COBIT® 5 Enablers 6 and 7 Tutorial

This lesson covers the sixth and the seventh enablers of COBIT® 5, which are ‘services, infrastructure, and applications’ and ‘people, skills, and competencies’ respectively. The lesson is a part of COBIT® 5 Foundation Certification CourseLet us begin with the objectives of this lesson.

Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe enabler 6 of COBIT® 5

  • Discuss architectural principles associated with IT-related resources

  • Explain enabler 7 of COBIT® 5

  • Identify the skill categories for each domain

Let us move on to the next section to discuss the sixth enabler of COBIT® 5.

Enabler 6—Services, Infrastructure, and Applications

The image below depicts the sixth enabler of COBIT® 5 that is ‘services, infrastructure, and applications.’
Enabler 6

The provisioning of services such as the end-user support or operations team support for the IT-related services within the specified timelines, as agreed in service level agreements, is one of the constituents of this enabler. It also includes resources such as applications and infrastructures that are leveraged or used in the delivery of the IT-related services.

Let us now proceed to the next section to focus on the architecture principles associated with IT-related resources.

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Architecture Principles

The term, architecture principles, can be defined as follows:

Architecture principles comprise the overall guidelines that govern the implementation and use of IT-related resources within the enterprise.

Architecture principles can be considered as the building blocks that control the implementation and use of IT-Related resources for organizations.

Architecture principles aid in the decision making for IT-related resources such as:

  • having an in-house development or outsourcing the work;

  • buying or building a product;

  • maintaining easy usage of the product or service;

  • delivering products or services in quick turnaround time to meet the changing needs; and

  • embracing open industry standards to make affordable, marketable, serviceable products and services for the mutual benefit of the organization and their stakeholders.

The five architecture principles that govern the implementation and use of IT-related resources are:

  • Reuse -  It means that common components of the architecture should be used when designing and implementing solutions as a part of the target or transition architectures.

  • Buy vs. build - It means that the solutions should be purchased unless there is an approved rationale for developing them internally.

  • Simplicity -  It means that the enterprise architecture should be designed and maintained to be simple while still meeting the enterprise requirements.

  • Agility - It means that the enterprise architecture should incorporate agility to meet the changing business needs in an effective and efficient manner.

  • Openness - It means that the enterprise architecture should leverage open industry standards.

These five architecture principles are a part of the good practices of the ‘services, infrastructure, and applications’ enabler.
In the next section, we will focus on the relationship between the sixth enabler and others.

What is the relationship between the Sixth Enabler and Others?

The ‘services, infrastructure, and applications’ enabler is related to the other enablers in the following ways. ​

  • Information is a service capability that is leveraged through processes to deliver internal and external services.

  • Cultural and behavioral aspects are relevant when a service-oriented culture needs to be built.

  • ​Under processes, most of the inputs and outputs or work products of the process management practices and activities in the Process Reference Model or PRM include service capabilities.

Consider other frameworks such as, ITIL® V3 or TOGAF which also provides an integrated information infrastructure reference model.

Let us understand the concept of the ‘services, infrastructure, and applications’ enabler with the help of an example in the next section.

Services, Infrastructure, and Applications—Problem Statement

The IT department of Nutri Worldwide Inc. has set up an internal IT helpdesk for employees to contact in case of issues with their systems, printers, scanners, and photocopiers. At first, the internal help desk was a success, but eventually, the number of calls received by the helpdesk decreased as the end-users preferred to connect directly with the local IT engineers for assistance.

It was found that the help desk’s focus was restricted to logging the call and routing the same to the local IT teams for resolution. There was no focus on the direct resolution from the helpdesk. There was also no clarity on the level of services in terms of resolution, escalation or timelines.

What measures can be taken by Nutri Worldwide Inc. to increase the end-user confidence in the helpdesk and to improve the effectiveness of the IT helpdesk?

Let us find out the possible solution in the next section.

Services, Infrastructure, and Applications—Solution

To increase the end-user confidence in the helpdesk and to improve the effectiveness of the IT helpdesk, a Service Level Agreement or SLA (read as S-L-A) should be put in place. An SLA clearly defines the level of service to be provided to the end users.

