creativity, flexibility and collaboration, even as more rigorous process and controls for operations are built. The ISO benchmarking is simply one tool (of many used) to help measure progress, and it can’t become a goal in itself.
The Internet2 Board of Trustees received an update on this work and has been highly supportive of efforts to benchmark capabilities and look for continuous improvement opportunities with input from the Internet2 community. The Board was overwhelmingly supportive of the effort and encouraged continued progress in 2015. Currently, the process of building a long-term capacity for continuous improvement is underway and minor changes have begun.
While there is plenty of work to be done, we’re confident the improvements we’re making now will provide our innovative R&E community with an even better network that continues to enable future research advancements.