IT Outsourcing & Service Level Agreement


Term Paper, 2000

22 Pages, Grade: 1

Anonymous


Free online reading

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1. Aim of this Report
1.2. Next Steps Towards the Outsourcing of the CMLs
1.3. The Computer-Infrastructure in Discussion

2. Recommendations

3. Managing the Contract and Remaining Questions
3.1. Terms and Conditions
3.2. Staff Issues
3.3. Asset, Accommodation and Ergonomic Issues

4. The Service Levels
4.1. Networks and Servers
4.1.1. The Networks
4.1.2. The Servers
4.2. The Hardware
4.3. The Software
4.4. Support Facilities

5. The Audit Findings
5.1. The Methodology
5.2. Networks and Servers
5.2.1. The Network
5.2.2. The Servers
5.3. The Hardware
5.4. The Software
5.5. Support Facilities

6. Appendix
6.1. List of the CMLs in the University of Anywhere
6.2. Basic Map of the Campus Network
6.3. Bibliography

Information Strategy

Outsourcing Plan CML - White Paper

Outsourcing of the University's centrally managed computer laboratories - first report to assess basic needs and develop basic areas for the outsourcing project with special emphasis on addressing the service levels of any upcoming outsourcing contract.

Executive Summary

It has been proposed that the centrally managed laboratories within the University are to be outsourced. This document presents an action plan for the completion of this process. The plan focuses on the attainment of service levels by any successful bidder for the outsourcing agreement and roles and responsibilities this would entail of the outsourcer and the University.

The finding of this report propose the awarding of any contract to a single outsourcer. This outsourcer would be required to operate within a partnership agreement with the University. However, the success of this partnership would rely on the outsourcer being impartial and objective.

The transition period will be well planned and implemented so as to cause the minimum disruption and maximum retention of strategically important personnel.

The assets of the centrally managed computer laboratories with the exception of premises and utilities will be transferred to the outsourcer. The outsourcer will be responsible for implementing and maintaining the service levels detailed within this report. Failure to do so will result in penalties imposed and if required full transfer of assets back to the University.

The financial implications of this are out with the scope of this report, however it will be necessary for the University to insure itself against termination of the contract to maintain continuity of service.

The report examines in detail the service levels required for the efficient operation of the centrally managed laboratories under the following sections.

- The Network and servers
- The hardware
- The software
- Support facilities

The report provides a set of mandatory, highly desirable and nice-to-have standards. The mandatory standards must be fulfilled without question as they represent the current goals of the University. Ninety percent of the highly desirables must be fulfilled as they represent the current future goals of the University. The nice-to-have will determine the medium to long term working relationship with the outsourcer and the medium to long term basis for an extended contract.

The transfer of personnel is to be conducted with the aim of keeping a solid base of knowledge and skills within the University that will be utilised in a partnership with the outsourcer to accomplish shared goals.

Introduction

1.1. Aim of this Report

This report is not a detailed project plan for outsourcing the centrally managed computer labs (CML) of the University of Anywhere to a private contractor. It is a first assessment of the issue to identify the main areas to be outsourced, the stakeholders in these services and the level of service currently provided.

Facing constant funding cuts, Universities are being forced to be more cost effective. One possible method for achieving this, is outsourcing of non-core University operations. The CML fulfil a support role within the University and are a possibility for outsourcing. Through outsourcing, the University will seek to either maintain service levels for less cost, or improve services and procedures with present expenditure levels.

This report will form a basis for further investigation and implementation of an outsourcing project.

1.2. Next Steps Towards the Outsourcing of the CMLs

Outsourcing is a complex process requiring intricate planning and management. Based on a first assessment of the services currently offered and the future needs of users, one possible outsourcing project is outlined as follows.

Seven Steps to successful outsourcing1

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1.3. The Computer-Infrastructure in Discussion

There are a number of facilities and services that could be outsourced. It is also possible to completely transfer the computer services department to the contractor, or transfer specialised services such as server maintenance or the help desk.

