New research conducted on behalf of HP reveals that 1 out of every 2 business executives feel their organization is suffering from innovation gridlock. See “HP Research: Breaking the IT Innovation Gridlock,” Coleman Parkes Research Ltd., April 2010.
- Organizations feel blocked from driving new business innovation because the majority of their IT funding is consumed in operating and maintaining the current environment.
- In addition, almost 60 percent of business and technology executives feel that this gridlock is preventing their organizations from keeping up with the competition.
The inability to respond to such a widely recognized problem can be traced to a number of issues.
- Primary among these is economics. With limited budgets IT organizations are fighting to keep the wheels on - and this is where the majority of resources are spent. Spending on new projects is roughly one-third of the IT budget. Two-thirds is devoted to ongoing operations and maintenance. [See Forrester's "A Workable Application Modernization Framework is Job No. 1 Now", Phil Murphy, April 26, 2010).
- A major secondary issue is application portfolio understanding. What do we have, how does it support our critical business processes, and how much is redundant or grossly inefficient? If we decide to eliminate or replace a particular system, what are the ripple effects? Insight into these relations can be hard to come by and difficult to reason about.
- We have all had experience with failed IT projects. The numbers are daunting. Various studies have shown remarkable rates of failure or impairment, with reported success rates as low as 16%. A more moderate report, "IT Myth 5: Most IT projects fail" (August 13, 2004), states that in a study of 13,522 projects in 2003, 34% were an unqualified success, 15% failed, and the rest were "challenged" - which includes cost overruns, time overruns, and incomplete functionality. If we have a working system, even if it seems overly expensive to run or it is lacking in agility, we have an instinctive understanding that the risk of replacement can be sizable.
There are answers for all of these issues.
Improvement in the distribution of resources requires the inauguration of a virtuous cycle, where we identify initial projects with relatively rapid ROI, execute them, and then use the savings to fund further work.
Capturing a model of the portfolio is a crucial element of any long term improvement. As I have noted before, shutting systems off is one rapid road to savings. But without a reasonable model of business / application dependencies, the potential for unexpected consequences often leads to paralysis. HP can help you create these models and roadmaps.
One way to eliminate failure is to take on projects that are similar to ones we have previously completed successfully. This is where the combined experience of our modernization specialists and your application subject matter experts is so important. Having both team members experienced in modernization issues across a wide variety of systems as well as deep application experience significantly reduces the risks of selecting an improper modernization approach or failing to execute the modernization journey.
By 2019 a $1,000 personal computer will have as much raw power as the human brain. I figure at that price, I'll get two, two brains are better than one and by then I'll be 63. I may need four. This prediction and others are right around the corner, according to Ray Kurzweil, a noted futurist. I love to read Kurzweil. His predictions are both exciting and terrifying. Think you're getting a good deal in 2019, look at what happens in 2045:
$1000 buys a computer a billion times more intelligent than every human combined. This means that average and even low-end computers are vastly smarter than even highly intelligent, unenhanced humans.
Now we're getting personal. Unenhanced humans? Legacy people? I could be legacy in 2045? At the young age of 89?
Kurzweil goes on to imagine a “technological singularity”:
The technological singularity occurs as artificial intelligences surpass human beings as the smartest and most capable life forms on the Earth. Technological development is taken over by the machines, who can think, act and communicate so quickly that normal humans cannot even comprehend what is going on. The machines enter into a "runaway reaction" of self-improvement cycles, with each new generation of A.I.s appearing faster and faster. From this point onwards, technological advancement is explosive, under the control of the machines, and thus cannot be accurately predicted.
The Singularity is an extremely disruptive, world-altering event that forever changes the course of human history. The extermination of humanity by violent machines is unlikely (though not impossible) because sharp distinctions between man and machine will no longer exist thanks to the existence of cybernetically enhanced humans and uploaded humans.
Set your singularity clocks now, we only have 35 years before this happens.
I'd love to have Kurzweil's bookshelf, I'm sure he's well read, but he hasn't spent much time telling us what happens to old technology. What about all the legacy applications? Legacy businesses? All those unenhanced humans milling around writing COBOL. Do these businesses survive the singularity? Or is it like a slow extinction? Will legacy businesses become dinosaurs, unable to survive the world-altering singularity?
Maybe this future comes to pass, maybe it doesn't. But one thing is certain: change. Survival of any business is often predicated upon the journey its leaders have mapped out. A journey that isn't always clear, involving technology that is racing toward innovation, accelerating into the future. Want some help comprehending it all? If so, today HP is announcing a major initiative to help you to realize your future and help you to Break the Gridlock.
As part of this initiative, HP is offering a promotion of the Transformation Experience Workshop. This is a highly interactive workshop that helps to understand and map your legacy transformation journey. Please click the link above to find out more. Hope to see you at a workshop, even if your are an unenhanced human being. http://h10134.www1.hp.com/campaign/applications-workshop/
Simplification is a recurring theme in this blog. It is a
major goal of modernization. Simpler has many facets. I am going to consider
- Unique mapping of business processes to
- Elimination of redundancy
- Retirement of unused applications
How do we know we have unique realizations for those of our
business processes supported by automation? This question is filled with
implications - we can't know the answer without having categorized our business
processes and business objects and mapped these elements to our IT
This mapping enables two things - we can detect duplicates as
well as identify systems that no longer support our current business model. In either
case these become candidates for retirement. Retiring systems can be
expensive. Consider a case where we use three CRM systems (say as a result of
multiple acquisitions). Turning off two of these will not be a painless flip of a switch. It will require data migration, process changes to match the retained system and retraining .
Any time we are retiring a system, a critical consideration
are its archival requirements. Are we required legally to keep the data? Is
this data that we should be mining for historical trends that could be of value
to the business? If we are intending to retain data from retiring systems, do
we need it everything we have in existing archives or is there an opportunity to significantly reduce the volume of data to reflect our needs?
Retirement is both a huge opportunity and surprisingly
difficult. Nothing saves money like eliminating redundant systems, but it
requires confidence to stand up and say it is okay to turn a system off. This
confidence only comes by virtue of applying rigor to an analysis of your
portfolio. Something provided to you by an HP Application Porfolio
In the future we will look as some of the other implications
arising from simplification.
- Reduced platform variability
- Homogeneous platform management
- Standard interfaces
- Correct dependence on systems of record