Law School Admission Council Receives Inaugural ITSO Award
Report shows Model was within 3 percent of actual performance
Clear Lake, Iowa, March 10, 2009
TeamQuest Corporation, the global leader in IT Service Optimization (ITSO) software, awarded its inaugural IT Service Optimization (ITSO) award to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for the company's formal IT capacity management process and its use of TeamQuest tools to efficiently align services with business needs.
"Last year, 2008, was our first full year of implementing ITIL/ITSO, and we were able to improve enterprise service availability for our customers from 98.983 percent to 99.827 percent. The results from ITSO are clearly tangible and measurable," said Jerry Goldman, Director of Technical Services.
LSAC's Information Services Division provides a single shift of IT operations that manages the performance of their systems by adapting to changes along the way using the ITSO five-step process of planning and provisioning for IT services.
Significant achievements also include LSAC supporting the growth of its IT infrastructure with staged and timely deployment as predicted in their ACES2 capacity models. These models enabled them to plan deployment of additional capacity needed to rollout the new mission critical application to more than 200 law schools over a three-year period.
"We partnered with TeamQuest to develop sound capacity modeling processes to prove the value and accuracy of our best practices in capacity management and performance management," said Jeff Fox, Manager of Network Infrastructure.
Prior to ITSO, the team had experienced significant processing bottlenecks on law school application registration deadline dates. After following the ITSO process, Fox discovered exactly how much additional hardware was required and when to introduce it into the network. In one day of their highest peak seasonal volumes, the number of electronic applications processed grew 11 percent without any performance issues.
LSAC developed a Modeling Validation Report, using the TeamQuest tools, which revealed the capacity models were within 3 percent of actual performance. This reliable modeling effort has enabled LSAC to predict and avoid capacity problems that inhibit service availability.
"We are not a bank or financial institution," said Goldman. "We don't have a totally fault-tolerant technology environment in place that assures the achievement of five 9s of service availability." However with ITSO, Goldman said his group has the cultural maturity and mindset to strive for the five 9s of service availability and continue building partnerships with the business.
Disaster Recovery Strategy
After Goldman's team embraced ITSO and ITIL practices, they used them to help manage risks associated with IT service delivery.
LSAC's Board of Trustees mandated to the IT organization the requirement to build a disaster recovery strategy that would meet a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of 24 hours for mission critical applications for their law schools and applicants in order to avoid a break in vital service continuity. Because the data needed to be very current, the team was also given a four-hour Recovery Point Objective (RPO). In order to meet the requirements, LSAC's team created a hot-site solution with frequent data replication.
Goldman's team used ITSO and ITIL processes to find a solution that exceeded the board of trustees' mandate by achieving an RTO of less than 12 hours and an RPO of less than 30 minutes. The project also finished ahead of schedule and under budget.
Maintain Platinum Service
Senior leadership has taken notice. LSAC's VP/CIO, Bruce Bachman, values the maturity the group is gaining due to the implementation of ITSO best practices and acknowledges everyone's efforts in striving for five 9s of service availability.
"We're committed to improving all aspects of our customer service," he said. "The combination of ITSO processes, TeamQuest tools and our dedicated staff enables us to ensure our system availability, reliability and performance objectives. For example, Jerry's group has created a new set of metrics for recording our service performance on all SLAs that were put in place through ITSO."
ITSO is aimed at optimizing the planning and delivery of IT services with the goal of consistently meeting IT service levels while minimizing infrastructure costs and mitigating risks.
This five-step process improves both the operational efficiency of the IT infrastructure and the proactive planning for IT services that align with business objectives.
The first four steps of ITSO deal with the often overlooked but important steps of identifying business priorities so IT can align with them and understand which services are most important. The more important the service, the less acceptable the risk, which is a consideration when mapping IT resources to services.
Step five deals with managing the ongoing performance of IT services once they are launched. Performance management tools and techniques ensure that service levels are met and reported on an ongoing basis.
The steps of ITSO:
- Understand business objectives
- Prioritize services and assess risk levels
- Establish service levels
- Plan and provision services
- Manage service performance
TeamQuest is the global leader in IT Service Optimization, delivering automated, comprehensive and real-time performance analysis covering everything from apps to servers to storage. TeamQuest software enables organizations to accurately analyze, predict, manage and measure the performance of highly dynamic, multi-vendor environments. Enterprises around the world trust TeamQuest solutions to proactively improve latency, mitigate financial risk, and reduce cost.