The following facilities and services are under consideration:

- The physical campus networks and the related servers, routers, connection points, etc.
- The hardware in the computer labs, e.g. computers, screens, printers, servers
- The installing, maintaining and upgrading of the software in the labs
- The help desk functions and user support
- Internet connectivity, use of the WWW and e-mail, Web-servers for publishing of content through departments
- Dial-up service to use the university network, mainly the Internet access, from outside the network
- user registration and authentication
- shop for consumables like printer cartridges or diskettes

A list of all teaching PCs and a plan of the John Anderson campus network are enclosed in the appendices.

1. Recommendations

Managing the outsourcing agreement

1. One single outsourcing body to be dealt with to avoid conflict of responsibility.

1.1. They may sub contract but must meet contract obligations.

2. Contract term to be as short and as flexible as possible.

3. Penalties for under performance and absent performance.

3.1. Reward system for good work and innovative performance exceeding targets.

4. Managing the changeover - staff point of view needs consideration.

Facilities to be outsourced

Centrally managed computer laboratories.

1. Hardware

1.1. The University will assume responsibility for the bare room.

1.2. The outsourcer will assume responsibility for all removable contents including:

- Consumables
- Computer terminals
- Peripherals
- Cables
- Furniture
- Wall connections to power supply and network. However power supply still within University control and responsibility.

1.3. The outsourcer will assume responsibility for maintaining the standard of hardware outlined within the service levels found herein.

1.4. In the case of contract termination ownership of all hardware shall be transferred from date of termination to the University.

2. Security

2.1. Authorised access to the centrally managed computer laboratories will remain within the control of the University.

2.2. The outsourcer will assume responsibility for the control of authorised access to the network from every computer terminal.

2.3. The University will not be held responsible for equipment lost or stolen from the centrally managed computer laboratories. The outsourcer will assume responsibility for the physical security of all hardware and peripherals within the laboratories.

3. Software

3.1. The outsourcer will assume responsibility for common software provision as outlined in the service level found herein.

3.2. The outsourcer will assume responsibility for the procurement of software. However, the responsibility for the nature of the software to be procured will remain under University control. Collaboration on this topic between the University and outsourcer will be encouraged.

4. Network

4.1. The outsourcer will assume responsibility for the provision of the network service level found herein.

4.2. At present, the campus network and associated networks are performing extra-ordinarily well. The outsourcer will be required to at least maintain the current standards and improve upon them.

4.3. Exclusion: The outsourcer will assume responsibility up to and no further than the primary router connection between the three autonomous departmental networks in operation at present.

4.4. Access security as detailed above.

5. Servers

5.1. The outsourcer will assume responsibility for the provision of the server service levels found herein.

6. Support and maintenance

6.1. Helpdesk

6.1.1. The University and outsourcer will form a partnership for the provision of support and maintenance for all facilities currently managed by the University.

6.1.2. The University will transfer a proportion of its current low-level helpdesk staff. The senior staff will assume University responsibility within the partnership agreement, maintaining a base of skills in-house for contingency reasons. This is justified, as the outsourcer will remain impartial and objective; free from the University politics.

6.1.3. The Partnership will assume responsibility for the provision of support and maintenance service level found herein.

6.2. Personnel transfer

6.2.1. The University will assume responsibility for the transfer of IT personnel. This will be done in accordance to the outline found herein.

2. Managing the Contract and Remaining Questions

2.1. Terms and Conditions

Though an outsourcing contract is a very formal and legally sound paper, the relationship between outsourcer and contractor will not be that formal. The ideal solution would be gaining a partnership based not only on the contract but also on open communication and co- operation.

The contract will contain a structure for regular consultation meetings with, and progress reports from the contractor. Also, the university must be allowed to audit and assess the service provided. The assessment process will include end-user participation.

Importantly, a contract must clarify exclusions from the contractor remit and draw firm boundaries of responsibility. For example, the contractor is responsible for the functionality of the CML computers; however, it might be written into the contract that the contractor cannot be held responsible for the power supply affecting their performance.

