Friday, September 24, 2010

IT Transformation Lifecycle. The Wrap Up.


Perhaps you’ve noticed but up till now my series of blogs have followed a generic IT Transformation life cycle that roughly has these steps:
  1. Identifying the business needs
  2. Defining the drivers for Transformation and developing the business case
  3. Evaluating the future
  4. Understanding the scope and requirements
  5. Defining the technology strategy
  6. Making the Business Case
  7. Applying SOA as a Solution Architecture
  8. Defining the Services Taxonomy and the SOA Framework
  9. Applying the right SOA approaches & techniques
  10. Engineering the solution
  11. Establishing the right Governance and team
  12. Executing on the project via appropriate Project Management techniques
  13. Migrating to the new system
The diagram below summarizes this life cycle in terms of the purpose for each step:
We have now reached the end of the cycle. Upon successful migration you and your team are entitled to celebrate and reward the key performers. There is a lot to be happy and grateful for. However, you’d be wise to keep your cell phone active even as you celebrate. Initially at least, there is the likelihood that you will be receiving a large number of calls regarding deployment problems. Truth is that it will take some time before the system becomes truly stable. Indeed, it is a well know fact that all systems follow the so-called “bathtub shape” when it comes to failure rates:


A new system starts with a high failure rate that will (hopefully) diminish in time until it eventually becomes stable. True, failures will never go away during the system’s productive years (the “Rubber Ducky years”, I call them), but the failure rate should remain reasonably low and under control. However, after cumulative changes and stresses of continued improvements are applied throughout the years, you will notice that, with the weight of age, natural entropy eventually takes its toll making the system more and more unstable. Problems will arise; changes will become more difficult, meaning that, in time, the system will become sufficiently stiffened and inflexible and be ripe for yet another IT transformation!

That’s right folks.  From the moment you cut that ribbon debuting your new system, the system becomes “legacy”.  So, what was really accomplished after all the effort and the millions in investment to create a new solution? Well, if you did things more in the right way than in the wrong way during this transformation, the “length” of the bathtub will hopefully extend for many more years than it would have otherwise. That’s right you’ll move from a bathtub shape to a swimming pool. Also, the functionality of the new system will have been much improved. All in all, a good IT Transformation effort should be something to delight in. Like a good bath!
A new cycle does not imply repetition or more of the same. IT Transformation is about progress. The true shape of progress resembles the picture below, an upward cyclic progress towards new solutions.



Mirroring this “spiral of progress”, my blog is also resetting somewhat.  It has now reached a plateau. My future blogs will continue to cover the general theme of IT Transformation.  Getting set to walk up another flight of stairs, I will cover general aspects related to emerging business needs.  After all, we are now facing the Social Media explosion and the heightened pervasiveness of mobile computing. Who can say what the true impact of the advent of iPad and soon to follow iPad-like devices will be?  I intend to continue discussing current drivers for transformation and technologies that will shape the future.
Rather than making a weekly appearance, I will endeavor to publish an article every other week, time and cycle of life permitting. 

Till then . . .