|By Sanjeev Khurana||
|March 22, 2017 02:30 PM EDT||
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
This will include discuss for the next few years how it intends to grow and maintain the business. It may mean doing things like:
- Starting new business lines
- Expanding new business areas, new locations, products enhancements
- Adding new distribution channels
- Making better use of existing customer to cross sell
- Reducing costs
- Stopping businesses
- Regulatory changes
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:
- How well does the applications meet today's and tomorrow's business needs
- How well does the application support: Core coverage (products, clients, market).
- How well is the application designed and developed to ensure stability (IT reliability, change capacity), scalability, performance and extendable
- 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.
- Technology infrastructure: the simplicity, uniformity and efficient the infrastructure to meet
- Governance & funding: The decision making process and the ability of IT to meet its objectives. understand the technology cost base eg CTB/RTB ratio
- 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
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.
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.
“We just completed the roll out of our first public and private cloud offerings, which are a combination of public, hybrid, and private cloud,” stated Erik Levitt, CEO of Open Data Centers, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the...
Feb. 27, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 10,322
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every appli...
Nov. 2, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 7,659
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In their General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate at SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, to discuss how to take advantage of a multitude of compute option...
Oct. 12, 2014 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 7,742
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Exp...
Oct. 8, 2014 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,892
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
Oct. 7, 2014 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 8,342
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your de...
Oct. 2, 2014 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,480
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Sep. 11, 2014 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 7,130
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Sep. 10, 2014 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 8,683
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? I...
Sep. 10, 2014 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 7,532
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using...
Sep. 6, 2014 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 11,258