There are many aspects that we need to address when creating IT roadmaps such as better business support, replacing old and not supported technologies/products/applications, strengthening ( new servers, storage, licenses, databases, etc’ to support IT in the next 3/5 years) and more. In this post I’ll try to focus on planning IT for better business support.
In order to do this task we need to collect data about enterprise business capabilities (will be addressed with examples in my next post), applications, products, databases and technologies as well as the relations between them. Relations should describe which applications and products support business capabilities as well as databases and technologies (including server and storage) that support applications/products.
Stage 1 : Business capabilities and what we are missing from business point of view
We start with modeling of business capabilities and existing application and products. Then when we have all capabilities, applications and products we ask our business user to define which application / product they are using for each capability and what is the percentage which they believe that the IT asset help them to do the work. When this work is done, we have a list of application/products attached to each capability that the users believe it has an IT support. If the users believe that IT fully support a given capability the sum of all the supporting assets percentage will be 100 percent (each IT asset might have different percentage reflecting different weight / satisfaction as seen by users).
Using this data we creating a heat-map view of business capabilities. The heat-map depicts in red, yellow and green if a capability has none, partly or full IT support. This view give us an impression where there are areas in the business that doesn’t have any IT support or are not fully supported by IT. This view is also created in an excel report, which shows for each capability, supported IT assets and the percentage of each one of the supporting IT assets.
Having this data we can start to realize what are the business areas that we need to cover in order to better support the business. First we are looking for capabilities that has many unsupported instances in the map. Creating IT solutions for those capabilities will generate more impact from IT point of view. Following the mention above capabilities we order unsupported capabilities on the basis of core and context capabilities.
Step 2 : IT assets and what can be done from IT point of view to provide better support
Having a list of all (the supporting business capabilities) applications and products we start to map what are the databases, technologies, servers, data storage etc’ that those applications are using. This data also include ( as properties) what is the cost of each one of the IT assets, how old is the technology, when support is going to be expired, etc’.
We are using this data for three main purposes:
- Finding out if we can use current assets to support gap in business support: for each gap in the business capability heat-map (partial support or not supported) we try to identify if an existing IT assets might provide support and what will be the cost of this support. We add this data as another dimension to the list of business capabilities with gap in IT support (the list that was mentioned in step 2 ), so mow we know the cost of each proposed solution using existing assets.
- Find old technology or product that could cause problems and harm business capabilities that already have support. A capability might have perfect support from the user point of view, but from IT point of view the capability might experience issues due to the fact that the IT solution is based on old or unsupported technology/product. To ensure better IT support to the business we want to handle such scenarios and to replace the old/unsupported technology/product. The output of this work stream is a list of technologies/product that needed to be replace in the next 3/5 years as well as the impact of those changes on other IT assets.
- What are the impact of new technologies, applications and products. For each gap in capability support that doesn’t have any solution by using current IT assets we try to identify new technologies / products or new home developed applications that could help IT to fill the gap. For each one of the new proposed IT assets we indentify costs, dependencies and impact on current and new IT assets. We are using the described information to add it as another dimension for each (not fully supported) capability, similar as described in the first purpose.
Step 3 : creating the roadmap
In the end of phase 2 we have a list of proposed solutions for filling gaps in capabilities support and to prevent issues in capability operation. Now we need to take in account existing projects, any type of dependencies and resources (budget, human) to create a roadmap. In this step we try to come up with a road map that will have maximum effect, support of core capabilities and will be able to execute from resources and dependencies point of view.