Functional Area: Information Technology Support

Client: Accolade Inc.

Date Completed: 11 December 2015

Business Challenge: The technology leadership team changed significantly in 2014 with the addition of a new Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO inherited an organization that was struggling to meet demand for new products and features from the business while keeping existing solutions running per Service Level Agreement (SLA) targets. For example, SLA penalties were assessed on two separate occasions, resulting in a financial credit to Accolade customers.

Solution: Ruota was engaged to review the Accolade IT operating model, organization structure, roles, processes, and technology platforms. Functions, processes, and technology were assessed against Ruota’s IT Operations Maturity Model, rating them on a scale from 1 (lowest level of maturity) – 5 (highest level of maturity). A remediation plan was prepared for the CIO and the IT leadership team, which was subsequently approved for implementation.

Ruota recommended enhancing and adding capabilities in Infrastructure and Security, specifically Release Engineering and Network Hardening. Ruota investigated the support issues that created the SLA breaches, finding that the lack of documented Incident and Change Management procedures were key contributing factors. Finally, Ruota established an “order of battle” for the missing or broken IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes needed to improve operations and sustain the momentum.

Ruota and Accolade leaders built a new operating model, supported by an organization structure that grows and evolves over time as capabilities and functions come online, e.g., Release Engineering and Network Hardening. Roles and responsibilities were designed and established with the support of Human Resources. Formal operations support processes were designed and documented, using their IT Service Management (ITSM) tool of choice. Weekly and monthly CIO dashboards were designed and created to measure operational performance improvements over time.

Benefits: Over a six month period, Accolade SLA availability improved by several percentage points. These gains allowed Accolade to avoid SLA penalties during the post-implementation period.

Standardized ITIL processes and tools, i.e., Samanage, provided a robust set of metrics for reporting and driving improvements. Additionally, the standard processes allowed IT to reset the relationship with the business and help them provide reliable, predictable outcomes to the business.

Root cause analysis disciplines associated with Availability Management and Problem Management helped Accolade develop improvement roadmaps for execution. These improvements driven by these plans helped Accolade inject quality into legacy operations as well as new product development.