Penalties and rewards will be established in the contract for achievement or non-achievement of service levels. Terminating conditions of the contract must be explicitly stated within it. The university will not become involved in an agreement that sees the contractor being paid more than the present budget to attain the current service levels.

The contract will be focused on the details of the information audit and service levels, carried out in this action plan. This will give the university a solid base of knowledge to use when comparing and evaluating the university's performance when served by the contractor. The contractor wil be expected to sign off on a document confirming these base measurements- the supplier will then have no excuse to later lambaste these measurements on the basis that incorrect data-collection or calculation methods were used. (Bragg, S. M. 1998)2

2.2. Staff Issues

The staff issue is one of the most critical and sensitive parts of every outsourcing project. This can be seen by the often-reported anxiety of the staff once outsourcing of any kind has been announced. "No matter what you say or do, it is virtually impossible to remove the anxiety felt by most staff..." 3

An approach focused on easing this situation is outlined by White and James.4 They suggest that staff should be involved in the outsourcing process from the start. This process would allow the university to discuss staff issues that will arise in a contract. The university should make an announcement stating the desire to and objectives of outsourcing. The staff should receive progress reports concerning the search for an outsource solution and when one is found, it would be appropriate for that contractor to present a report outlining their intentions and employment package. Lastly, the staff should be informed of the implementation plans in detail.

This would hopefully prevent staff from, "jumping ship," allowing the transfer of knowledgeable staff, should this be the case.

Contractual issues related to staff transfer should be handled with great care and the rules for staff transfer have to be part of the final outsourcing agreement.

2.3. Asset, Accommodation and Ergonomic Issues

There are some basic ergonomic issues that require to be included in this contract. The centrally managed laboratory rooms a contractual area requiring clarification. This is one proposal for the outsourcing of the rooms.

This report proposes that the University retains responsibility for, and ownership of, the centrally managed laboratory rooms:

- Décor
- Heating/ventilation/lighting
- Power supply
- Fire safety (safety of equipment must ensured by contractor, according to industry standards and guidelines)
- Installing of internal phones
- Cleaning of rooms
- Blackboards/whiteboards
- Security in terms of access to room
- Public liability insurance

The University retains responsibility for the health and safety of the users. There is no basic need to shift this responsibility, because all labs remain on university property and are accessed through halls and staircases and are used by teaching staff and students. The contractor on the other hands gains responsibility for the furnishings and hardware equipment of the rooms, which must conform to the 1993 EC Working Directive on health and safety at work:

- Chairs
- Desks/Tables
- Secure Storage Facilities
- Insurance for the above
- Electrical Wiring
- Cleaning of Machines (with particular emphasis on keyboards and screens)
- Ensuring the physical security of hardware (theft protection)

This proposal is mainly based on the reported problems relating to the conditions of the rooms and the equipment. These findings pointed out that the university is not currently capable of maintaining the labs/rooms in a user friendly and ergonomic way (e.g. old chairs, not enough place to rest arms on tables while typing). The aim of outsourcing is to gain an improvement of service for the users.

3. The Service Levels

3.1. Networks and Servers

3.1.1. The Networks

Mandatory

Mandatory requirements from the action plan are to at least maintain current standards of 99.9% efficiency and uptime with a view to improving it to 100% in peak time of use between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays.

The routers to departments which are managing their own networks, like the Department of Information Science, are to remain on the campus backbone and be maintained with the same standards and have the same uptime, but responsibility thereafter is on the departments. The upgrade should be pre-emptive. If it is known that a certain part of the network has been in operation for a long period of time it will be analysed and replaced if necessary.

Response time to faults regarding the availability of the network (e.g. user login, Web-access, access to applications and user directories) needs to be within 2 hours of notification.

Depending on the type of problem and the effects on the available services, all problems must be fixed within another 4 hours. All necessary maintenance work, interfering with the available services must be carried out outside peak times.

Highly Desirables

Increased security provision in a way to protect the network from unwanted access from within and outside the network.

