There are a couple of topics I’ll be talking about at HP Discover: systems of record and application transformation. I’ve done a number of blog posts related to this space over the years, but there still seems to be quite a bit of confusion about some of the terms used in applications transformation.
Systems of record are those systems that store the history and detail of business transactions… Systems of engagement are those loosely structured, conversational systems that sit on the edge of the business the employees, customers, partners interact with. Until recently, organizations didn’t think there was a difference in their portfolio.
Almost all organization systems were based on their being a scarcity of resources (computing, storage…). Many of these limitations are no longer valid. How we think about our systems needs to change.
The big question though is: What to do about it? How do you get started? Alphabetically?!? There needs to be a better way.
I was at a conference recently where a very innovative leader said: “There is no need for strategy any more. Just throw you applications away and start over.” Clearly, this is a person that has never really had a significant installed base. He also stated “If any startup isn’t embarrassed by their first release, they waited too long.” Most enterprise organizations don’t have the luxury of this slash and burn approach.
There needs to be a good way to approach the problem of both reviewing the existing environment and determining what new opportunities can be addressed and that is what we hope to talk about.
Current situation analysis is definitely a good place to start. The approach needs to have measures based on the business needs and the constraints of the organization. Having a canned technique is helpful but may not address the true needs of the organization, so understanding the definition of value is important. Examples could be to evaluate the applications on:
- Value generated/watt consumed
- Value generated/maintenance $$ spent
- Core process/support process
- Mobile workforce demand
Whatever the technique may be that is right for you, the approach needs to define what the organization values and who the sponsor for the work will be. Executive support is crucial for these activities – so be ready to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question.