Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Dalibor Siroky, Stackify Blog, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, @DXWorldExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Producing an Effective IT Strategy | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #Agile

IT strategies that deliver real value

A strategy is a planning document that sets a direction for future work to ensure that you end up where you want to be. A strategy allows you to see the wood, despite the trees. A strategy is often used as a management tool for securing the resources needed to get there

IT is now part of the business and forward looking organisations will have senior IT people responsible for helping devise the Corporate Business Strategy

Business Strategy
This will include discuss for the next few years how it intends to grow and maintain the business. It may mean doing things like:

  1. Starting new business lines
  2. Expanding new business areas, new locations, products enhancements
  3. Adding new distribution channels
  4. Making better use of existing customer to cross sell
  5. Reducing costs
  6. Stopping businesses
  7. Regulatory changes

IT Strategy
Technology needs to ensure business are agile that can meet business needs in a timely manner, while having a low cost/income ratio. The ability to change systems should be easy and cost efficient. An optimal IT strategy must comprehend the business context, applications, technology, organisational capability and governance.

An IT atrategy should aim to deliver continual business benefits in the form on projects, like monthly and its overall time horizon should be no more than 3 years.

We need to define the functional areas of a business and assess the application(s) which support them. There should be no uncontrolled duplication of functionality or data within the application landscape of an organization.

With a detailed understanding of the business strategy, each applications needs to be assessed:

  1. How well does the applications meet today's and tomorrow's business needs
  2. How well does the application support: Core coverage (products, clients, market).
  3. How well is the application designed and developed to ensure stability (IT reliability, change capacity), scalability, performance and extendable
  4. Cost of application - need understanding of both Change the business (CTB) and Run the Business (RTB) costs. A high and increasing yearly RTB costs suggest the application needs investment in architectural improvement to reduce this figure.
  5. Technology infrastructure: the simplicity, uniformity and efficient the infrastructure to meet
  6. Governance & funding: The decision making process and the ability of IT to meet its objectives. understand the technology cost base eg CTB/RTB ratio
  7. Organization capability: readiness and capability of human assets to perform consistently with the needs of the organizations

Why are IT projects done and how to measure value
Projects are done to increase revenue, decrease costs & improve efficiency. These can be improve the income statement and balance sheet. An improved income statement and balance sheet can help drive stock price higher. Not all benefits are financial like 1) some are related to strategic, like for competitive positioning, high availability and scalability 2) operational efficiency - allow the organization to be more lean and efficient by doing things like simplify, standardize, integrate, centralize 3) Security, Business continuity, Regulation

In summary, projects need to be able to demonstrate they can:

  • Does it potentially increase revenue? If so, how?
  • Does it decrease expense? If so, how?
  • Does it optimize assets? If so, how?
  • Does it improve productivity? If so how?
  • Does it mitigate risks (or address regulatory demands)? if so, how?

The "return on investment" (ROI) metric measures, per period, rates of return on money invested in a project in order to decide whether or not to undertake an investment. It is also used as indicator to compare different project investments within a portfolio. The project with best ROI is prioritized.

return on investment = (gain from investment - cost of investment) / cost of investment

Understanding SWOT
This is a powerful thing to add in your Strategy. Strength and Weakness refers to the current environment and Opportunities and Threats refer to the future environment. In producing the Weaknesses, you need to determine the value in overcoming them. You need to understand the weakness, need to know how success will be measured, how important is it to fix it. Likewise, for Opportunities, how would you measure success if the opportunity is fully realized?

Producing a Heatmap
It helps to produce a heatmap where you define whether your application to support a given functionality is a "Buy", which means to invest more on this platform, a "Sell", meaning don't invest and plan to move off, or a "Hold", which is a keep for the time being. For each "Sell", you need to have a plan on what needs to be done, what the cost will be (one-time costs) and ongoing costs, what are the benefits, like productivity gain, cashable benefit, etc.

Summary
An IT strategy should answer the following questions:

  • Are we doing the right things with technology to address the organization's most important business priorities and continuously deliver value to the clients?
  • Are we making the right technology investments?
  • Do we measure what is the real value to the organization derived from that technology?
  • Is our current Information Technology agile enough; flexible to continuously support a successful organization?
  • Is our Information Technology environment properly managed, maintained, secured, able to support the clients, and is it cost effective?
  • Can our strategy support current and future business needs?

IT strategy should not be static but needs to continually evolve as the organization continues to do so; close alignment with the business is key to deliver value in a cost effective manner.

More Stories By Sanjeev Khurana

Sanjeev Khurana is Head of Development at a large European Investment Bank and has over 20 years of IT experience. He has also been a part time Lecturer at Universities such as Brunel, Middlesex, Greenwich teaching undergraduates and postgraduates Software Engineering.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
It has never been a better time to be a developer! Thanks to cloud computing, deploying our applications is much easier than it used to be. How we deploy our apps continues to evolve thanks to cloud hosting, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and now Function-as-a-Service. FaaS is the concept of serverless computing via serverless architectures. Software developers can leverage this to deploy an individual "function", action, or piece of business logic. They are expected to start within milliseconds...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
For DevOps teams, the concepts behind service-oriented architecture (SOA) are nothing new. A style of software design initially made popular in the 1990s, SOA was an alternative to a monolithic application; essentially a collection of coarse-grained components that communicated with each other. Communication would involve either simple data passing or two or more services coordinating some activity. SOA served as a valid approach to solving many architectural problems faced by businesses, as app...
Some journey to cloud on a mission, others, a deadline. Change management is useful when migrating to public, private or hybrid cloud environments in either case. For most, stakeholder engagement peaks during the planning and post migration phases of a project. Legacy engagements are fairly direct: projects follow a linear progression of activities (the “waterfall” approach) – change managers and application coders work from the same functional and technical requirements. Enablement and develo...
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
From manual human effort the world is slowly paving its way to a new space where most process are getting replaced with tools and systems to improve efficiency and bring down operational costs. Automation is the next big thing and low code platforms are fueling it in a significant way. The Automation era is here. We are in the fast pace of replacing manual human efforts with machines and processes. In the world of Information Technology too, we are linking disparate systems, softwares and tool...
DevOps is good for organizations. According to the soon to be released State of DevOps Report high-performing IT organizations are 2X more likely to exceed profitability, market share, and productivity goals. But how do they do it? How do they use DevOps to drive value and differentiate their companies? We recently sat down with Nicole Forsgren, CEO and Chief Scientist at DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) and lead investigator for the State of DevOps Report, to discuss the role of measure...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
With continuous delivery (CD) almost always in the spotlight, continuous integration (CI) is often left out in the cold. Indeed, it's been in use for so long and so widely, we often take the model for granted. So what is CI and how can you make the most of it? This blog is intended to answer those questions. Before we step into examining CI, we need to look back. Software developers often work in small teams and modularity, and need to integrate their changes with the rest of the project code b...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud4U builds software services that help people build DevOps platforms for cloud-based software and using our platform people can draw a picture of the system, network, software," explained Kihyeon Kim, CEO and Head of R&D at Cloud4U, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...