The costs to provide quality network services continue to increase as network organizations attempt to align their services with changing business unit requirements. Consequently, network organizations must now take a more circumspect view of this important area. Otherwise, money will be wasted in non-essential areas and/or not appropriated for critical support activities. Consider the following items and their associated costs when evaluating ways to improve business unit alignment.
—Business unit alignment processes. These processes should address those areas that require improvement. Until this area is flushed out, it is difficult to determine the resources needed and estimated costs involved. In general, the following actions can help achieve better business unit alignment:
Collecting and validating business unit needs. This activity will likely require the development and testing of new processes and procedures as well as an automated system to collect information and help with its analysis. Unless business unit needs are understood, network services and the applications they deliver will be out of synch.
Monitoring and maintaining service levels. Discuss this item with business units before new services are deployed to ensure the network infrastructure can deliver the expected service levels and effectively monitor them. Once requirements are validated, the "how to do it" should be discussed during the budget process to determine its impact.
Identifying personnel requirements and expenses. The costs to implement and support the above items depend upon the activities required to achieve the desired business unit alignment. For example, if several internal business units require individual account managers based on their size and enterprise importance, personnel costs will increase accordingly. Include these requirements in the personnel budget category.