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6 Key Convergence Practices for Enterprise Architects

HP and many others have correctly proposed a very straightforward mechanism for reducing cost and complexity of IT through converged infrastructure. I wholeheartedly agree.  I have seen IT costs drop by an order of magnitude through the inventory of IT assets, and the reduction and/or consolidation of servers, storage and network.  Further gains may be derived by extending this to the remainder of the IT Portfolio as well.  Convergence should be a standard business principle of all enterprise architecture practices. Here are the primary convergence practices that I have successfully used.

 

1. Consider all of the business for convergence – Besides servers, storage and network assets, reduction of redundant data centers, applications, services, and business practices may serve to create a lean enterprise.

2. Organize an IT Portfolio – There are two key phrases here: “IT Portfolio” and “Organize”! Be sure you have a portfolio that maintains a list of your IT assets. This includes all that you value in IT. A Configuration Management Data Base (CMDB) may serve this purpose, but it may be better to bind this portfolio into the financial management plan.  In the context of convergence, we want to measure what we have, its characteristics, what are its capacities, how much is used and what it costs. We also want to organize the portfolio into a logical grouping or taxonomy to keep similar things together. For instance, all warranty systems and services could be lumped together as a portfolio grouping for consideration of their value and overlaps.  

3. Make Convergence a business principle – Your EA strategy should contain a guiding principle to keep the business and IT lean.  Redundant and unnecessary IT assets are just as draining and redundant as would be competing or unused business services in the same enterprise.  Do you have a roadmap or plan to converge systems, services, applications, data centers, as well as infrastructure? Convergence maps are an effective way to illustrate the plan of record.EAplan.jpg

4. Use Lean Design - Ensure that the design review process considers re-use, virtualization, shared resources, and de-duplication in conceptualization, planning, design, testing, deployment and operations.

5. Keep your IT Portfolio current – As changes are made to systems and services, we need to ensure that they are accurately recorded.  We also want to ensure that we are not regressing in the convergence strategy.  Why converge two systems when the business plan is allowing three discrete new services to be deployed? Avoid the two steps forward and three steps backward.

6. Measure and motivate the progress – Measure what you started with. Measure your progress against the plan.  When you think of it, this is part of the justification to create that IT Portfolio.  Good measures include counts of portfolio items and costs of items saved.  Celebrate victories, and incent those responsible.

 

Whether this is done through service management practices, the CIO office, the PMO or the enterprise architecture office isn’t particularly important. The important part is that convergence is a part of the governance and strategy of IT.

 

HP Strategic IT Advisory Services (SITAS) is prepared to assist you with enterprise architecture planning and design to improve your convergence strategy in conjunction with HP Converged Infrastructure Services.

 

Explore related content:

Converged Infrastructure Blog

My previous post on Architecting for Converged Infrastructure

Read how HP helped one company gain agile IT and drive down cost with converged infrastructure (PDF, 623 KB).

Comments
Nadhan | ‎02-29-2012 04:09 PM

Good point on the significance of Convergance, Ken.  In its absence, one would land up with a Winchester Mystery House as I outline here: http://bit.ly/zrKMHL

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About the Author
Ken Larson has over 30 years of experience in Information Technology aligning business to technology. As an Enterprise Architect, he has del...
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