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Producing an Effective IT Strategy | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #Agile
IT strategies that deliver real value

A strategy is a planning document that sets a direction for future work to ensure that you end up where you want to be. A strategy allows you to see the wood, despite the trees. A strategy is often used as a management tool for securing the resources needed to get there

IT is now part of the business and forward looking organisations will have senior IT people responsible for helping devise the Corporate Business Strategy

Business Strategy
This will include discuss for the next few years how it intends to grow and maintain the business. It may mean doing things like:

  1. Starting new business lines
  2. Expanding new business areas, new locations, products enhancements
  3. Adding new distribution channels
  4. Making better use of existing customer to cross sell
  5. Reducing costs
  6. Stopping businesses
  7. Regulatory changes

IT Strategy
Technology needs to ensure business are agile that can meet business needs in a timely manner, while having a low cost/income ratio. The ability to change systems should be easy and cost efficient. An optimal IT strategy must comprehend the business context, applications, technology, organisational capability and governance.

An IT atrategy should aim to deliver continual business benefits in the form on projects, like monthly and its overall time horizon should be no more than 3 years.

We need to define the functional areas of a business and assess the application(s) which support them. There should be no uncontrolled duplication of functionality or data within the application landscape of an organization.

With a detailed understanding of the business strategy, each applications needs to be assessed:

  1. How well does the applications meet today's and tomorrow's business needs
  2. How well does the application support: Core coverage (products, clients, market).
  3. How well is the application designed and developed to ensure stability (IT reliability, change capacity), scalability, performance and extendable
  4. Cost of application - need understanding of both Change the business (CTB) and Run the Business (RTB) costs. A high and increasing yearly RTB costs suggest the application needs investment in architectural improvement to reduce this figure.
  5. Technology infrastructure: the simplicity, uniformity and efficient the infrastructure to meet
  6. Governance & funding: The decision making process and the ability of IT to meet its objectives. understand the technology cost base eg CTB/RTB ratio
  7. Organization capability: readiness and capability of human assets to perform consistently with the needs of the organizations

Why are IT projects done and how to measure value
Projects are done to increase revenue, decrease costs & improve efficiency. These can be improve the income statement and balance sheet. An improved income statement and balance sheet can help drive stock price higher. Not all benefits are financial like 1) some are related to strategic, like for competitive positioning, high availability and scalability 2) operational efficiency - allow the organization to be more lean and efficient by doing things like simplify, standardize, integrate, centralize 3) Security, Business continuity, Regulation

In summary, projects need to be able to demonstrate they can:

  • Does it potentially increase revenue? If so, how?
  • Does it decrease expense? If so, how?
  • Does it optimize assets? If so, how?
  • Does it improve productivity? If so how?
  • Does it mitigate risks (or address regulatory demands)? if so, how?

The "return on investment" (ROI) metric measures, per period, rates of return on money invested in a project in order to decide whether or not to undertake an investment. It is also used as indicator to compare different project investments within a portfolio. The project with best ROI is prioritized.

return on investment = (gain from investment - cost of investment) / cost of investment

Understanding SWOT
This is a powerful thing to add in your Strategy. Strength and Weakness refers to the current environment and Opportunities and Threats refer to the future environment. In producing the Weaknesses, you need to determine the value in overcoming them. You need to understand the weakness, need to know how success will be measured, how important is it to fix it. Likewise, for Opportunities, how would you measure success if the opportunity is fully realized?

Producing a Heatmap
It helps to produce a heatmap where you define whether your application to support a given functionality is a "Buy", which means to invest more on this platform, a "Sell", meaning don't invest and plan to move off, or a "Hold", which is a keep for the time being. For each "Sell", you need to have a plan on what needs to be done, what the cost will be (one-time costs) and ongoing costs, what are the benefits, like productivity gain, cashable benefit, etc.

