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King Philip Came Over For Good Steak: The Taxonomy of IT PT 3

IT’s Kingdom Classification- Class

In Part1 and Part2, I have begun to map the classification of IT using the biological taxonomy framework.  Each of the first two articles identified the top levels of IT classification.  The Class level is the last of the major distinctions, and begins to show us where our services and value statements will have the greatest impact.

At the Kingdom level, I identified three business/IT classifications that focused on how IT is viewed by the business.  These were Cost Center, Operational Enabler, and Profit Generator.  At the Phylum level, I divided IT by its general operating philosophy.  Each Kingdom was sub-divided into 3 phyla which demonstrate how they arrived at where they are today.

If we continued down this path, each layer would grow exponentially.  There would be 27 Class definitions, and 81 Orders, and so on.  That would make for the longest blog post in history.  Instead, for the rest of this series, I’ll focus on what each level brings to the overall definition of a particular IT environment, and provide some examples so as not to turn the reader into an extra on The Walking Dead


Going back to biological taxonomy, the Class level groups organisms by major physical components.  Our Honey Badger friend is in Class Mammalia, which tells us it has hair, teeth, breathes through lungs, and has a well-developed hormonal system.  It is the Class category that separates mammals from reptiles and birds.

Within IT, we can apply Class to the fundamental thing that separates each of the previously defined phylum how IT is managed on a daily basis.  IT can be managed in a myriad of ways, from internal to external, as a unified platform or by technology silo, and by variable of fixed cost approaches.  In any of these variations, the importance of this classification cannot be mistaken.  No matter what the decision making process has been that resulted in the current state of affairs for IT, it is that ecosystem’s management constructs that will determine the course of IT.

70% of IT resources are consumed managing the current environment.  So, by defining Class at this level, we are grouping IT by the majority of time and effort expended.  Providing ways to re-balance IT resources, while at the same time reducing errors and downtime, will provide great value within any of the IT Kingdoms.

Within the Cost Center Kingdom, you will find Classes and Orders such as:

Class Definition Result
Abstinence Management functions are ignored until something breaks Out of date on patches and service packs, legacy versions of software and firmware. No policies or procedures documented, little to no data protection.
Avoidance Management functions are avoided in lieu of any other tasks Little to no desire to create proactive management definitions, tasks completed when time allows, but not with real focus or best practices.
Restrained Some desire exists to do the right thing, but unable to deliver Would like to be better at everyday requirements, but gets behind due to budget, skills or time. Lacks authority to enforce or empower change.


Within the Operational Enabler, you will find Classes such as:

Class Definition Result
Controlled IT has some leeway with certain systems, but others are tightly
controlled by outside influencers
Leads to a fragmented management approach, with too many hands in the pot.  Contention between staff and
Regimented IT remains in control across all of IT, but has strict guidelines and
policies they are required to adopt
These environments tend to be well managed, but may have to rely on multiple workflows, potentially requiring project management function with IT group
Disciplined Management of systems is a top priority and by extension consumes a larger percentage of IT resources Management here is great, but strategic initiatives may suffer by extension.  Assisting with project
advancement may be the best fit.


Within the Profit Generators, you will find Classes such as:

Class Definition Result
Synchronous IT and the business have similar metrics and objectives when it comes to systems support. What IT needs it gets from the business, including acknowledgement on how important systems management and maintenance is.  Budgets are large and application of funds is flexible.
Proactive Ahead of the game, in tune with industry standards, and has some
pre-emptive capabilities
IT has begun to build efficiencies in managing the environment, showing cost saving returns to the business and increasing availability of systems.
Automated Has fully automated many to most management functions, and focuses more on strategic initiatives Most of the routine tasks are automated, including every day management, but also provisioning, auditing functions, reporting, etc. Highest level of efficiency has been achieved.



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