Think Ahead to the Future
Success factor No. 5: Think ahead to the future An effective application modernization plan considers alternatives and ensures that the future state achieved through the change plan is appropriate to future business requirements. The ability to evaluate various scenarios over time and to select an optimal approach within the context of existing business realities is essential.A successful application change plan must therefore keep its "eye on the prize," and combine specific actions with movement toward a comprehensive vision. The key lies at the outset of the process, with a baseline assessment of existing conditions and a quantitative analysis of the potential benefit (both immediate and long-term) to be realized. Absent this upfront assessment, the results of the initiative will ultimately be distorted. Another key element of a future-oriented approach to application management is a framework to measure progress and to gauge benefits as the process progresses. Characteristics include clearly defined "benefit triggers" that track the results of changes, the development of a "benefit engine" to define and track improvements, and the creation of a "benefit manager," whose role is to ensure actions are taken and to quantify the impact of the change initiative in terms of savings and enhanced productivity. With these elements in place, the benefit management model can be "wired" to respond to inevitable internal and external changes that will take place throughout the initiative, and to assess the impact of changing conditions on achieved results. In conclusion These five related guidelines can help CIOs address the application management challenge in a scalable manner-one that combines immediate actions that yield improvement with a clearly defined, long-term vision of enabling the agile business enterprise of the future. Tim Pacileo is a business and IT management consultant at The Board Room Advisors. Tim has 30 years of experience developing and managing a variety of strategic business and IT initiatives. His experience includes IT strategy, architecture design, sourcing, network and telecommunications, IT security, enterprise application selection, implementation and oversight, disaster recovery and business continuity planning, software and hardware evaluation and selection, and infrastructure design, focusing on data center and server consolidation and SANs. Prior to joining The Board Room Advisors, Tim was an Executive Consultant at Compass. Prior to joining Compass, Tim was a VP at Gartner, where he established the firm's Global Data Center practice. Prior to this, he was global manager of Client Systems for AEI (a global logistics company), where he had responsibility for all client/server applications development, PC hardware and software standards, hardware and software purchases negotiation, network design and configuration, Internet application development, infrastructure design and security, and a Lotus Notes implementation supporting a global sales team of 300 individuals. Tim's experience also includes a stint as an IT consultant, specializing in application selection, and network design and implementation for the health care and mortgage banking industries. Tim received a Bachelor's degree from Central Connecticut University. He attended graduate school at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He can be reached at TPacileo@TheBoardRoomAdvisors.com.
For example, is an in-house custom solution preferable to a commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) package? While one approach may appear more appealing today, the long-term impact of regulatory requirements, business strategy and potential acquisitions and/or growth must be considered. Relatedly, be sure to balance aggressiveness with caution: Don't rush headlong into change that can prove disruptive but, instead, continue to move forward to avoid slipping back into the trap of reliance on legacy solutions.