By enabling the creation of new services and unlocking data from older software, modern applications can release your organization’s full value.
But how do you get started?
One of the fastest, most efficient ways to develop and deliver next-gen applications is to select a project that’s both small and likely to have a noticeable effect for end users.
Why? Because smaller projects are relatively easy to fund, more likely to succeed, well suited for quick feedback and evaluation, and easy to adjust when business requirements, budgets and deadlines shift. And when these projects help end users, you’re likely to gain new and valuable allies.
Begin by evaluating and prioritizing projects.
To do this, first rank proposals by criteria that include value, complexity, risk — even timing. Give the highest rankings to projects that promise high value, low complexity and little risk. “Value” in this context typically means either cost savings or revenue enhancement. And because cost savings are generally easier to achieve, you can give projects that yield that result a slightly higher rank.
(You may need to spend time with project sponsors to help them shape projects into smaller efforts or a phased model that allows for incremental delivery.)
Next, use this evaluation to select the projects you’ll launch first. All things being equal, your best choice will be a project with the greatest potential for business benefit. Tech for tech’s sake is no longer sufficient.
Also, it’s generally wise to avoid unwieldy “big bang” projects. Those have a nasty habit of running over budget, suffering from “scope creep,” failing to deliver high-quality software and missing deadlines.
Now DevOps practices come into play.
These include agile-based methodologies, centralized code-development repositories and continuous delivery. These practices can help you reach your destination in small, manageable steps, while gathering feedback and taking measurements along the way.
Also, be sure to report early successes back to senior managers, hopefully leading to additional funding. Subsequent mini-projects can be similarly adjusted according to feedback and measurements. This can dramatically improve the project’s overall efficiency and chances for success. It’s a virtuous cycle.
If your IT organization is like many, you’ll find it challenging to locate the funds, skills and energy needed to make the transformational shift in digital applications. But it’s a challenge you should not abandon. By creatively reallocating resources and partnering with industry pioneers, you can push forward with your goal.
You may face a management challenge, too. CIOs and other IT executives need to be instrumental in leading the digital transformation. To do so, they must become familiar with the capabilities and power of the modern application platform.
Start with a gap analysis. Ask: “Given our organization’s goals, where do we have gaps in skills, portfolio, risk-management, security and standards? And to fill those gaps, what concrete steps can we take?”
This gap analysis can also help you create a plan for modernization and migration to a native-cloud platform. This may include a shift from locally managed security to a federated security model that incorporates both internal — namely, your organization’s own data center — and external resources.
You should now be able to articulate to the rest of your organization how the modern application platform supports high levels of business agility, growth and profit. That’s a message everyone in the business should appreciate, especially as they start to see real-life successes with your lighthouse projects.
Read more in the white paper, Digital Applications: The Key to Releasing Your Business’s Full Potential.
Rick Wilhelm is vice president of Development and Delivery for Global Insurance at CSC. Rick is responsible for product engineering, customer delivery and Business Process Services technology for CSC’s insurance products and services. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.