Other parts of this series:
In my last posts, I discussed how a multi-speed approach is key in meeting the various challenges of today’s digital environments. I also explained that in the multi-speed world, the speed of technology needs to be matched to business needs. In this post, I will describe why CIOs need to define operating models that meet—and help shape—the many and varied requirements of the business.
A new generation of technology and IT architecture is changing the way IT does its work
Today’s IT is faced with the mantra that its main focus is no longer on managing programs and developing software, but increasingly on leveraging ecosystem relationships.
But how can CIOs define operating models that bring together technology, talent, sourcing and governance to meet business requirements?
The answer lies in applying all the benefits that new technologies and IT architectures have to offer.
Three areas are of particular interest in this regard: legacy technology, self-serve capabilities, and governance.
1. Decoupling legacy architecture
While most CIOs can resist the temptation to bolt new technology onto already complex systems, some CIOs tackle legacy system complexity. Legacy simplification can increase agility and flexibility to IT organizations while delivering total cost of ownership benefits. Simpler enterprise architecture, in terms of application modularity and liquid architecture and application modularity principles (and that does not mean it is not complex), is critical to deliver digital transformation and it should be the main approach when starting IT from scratch.
But legacy simplification is no easy task. How can you change your IT culture with most of the people skilled on legacy? How does one divest 30 years of platform development?
It is difficult to find a business case for this approach. Thus, rather than simplifying, investing in decoupling allows for easy and flexible integration of the old and the new, focusing on developing new services while eroding current legacy services on a more long term approach.
In this way, CIOs could decide regarding the global strategy of their companies to invest in legacy simplification on the short term, or let it happen on its own while providing a decoupling solution that minimize technical dependencies between all the pieces that are part of the IT platform.
New technologies allow for simpler architectures that bring faster change and reduce cost and pressure on resources.
In addition, decoupling legacy architecture can be achieved by introducing application programming interface (API) layers to expose the core data sources and enable new digital channels and the creation of new ecosystems. These API layers not only allow access to services from external parties; they also allow simplification of internal integration of different platform ecosystems and facilitate coordination and agility in an environment where different people from different areas—and even from different providers—evolve the internal platforms.
2. Self-serve models
Importantly, new technologies allow everyday users to access and complete tasks that were once reserved for specialists. This self-serve model, which even extends into developing applications and preparing data for analysis, is bringing more employees into the IT realm and may relieve some of the demands on the IT team.
Cloud computing is making it easier to integrate multiple partners working at multiple speeds.
Several principles and technologies are key for successful self-serve models:
- Integration architecture for both internal and external partners—based on API that allows inclusion of developers in a way that does not require an understanding of how systems are built internally.
- Development and operations (DevOps)—to eliminate barriers between the change and the run.
All of them supported by cloud approaches, meaning an agile, flexible, on-demand infrastructure.
3. Governance models
A sophisticated demand management process supported by governance is critical to support the multitude of requirements from both legacy and new digital environments.
Successful governance models and processes allow CIOs to prioritize business demand and allocate the right mode of operations to deliver value at the right time.
Furthermore, such governance models include the development of performance metrics to measure the results delivered in a multi-dimensional world.
In my next post, I will delineate some concrete steps to put CIOs in a position where they can accelerate to multiple speeds.
Until then, you may want to take a look at the full Gearing Up for Growth Using Multi-speed IT report for further information