As a starting point, let’s think about how IT has evolved over the past few decades. Behind the ‘waves’ of progress – client-server, the Internet and so on, IT has been evolving along a number of parallel tracks. Not least we have:Dynamic IT, or the ability to flex IT service delivery based on end-user demand. This has existed in a number of guises, most recently encapsulated by terms such as ‘on-demand’ or ‘adaptive’ IT. However such capabilities were envisaged back in the hey day of the mainframe, and remain relevant now. The latest catalyst towards dynamic IT has to be virtualisation, though it is early days yet.The Internet. Again long in gestation, we now have a situation where every compute device on the planet has the ability to connect to every other using a standards-based backbone. There are still some things to be ironed out, notably bandwidth in general, and mobile access in particular. But few would disagree today with its importance.SOA. Three decades have passed since software luminaries first postulated the principles of modular design, which was taken forward through object orientation to yield the standards-based architectures we recognise today as being ‘service-oriented’. SOA is a work in progress, not least because it is difficult to get right, but it is part and parcel of how applications are written today.Sourcing. From the computer bureaux of the Seventies, through the outsourcing wave of the Nineties to the ideas behind Software as a Service we see today, IT procurement has been a balancing act between doing something in-house, or sourcing skills, services or MIPs externally. To paraphrase an analyst colleague, what we are seeing today is not so much about the convergence of these four tracks, but more their collision. There is a number of reasons – the laws of physics yield new innovations which drive the industry forward; the economics of both IT and business cause a focus on both efficiency and effectiveness; both businesses and purveyors of services are being drawn form a now-global pool; and the boundaries between organisations, their suppliers, subcontractors and customers are becoming increasingly blurred. All of these factors conspire to give us a vision of the inevitable – that organisations large and small will indeed have the wherewithal to source an increasing variety of services from third parties, using the Internet as a backbone. Less inevitable is that teh vision will be achieved quickly, or without pain as both providers and consumers learn the most workable approaches.
Are we really any better off when we respond to technology hype?
Taking things from here: familiar trade-offs<br />BUSINESS<br />REQUIREMENTS<br />
INCREASED EFFECTIVENESS<br />INCREASED EFFICIENCY<br />IT as<br />differentiator<br />IT as foundation<br />Making a real difference to business<br />Making everything “just work”<br />IT as bottleneck<br />Efficiency before effectiveness<br />
What to leave out?<br />Average outsourcing index by Senior Management view of IT<br />
Good<br />Improve<br />Maintain<br />Fit with service requirements<br />Bad<br />Transform<br />Kill<br />Non-differentiating<br />Differentiating<br />Business value of application<br />Rationalise to get breathing space<br />
Where to start? Beer mat IT<br />Governance is not a dirty word – it’s about making informed, open decisions<br />Know what you have<br />Know what “they” do<br />Know what they want<br />Know what is possible<br />Know what you are doing<br />Know the constraints and risks<br />Reduce waste, look for value<br />Management is key<br />