Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, @BigDataExpo

@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.

Latest Stories
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
In his session at DevOps Summit, Tapabrata Pal, Director of Enterprise Architecture at Capital One, will tell a story about how Capital One has embraced Agile and DevOps Security practices across the Enterprise – driven by Enterprise Architecture; bringing in Development, Operations and Information Security organizations together. Capital Ones DevOpsSec practice is based upon three "pillars" – Shift-Left, Automate Everything, Dashboard Everything. Within about three years, from 100% waterfall, C...
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
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 his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Some people worry that OpenStack is more flash then substance; however, for many customers this could not be farther from the truth. No other technology equalizes the playing field between vendors while giving your internal teams better access than ever to infrastructure when they need it. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will talk through some real-world OpenStack deployments and look into the ways this can benefit customers of all sizes....
Deep learning has been very successful in social sciences and specially areas where there is a lot of data. Trading is another field that can be viewed as social science with a lot of data. With the advent of Deep Learning and Big Data technologies for efficient computation, we are finally able to use the same methods in investment management as we would in face recognition or in making chat-bots. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Gaurav Chakravorty, co-founder and Head of Strategy Development ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Interoute has announced the integration of its Global Cloud Infrastructure platform with Rancher Labs’ container management platform, Rancher. This approach enables enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation and infrastructure investments. Matthew Finnie, Interoute CTO commented “Enterprises developing and building apps in the cloud and those on a path to Digital Transformation need Digital ICT Infrastructure that allows them to build, test and deploy faster than ever before. The int...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldw...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...