Windward Insights

GPS Navigation for IT (Mission Assurance)

Published Sep. 19, 2011
Written by Michele Darwin

Tablet and SmartPhone

As I was sitting in traffic last week, I was thinking about a recent presentation I saw from an Air Force General about Mission Assurance. Sitting in my car on the Washington, DC beltway, several of the main routes were glaring “red” on my GPS – unfortunately, situation normal here! My mission (as I chose to accept it) was an important meeting downtown — would I be able to achieve my mission and arrive at the meeting on time? The GPS was predicting I would not meet my objective, because it knew where I was, where I was going, and the status of the resources used to achieve my mission.

In IT, assuring the mission is much the same — albeit more dynamic. Defining the business objectives that IT must support and translating those business objectives to IT functional requirements is not a whole lot different than programming the GPS. With the GPS, you set the objectives by typing in the destination address, then choose your route based upon traffic, miles, riskiness, tolls (cost), and other factors.

The GPS works because it associates roads, bridges, tools, and tunnels with my specific mission and allows me to select how I want to achieve that mission. Then it provides real-time status of where my current route challenges are going to be. Much in the same way, if IT is going to move to cloud computing and enhance its ability to meet mission requirements and relevancy then IT must move beyond looking at IT resources as individual assets. To achieve the end objectives, IT must view these assets as an interdependent collection of tools used to meet the mission of delivering Services that are needed in specific quantities at specific times.

I’d like to hear your thoughts about “mission” definition, SLA’s, automation, etc. Do you think that IT needs to become experts in mission assurance before they move to cloud?