A benchmarking exercise to ensure that the University remains in touch with industry networking practices.

3.1.2. The Servers

Mandatory

The current level of reliability must be maintained as well as the current level of support. The current security levels must be ensured and constantly adapted to new developments or risks such as viruses, hackers and fraud.

Highly Desirable

Although current reliability is excellent, there is a margin for improvement. 100% reliability at peak time (9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.) is highly desirable.

Users should be able to save their preferences in various applications (Windows Desktop, Office Apps., Webbrowser) without compromising security. The impossibility of saving bookmarks in Netscape Navigator (or "favourites" in Internet Explorer) is a major complaint of users. This should be changed by altering user profiles within the Novell Severs/Windows environment.

Installing a server for Database Management Systems like Oracle or SQL Server, which is accessible from the centrally managed labs for teaching purposes.

Nice-to-have

In addition to dial-up network access, more servers/routers to handle the influx of remote users should be provided when traffic is likely to increase. This is especially important when laptops (provided by the University or its partners) become common use. Applications-servers are another issue, which should be addressed in the future.

3.2. The Hardware

Mandatory

Replacement of all dot matrix printers with 'billed' black/white inkjet or laser printers.

All hardware must be clean and well presented. The acceptable level of cleanliness would be to have the hardware cleaned at least once per week (especially keyboards and screens) out with peak time.

All peripheral hardware should be compatible for use with the PC it is connected to. Hardware upgrade interval to be completed every three years.

The support team for hardware will resolve any hardware problem reported within twentyfour hours of being reported.

An effective Intranet platform for the reporting of hardware problems will be implemented. This will be maintained and responded to within the aforementioned time frame. The advertising of this service to students must be completed within twenty-four hours of a student gaining access to the University network. Students must be actively encouraged to report hardware problems.

The process of resolving problems must allow for monitoring of the status of the problem. A 'Ticketing' management information system for tracing a problem through each step towards resolution must be implemented and made available to all end users. The format for presenting such data should be available on the University Intranet and be maintained within real-time.

Highly Desirables

The following improvements to the current standards are desirable:

- Seventeen inch colour monitors for all PCs
- A digital scanner available in each centrally managed computer laboratory
- A 'billed' colour laser printer for each centrally managed computer laboratory
- Multi-media plug-ins for each PC
- free accessible Zip drives available in at least 10 laboratories

A benchmarking exercise will be carried out in partnership with University, to establish the changing hardware standards in operation within industry and commerce. This exercise will take place every eighteen months. The findings of this exercise will allow future planning and action for the provision of hardware within the centrally managed computer laboratories. A procurement process where requests are resolved quickly and efficiently. The new procurement process should halve the current time for a request to be considered and the outcome made known.

Nice-to-Have

The provision of Laptop computers for end-users to rent or to buy at reasonable prices with the provision of docking ports in the labs and halls of residences. For further issues, see the support facilities section.

3.3. The Software

Mandatory

The current software standards are to be maintained with the exception of:

- Upgrading the terminals still running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
- Upgrading Microsoft Office'97 to Microsoft Office 2000
- Installing an standard industry Web-Publishing tool
- Software upgrade interval to be completed every three years.

Highly Desirable

See Hardware above

Nice-to-Have

The provision of all department specific software to be accessible in all centrally managed computer laboratories.

3.4. Support Facilities

There should be a partnership in place for helpdesk facilities with the service company.

Mandatory

Networks and servers

The upgrade becomes pro-active: if it is known that a certain part of the network has been in operation for a long period of time then it will be analysed and replaced if necessary. The current level of server support must be maintained.

Hardware and software

All hardware must be clean and well presented. The acceptable level of cleanliness would be to have the hardware cleaned at least once per week (especially keyboards and screens) out with peak time.

The support team for hardware will resolve any hardware problem reported within twentyfour hours of being reported.

An effective Intranet platform for the reporting of hardware problems will be implemented.

The advertising of this service to students must be completed within twenty-four hours of a student gaining access to the University network. Students must be actively encouraged to report hardware problems.

