The Age of Frustration
October 27, 2014 Dan Burger
It’s frustrating at the very least. And aggravating, too. People talk about aligning business objectives and IT capabilities, but the distance between talking and doing seldom leads to the same destination. There’s clearly more than one common denominator that steers these projects into the ditch. But inadequate project management is many times the villain. Most attack this as a people problem. That’s certainly a good place to start looking around, but it can also be a lack of tools issue. That’s worth a closer look as well.
Businesses change. If it’s handled properly, we call it evolution. If it’s sudden and abrupt, things tend to explode and walls come crashing down. On the surface, you might choose to avoid the big bang option, but the truth is that change no matter how it arrives is difficult to deal with. Most IT environments struggle with change. Interoperability stands in the way. Programs suddenly have more kinks than an old garden hose. If you can’t keep up with change, sooner or later you’ll be digging your own grave.
So what saves the day? No one thing is the silver bullet. But workflow management software is one thing that provides a big lift.
Enterprise software distinguishes itself by taking into account workflow processes. It’s not mandatory that this occur, but 999 times out of a thousand, it will make a long-term difference for the good.
Now that a lot of companies are looking at modernization projects involving applications and databases, the lack of attention to workflow processes has become as obvious as that skunk you ran over on the way to work. After the fact, you wish you had been more careful.
While I was reading a white paper that just came out of the oven on the topic of managing workflows and managing change, some of these ideas started to sink in. The often passed around stories about monolithic programs that that have modernization projects tied up for weeks and even months are fact, not fiction. And rather than ignoring the past and recreating the same unwanted outcomes in the future, it makes more sense to cut the nonsense and move forward with application lifecycle management built in.
“The decision to deploy change management software is usually driven from either regulatory issues or people realizing they cannot manually keep up with business changes and their subsequent software changes because it is too error prone,” says Joan McKittrick, an IT professional with a ton of experience in this area.
McKittrick recently has worked with four companies that have decided workflow management and specifically change management software, was the best choice for their IT strategies. In one case the company was encrypting files with sensitive information because of regulatory compliance requirements and software changes needed to account for this. In another example, a company was expanding its business to include new warehouses and applications needed upgrading to handle the change. A similar change occurred when a company expanded a field in an application that had widespread use throughout the organization. It required the capability to identify where changes were necessary, make those changes, and make sure all related components that could be affected by the changes were updated. McKittrick also guided a project involving mobile and Web technologies and the process of incorporating new languages and techniques across a set of applications.
McKittrick is one of the owners of Solutions First, the California-based North American distributor for Remain Software, an application lifecycle management vendor specializing in IBM midrange shops.
McKittrick’s experience provides valid insights into the dilemmas that organizations are facing as they modernize and extend their applications and databases. It doesn’t require arm twisting or mind bending to grasp the concept and the value of application management techniques. I believe application modernization and mobile app dev will bring increased attention to application lifecycle management.
If you’re interested in reading a white paper on this topic, check out How to align IT with business changes faster.
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