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IT LifeCycle


Business agility starts with preparation: anticipating the broad vision, requirements, and technologies needed to build and sustain a competitive advantage. In the prepare phase, a company determines a business case and financial rationale to support the adoption of new technology. By carefully anticipating future needs and developing both a technology strategy and a high-level architecture to meet those needs, a business is better equipped to contain costs during deployment and operations. 



Successful technology deployment depends on an accurate assessment of a company’s current network, security state, and overall readiness to support the proposed solution. In the plan phase, a company ascertains whether it has adequate resources to manage a technology deployment project to completion. To evaluate and improve network security, a company tests its network for vulnerability to intruders and outside networks. The company then develops a detailed project plan to identify resources, potential difficulties, individual responsibilities, and critical tasks necessary to deliver the final project on time and on budget. 



Developing a detailed design is essential to reducing risk, delays, and the total cost of network deployments. A design aligned with business goals and technical requirements can improve network performance while supporting high availability, reliability, security, and scalability. Day-to-day operations and network management processes need to be anticipated, and, when necessary, custom applications are created to integrate new systems into existing infrastructure. The design phase can also guide and accelerate successful implementation with a plan to stage, configure, test, and validate network operations. 



A network is essential to any successful organization, and it must deliver vital services without disruption. In the implement phase, a company works to integrate devices and new capabilities in accordance with the design – without compromising network availability or performance. After identifying and resolving potential problems, the company attempts to speed return on investment with an efficient migration and successful implementation – including installing, configuring, integrating, testing, and commissioning all systems. After network operation is validated, an organization can begin expanding and improving IT staff skills to further increase productivity and reduce system downtime. 



Network operations represent a significant portion of IT budgets, so it’s important to be able to reduce operation expenses while continually enhancing performance. Throughout the operate phase, a company proactively monitors the health and vital signs of the network to improve service quality; reduce disruptions; mitigate outages; and maintain high availability, reliability, and security. By providing an efficient framework and operational tools to respond to problems, a company can avoid costly downtime and business interruption. Expert operations also allow an organization to accommodate upgrades, moves, additions, and changes while effectively reducing operating costs. 



A good business never stops looking for a competitive advantage. That is why continuous improvement is a mainstay of the network lifecycle. In the optimize phase, a company is continually looking for ways to achieve operational excellence through improved performance, expanded services, and periodic reassessments of network value. Have business goals or technical requirements changed? Is a new capability or enhanced performance recommended? As an organization looks to optimize its network and prepares to adapt to changing needs, the lifecycle begins anew – continually evolving the network and improving results.


1. XPragma, “The Quest for the Agile Enterprise,” March 15, 2005.
2. Agility International, “Briefing on Agility and Business Agility,” March 15, 2005.
3. Gartner, “Client Issues for IT Leadership,” October 9, 2003.
4. Zeus Kerravala, “The Road to a Five-Nines Network. Enterprise Computing and Networking,” Yankee (February 2004).
5. Joan Cummings, “Taking Measure of Network IT’s Value,” Network World (October 25, 2004).
6. R. Blum, “International Network Services. IT Service Management and ITIL,” November 2004.
7. InfoTech, “The New Converged Application Support Model,” 2003.