How to get less IT failures at large IT providers (evidence)

Blog article summarizing an experiment in the banking industry showing that Agile principles in a group of interdependent teams drastically improves IT incident handling.

Root cause of IT failures
IT failures are common these days and increasingly impactful on our society. People experience these IT failures for instance by not being able to login to their banking account. IT failures are difficult to prevent and resolve since IT services exist in interdependent networks. The interdependencies in these networks are critical; in case one of the providers cannot deliver its IT service the interdependent chain breaks down, as shown in the example below.


Information sharing to reduce IT failures
In an earlier blog I explained the importance of information sharing to reduce the impact of IT failures. We identified a set of information that needs to be shared between IT providers.

Experiment at a multi-national bank
Via Search4Solutions as consultancy firm, supported by the faculty of software engineering of VU University we started an experiment at a large multi-national bank. In the bank a chain of IT teams that resolves IT failures was selected. In that chain we started to actively share the identified set of information.

Staggering results
As result IT incident handling performance improved significantly. The improvement is shown in the graph below. The graph shows the percentages of IT incidents that are handled within the agreed service level, in each month.


The results have been written down in a scientific paper that was submitted last year to the Journal of Software: Evolution and Process. I'm proud to announce that the paper has been accepted and released in April 2014. The paper can be accessed via this link. If you can't because of missing credentials, please ask a private copy by mail.

As next step we plan to study IT incident prevention activities by improved collaboration between IT teams.

Business potential
The results show that proper information sharing between teams has a lot of potential in reducing the impact of IT failures. One possibility is to redesign information sharing between IT teams with IT incident management tooling, such as HP Service Manager and Service Now.

Tags: IT incidents IT services Transparency Visibility Information sharing Performance Network