In an ideal world, your customers get exactly what they need. Everybody is happy, both your IT department and your clientele love you, and you will be crowned most innovative company of 2017. In real life, things look slightly different. Like many others, you are having a hard time to live up to the growing expectations of the people buying your products and you cannot seem to solve your IT capacity problems. You are stuck in a so-called delivery gap and you are getting tired. But you are in luck. The IT delivery gap may be a real pain; there are ways to close it. In this second Go Digital blog, we tell you how.
Why is this happening to me?
The IT delivery gap is a common problem to many organizations and is due to both internal and external factors. An important one is the ongoing digital storm that rages through the IT sector and disrupts the way we do business. Today, customers are in charge, demanding high quality, speed, flexibility, and 24/7 availability. This forces companies to shorten their time to market and requires them to come up with tailormade products and services that meet their end-users’ every need. This brings us to an important internal obstacle, as many IT departments are not geared for such a transition. Too often, internal infrastructure architectures are not agile, leading to capacity problems and the overdemanding of IT specialists.
The infamous spaghetti code
A big part of the IT delivery gap lies with the way that information is structured internally. For the last decades, companies have implemented monolithic back-end systems, including ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning), PDMs (Product Development Management), and CRMs (Customer Relationship Management). There is nothing wrong with those, except for their inability to interconnect and integrate different data streams. Moreover, the more systems and applications were added along the way, the more chaotic the internal infrastructure architectures became. Such systems are called ‘black boxes’ or ‘spaghetti code’ and are bad news, as they hamper growth and every kind of innovation.
Enough with the negativity. Now that we know what is causing the IT delivery gap, we can start working on a solution. Let’s look at some essentials first. If you want to create an agile infrastructure architecture (and believe us, you want to), these are your keywords:
- Real-time integration
Making the switch
To integrate these five concepts in your IT strategy, you need three things: tools, a new view on project collaboration, and a cultural switch. The good news is, that you can hold on to your legacy systems and people, as this switch does not replace them, but simply enables them to communicate more efficiently. First, you need to find a way to integrate all data streams you have, so you can re-use and analyze them and share them with the right people. An ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), for example, makes sure your systems are loosely coupled, whereas APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) enable external communication, even with devices that were not built for data exchange. Additionally, you need to change the way your IT specialists collaborate. You can do so by implementing DevOps (a combination of Development and Operations) and by replacing the traditional waterfall method with agile sprints. These changes will most likely create an open and flexible environment that speeds up your production processes, reduces the chance of mistakes, and allows you to anticipate your customers’ behavior.
Having read this article, you probably want to know how to get started. In our white paper “Go Digital!” we tell you how to digitally transform your business, overcome IT-related issues, and delight your customers. Click on the button to get your free copy!