Archive for the ‘IT Strategy’ Category

How old is a “Legacy” application?

Monday, April 16th, 2007

What do we mean when we use the term “legacy” application?

Jason Stamper talks about ageing technologies and speculates that even old Java applications could often be considered legacy.

I think we should take a business focussed view of this and I suggest we should ask the following question.

If we re-evaluated, today, would we buy/build this application again?  If the answer is no, then it’s a legacy application.

I have more than a sneaky suspicion that asking the business this direct question would yield some uncomfortable answers.  In fact I would go so far as to suggest that by this definition, many business reps would consider a large number of applications to be “legacy” before they are even live.

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Buy vs Build

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

The old argument for buying packaged software, I was reminded by Alan Inglis, is to benefit from industry best practice.  In other words, to benefit from the software author’s experience of solving your problem for other organisations, the benefits of which they have (undoubtedly) built into the package.

The theory goes that you can standardise your back office and equalise your cost per transaction (or whatever the key measure is) with your competitors, then your organisational strategy becomes one of marketing, i.e. differentiate your products with better R & D, advertise them and sell them better, always secure that your cost of delivery/administration etc is no higher than your rivals’.

Hang on a minute?  That doesn’t sound very ambitious!  It also means your costs are no lower than your rivals…

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Another Fallout Between Business and IT?

Monday, April 9th, 2007

My second comment on Bill Barr’s most interesting blog concerns his post Applied IT vs. Computer Science/Technology.

Wow – where to start – this post covers so much ground!

I hope he is not living up to his claim to be putting out ideas 5 years ahead of their time when he describes the “ever widening gap between the Business and IT” and “the miserable job the majority of IT has done with respect to delivering value to the business”.  I thought the gap was closing and that enterprise IT people these days are much more business focussed.

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Ship Ahoy!

Monday, April 9th, 2007

I’ve only recently discovered Bill Barr’s blog (and added it to my blogroll) and found some really interesting views that I felt compelled to post about.

Firstly at Ivory Tower or Crow’s nest? Bill argues for the need for IT architects to take a high level view without retreating into an ivory tower.  I am pretty convinced that the role of an IT architect is to see the bigger (business) picture and always be looking ahead to prepare the matching and necessary infrastructure.

I am equally convinced that “if we could only convince businesses of the value of having a lookout place high enough to see beyond the next quarter ….” then the job of the IT architect would be much simpler.

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Let’s Legitimise Rogue Behaviour.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

In my short time in the blogosphere I’ve noticed a common theme around CIOs, IT Architects and others in the IT community concerned with “Rogue” behaviour.

I say rogue behaviour because some posts refer to rogue users, others to rogue solutions, rogue IT etc.

The common point is that if the IT function does not serve the business with what it needs, then you can absolutely guarantee that some rogue behaviour will emanate from the business.  Usually the IT function doesn’t even know about it, until the rogue solution falls over and the business calls in the IT guys who are suddenly landed with a mission critical “system” to mend and support.

So how do we square the circle here?

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Coca-Cola and Big Bangs

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

I must be one of the few people in the world who can’t stand the taste of Coke.  Certain developers where I work could potentially survive only on Coke but that’s just not me.

However, I don’t hold a grudge against any organisation just because I don’t like their main product.  So I was pleased and impressed to read CIO Interview: Big changes come from small steps in this week’s UK Computer Weekly where the interviewee was Tania Howarth, CIO of Coca-Cola Europe.

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Government Driving Need for Agile Computing?

Monday, March 19th, 2007

I read with interest that strategic BPM company Handysoft published a survey showing that 2/3 of European Banks are set to miss the MiFID deadline.

Could this be because the regulators have still not finalised the detailed MiFID requirements?

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Rules Engines – Power to the Users!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

I was reading Business Rules the Software Reuse Debate by Rajgo.  I bow to his technical knowledge which is far superior to mine, but I want to take the business end of his argument and see if I can violently agree with him.

In my world, business rules enable loose coupling of enterprise applications and services.  So a typical enterprise application might be the CRM system and a typical service (in a retail bank for example) might be to select a customer using the customer reference and return the portfolio of products held by that customer with the bank.

A number of services can be linked to form a business process, but a business process must follow rules.  These rules can be hard-coded or configurable by the user community using some sort of rules engine.

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Google Apps – The Ultimate SaaS?

Monday, March 5th, 2007

On the face of it, Google Apps Premier Edition is the future.

Software as a service (SaaS) has many attractions and the subscription model that Google has announced has made it particularly attractive from a financial perspective.  Why have an expensive corporate network and storage infrastructure when you can use the World Wide Web?

Staff can log onto their personal productivity tools from anywhere in the world…. ah hang on, is that the problem?  Staff can log on from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.

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Is Enterprise Wide SOA Just Too Challenging?

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

The hype amongst suppliers with a vested interest in Service Oriented Architecture grows daily.

Intuitively its a great idea.  Turn your organisation into a set of services that can be used and stitched together to form business processes which in turn are exposed to front and back office staff, business partners, agents, customers via direct channels etc etc.  These services are loosely coupled to the existing IT applications so can be maintained independently.  Users only effectively see one simple system.  Brilliant!

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