Summary
An IT strategy should answer the following questions:

  • Are we doing the right things with technology to address the organization's most important business priorities and continuously deliver value to the clients?
  • Are we making the right technology investments?
  • Do we measure what is the real value to the organization derived from that technology?
  • Is our current Information Technology agile enough; flexible to continuously support a successful organization?
  • Is our Information Technology environment properly managed, maintained, secured, able to support the clients, and is it cost effective?
  • Can our strategy support current and future business needs?

IT strategy should not be static but needs to continually evolve as the organization continues to do so; close alignment with the business is key to deliver value in a cost effective manner.

About Sanjeev Khurana
Sanjeev Khurana is Head of Development at a large European Investment Bank and has over 20 years of IT experience. He has also been a part time Lecturer at Universities such as Brunel, Middlesex, Greenwich teaching undergraduates and postgraduates Software Engineering.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
In the old world of IT, if you didn't have hardware capacity or the budget to buy more, your project was dead in the water. Budget constraints can leave some of the best, most creative and most ingenious innovations on the cutting room floor. It's a true dilemma for developers and innovators – why spend the time creating, when a project could be abandoned in a blink? That was the old world. In the new world of IT, developers rule. They have access to resources they can spin up instantly. A hybrid cloud ignites innovation and empowers developers to focus on what they need. A hybrid cloud blends the best of all worlds, public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers to fit the needs of developers and offer the ideal environment for each app and workload without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all cloud.

Keynote: Driving Cloud Innovation: SSDs Change Cloud Storage Paradigm
Cloud is a transformational shift in computing that can have a powerful effect on enterprise IT when designed correctly and used to its full potential. Join Citrix in a discussion that centers on building, connecting and empowering users with cloud services and hear examples of how enterprises are solving real-world business challenges with an architecture and solution purpose-built for the cloud.

Go Beyond IaaS to Deliver "Anything As a Service"
Many organizations want to expand upon the IaaS foundation to deliver cloud services in all forms—software, mobility, infrastructure and IT. Understanding the strategy, planning process and tools for this transformation will help catalyze changes in the way the business operates and deliver real value. Join us to learn about the new ITaaS model and how to begin the transformation.


