Too often organisations consider acquiring IT with an ambitious program of IT infrastructure change and the belief that a radical, multi-year re-architecting of the organisation’s systems will lead to a more capable and modern IT architecture that is better able to respond to the requirements of the business. While this "IT heaven" may be a laudable objective, it is a very difficult one to achieve and, in our opinion, is unsuitable for most organisations.
IT heaven can wait. We encourage clients to take an approach which is focused on definable business projects each delivering value, typically in a 9-12 month time frame. It sounds obvious doesn't it? A recent experience with a large investment bank shows that to many it isn't.
The bank had gone out to tender for the capabilities it wanted to procure in the IT organisation. These capabilities were ambitious. The program's intent was to transform the way that IT projects were delivered - all very exciting. Naturally I imagined that they had a whole set of business projects lined up just waiting for the right infrastructure in order to deliver them. When asked about this though, they appeared to be rather taken aback - "Projects in mind? No, we don't have any specific projects in mind." I was surprised, and disappointed. They were operating in a vacuum. They certainly had vision, but they had no justification for actually implementing it and for spending any money with us. They just hadn't got other parts of the organisation on board with this program of activity. As I write, they have yet to make their planned investment…
Maintain your vision to be sure, but make sure you deliver some demonstrable business projects along the way.
SOA What? SOA is all about enabling incremental change. It's about modern and legacy systems working together. It’s about working in a heterogeneous world and evolving your SOA infrastructure in non-disruptive way.
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