Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microservices Journal Authors: Leo Reiter, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Microservices Journal, Java, .NET, Linux, Virtualization, Web 2.0

Microservices Journal: Article

‘We Don’t Know’: IT’s Guilty Secret

The complexity of the enterprise application portfolio presents major challenges in responding to evolving business needs

Factors such as growing complexity, staff turnover rates, poor documentation, changes in responsibilities and business strategy have contributed to a lack of understanding and possession of appropriate skills in key corporate IT systems. The current gap in knowledge and know-how has put tremendous strain on today's IT department, which is expected to manage and execute all aspects of the business portfolio.

Possessing a deep understanding of each and every IT system can be a challenge, especially given that some of the countless enterprise software applications have undergone over 40 years of change and enhancement. However, admitting a lack of understanding and awareness will only further damage IT's already-precarious reputation. So develops IT's guilty secret - failing to tackle what it does not know.

Downstream impact on the IT department's ability to manage all aspects of delivery, cost, risk and operational efficiency is inevitable. How should IT leaders deal with this skeleton in the IT closet?

The Knowledge Gap
Unlike capital investments in physical assets, whose value changes over the years, the majority of software applications keep and increase their intrinsic business value and are rarely overhauled or replaced. Over time, these applications also continue to consume the majority of the IT budget.

The majority of IT organizations feel unable to deliver new requirements on time and often suffer from the high costs associated with doing so. Large portions of the budget taken up by mandatory "business as usual" tasks (routine maintenance, scheduled updates and deliveries, software and hardware updates, critical fixes, regulatory and legislative change projects) combine to form the growing phenomenon of IT debt as a result of the business demanding change faster than its underlying software assets can cope.

With IT in a constant fire-fighting mode, the less time-critical tasks such as routine documentation, internal training, knowledge transfer, or exploratory planning projects are shelved to allow for more pressing concerns.

There are a variety of options for dealing with these types of issues, including internal application overhaul projects and outsourcing to professional services organizations. Regardless of the chosen approach, the ability to appreciate and understand the existing applications and how they currently operate is the first step in determining how and what to change.

An Enterprise Application Challenge
Addressing a lack of knowledge needs to focus on the day-to-day manifestation of the problem:

  • Poor management control: IT staff having limited insight into the application portfolio and, as a result, cannot assign resources to work on what matters most to the business.
  • Slow turnaround on business needs: Applications become inflexible to be adapted quickly and without risk. Business users and IT staff struggle to translate requirements into applicaiton results.
  • Inefficient development processes: Global development teams spend up to as much as 80% of their budgets on maintenance activities, draining resources away from new, high-value projects.
  • Difficulty in selecting modernization projects: Businesses recognize the value of modernizing their application portfolios but need insight to prioritize and assign budget to these high-value activities.

Winning the Knowledge Battle
Most IT organizations face a reality of having no single group or individual that knows enough about the core systems to act as genuine subject matter experts on those parts of the IT estate. The age, complexity and inadequate investment over time has all but seen to that.

Power and control IT requires knowledge and insight: a centralized business and technical insight into core applications, enabling global IT teams to identify, prioritize and execute development activities that realign applications with current business requirements. The only viable way to win the battle is to use technology to regain the knowledge. Systems to collect detailed insight into an application portfolio, at a detailed technical level with supporting business and end-user information, can provide a centralized repository that can be securely accessed by users throughout the development team.

The information will need to include:

  • Rich technical insights: The analysis of source code across dozens of environments - from the mainframe to distributed applications - can provide detailed insights into the structure and function of even the largest and most complex systems.
  • Subject matter expertise: Users can discover and describe their applications in business terms so business users, analysts, managers, and architects focus their ‘business lens' on the logic, processes, architecture and issues that exist in the applications that automate businesses.
  • Additional insights: To further technical insights, users can collect additional related and business-level information about the app portfolio from third-party sources like HR, ERP, PPM, ALM and business service management technologies. The collected information provides powerful management intelligence about the cost, value, risk and priorities of an application portfolio.

The Benefits of Regaining Control
Seeing the ‘whole picture' provides improved business transparency so that applications can be reviewed, assessed and renewed to provide stronger support for the business's needs.

For architects, analysts and development professionals, increased visibility delivers a number of rewards. Centralized and detailed insight into the structure of applications means team members can quickly get up to speed and become more productive on even the most complex applications, boosting productivity by at least 20 percent.

As the analysis activity becomes more efficient, so will the development tasks. By sharing key analysis results through a common interface, such as Eclipse, to the developers' desktops, IT managers can help further improve the effectiveness of the change program.

More generally, detailed application insight enables technicians to discover, organize, and document core business processes buried within their applications much faster. This enables companies to find and - where necessary - reuse proven business rules in maintenance or larger change projects, such as SOA enablement, regulatory compliance, third -party software upgrades or major modernization projects.

IT - The Omniscient Innovator
The complexity of the enterprise application portfolio presents major challenges in responding to evolving business needs and represents a difficult secret reality for IT leaders. Application portfolio management and analysis tools are an effective first step in helping organizations understand their applications and prioritize their modernization efforts.

The ability to analyze and establish knowledge of critical systems across the entire IT estate is important in driving efficiency throughout an organization. It will help form a bridge between absent understanding of existing applications and how and what changes are necessary to modernize them. This will clear a path to innovation that is as smart as it is efficient, and should help IT to escape the knowledge gap that is all too often IT's guilty secret.

