Core Infrastructure Optimisation – Introduction and Overview

[Supporting materials for this post can be found here ]


In the spirit of writing in this blog about subjects that I often get asked about, an overview of Core IO is well overdue! Infrastructure Optimisation is a maturity model based upon some work done by ‘a well known analyst’ (sorry legal reasons mean that I have to use that phrase – from now on I’ll use ‘wka’ just to save on typing!) on maturity models. Microsoft took the wka’s model and simplified it somewhat. Initially we took out the people and process elements leaving only generic technology enablers which caused me some issues as technology without process is useless… Anyhow later revisions have included both people and security process elements.

The picture below shows the three different IO models that we have, one for each of infrastructure, Business Productivity, and one for Application Platform. Within each model there are core areas that are then broken down again into competencies.


As you can see for Core IO the areas of focus are:

  • Identity and Access Management
  • Desktop, Device and Server Management
  • Security and Networking
  • Data Protection and Recovery


Now this is a ‘maturity’ model so besides the area of competency we need a way of measuring competence. In IO this is done using four steps, Basic, Standardised, Rationalised, and Dynamic.

Finally, we have the model that shows the functional areas that you can rate yourself against:


I’m not sure how well these will come out but the full picture is available in the slide deck on my SkyDrive.

In essence these competency models give you a mechanism for determining the maturity of your IT operation in a given area. If you choose to follow the model then it gives you a path through which you can achieve greater agility, automation, reliability and ultimately save cost. Now when discussing this with customers a few things always fly to the top:

1) How can I show that following Core IO will save me money? a fair question, especially if you are looking for help with a business case. Well there is strong third party evidence that moving from Standardised to Rationalised can save you. For example;

  • Organizations can reduce annual IT labour costs by improving their infrastructure
    optimization levels. The total savings of moving from Basic to Rationalized optimization can reduce IT costs by $513 per PC.
  • Organizations can also reduce annual IT labour costs by up to $226 per PC by adopting
    best practices.

I’ve put a number of IDC Whitepapers onto the SkyDrive which run into the details on this. If you want financial detail then read the paper ‘PC TCO Best Practices’, or read the other papers for details on how improving certain areas will deliver TCO benefits.

2) “We know all this, and what we should be doing but we don’t know in what order to do it!” on the face of it this question is rather harder to answer and some pointed questions need to be asked and answered…If this comment means that there’s no rocket science in the IO model and that you would love to be doing the ‘dynamic’ things but don’t know where to start or how to justify the budget then what needed is an approach or ‘strategy’. This could turn into a long answer so I won’t let it. The short answer is to find a ‘good’ partner who can help you plot the path from here to wherever you want to be, the long answer I’ll try to put into some other thoughts but if writing business cases were easy then there would be a Word add-in for it! Either way, equipped with the information above a business case can be made and then’ it’s a matter of producing an implementation plan that suits your business needs. One thing I do observe though is that often customers will spend a fortune on one area of technology (VMotion anyone?!) which is really in Dynamic whilst neglecting some fairly basic areas (server patching anyone?) and this creates an unbalanced IT portfolio. The way to recognise this is that after significant investment you still have a lot of manual processes, your users still report most of your issues, or you still feel that you spend as much time fire fighting as you do determining future strategies.

3) Who has done this successfully already? We are in luck here. There’s a lot of case studies, with numbers, on the web site here. I thought that I would include a few for you in this post.

AUSTAR United Communications

See how this subscription TV provider standardized all of its desktops with the most up-to-date software, while reducing the time required to deploy applications and patches from several hours to 30 minutes. Read more

City of Edinburg Council

Find out how using the Core IO model helped the City of Edinburgh save £6.4 million with a payback period of 14 months. Read more

EDF Energy

Learn how this British energy company improved helpdesk first-time fix rates from 35 percent to 62 percent while reducing its IT maintenance costs by 15 percent. Read more

HSBC Mexico

Read how Optimization has helped HSBC deploy solutions to branch offices and ATMs in 2 days. IT is no longer considered a bottleneck. Read more


Discover how TUV NORD used the Business Productivity Infrastructure Optimization (BPIO) model to lower TCO by 37 percent. Read more

So, there’s plenty gone before you! This slide summarises the HSBC example above. They took 2 years to go from Basic to Standard, and then just one year to go from Standard to Rationalised.



In addition to the Case studies there are also the latest analyst reports on the web site giving you the latest data.


4) What’s the industry data for IO? Well again the IO Web site is the best resource.

On here you can view the latest results that have been shared with Microsoft.



5) How do I find out more? Well there are some really good resources on here. As you can see there’s specific guidance on Desktops, Servers, Branch, and Virtualisation.


You can also speak to your account manager at Microsoft who can help you.


Additionally, why not take the time to complete this assessment – and find out where you sit on the IO ‘curve’


don’t forget my presentation and supporting documents for this subject can be found on my SkyDrive at this location


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