Information management is an important concept in any organization. The management of IT management is an important aspect because there is a need to ensure that the business aligns with technology optimally. There are frameworks that have been developed to ensure that IT service management is achieved and undertaken well. One of the frameworks is ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library). One of the objectives of this report is to convince the Terra Firma management to adopt ITIL framework to manage their IT services. The report will then recommend the business process reengineering for the organization. This will mean that some actions will have to be undertaken. some of the actions that will have to be undertaken include having an overhaul of the current model of management of IT services. This will have to be changed in order to have a better framework and model.
The report will be structured in such a manner that there will be the explanation of IT function at the organization in section three. After this, there will be the explanation of the new IT function. Section five will explain how the new IT services will be designed. Section six will focus on how to transition to the new IT services in Terra Firma. This will be related to section which will deal with the preparation on how to operate in the new IT service. Section eight will focus on continuous improvement of the new IT service management. The last section will be the conclusion and summary.
BACKGROUND (MOTIVATIONS FOR ACTIVITIES, PROPOSALS, PLANS)
Information Technology is an important component of an organization’s assets. Terra Firma is no exception to this. Being a player in imaging medical field, Terra Firma should manage and utilize IT infrastructures to the best of its capabilities to promote delivery of services. The worth of medical imaging industry is surging with an approximated rise of up to 30% since 2009. With the rise in use of magnetic resonance imaging MRI and CT scans in the diagnosis and treatment of major ailments such as cancer, neurological disorders and heart diseases, it is important to develop efficient equipment segments that pass regulatory and global standards. IT has played an undisputable role in the management of production processes. Without aligning IT services to meet the needs of the users, it becomes rigid and delineated from the production process.
TERRA FIRMA (HISTORY, ISSUES, UNCERTAINTIES, OPPORTUNITIES
Main products, and services, organizations and business partners
Terra Firma Medical Systems is a medical supplies company based in New Zealand. It specializes in the manufacture of a wide range of imaging products that includes X-ray machines and computed tomography (CT) scanners among others. Its products are sold to major medical equipment suppliers such as General Electric, Philips, Siemens, Hitachi, and Toshiba which in turn integrate them into imaging for hospitals, outpatient imaging clinics, research labs and other medical institutions. Apart from the products it supplies, Terra Firma also provide technical support and integration services for its imaging systems and software to help users optimize visualization, analysis and storage of medical images.
Terra Firma’s parent company was incepted in 1992 by two brothers: Godfrey and Allan Frost. The company was initially named Terra Firma Technologies and was started as a commercialization attempt of their dissertation research on medical applications of amorphous silicon sensor arrays. Godfrey obtained a PhD degree in electrical engineering from Victoria Institute of Advanced Studies while Allan completed a PhD in biophysics a year later.
The company’s initial activities focused in the development of high resolution flat panel detectors to be used in X-ray imaging. The devices used thin-film transistors to develop large digital detectors with millions of pixels for better sensing. The technology contrasted digital detectors based on charge-coupled devices because it adopted larger screens hence more sensitivity without the need for lenses. As a matter of fact the company’s first TFT prototype produced images that greatly surpassed traditional film-based X-rays in terms of quality. This initial success catapulted the company to mass production after Siemens agreed to purchase 10,000 units of detectors for its new line of high-end X-ray imaging systems. The financial success obtained from the five year deal enabled Frost brothers to obtain construction loans for a full-large scale production facility, as well as cash flow to hire additional staff. This formed the foundation for expansion mechanisms into new types of medical sensors such as X-ray detectors for CT scanners and gamma ray detectors for PET and SPECT systems.
Values that its products and services offer to its customers
Terra Firma, though small in size, is known to supply a range of medical imaging equipments to major equipment manufacturers in medical imaging field. Terra Firma’s role particularly involve the manufacture and supply of imaging equipment segments which are assembled by big players to produce end products utilized for CT, MRI, X-ray, Nuclear and Ultrasound imaging. Large multinationals such as Siemens and GE relied on small suppliers such as Terra Firma to supply the highly specialized equipments which are consumed in the health industry. Apart from the equipments, they provide technical services and integration support to the ever increasing customer base.
Stephanie Clark is described by colleagues as a force to reckon with especially her operational management skills. Clark instituted a new planning and execution focus based on strict cost discipline and complete product development. This approached greatly differed with the company’s initial standing as a competent supplier. The new system showed flaws in 2005 when under her guidance Terra Firma attempted to develop a filmless X-ray system to fill the gap in low-end market segments where film-based imaging equipments were cheap but hindered by the overall cost of ownership. Successfully pursuing filmless equipment meant that the development team need to maintain a strict cost strategy until the delivery of a complete system, and as Richerd Weinsen, Vice President of Product Engineering notes, the plan made good business perspective was short of resources prioritization.
Apart from management approach, IT management and investment is a major cause of concern in the company. Until 2011 when a major network crash occurred, IT had been deeply rooted in the fabric of Terra Firma’s organizational life that it seldom fails. Most of the organizations enterprise applications have not been changed since company’s inception date. Prior to Clark’s tenure, the company lacked a corporate level IT department. IT staff were co-located with product engineering teams as well as functional organizational departments they supported. After Clark took over, she re-aligned the organization to realize the importance of IT especially for manufacturing. However, instead of creating an independent IT portfolio, she consolidated IT function under her position along with the company’s other departments.
The major problem with the IT infrastructure is the way it is implemented. First, the new application development and deployment standards are minimally adhered to with an approximated adherence rate of 10% out of more than 200 apps. This is due to the fact that most applications were deployed long before these standards came into force. Essentially, the aspect of compatibility was not factored in. Second, the cause of the disruption was zeroed to an engineering application which was fully compliant of the new architectural standards but had not been tested in a production environment. This signifies the extent of complacency with which new applications are developed without in-depth testing and analysis. IT is not fully independent in its management and powerful executives act unprofessionally in forcing application development and deployment projects they deem urgent.
Other critical issues concerning IT are disaster recovery plans, RTO’s, unsatisfied employees and general lack of sufficient priority objectives in managing and funding IT.
Terra Firma is uncertain about two aspects of its information technology. First, in spite the numerous testing conducted, the system does not seem to stand a scenario of intense attack. Second, the system does not have an efficient fall back strategy that secures critical operations after an incident. The company management is not certain whether the new measures and technologies are sufficient enough.
2 Strategic goals that spurred growth in 2003-2009
During 2003-2009 periods tremendous growth was reported in the organization. First, after the failure of the filmless X-ray system, Clark allowed the integration of engineering staff in determining fixed schedules and budgets. Prior to its management approach that was centred on mass production without the views of the developers, the new flexible and pragmatic approach allowed the involvement of R&D and engineering in major decisions concerning development as well as management of Digital Imaging Systems wing. The organization had also developed into a classic multi-divisional form with delegation of duty distributed effectively as well as absorbing employee’s feedback.
Second, Terra Firma invested heavily in software development with a new breed of programmers brought in to leverage the just acquired Australian X-ray machine manufacturer and their skills in 3D and 4D imaging. Investment in a separate customer support that manages the organizations technical contracts and system integration services boosted service delivery and earnings.
The balanced scorecard is a framework that is used to ensure that the company meets all the objectives of information management. With the use of the ITIL framework, the company will be able to achieve the objectives in all the sectors. All the areas of operation will be achieved. This is a good strategy with which to achieve and manage the alignment. It is through ITIL all-round framework that this will be achieved.
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