What is information technology infrastructure

IT services

In many industries, especially in the construction industry, the structure and terminology of the individual services are highly standardized. In contrast to this, there is an almost Babylonian language diversity in the field of IT infrastructure operations - although these services have made a significant contribution to the value chain of all economic sectors for decades and have long since ceased to be just a job for IT experts. The lack of conceptual and structural standardization has considerable disadvantages for users and clients, because it makes it difficult to compare service content, service levels and service costs. In the following we try to contribute to more uniformity, at least at the top level.

First of all, it is necessary to define the term "IT infrastructure" yourself. We include the entire area of ​​IT operations, which is known to represent the largest cost block within IT. These ongoing "run" activities include the operation of terminals, servers, databases and applications and other IT components.

In the aforementioned IT infrastructure environment, we constantly encounter new terms in our everyday consulting work, both on the side of the user and on the side of the service provider. In addition, this variety of terms is regularly enriched with trending words such as cloud services, big data or mobility. Even within the websites of individual providers, inconsistent terminology can sometimes be found - with content that is not clearly delimited from one another and overlaps with the content of other generic terms. The following illustration shows some of these terms.

Vertical and horizontal

So how does this mess in the names of IT services come about? A major reason for the variety of terms found is that IT topics are mostly presented in a "vertical" perspective. For example, when you talk about Big Data Management or Collaboration Solutions, it is mostly about all aspects of the life cycle of these solutions, from demand management to the selection and customizing of technologies and tools to the operation of the infrastructures. So all phases within the plan-build-run cycle are considered. In the area of ​​infrastructure operations, on the other hand, we concentrate on the run phase and then structure the pure operational issues in "service lines".

It is true that there are thematic differences within the IT operations task areas: For example, the management of SAP applications differs from the management of collaboration applications, and different skills are required for this. The vertical approach is therefore also justified in the infrastructure environment. However, this perspective is only applied in the second step, namely in the detailed planning of the service provision. In order to structure the services, the horizontal perspective must first be applied - that is, IT operational tasks are considered instead of IT topics.

Solution approach

The approach presented below for the structuring of IT infrastructure topics helps to implement projects in the operational environment efficiently and effectively and contributes to the fact that service content, service level and service costs match those of other service scopes or provider Offers can be compared. The process model can be used in a uniform manner in a large number of different projects, such as in

  • Sourcing and outsourcing projects,

  • Provider control, SLA management,

  • IT controlling, cost management, benchmarking,

  • IT consolidation, establishment of shared services centers and

  • Transitions when changing providers (second generation outsourcing).

Step 1: Isolation of the scope of operations

  • Separation of the run components from the plan / build components; This is an essential basis, especially for sourcing projects;

  • Separation of ongoing services from investments such as modernization projects or IT conversion projects; as a result, sporadic expenses are eliminated and benchmark capability is achieved.