The services could include the following:

  • Resolving desktop and laptop issues by offering remote assistance

  • Performing basic troubleshooting

  • Following the escalation procedures defined in the SLA

To ensure these requirements are met, the appropriate infrastructure and tools have to be in place.

In the next section, we will discuss the next enabler that is, ‘people, skills, and competencies.’

Enabler 7—People, Skills, and Competencies

The following image depicts the ‘people, skills, and competencies’ enabler.
Enabler 7

The importance of people in an organization are explained below:

  • In today’s organizations, people, process, and technology are the key components that are required for their existence.

  • Processes and technology are an integral part of an organization; however, people are the most important asset from an organization’s perspective.

  • People possess the skills and competencies to create processes and technology. Therefore, without people, the processes and technology cannot exist in an enterprise.

  • People are diverse and unique, but they use their skills and competencies collectively to build robust processes and technologies that aid the development of enterprises.

  • The varied skills and competency levels of people help in improving the quality of the products, policies, and services.

  • Better skills and better competencies of people lead to better products and services from an organization.

In the next section, we will understand the good practices of ‘people, skills, and competencies’ enabler.

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Good Practices

The good practices of the ‘people, skills, and competencies’ enabler are described by different skill levels for different roles, and include:

  • defining skill requirements for each role.

  • mapping skill categories to COBIT® 5 process domains such as Align, Plan and organize or APO (read as A-P-O) and Build Acquire and Implement or BAI (read as B-A-I). These categories correspond to the IT-related activities undertaken, for example, business analysis and information management.

  • using external sources for good practices such as the Skills Framework for the Information Age or SFIA (read as S-F-I-A).

In the next section, we will look into the various skill categories for each process domain.

Skill Categories

The table given below depicts the skill categories for each process domain  

Process Domain

Examples of Skill Categories

Evaluate, Direct and Monitor (EDM) domain

Governance of enterprise IT

Align, Plan and organize (APO) domain

IT policy formulation, IT strategy, enterprise architecture, innovation, financial management and portfolio management.

Build Acquire and Implement (BAI) domain

business analysis, project management, usability evaluation, requirements definition and management, programming, system ergonomics, software decommissioning and capacity management.

Deliver, Service and Support (DSS) domain

Availability management, problem management, service desk and incident management, IT operations and database administration.

Evaluate and Assess (MEA) domain

Compliance review, performance monitoring and controls audit.

In the next section, let us understand the concept of the ‘people, skills, and competencies’ enabler with the help of an example.

People, Skills, and Competencies—Problem Statement

During a growth spurt, Nutri Worldwide Inc. decided to hire team leads and managers for future projects. The top management chose food industry experts for these roles. A few months later, the HR began receiving complaints from the team members regarding their newly hired team leads and managers. There was also a drastic increase in the attrition rate.

Projects started to fall behind schedule with unforeseen delays. In particular, the teams with recent recruits at the managerial level suffered from low productivity and employee dissatisfaction.

What could be the possible reasons for the above situation and how could it be avoided?

Let us find out the possible solution in the next section.

People, Skills, and Competencies—Solution

During the hiring process for the team leads and managers, the HR considered only the experience in terms of industry exposure.

While inviting candidates for the position of the team leads and managers, they did not give importance to the essential skills required at a managerial level, namely, team, people, and stakeholder management.

The lack of people management skills at the newly hired managerial level led to dissatisfaction, attrition, and loss of productivity in teams. This can be taken as an example of the hiring process or recruiting ‘close fits’ to fill the positions quickly.

For a given role, it is important to find the optimal fit, which is someone with both the skills and experience required for the role.

Summary

Let us summarise what we have learned in this lesson:

  • The sixth enabler of COBIT® 5 is ‘services, infrastructure, and applications,’ which includes resources such as applications and infrastructures that are leveraged or used in the delivery of the IT-related services.

  • Architecture principles can be defined as the overall guidelines that govern the implementation and use of IT-related resources within the enterprise.

  • The seventh enabler of COBIT® 5 is ‘people, skills, and competencies,’ which emphasizes the fact that people possess the skills and competencies to create processes and technology.

  • The skill category for the EDM domain is governance of enterprise IT.

  • ​The skill categories for MEA domain are compliance review, performance monitoring, and controls audit.

The next tutorial talks about Introduction to ​COBIT® 5 Implementation.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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