The process of resolving problems must allow for monitoring of the problem. A 'ticketing' management information system for tracing a problem through each step towards resolution must be implemented and made available to all end users. The format for presenting such data should be available on the University Intranet and be maintained within real-time. All services provided by the outsourcer will remain impartial and will avoid involvement in University politics.

Highly Desirable Hardware

The support facilities for hardware will assume a pro-active role. In doing so projected problems with hardware should be tackled before they become problems to be reacted to. The support teams resolution of a problem will be completed within a day of the problem being reported.

4. The Audit Findings

4.1. The Methodology

The project parameters did not permit the interviewing of actual Computer Services personnel and other University stakeholders, therefore the Department of Information Science acted as a 'virtual' interpretation of Computer Services and University stakeholders. In doing so the project targeted key members of the department and asked them to assume the role of the stakeholder we wished to interview. The stakeholders were as follows.

- F.G.

Member of ITAG committee, Head of Department of Information Science, Head of Computer Services

- R. D.l

Software administrator for the centrally managed computer laboratories

- C. R.

Server / database administrator for the centrally managed computer laboratories

- D. S.

Network administrator for the centrally managed computer laboratories and Department of Information Science

- P. B.

Academic end-user of the centrally managed computer laboratories

- F. S.

Postgraduate end-user of the centrally managed computer laboratories

- D. M.

Undergraduate end-user of the centrally managed computer laboratories

The interviews were conducted using a semi-structured format to allow predetermined objectives to be met and stakeholders to raise previously unknown issues as well as the interviewer ask questions related to earlier given answers.

4.2. Networks and Servers

4.2.1. The Network

The service agenda of the networks on campus was found to be to provide a constant local area network (LAN) and Internet access to students and staff.

The standards used by the current system administrators comprise of Ethernet protocol standards. It is currently 99.99% efficient with an impressive service record. Certain capable departments in the university hold their own independent administration facilities for their (LANs), these are Computer Science, Information Science and Electrical Engineering departments.

System performance is excellent. Yet, procurement of new systems' material is slow and bureaucratic, particularly from a financial point of view. Financial requests of technical staff must be justified when a certain threshold is reached.

The effectiveness of support and maintenance for the system is questionable. This is dealt with in further detail in the support facilities section.

4.2.2. The Servers

The University has UNIX Servers and Novell NetWare Servers for the PC labs. These provide disk space for the users of the CML. UNIX servers provide UNIX use and access but also provide web-servers and e-mail-servers. All e-mail accessed through PC labs are routed through UNIX servers.

Server/network reliability is excellent. Downtime is minimal, approximately once a year or around five hours, ensuring good performance. However, this does not include maintenance downtime. It has been suggested that some CML can be slow in terms of Internet connection speed, although it is uncertain whether this is a server problem or volume of users problem. The data held on the servers is backed-up every night and archived weekly. This enhances security of the data.

4.3. The Hardware

The current hardware standards in operation are:

- PC / Mac / UNIX systems available (see appendix 6.1 for details)
- Predominantly Star LC-100 dot matrix printers and small number of Hewlett Packard inkjet and Apple laser printers.
- All printing except dot matrix is charged by card to each end user.
- Microsoft standard mouse and Microsoft Intellimouse.
- Mac / UNIX provision is specific to department, although part of centrally managed computer laboratories.
- Sixty of five hundred and ninety-one PC's are sub standard.

The presently available hardware standards are markedly better than two to three years ago. Hardware security and control of hardware access in the CML has also markedly increased. However, peripheral hardware is insufficient for modern teaching. This is exacerbated by the availability of quality, modern and reliable printers.

Procuring hardware is a strict and bureaucratic process. Presently, three vendors must be sought. The University has ongoing relationships with specific vendors on an approved list. However, the University may be paying more for hardware than it needs to at present. Some peripheral hardware purchased is not compatible with the PC platform. An example of this is the procurement of the a Microsoft Intellimouse for all Viglen Genie ATX PS 2000 PCs when this particular hardware standard does not support the benefits offered by this particular mouse.