More Stories By Derek Britton

Derek Britton is an IT professional with over 20 years software industry experience. A computer science graduate from De Montfort University, Derek has held a variety of software engineering, technical consulting and product management positions in the IT industry, and is currently Director of Product Marketing at Micro Focus, the leaders in enterprise application modernization. Find Derek on Twitter at @derekbrittonuk.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
What’s hot in today’s cloud computing world? Containers are fast becoming a viable alternative to virtualization for the right use cases. But to understand why containers can be a better option, we need to first understand their origins. In basic terms, containers are application-centric environments that help isolate and run workloads far more efficiently than the traditional hypervisor technology found in commodity cloud Infrastructure as a Service. Modern operating systems (Linux, Windows, e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Blue Box has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Blue Box delivers Private Cloud as a Service (PCaaS) to a worldwide customer base. Built on a technology platform leveraging decades of operational expertise in cloud and distributed systems, Blue Box Cloud is a managed private cloud product available in both hosted and on-prem versions. Each Blue Box ...
Chuck Piluso will present a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. Speaker Bio: Prior to Data Storage Corporation (DSC), Mr. Piluso founded North American Telecommunication Corporation, a facilities-based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier licensed by the Public Service Commission in 10 states, serving as the company's chairman and president from 1997 to 2000. Between 1990 and 1997, Mr. Piluso served as chairman & founder of ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Soha will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Soha delivers enterprise-grade application security, on any device, as agile as the cloud. This turnkey, cloud-based service enables customers to solve secure application access and delivery challenges that traditional or virtualized network solutions cannot solve because they are too expensive, inflexible and operational...
of cloud, colocation, managed services and disaster recovery solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. TierPoint, LLC, is a leading national provider of information technology and data center services, including cloud, colocation, disaster recovery and managed IT services, with corporate headquarters in St. Louis, MO. TierPoint was formed through the strategic combination of some of t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ciqada will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ciqada™ makes it easy to connect your products to the Internet. By integrating key components - hardware, servers, dashboards, and mobile apps - into an easy-to-use, configurable system, your products can quickly and securely join the internet of things. With remote monitoring, control, and alert messaging capability, you will mee...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Column Technologies, a global technology solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a leader in application performance and infrastructure management for commercial and federal markets. The company is headquartered in the United States, with a diverse and talented team of more than 350 employees around th...
Public Cloud IaaS started it's life in the developer and startup communities and has grown rapidly to a $20B+ industry, but it still pales in comparison to how much is spent worldwide on IT: $3.6 trillion. In fact, there are 8.6 million data centers worldwide, the reality is many small and medium sized business have server closets and colocation footprints filled with servers and storage gear. While on-premise environment virtualization may have peaked at 75%, the Public Cloud has lagged in ado...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
Dave will share his insights on how Internet of Things for Enterprises are transforming and making more productive and efficient operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures in the cleantech industry and beyond. Speaker Bio: Dave Landa is chief operating officer of Cybozu Corp (kintone US). Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dave has been on the forefront of the Cloud revolution driving strategic business development on the executive teams of multiple leading Software as a Services (SaaS) ap...
79% of new products miss their launch date. That was the conclusion of a CGT/Sopheon Survey in which the impact of such market misses were also explored. What it didn't dig into was the reason why so many products and projects miss their launch date. When we start digging into the details with respect to applications, we can find at least one causal factor in the delivery process, specifically that portion which focuses on the actual move into production, from which consumers (internal and...
Microsoft is releasing in the near future Azure Service Fabric as a preview beta. Azure Service Fabric is built to run microservices - a complex application consisting of smaller, interlocked components that enables updating components without disrupting service. Microsoft has used this over the past few years internally for many of its own applications and the new release is for general use, a new product. OSIsoft is an early adopter of this system and run with it to expand into the explo...
ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure IaaS, today released its SDK for Ruby, written against the company's new RESTful API. The new SDK joins ProfitBricks' previously announced support for the popular multi-cloud open-source Fog project. This new Ruby SDK, which exposes advanced functionality to take advantage of ProfitBricks' simplicity and productivity, aligns with ProfitBricks' mission to provide a painless way to automate infrastructure in the cloud. Ruby is a genera...
This digest provides an overview of good resources that are well worth reading. We’ll be updating this page as new content becomes available, so I suggest you bookmark it. Also, expect more digests to come on different topics that make all of our IT-hearts go boom!
One of the most frequently requested Rancher features, load balancers are used to distribute traffic between docker containers. Now Rancher users can configure, update and scale up an integrated load balancing service to meet their application needs, using either Rancher's UI or API. To implement our load balancing functionality we decided to use HAproxy, which is deployed as a contianer, and managed by the Rancher orchestration functionality. With Rancher's Load Balancing capability, users ...
Modern Systems announced completion of a successful project with its new Rapid Program Modernization (eavRPMa"c) software. The eavRPMa"c technology architecturally transforms legacy applications, enabling faster feature development and reducing time-to-market for critical software updates. Working with Modern Systems, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) leveraged eavRPMa"c to transform its Student Information System from Software AG's Natural syntax to a modern application lev...
ProfitBricks has launched its new DevOps Central and REST API, along with support for three multi-cloud libraries and a Python SDK. This, combined with its already existing SOAP API and its new RESTful API, moves ProfitBricks into a position to better serve the DevOps community and provide the ability to automate cloud infrastructure in a multi-cloud world. Following this momentum, ProfitBricks has also introduced several libraries that enable developers to use their favorite language to code ...
ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure IaaS, announced the launch of its new DevOps Central and REST API, along with support for three multi-cloud libraries and a Python SDK. This, combined with its already existing SOAP API and its new RESTful API, moves ProfitBricks into a position to better serve the DevOps community and provide the ability to automate cloud infrastructure in a multi-cloud world. Following this momentum, ProfitBricks is also today introducing several l...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...