MITA IT Operations – who are we?
Written by Matthew Catania
Today, most organizations critically depend on information technology (IT) as the enabler for meeting their objectives. IT affects every sector or industry and such dependency continues to grow exponentially as time progresses.
The Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) is no exception. IT supports its very own existence, as well as the existence of the business it serves, hence the Government of Malta across the Public Service and Public Sector. MITA therefore contributes to the public and society in general and has been doing this throughout its thirty-year long existence.
Like any other organization, MITA exists to create value across stakeholders. This is the ultimate outcome, therefore the end-result we all strive and are committed to achieve. Outcome is mainly enabled by outputs delivered through technology as well as other elements, or dimensions, in place. The technology delivering the MITA outputs is vast, requiring ample resources to maintain it and continually improve it.
A decisive element to ensuring that outputs are at the rights levels, and hence contributing to outcomes, is IT Operations. It can be said to be an extensive ecosystem, amongst others constituting of processes supported by technology and executed by people. This combination is nowadays very frequently supported by partners, or suppliers, to whom work is contracted and hence also becoming critical contributors to value.
IT Operations within MITA are very firmly defined. They are governed by direction from Top Management through policies as well as other governance structures and controls, supported by dynamic procedures catering for specific issues in scope. There are also legal, regulatory and statutory aspects that also influence and direct IT Operations.
In simple terms, IT Operations handles most of the day-to-day issues where in MITA’s case, amount to hundreds of user contact instances via telephone and other channels, changes in state of services and infrastructure, execution of procedures, reporting, maintenance, improvement, quality control and assurance, as well as planned changes to existing baselines.
For this to happen, the Service Management Department within MITA is defined by roles and responsibilities each intended to contribute towards the organizational objectives while moving away from the concept of silos. Our roles lead us to work on the components under the hood. We are the people who love to be around workstations, networks, servers, virtual machines, containers, cloud, data centres and the thousands of cable kilometers within. We are the round the clock people whose day is filled with unplanned issues, collaborating over specific occurring matters while at the same time being engaged and busy with other unrelated issues. It is an accident and emergency area where planning is about being able to handle the unforeseen. This is the critical value IT Operations deliver, and this is what we guide our workforce to achieve. This is what we professionally live for and love doing.
There are many elements beyond IT Operations that contribute to the general outcomes and objectives. These, amongst others include the application perspective, security and so on. However, from the MITA IT Operations perspective, several of the mentioned responsibilities specifically handle plenty of activities amongst which:
- client interaction for wide-ranging daily issues spanning across workstations to networking as well as application troubleshooting amongst others, amounting to just under five hundred interactions per day
- system administration including event management, backup management and maintenance across the systems hosted within the MITA Data Centres and cloud, covering around two thousand servers
- in-depth maintenance and ownership of various systems supporting services in use internally for service management as well others directly contributing value to the business
- management of suppliers and contractors involved in the creation of value
- visibility over committed service levels for improvement where and if necessary
- collation of customer feedback analyzed through resources holding required experience in the field for better understanding and hence creation of value through improvement of the day-to-day
The result from these and other activities is quality or service value, contributing towards the national well-being in general. This is only possible through the engagement and collaboration between parties within the IT Operations domain and support from others beyond.
This domain is a fast-paced environment. Planning is a pivotal activity albeit many times hindered by the very nature of the environment itself. Murphy’s law strongly applies here, and it is planning itself (in the long term) that keeps the organization going by ensuring we consider the operational risks beforehand.
I count twenty-five years in the field of IT Operations and Service Management in general, and continue to learn as issues are brought to my attention for my input and contribution. Fast decision making and a holistic view often under pressure, are pivotal skills which become a second-nature element as the experience across IT Operations builds over time.
A piece of advice to individuals considering IT Operations as their career path, is that this is an infinite source of knowledge. The issues in themselves, at a high-level or through their minute detail, provide lessons that continuously evolve the human resources involved, ultimately empowering them.
Also, IT Operations is a world whose people contribute through the backstage. Our mindset consistently shifts across technical and procedural issues, often unrelated to each other, as they arise. Many of the these tend to get complex requiring an element of technical understanding as well as contribution through the application of various service management principles. The satisfaction is guaranteed and MITA provides the right environment and tools for this to happen.
If you’re into a challenging yet highly rewarding environment, it would please you to learn how our experience has taught us that maintaining a static approach to IT Operations would be a huge failure. The world is changing and so is every organization. Moving towards high-velocity service management – more agility, automation and improved quality of services is a must. MITA is geared up for this and through the workforce across IT Operations amongst others, supported by mentoring, coaching, training and contribution by experienced personnel, our objective for 2021 and beyond is clear and achievable, in the interest of the country.
MITA is geared up for this and through the workforce across IT Operations amongst others, supported by mentoring, coaching, training and contribution by experienced personnel, our objective for 2021 and beyond is clear and achievable, in the interest of the country.