Changes in business dynamics are inevitable, particularly the shifting nature of Information Technology (IT) deployment. Businesses are after fast, flexible and agile IT procedures, however IT operations are more focused on maintaining stability.
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) standards and practices made sense in the past when the world moved at a slower place, but these standards no longer suit the business dynamic of today. Launching an ongoing development and improvement initiative has now become standard for a large cross section of organisations; their aim is to become fine-tuned to customer needs, while robust enough to be adverse to modifications in business conditions.
What is the problem?
With the introduction of cloud technologies, IT operations are faced with challenging demands of speed and flexibility. Enterprises want deployment of IT to keep up with the customer’s needs, but some methods and systems do not allow for this. For an IT deployment to be successful, disciplined stages are required such as design, development, testing and releasing. These thorough steps involved with deployment do not accommodate for an agile system; out-dated infrastructures further add to the issue of a lack of agility in an IT deployment, frequently causing setbacks. If an IT deployment is unsuccessful, the business is at risk of losing customers, along with a drop in reputation.
What can the business do?
It is possible for a business to accommodate a fast-changing environment while ensuring stability in IT deliverables; it involves violating the safe workflow and principals of the past along with an optimistic attitude toward transformation. ImPOS Point of Sale implemented this agile workflow and method of IT deployment in 2013. Those who remain unenthusiastic about changes in their procedures put themselves in danger of not keeping up with the dynamics of today’s business structures. Companies must alter their mindset on how agility can be achieved in order for IT to achieve the desired process. A Development Operations (DevOps) philosophy emphasises speed and efficiency without sacrificing adequate stability; the key to adopting the inevitable change within business dynamics is for the company to accept the DevOps workflow. Businesses need to make change a habitually recurring practice to accomplish IT agility and stability, and they must disregard the notion that unflawed software provisions are even possible as what IT assumes is perfect may not be what the user wants.
How else can the problem be solved?
A combination of Continuous Delivery and DevOps help to find a solution to the matter of speed with IT. The functioning principal behind DevOps is to make the system more accommodating and flexible to changes and therefore less likely to fail. Furthermore, the more time spent on automation setup and general testing can result in a lessened need for support from IT, infrastructure management and communications time. The objective is to enhance strategic value to a dynamic marketplace – your business will be more agile if you continue to invest in the IT landscape.
What are the steps?
There are a number of steps that need to be taken by both a company in order to achieve true business agility. They are as follows:
- The IT skills gap needs to be tackled. In order to do this the organisation will usually be required to contract talent externally.
- A DevOps blueprint must be established; business agility cannot exist without some sort of path for employees to follow and CIO leadership is required to offer clarity on the priorities, direction and design goals.
- An investment in technical tools needs to occur. The CIO must choose particular software management and a social collaboration tools, plus automate everything and establish the rhythm of continuous delivery and DevOps.
- System setup and configuration can be automated to improve agility, however testing of the setup is absolutely crucial.
- The CIO must find and understand any restraints (caused by the cultural and organisational changes involved in the conversion from traditional IT approaches to more agile-centric ones) and remove them in order for developers to succeed in the task of transformation.
- Legacy systems need to be integrated and modernised. Many enterprise IT organisations have legacy software and data systems in place that run well after years of modification and investment and are the core of the company’s operations. Ultimately, the CIO must either determine how to integrate the new agile system with the core, or how to revolutionise the core itself.
ImPOS Point of Sale currently runs on a legacy system. ImPOS’ system has been heavily modernised and integrated to keep up with the changing nature of IT deployment. Integrating with many new software programs, such as Dimmi and Yellowfin, allows ImPOS to continuously advance our product whilst still running on a legacy system.
It is possible for a company to accommodate a fast-changing business environment while ensuring stable IT deliverables if they hold the right leadership skills and are open-minded and optimistic about change in their workflow. IT has the tools, methods and infrastructure to adopt agility now; the CIO needs to lead the modernisation of old thinking in order to match modern business dynamic. Without proper insight, agility could translate into chaos.