DevOps, Agility, Cloud, APIs – Time for IT Departments to Change the Game


Ian Fairclough

October 12, 2015

It’s time for IT Departments to change the game, or if not … wither and die. 

Too much time has been spent talking about DevOps, Agility, Cloud, APIs … and other topics that interest the technologists but bore the business; now is the time to change the game, and bring these enablers together to deliver real business solutions through rapid and continuous technology change, that is sharply focussed on delivering value to end users, customers and partners who are crying out for “work IT” to catch-up.

This can only be achieved through continuous engagement between business and IT and eliminating the dependency on laborious project management and service introduction processes in favour of friction-free speed-to-market delivery models – the “fast lane” of IT delivery.  And clearly, the ask should be to do this at an Enterprise Level; joining Agile based flexibility with the economic benefits of a Global Delivery Model.

Why now?  Because the pace of technology change has never been so fast and is getting faster.  Coupled with the insatiable appetite of the business for innovation, and the growing expectation of a seamless ‘home’ to ‘work’ IT experience, it’s the perfect storm that’s driving  more and more demanding end users.  Ultimately, the existing delivery models for technology change cannot keep up; we need new ones. 

Right now, the building blocks are all in place, they just need to be combined and shaped into new delivery models – leveraging the investment in the Systems of Record, but enabling rapid and continuous development of Systems of Innovation. 

Cloud enables on-demand infrastructure, and brings standardised software platforms enabling heavily industrialised and streamlined application development. 

APIs provide the mechanism to integrate the cloud with systems of record, so that these systems can be leveraged without constraining the Systems of Innovation. 

Agility brings a new way of working, a close and intimate way of working so there can be very close alignment between end users and technologists. 

DevOps brings a new way of dealing with the risks of introducing change into the live IT estate, so changes can be made faster and more regularly … continuously if you choose. 

And when integrated cloud, agility and DevOps come together, we get rapid and continuous technology change … Gartner’s “sprinter” lane of the two-speed, or bi-modal IT model.

And what happens if IT Departments don’t do this … if they ignore the demands and the opportunities to deliver technology change in different ways?  Simple.  Business will not wait for the IT Department to catch up and will go elsewhere. And with the IT Department becoming less and less relevant, and unable to offer staff interesting work and opportunities, the department will become stuck in a cycle of shrinkage; with rising staff attrition and the inability to attract new blood in an increasingly competitive market.  Cries for IT Governance and Control will become white noise as the value of business innovation completely trumps the costs of any associated risks. 

In a nutshell, the IT Department will be seen as “the legacy”; an unwanted cost, taking care of the monolithic systems that have been there for years, being replaced over time … and when the last system is replaced, the IT Department will die. 

Now is the time to change the game and for IT Departments to remain relevant.  The opportunity is here today and the enablers are in place – integrated cloud, agility, DevOps.  Combining these discrete technical solutions into an easy-to-consume service, supported by an Enterprise Operating Model, creates a platform for rapid innovation that increases the value and relevance of the IT Department to the business, by being THE organisation that drives business innovation, not the one holding it back.

This article was written by Ian Fairclough from CapGemini: Capping IT Off and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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