Thursday, January 11, 2007

Enterprise IT Oracle

It is very surprising that so many competent and smart people come together in some Enetrprise IT organisation, then create a mess that is unmanageable and beyond their collective capabilities. It is not always a case of inaptitude or incompetence of individuals, but it is the nature of the beast. If we were to understand the problems of enterprise IT, we should try to analyze the root causes.

To me enterprise IT is driven by four major drivers,
1. Own business needs
2. Competative scenario
3. Regulatory compliance
4. Technology changes

These four drivers have different rate of change. Cost of not attending to those changes, is different too. Hence priority to attend to these changes is different. Enterprise IT is like an assembly line in action. And to make matter worse, it is an assembly line which can't be stopped for maintenance. So the four drivers combined with the fact that you never get any breathing space to fix enterprise IT, results in many tactical decisions which finally leads to mess of unmanageable proportions.

Ability of enterprise IT to respond to the drivers is constrained by capability of its own IT organisation, capability of its suppliers and capability of other stakeholders. Enterprise IT does not deal only with planning and design of IT but also about building, governing and sustaining too. This requires collective effort from IT organisation, suppliers and stakeholders, hence any mechanism to avoid the mess must have participation of all.

To avoid the mess EA must plan for future based on these four drivers and remember to make that plan as flexible as the rate of change within most important driver of the drivers listed above. When plan changes, it can accomodate important of the latest changes within other drivers too. The capability of IT orgnisation, supplier and stakeholders puts constraints on any plan that is created. This capability building also must be addressed within the plan itself. This planning is based on tracking of drivers and constraints. A sub-organisation within enterprise architecture community must own this. This organisation can then aptly be called Enterprise IT Oracle (An Oracle is a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority. Not to be confused with Larry Ellison's Oracle corporation).

1 comment:

Nilesh said...

>>not to be confused with Larry's Oracle...
Thanks for clearing that up, I kept wondering until the end of article where you were going with that. There is another aspect of EA, which is fairly well known, is that EA is really outside IT, IT certainly helps get you there but its really a management decision to manifest the EA practices and implement them with IT's help.

Btw, "your" photo made my day, long time since I have seen him in real life, haha! -Nilesh

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Enterprise IT Oracle

It is very surprising that so many competent and smart people come together in some Enetrprise IT organisation, then create a mess that is unmanageable and beyond their collective capabilities. It is not always a case of inaptitude or incompetence of individuals, but it is the nature of the beast. If we were to understand the problems of enterprise IT, we should try to analyze the root causes.

To me enterprise IT is driven by four major drivers,
1. Own business needs
2. Competative scenario
3. Regulatory compliance
4. Technology changes

These four drivers have different rate of change. Cost of not attending to those changes, is different too. Hence priority to attend to these changes is different. Enterprise IT is like an assembly line in action. And to make matter worse, it is an assembly line which can't be stopped for maintenance. So the four drivers combined with the fact that you never get any breathing space to fix enterprise IT, results in many tactical decisions which finally leads to mess of unmanageable proportions.

Ability of enterprise IT to respond to the drivers is constrained by capability of its own IT organisation, capability of its suppliers and capability of other stakeholders. Enterprise IT does not deal only with planning and design of IT but also about building, governing and sustaining too. This requires collective effort from IT organisation, suppliers and stakeholders, hence any mechanism to avoid the mess must have participation of all.

To avoid the mess EA must plan for future based on these four drivers and remember to make that plan as flexible as the rate of change within most important driver of the drivers listed above. When plan changes, it can accomodate important of the latest changes within other drivers too. The capability of IT orgnisation, supplier and stakeholders puts constraints on any plan that is created. This capability building also must be addressed within the plan itself. This planning is based on tracking of drivers and constraints. A sub-organisation within enterprise architecture community must own this. This organisation can then aptly be called Enterprise IT Oracle (An Oracle is a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority. Not to be confused with Larry Ellison's Oracle corporation).

1 comment:

Nilesh said...

>>not to be confused with Larry's Oracle...
Thanks for clearing that up, I kept wondering until the end of article where you were going with that. There is another aspect of EA, which is fairly well known, is that EA is really outside IT, IT certainly helps get you there but its really a management decision to manifest the EA practices and implement them with IT's help.

Btw, "your" photo made my day, long time since I have seen him in real life, haha! -Nilesh