Friday, 18 September 2009

A palace revolution. In IT?

I do apologise for the fact that in this particular blog abbreviations will be flying around like grilled geese in the land of Cockaigne

As described, a palace revolution is about changes in culture, economy, and socio-political institutions

The cultural revolution has been ongoing for decades now, with entire countries wondering about (the state and future of) their culture due to disappearing frontiers on the currency, economical and national border level

We're right in the middle of the economical one with the current crisis

Social media is now invading the earth: 300 million people on Facebook, 50 million on Twitter - and let's not
forget Google, YouTube and the Wiki (a truely fabulous project obliterating all information barriers) - just check it all out although that data is half a year old already

Communism has disappeared during the 1990's onwards, and currently capitalism is getting hit hard

So what about IT revolution?

Well we had CORBA and COM and after that OO and after that SOA and maybe we're moving towards SCA or EDA, right? In other words, we still have programs, modules and functions and are still trying to find out how to define their scope so we can just nuts and bolts them together across applications, systems and even enterprises

Well, errrr, we went from point-to-point to EAI and then ESB and now we call it all either B2B or B2C, even G2G (government) or E2E (enterprise), while forgetting that you can't have any of those without a decent A2A (application), in the meantime staring at how the entire world is connecting people to people

Oh wait! Didn't we have RAD and IAD evolve into RUP and Agile from LAD? In other words, aren't we doing projects faster so we can almost catch up with the time-to-market needed by the business?

Listen. It's IT we're talking about, and we should be experts in that by now

Our core business is not doing projects, our core business is giving the business IT systems that are -and continue to be- fit for use. That entire lifespan of an application (it will be called a federation in a few years from now, mark my words) is about 5-10 times greater than the initial project phase

Our core business is not engaging in whatever-to-whatever, our core business is unifying the very diverse IT systems into that one coherent business system, so we can just easily extend our own business processes outside our enterprise. B2B nor B2C ever was a goal, it is just a means to do more business for less money. If you're conducting business on a bleeding IT platform, how would EDI make your life less unpleasant?

Our core business is not reinventing the wheel nor making it rounder by means of ever-changing approaches and tools, our core business is scoping the fine lines between programs, modules and functions so they'll become default building blocks representing business processes, business process steps, and business process step shared functionalities. Why is it so (very) much easier to assemble or buy a car than an application?

IT needs a palace revolution, that's for sure. Will the revolutionaries please stand up?

6 reacties:

Léon Smiers said...

How about aiming for stable applications, instead of running from hype to hype.

At the same time we did some anti-evolution movement, while engaging with Rightshore we moved our methodology back towards waterfall...
Why again did we move away from waterfall in the past?

Martijn Linssen said...

Thanks Léon!

I strongly agree with you, there are countless of good old COBOL apps out there that just still satisfy the business - how come?

Very good point about Rightshore, I'll quote you on that if you don't mind. Imagine Agile Rightshore...

I think we moved from waterfall because we tried to replace almost entire landscapes at once, it was about the time when Java was declared the new Holy Grail

And we repeated that with every hype since: declaring the existing solution being oldfashioned and silly, needing to be fully replaced and vested with the Emperor's new clothes

In the end, the answer is simple: if you keep on playing the game while continuously changing the rules, and still end up losing, there must be something amiss with the way you play...

Peter Wilman said...

I think most of the problems in IT stem from IT Managers chasing the rainbow. Flitting from methodology to methodology, shoehorning the organisation's processes into the methodology rather than cherry-picking the best bits and adapting the methodology to fit the organisation.

The only beneficiaries of this are the proponents of the latest fad as it boosts book sales, and training organisations.

IT does not become leaner, faster or more efficient if managers do not allow the adopted developemtn methodologies time to become embedded in the organisation's psyche. Change for the sake of change results in chaos.

Martijn Linssen said...

Thank you Peter, I recognise the "methodology-driven approach" you write about

There indeed is a high level of dynamics within organisations, bringing about change - but not always for the better. Or should I say "usually not"?

I think the underlying problem is the fact that management has grown too accustomed to their "parent-role" of deciding that something is better for the company, even if the majority doesn't like the idea. And, like you rightfully state, you can't just change halfway through a change, that will just create a big mess and teach people "that change is bad"

I think the traditional role of management will significantly change as a result of E2.0, or Social Business as I like that term better. Managing might become facilitating; and the best facilitatement organisations the most succesful, not even having to recruit customers or personnel as it's just so very fun and challenging to work there delivering great, usable, sustainable products and services

Change will then come from within, piloted by a few, tried by a few more, and adopted by those who like it. And facilitated where needed
Because it doesn't matter which decisions we make in life, we always like best those we made ourselves

One-size-fits-all simply doesn't exist, never has existed, and is an approach certainly becoming more obsolete by the day

Randy McClure said...

Some how IT has become a support organization versus an engineering organization. Innovation focused on real business problems gets replaced by hype and committees.

See posting, IT High Priests and the Lost Art of IT Innovation - "There is something about being in IT management that it becomes so easy to forget about innovation and just start managing your costs and infrastructure. Instead of being innovators, IT management become High Priests. Their religion becomes governance, standards, infrastructure, information security, and Return On Investment (ROI)."

Martijn Linssen said...

Thank you Randy. Cory's quote "The dirty secret of corporate IT is that its primary mission is to serve yesterday's technology needs, even if that means strangling tomorrow's technology solutions" says it all

Like you state, IT and Business have grown apart and need to have an Innovation Dialogue, away from just squeezing cost on the current IT-landscape

I've seen business go shopping outdoors for IT solutions, due to lack of innovation from their own IT department. It wasn't a pretty sight...

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