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IT Transformation: Understanding environment and business goals

- July 21, 2014 - 0 Comments

In my last blog, I established reasons behind today’s need for IT Transformation. We know that CIOs hope to cut their budget in half, but this will be difficult unless they understand their Enterprise Environment, as well as, the management goals that align with their organization’s overall IT transformation efforts. Today we will take a deeper dive into understanding both. Because there is no “one size fits all” way of embarking on an IT Transformation journey, it is important that each organization looking to begin this process makes their own set of assessments, starting with a baseline assessment of their Enterprise Environment:

  1. Defining transformation initiative with in-depth knowledge of end-user clients, technical and business value and cost reduction aspects of systems and expectations.
  2. As mentioned in my previous blog on Cisco Domain Ten Framework for IT Transformation, assess existing applications, customer interfaces (web portal, mobile, etc.), tools, IT and data architectures and in-house expertise available as part of transformation scope. This includes infrastructure, virtualization, application, platforms, automation tools and operations covering network, Data Center, communication, security, financial management, vendor management, business relationship management, governance, compliance and workforce management.
  3. Understanding if applications that are within the scope of transformation are designed to meet the architectural (e.g. Cloud) need, availability, integration and performance needs. This includes identifying shadow IT applications and evaluation of equivalent off-the-shelf applications appropriate for the new needs and training the organization to use such applications.
  4. Quantifying end-to-end cost of applications that provides business services including: cost of applications, cost of supporting those applications internally and with external vendors, cost of infrastructure resources used by those applications, cost of integration and maintaining applications within enterprise systems and external systems and finally the cost of human resources supporting for those applications.
  5. Developing qualitative & quantitative metrics of existing applications and their end-to-end cost, IT and data architectures for those applications and cost of human resources that are essential for planning, prioritization and consolidation to avoid redundancy and inconsistency.
  6. Building provider impact assessments within scope of transformation for all software vendors, infrastructure vendors, Cloud providers, managed service providers, integration services providers and support service providers. This includes developing detail maps of legal relationships & contracts, SLAs expectations, and success criteria for relationships in new environment.
  7. Recognizing limitations for available funding for IT Transformation initiative including investments for new infrastructure, new vendor relationships, and dedicated resources to execute transformation initiative.

By using the seven steps outlined, IT decision makers will be able to identify internal pain points, set long-term IT goals and service the end-user to the best ability possible while cutting down on costs at the same time. However, setting long-term goals can also be a tedious step, which is why organizations must assess management goals that align with their overall IT transformation efforts as well. How can this be accomplished? Conducting the following baseline assessment of management goals is a good second step:

  1. Identifying a clear definition of current business services needs, transition plan and future business needs in both short term (6 months) and long term (2-3 years) for IT Transformation.
  2. Considering that impacts of Cloud (private, public and hybrid) in IT Transformation initiative is a must as it impacts applications, IT and data architecture considerations.
  3. Assessing impact of IT transformation to existing and upcoming projects within all relevant business entities.
  4. Aligning transformation project to corporate culture on implementation methodologies -waterfall phases or agile or both. Key is to focus on both development and operations (devops) needs at each cycle of projects to demonstrable business and/or IT value.
  5. Identifying frontline business services for end-users and possibly green-field projects through the alignment of business processes, user interfaces, and systems for initial phases for early wins.
  6. Developing value through the alignment of applications, IT and data architectures with business capabilities and governance structures for subsequent phases of transformation.
  7. Establishing that responsibilities associated with these IT Transformations do not fall just on IT but are rather directed at all relevant and affected IT and Business entities.

By taking the steps discussed above, IT decision makers will have a clear view of how to move forward with the organization’s business transformation. However, conducting an Enterprise Environment assessment as well as establishing management goals is not a foolproof plan. There are some common mistakes that many organizations fall into while embarking on their IT transformation journey, and which I will cover off on in my next blog. Stay tuned to learn more about the pitfalls that can slump the IT transformation process.

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