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Can We Handle the ‘Transformation’ Transformation?
The issue with technology transformation today is that many large IT operations exist in siloes
Apr. 7, 2014 08:00 AM
Transformation, or more specifically ‘technology transformation,' has become something of a de facto accepted term within the technology industry today.
But how did the transformation to transformation happen?
Is it down to the vendors trying to champion their business and application transformation wares? Or is it really down to the real concerns and actions of users, practitioners and customers (call them what you like) who need to execute these types of procedures upon their installed base of IT?
Or is it both? - a question we pose only rhetorically because of course it is.
The issue with technology transformation today is that many large IT operations exist in siloes with fragmented elements all dedicated to specific tasks and roles. This makes transformation very difficult because teams have divergent views of what priorities should be addressed... and in what order.
If the transformation in question sets about (for example) to integrate a new layer into the IT stack to accommodate for more widespread use of smartphones and tablets, then exactly where does the business start? Should BYOD security be the ultimate driving factor that dictates all transformation decisions in this regard? Or is productivity and effectiveness more important? Perhaps connectivity speed and device performance is paramount?
The answer here is that all of these priorities should be front of line and they should all be addressed ‘in concert' as part of one higher level drive to bring transformation to bear. This, of course, is easier said than done.
The challenge is a technological one in the first instance, but it almost goes back to being a human challenge even before that point. Senior IT leaders need to come together to reach common ground on their needs. Only then can they start to develop an understanding of the best way to address their issues.
HP quotes Gartner on this subject where one of the firm's analysts has said that in many organisations, application portfolios have grown beyond the IT organization's ability to effectively manage in a budget-constrained environment.
According to Gartner, "Application overhaul helps develop an approach to creating a portfolio that will meet changing business requirements as well as the constraints of the IT budget. The key to application overhaul is that firms need to figure out what they have, how big the problem is, and how they will address it going forward."
HP itself runs an Applications Transformation Experience Workshop offering as a packaged tool that companies can purchase to work towards new IT transformation processes. These might (for example) typically be change initiatives designed to bring in new routes to information management solutions like content management, business intelligence and unified portals for employees, partners and customers.
Why ‘transform' in the first place? Why not just continue with an interconnected assembly of applications, databases, data throughput channels and device groups as long as they are all connected together somehow?
The reason, primarily, that we ‘bother' to go forward with more formalized transformation is that (in theory) a family of well-executed and well-integrated applications and data services will always engender more innovation, more growth and ultimately more profitably for the company that pulls off the transformation challenge most competently.
"When integrated with deep investments in traditional systems, modern applications are growth engines for organizations that want to create new value for their customers," said Geoffrey Moore, author, speaker and advisor. "Most importantly, modern applications are the vehicles for organizations to deliver on their No. 1 priority - providing engaging experiences across devices that make people's lives easier and keep them coming back for more."
Moore's comments were made in line with a recent transformation portfolio launch and he points yet again to why we need to transform in the first place, i.e., to achieve a state of application modernization.
Delivering on a multi-channel application solution portfolio based on hybrid-cloud technologies is perhaps a de facto best practice today, but this end goal requires transformation. None of this is going to be simple, but as long as we know what task lies ahead of us we should be able to better transform in the immediate future.
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