Interview with Tim Wasle, Lead Service Manager at T-Systems International

We are joined today by Tim Wasle, Lead Service Manager at T-Systems International. Tim is one of the first people involved in creating the concept and setting up the ZOIS association.

ZOIS: Hi Tim, thanks for giving us the opportunity to do the interview. Could you tell us how the Zero Outage association started and what were the reasons for it?

Tim: Thanks for having me today. So, the association started, as usual, with an idea. We were thinking at T-Systems, we already have processes and ITIL; all has been developed and implemented. We wanted to go a step further. Stephen Kasulke was with us, going forward and thinking we need to collaborate to get to the next level. He discussed the collaboration first with Kai Bachmann, who was my boss at the time. As I was also a specialist for ITIL at T-Systems, they’ve invited me into the discussion at a very early stages.

ZOIS: What was the first incentive?

Tim: We were thinking how we can get zero outage into processes without hindering the processes. This was the main problem; the more error-proof we wanted to make the processes, the heavier and slower they got. We reached a level where we knew, this is secure, this is safe. We were just missing the speed.

ZOIS: Why was it important to collaborate with other companies?

Tim: We wanted to discuss with companies on the market how we can build zero outage technology, so we can shorten the processes. Automation cannot be applied to each situation, so everyone must develop the solution by its own. As a result each hardware vendor produces an enterprise ready hardware, but every customer still needs to adapt their systems to the hardware.
The idea of ZOIS was to build guidelines upon which companies could then build products, responding to the minimum requirement for the outage and get certified.
We established very early at T-Systems that we need people’s behaviour to apply zero outage measures to be thoughtful about consequences. We need platforms that have included zero outage measures which are designed not to fail. Thirdly, we need processes that check the balance across all the platforms and people, who can apply the processes in a controlled manner. That was the idea.

ZOIS: Yes, now the idea developed into standardisation in these three areas; people, platforms, processes. Could you please tell us what were the very first steps to make this happen? The very first workshops, the very first discussions among these people and companies within the ZOIS Association?

Tim: First of all, it was a great time. Stefan and Kai worked hard to bring the companies together talking to the CIOs and co-owners of the companies. They did most of the work. Then they pulled together the first companies; Brocade, Cisco, T-Systems, HPE, Dell EMC, Hitachi Vantara to have the first workshop and establish the goal of the association.

ZOIS: How were the first workshops?

Tim: Very interesting. An eye opener. We realised very early that each company has developed a different understanding of zero outage. Only after the second meeting, we came to a definition and said, this is zero outage, this is what the association wants to reach.

ZOIS: Were there some controversy discussions where people did not agree?

Tim: In the beginning yes. I still remember the discussion with Georg from HP, who was against processes. He was saying people just need to do the right thing, work agile and effective without any processes in place. Processes sounded to him heavy and slow. We agreed that we still need processes, but only a minimum requirement, that are important to be used in a most efficient way. I liked these discussions a lot.

ZOIS: If you could go a little bit further these past couple of years ago. Are there any highlights you can remember in the history of the association?

Tim: Yes. The London event (ZOIS Executive Summit). I think it was a major highlight because at that point the association had already created the second batch of content. More or less everyone participates together with customers and we had very interesting speakers, who left us with great ideas and inspiration. The event brought the Association and the creation of content much further. We all understood that we need to take the next step and create content that helps people, that is referable and people can say “I read it on the zero outage page and I will apply it in my company.” ESARIS is, from my perspective, a brilliant framework, which we give away for free for everyone to help build a secure environment.

ZOIs: Thank you very much for the interview.

Tim: Thank you.