4.4. The Software

The software administrator's remit is the provision of a common software platform for the CML.

The current software standards in operation are:

- 90% Microsoft Windows NT and 10% Microsoft Windows 3.1
- 90% Microsoft Office'97 and 10% Microsoft Office'95
- Eudora Light
- Netscape Navigator 4.0

Presently, the software standards meet 80% of the centrally managed computer laboratory's standard software requirements. To fulfil these requirements a standard industry Web- Publishing tool should be installed and made available to all students and staff. The current hardware in place is sufficient for the installation of present software standards.

4.5. Support Facilities

Existing support and maintenance of the system is questionable. Each extension or addition to the network system has to be dealt with by only a small team at the help-desk. It was also noted that the response time to problems is poor and often problems are solved through informal channels. Coupled with this is the fact that repairs and queries made to the help-desk are not 'traced' and recorded in a database. At the moment the upgrade time of the system is 'ad hoc', i.e. reactive to problems in the system.

If a UNIX server fails, an engineer is in the University within two hours of the problem being reported. If the server requires replacing this happens within six hours. Novell server support is in-house. The PCs and their associate servers are split into University, "zones." Each zone has a technical staff that supports the servers within its zone.

Hardware and Software:

The current upgrade interval is officially two to three years. Realistically, software and hardware are upgraded simultaneously, in five-year cycles. Also the hardware is not clean or presented well.

Software support and maintenance is slow and inefficient. The main problems highlighted are the standards of communication and training of low level personnel. Helpdesk support and maintenance staff consider students to be a hindrance rather than 'customers'.

5. Appendix

5.1. List of the CMLs in the University of Anywhere

Unix Teaching Rooms:

- Livingstone Tower L801 (Sun lab) & L824 (Sun lab) 29
- Curran Building R479 (X-Terminal lab) ?
- James Weir M109A (Silicon Graphics lab) & M114 (Silicon Graphics) 30

Total number of machines 59

PC Teaching Rooms:

- Anderson Building K606A/B 24
- Architecture Building G18 20
- Colville Building R309, R309A, R309B 70
- Curran Building R580, R582, , R584, R585, 86
- Graham Hills Building R634 65
- James Weir Building M105, M511 80
- Library Eaton Room 40
- Livingstone Tower R214 40
- McCance Building R300, R407 46
- Royal College R336, R336A, R473 80
- Stenhouse Building R317, R319 40
- Sir Henry Wood Building R616 (Jordanhill Campus) 36

Total number of machines 627

Apple Mac Teaching Rooms:

- Curran 583 12

5.2. Basic Map of the Campus Network

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

This diagram shows the basic networking infrastructure managed and maintained by the computer services.

Source: http://www.strath.ac.uk/IT/Networking/jac-diag.gif

5.3. Bibliography

- Bragg S.M Outsourcing: A Guide to: Selecting the Correct Business Unit, Negotiating the Contract & Maintaining Control of the Process

John Wiley & Son, New York, 1998

- Greaver II M.F Strategic Outsourcing: A Structured Approach to Outsourcing Decisions & Initiatives

Amaco, New York, 1999

- White R & James B The Outsourcing Manual

Gower Publishing Ltd, Hampshire, 1996

[...]


1 Greaver, M. F.: Strategic Outsourcing, 1998, p. 18/19

2 Bragg, S. M: Outsourcing,1998, p.

3 White, R./James, B.: The Outsourcing Manual, 1996, p. 59

4 ibid, p.60

22 of 22 pages

Details

Title
IT Outsourcing & Service Level Agreement
Course
Information Strategy
Grade
1
Year
2000
Pages
22
Catalog Number
V101387
File size
459 KB
Language
English
Tags
Outsourcing, Service, Level, Agreement, Information, Strategy
Quote paper
Anonymous, 2000, IT Outsourcing & Service Level Agreement, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/101387

Comments

  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: IT Outsourcing & Service Level Agreement



Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free