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Cloud computing is transforming the way businesses think about and leverage technology. As a result, the general understanding of cloud computing has come a long way in a short time. However, there are still many misconceptions about what cloud computing is and what it can do for businesses that adopt this game-changing computing model. In this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Rex Wang, Vice President of Product Marketing at Oracle, discusses and dispels some of the common myths about cloud computing that still exist today.
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@CloudExpo Blogs
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is being taken very seriously across industries and cannot be ignored.
As you have probably heard, the EU commission signed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) back in April 2016. The legislation is designed to help companies handle efficiently the data challenges of the 21st century and give strict guidelines as to how to work with massive flows of digital information. It is set to protect web users (data subjects) from malicious use and loss of their personal info and, also, to give people greater control over how their records are processed.
We’re seeing an emerging trend in the cloud computing world. I’ve been referring to it as cloud fatigue, but it’s more commonly known as repatriation, or moving workloads from the cloud back to on-prem locations. According to a recent 451 Research report, over 21 percent of organizations have plans to pull back from the cloud and return to an on-prem infrastructure in 2017. Considering the vast growth of cloud adoption over the last several years, what’s behind this trend?
2017 was the year of ransomware. Ransomware has been around for years, but the victims were typically non-technical consumers: the impact, although serious from the victim's perspective, was limited. In 2017 we've seen huge ransomware attacks close down hospitals and businesses, putting lives and billions of dollars at risk.
It’s conference season and, as you might expect, Jason and I have been on the road covering a bunch of them. It’s always great to see what the disruptive players in the market are doing — and this year did not disappoint. But there is one thing that repeatedly happens that just gets under my skin: transformation-washing. As Jason explained in a Forbes article over a year ago, ‘washing’ is when a vendor (or pundit) applies a buzzword loosely in an overt attempt to attach themselves to its buzz. And transformation-washing is rampant.
The word polymorphism is used in various contexts and describes situations in which something occurs in several different forms. In computer science, it describes the concept that objects of different types can be accessed through the same interface. Each type can provide its own, independent implementation of this interface. It is one of the core concepts of object-oriented programming (OOP).
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
The hotel and hospitality industry, enabled with advanced technology and more collaboration with associated businesses, will see some important trends in 2018 as hotel brands reinvent themselves to cater to a new type of clientele. Millennial guests will dominate the landscape, and reshape the industry with demands for more automated options and conveniences and the ability to do everything from a smartphone, and hotels - eager to deliver more conveniences to this younger audience - will forge closer alliances with retailers and community destination
The cloud market is growing at a rate of 30% annually and is expected to reach $130 billion. Analysts predict that service providers are well positioned to be the leading point of distribution for cloud services in light of the scale of their operations and their capacity to offer end-to-end lifecycle management for IaaS, SaaS and PaaS over secure managed networks.
Our cities have been connected since the dawn of urbanization in the Indus Valley and on the plains of Mesopotamia nearly ten millennia ago. Cities exist to gather and connect people, bringing us together into communities and joint ventures that need complex networks of communication. But in recent years the connected city has come to mean something more. Today and in the future, the connected city will not just be about people connecting with people, but people with machines, people with people via machines, and perhaps most importantly, machines with machines.
Decentralization of everything, the great new idea of which the web can’t stop babbling, might still seem a bit utopian if you inspect it closely. Yes, blockchains are likely to reshape our economy, or a huge part of it, and benefit considerably those who are currently unbanked. They might also facilitate the creation of rating/reputation systems that are not controlled by any single entity and thus allow people (say Uber drivers who’d like to work for Lyft) to switch employers without having to establish their credibility anew. They might give users complete control over their assets; prot...
Quantum Computing is becoming quite the hot topic lately. With research being done by Google, IBM, Microsoft, universities, and a number of other players, it’s looking this is really going to happen. In fact, Google may just be weeks away from announcing the Quantum Supremacy milestone. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of Quantum Supremacy yet, it’s basically the point where a quantum computer can complete a computation in a short time where a classical computer can’t complete it at all. This is a big deal. While there are some simple quantum computers out there right now (you can ...
This phrase is new and it originated at Netflix back in 2010. I was listening to Nora Jones, a Netflix engineer at the AWS re-Invent conference few weeks back, where she talked about this. The principle of Chaos goes like this, “Chaos Engineering is the discipline of experimenting on a distributed system in order to build confidence in the system’s capability to withstand turbulent conditions in production.” Distributed systems have too many moving parts and failures can occur at various levels – hard disks can fail, the network can go down, a sudden surge in customer traffic can overload a fu...
Bitcoins are a digital cryptocurrency and have been around since 2009. As a substitute for legal tender, they are becoming the rage for investors and others but because there is no government agency auditing or performing regulatory oversights, you wonder if it is the perfect breeding ground for electronic nanocrime. Since the introduction of the Bitcoin, some competitors have emerged and the whole segment of cryptocurrencies are defined as Altcoins. Altcoins include Dogecoin, Ethereum Feathercoin, Litecoin, Novacoin, Peercoin, and Zetacoin. Some of these cryptocurrencies are considered impro...
Robotic process automation (RPA), a concept that has emerged over recent years, is still in a state of rapid evolution, existing without a clearly defined end-state or direction. As such, vendors are experimenting and pushing their products into uncharted waters - successfully or otherwise. Nonetheless, we can be sure that artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to develop and impact on automation solutions as whole, even if at the moment these capabilities do not frequently exist within the RPA space.
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also generated a barrage of good-natured ribbing from my super-neat friends. Emotions aside, the math is the m...
In this article, we'll cover how you can monitor an application that runs on the Java Virtual Machine by going over some of the critical metrics you need to track. And, as a monitoring tool, we'll use Stackify Retrace, a full APM solution. The application we'll monitor to exemplify these metrics is a real-world Java web application built using the Spring framework. Users can register, login, connect their Reddit account and schedule their posts to Reddit.
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Microservices Reference Architecture that highlights various sub systems needed to support Microservic...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace players were EMC (before the Dell acquisition), NetApp, IBM, HP (before they became HPE) and Hitachi. Co...